I am a Netbeans user since NB 4 and am a big fan of it. It has always given me more than expected. I give full credit to Netbeans for my Fame / fortune / Expertise.
When I trained my colleagues on Netbeans they used to sing the appreciation of Microsoft Visual studio for easy GUI designing. Few of them, the Java developers also gave the same feedback, like there is no way to align in center position or even parallel in Netbeans up to 5.5 GUI designer.
I think , perhaps people at Netbeans were listening all of this, and In NB 6 they provided all of this.
Now, the Mattise is even better.
Recently added support for Visual JSF is amazing , but little slow .But that is a minor issue if you have sufficient memory.
With NB 6.5 , I see a serious challenge to Microsoft visual studio / .NET development suit.
Considering the fact that NB community is one of the biggest in the world with the best brain at work, I believe it will be the only development IDE in coming future.
Recently added out of box support for PHP, C/C++, Ruby and all is amazing. NB is getting equally popular among PHP and ruby developers not just Java.
And , as it is the most proffered IDE for student community around the world,in coming years I see no reason they are going to compromise with it for any reason.
Netbeans plug in is another feature that draws my attention. It has crossed 10,000 marks officially and I believe it is at least 5 times more unofficially.
Recently, I was looking for a Date Picker plugin , and in a single search I found it.
I believe , there is no other community as dynamic as this one.
I remember another instance . I developed a tool in Java/Swing using JDK 1.6 . The client had JDK 1.5 and it was not possible for them to switch to 1.6, so they asked me to make it compatible with 1.5 instead. I just posted this and believe me, I got reply within 5 minutes (from some one in architecture team of Netbeans).
I firmly believe , in long run, only those community stand which have goal ,vision and strength.
I see,NB community has all that they need. NB community has a one line vision “Be the best”.
Recently, their pioneer work for on hit compilation , digging the Java Compiler is an example of the zeal of their excellence.
And the appreciation for all of this is far clear. Whenever I search for an article/ topic on Java, most of the result come from Netbeans blogger / community site.
The status and depth Netbeans has achieved in 10 years is amazing. I am very sure, no other tool/technology has made such remarkable foot print in this sort span.
Long live Netbeans.