JavaOracle Commits to Further NetBeans IDE Development

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As Oracle continues to consolidate the assets of Sun Microsystems, questions about which technologies will go and which ones will stay are still being asked. One such technology that could be at risk is the open source NetBeans IDE , which competes against the Eclipse IDE and its ecosystem, which Oracle also supports.

In the middle of June, Oracle released the NetBeans IDE 6.9 update providing new features for the IDE. At the time of the release, Oracle did not immediately respond to questions from about the future of NetBeans.

Many in the Java community have since speculated about whether NetBeans should be folded into Eclipse. Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, went so far as to tell that in his view having NetBeans and Eclipse competing with each other in offering free IDEs for Java developers is not helping Java any longer.

As it turns out, Oracle intends on continuing to support both Eclipse and NetBeans.

“Both products are being actively developed and are both part of Oracle’s Developer Tools strategy,” an Oracle spokesperson told

For Eclipse, one of the key Oracle technologies is the Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse which is a free set of plug-ins for Eclipse IDE users. The spokesperson explained that the Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse is specifically aimed at supporting developers building applications on the Oracle stack. The Oracle stack includes products such as Oracle Database, Oracle Coherence, and Oracle WebLogic Server.

Additionally the spokesperson noted that the Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse is tasked with helping to support and promote the use of key Java Enterprise Edition technologies such as EJB , JPA (Java Persistence API), and JavaServer.

Oracle sees NetBeans in a slightly different light.

“NetBeans is targeted at being the number-one open source IDE for all of the Java technologies,” the spokesperson said. “Its focus is to ensure that Java developers of any skill level can be productive in building with and taking fullest advantage of all the Java technologies.”

Recent changes in the NetBeans 6.9 release are intended to help further Oracle’s goal of ensuring that the IDE is kept loaded with the latest technologies. Among the improvements in NetBeans 6.9 is support for OSGi which provides Java with a dynamic module system. The spokesperson noted that OSGi is an industry standard for module management and loading.

“Enabling NetBeans to both consume and build OSGi modules allows a new set of developers to more easily write extensions for the NetBeans platform,” the spokesperson said.

The NetBeans 6.9 release was scheduled prior to Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. Oracle’s spokesperson added that even though the feature list of NetBeans 6.9 existed before the acquisition, the Oracle and Sun teams worked together to prioritize what went into the release.

“We continue to be dedicated to the advancement of Java and the Java technologies and will continue to collaborate with the community moving forward,” the spokesperson said.”We are continuing to invest in and advance NetBeans.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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