Some people managed to totally destroy NetBeans usability for our project. They must have been taken over by the Borg. Let me explain. We have a fairly big application that is made more or less in Java. It is actually written in NetRexx, but that is not really the point here. For GUI development, we used NetBeans. Draw a screen, add widgets, doubleclick and add calls to our own methods. Great. This was up until NetBeans 3.6. And it was easy to add the project to NetBeans: our codebase is make and cvs (now subversion) based. Just add the classpath root to a NetBeans virtual file system, let it scan and it works.
In 4.0 and 4.1, not anymore. Not at all. This confirms my worst preconceptions about IDE’s. These people decided to just take out the extremely useful feature of virtual filesystems and make the thing totally ANT based. The new 4.1 release “is even more flexible” and adds “free form projects”. Free form, my ass. It immediately complains: cannot add project that already has a Build directory. I try now to add a “standard project” (where standard also means “ANT”). No dice, because it ‘is already owned by another project.’
I don’t want NetBeans to build my project. I just want to press F9 and compile. It does not let me anymore, and I waited patiently for 4.1 to correct the situation.
There is lots of docs going with this, touting its flexibility, though totally dense and milling on and on about ant. I already spent a lot of time on this, and it did not help. I think I have the option now to add all the packages and subpackages of the hierarchy by hand. They must have totally lost it. I already saw some complaints on the mailing list and was stricken by the sheer arrogance of those people knowing it better than those who suddenly lost their ability to work with the tool. So by moving and renaming a lot, I got NetBeans to digest the project. I edit a file, and IT GREYES OUT the compile option, probably because of some error in an ant file I don’t want in the first place.
There also seems to be a “blueprint” now for enterprise java project layout, without a doubt devised by ‘technical project manager’ people that never design or code but bestow ‘naming conventions’ upon us that do. But taking working functionality out of a tool to make people conform to your ideology is a very, very sick thing to do. So I stay at 3.6 until I find something better. Bye bye NetBeans, it has been fun while it lasted.