Netbeans Eclipse

Written by Nam Ha Minh
Last Updated on 16 February 2020 Print Email

NetBeans and Eclipse are both IDEs. They are made basically for Java application development. NetBeans is developed by Apache Software Foundation and Eclipse is developed by Eclipse Foundation. So which one is better, NetBeans or Eclipse? CLICK TO DOWNLOAD COMPLETE SOURCE CODE - Do Watch Video in High Quality. NetBeans vs Eclipse: While both IDEs are free, open-source and provide the same basic functionality they both differ in a lot of ways. Firstly, Eclipse provides a really strong extensible tool support and plugin support. While NetBeans also provides great plugin and modules support, it is not as huge as Eclipse. In Eclipse go to File-New-Java Project Uncheck 'Use default location' and instead use the path where the Netbeans project is (D:/blah/) Eclipse should automatically populate everything else and link to the files as well.

NetBeans is a popular and widely-used IDE for developing Java applications - favored by millions of developers around the world.The NetBeans IDE is free, open source, cross-platform, feature-rich, easy to use and as powerful as Eclipse IDE. It is widely used in schools, universities, enterprises and large organizations like NASA and NATO, with a vibrant community.Besides Java, NetBeans also supports development for other languages like PHP, C/C++, HTML5, Javascript… with different bundles for different languages. Therefore, you can use NetBeans for full-stack development, as stated in its tagline: “Quickly and easily develop desktop, mobile and web applications with Java, JavaScript, HTML5, PHP, C/C++ and more.

1. History of NetBeans

Like Eclipse, NetBeans also has a long history. It began in 1996 as a student project at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. The project was for creating a Java IDE.In 1997, Roman Stanek formed a company to produce a commercial version of NetBeans IDE.In 1999, NetBeans was bought by Sun Microsystems and it was open-sourced in 2000. Since then, the NetBeans community has continued to grow.In 2010, Oracle acquired Sun and continued developing the IDE further.Recently, in 2016, Oracle donated the NetBeans project to Apache Software Foundation and the IDE has a new brand name: Apache NetBeans.

The homepage of NetBeans was, but it is now a project under the governance of the Apache Software Foundation:

2. Key Features of NetBeans IDE

For Java development, you can use NetBeans to develop almost any kind of Java applications, from Java desktop apps (Swing & JavaFX) to Java web apps (Servlet, JSP, and EJB). However, NetBeans doesn’t support developing Android mobile apps - You have to use Android Studio from Google. Before Android becomes popular, NetBeans has great support for developing mobile applications with JavaME. But since Android has dominated the market, JavaME became obsolete.For Swing development, the GUI Builder helps you visually design layout and drag and drop user interface components. Likewise, the SceneBuilder helps you design JavaFX applications quickly and easily. For developing Java web applications, NetBeans supports two types of servers: GlassFish and Apache Tomcat.By default, NetBeans uses Ant build for projects, and you can also create Maven ones.For version control, NetBeans is integrated with CVS, Subversion (SVN) and Mercurial.The IDE also comes with powerful refactoring capability which facilitates code restructuring. The visual debugger helps you debug running Java applications, and the Profiler tool helps you monitor Java applications to find memory leaks and optimize speed.For unit testing, NetBeans is integrated with JUnit and TestNG frameworks.And you can extend the features of NetBeans by installing plugins available in NetBeans Plugin Portal.

3. NetBeans Platform

The NetBeans Platform is a generic framework for simplifying the development of Java Swing desktop applications. It provides reusable services and components that are common to desktop applications, such as user interface management (windows, menus, toolbars…), settings management, storage management, etc - allowing developers to focus on coding business logic specific to their applications, without having to code the “plumbing”. Therefore, it reduces a lot of development time and increase productivity.And NetBeans allows you to develop applications based on NetBeans Platform right inside the IDE.

4. NetBeans vs. Eclipse

In my opinion, Eclipse and NetBeans are similar in functionalities: code completion, code refactoring, run, debug,. But NetBeans is easier to use and less complex than Eclipse. NetBeans doesn’t have concepts like Workspace and Perspectives like Eclipse, but it provides better support for Java Swing and JavaFX with built-in GUI Builder and ScenceBuilder, whereas you have to install WindowBuilder plugin to use a visual designer in Eclipse.In my experience, NetBeans runs a little bit faster than Eclipse and I got “not responding” problem with Eclipse more often than NetBeans. The Profiler tool in NetBeans is also a plus point, as it allows you to monitor Java applications right inside the IDE to find memory leaks and optimize speed.Both NetBeans and Eclipse are free, open-source and cross-platform. They are both developed by the two famous non-profit organizations: The Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, and they are the two most popular Java IDEs nowadays.NetBeans is easier to learn, whereas Eclipse has steeper learning curve. Both support non-Java languages like C/C++ and PHP.I recommend you to use both of these IDEs to have your own feeling and experience, and which one to choose depends on the nature of your projects and preferences.What's next for a beginner? I recommend you to follow these 2 tutorials next:

Other NetBeans Tutorials:

About the Author:

Nam Ha Minh is certified Java programmer (SCJP and SCWCD). He started programming with Java in the time of Java 1.4 and has been falling in love with Java since then. Make friend with him on Facebook and watch his Java videos you YouTube.

Eclipse and Netbeans are the best free IDEs. Although they’re used primarily for the development of Java applications, Netbeans and Eclipse support a variety of programming languages. Netbeans was developed by Sun Microsystems. When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in 2010, its development was halted for two years i.e. from 2011 to 2013. After 2013, Oracle launched a newer edition of Netbeans every year for 3 years. In 2016, the tech giant handed over some great applications to Apache Foundation. Apache Foundation launched newer versions of Netbeans regularly since 2017.

Eclipse IDE is derived from IBM VisualAge. Unlike Netbeans IDE whose development was halted for several months, Eclipse has been updated regularly. I’ve been using both the IDEs for developing Java powered web/desktop applications since 2011. If you’ve come across these two IDEs and you’re wondering which IDE is better among the two or if you’d like to know the similarities/differences between the Eclipse and Netbeans, go through the following paragraphs where I’ve compared the features of the 2 IDEs.

  • Clean useless files and upgrading/downgrading JVM


Both Netbeans and Eclipse give users access to 100s of plugins. If you’ll explore the plugins on the official plugin website of Netbeans/Eclipse Marketplace, you’ll find that many plugins are outdated. This should not be a problem because you may never use the plugins. You can also try installing the plugin. Old plugins may work with the latest release of Netbeans or Eclipse. The popular plugins that you may use are updated on a regular basis.

User Interface

I liked Netbeans because of its UI but when I discovered the “DevStyle” Eclipse plugin, I switched to Eclipse. The DevStyle plugin gives the Eclipse IDE a refreshing look. Netbeans UI looks pale in front of DevStyle. When Apache Foundation launched Netbeans 11.3.1, I re-installed Netbeans. According to the IDE’s changelog, improving the UI was one of the major objectives of the developers working on 11.3.1. NB 11.3.1 ships with FlatLaf looks and feel/theme.

Netbeans Eclipse Shortcuts

The light variant of the Flatlaf theme is brilliant and eye-pleasing. I don’t like to write code in editors with a dark background. I won’t comment on FlatLaf dark theme. Eclipse provides a good user experience but the default fonts and icons don’t look great. The interface is cluttered with several options. I don’t use most of the options but other users might use them. Netbeans IDE’s interface is less cluttered. The icons on its toolbars are large. The IDE provides an option to change the icon size.


Maven makes the lives of Java developers easy. Eclipse and Java support Maven out of the box. Unlike Visual Studio Code that asks you to install maven on the PC, Eclipse/Java lets you create and manage Maven projects without making you install Maven. The IDEs provide a wizard tool that guides users in creating a Maven project.

Server Management

Eclipse and NetBeans provide a powerful server management tool. You can configure the IDEs to run the project or deploy the application archive on the web-server you’ve set up. Eclipse supports Jboss, Tomcat, Tomee, Payara, etc. Popular web-servers such as Tomee, Wildfly, Glassfish, Payara work like a charm with Netbeans. The two IDEs can automatically deploy the application archive on the web-server automatically. If the web-server doesn’t work, you should go through the web-server’s log file carefully.

CSS and JavaScript

NetBeans displays code recommendations when you enter a character or a word in the CSS class when you’re editing a CSS file. It can also complete the JavaScript code. Eclipse also displays recommendations but only when you press the keyboard’s ctrl and space bar keys together.

Code Improvements

NetBeans recommends useful suggestions when you’re working on a project. For example, if you’re using if else else statement, NetBeans will recommend you to use the “switch” case statement instead of if else else. It can also convert the if else else statement to a switch statement or a foreach statement to lambda expressions automatically with a click of a button. Eclipse doesn’t display such recommendations.


Netbeans ships with a powerful profiler tool. Jitsi meet app no video. Eclipse lets users install and use profiling plugins. It doesn’t have a profiler built-in. The Netbeans Profiler allows users to monitor the performance of SQL queries, memory usage, threads, etc. Netbeans lets users pause monitoring, take a snapshot of the collected data, reset the collected data, etc.


Netbeans displays the file content when you switch tabs faster than Eclipse. It also runs and makes the project ready faster than Eclipse IDE when you click the IDE’s desktop shortcut icon.

Full-width terminal/output console

Going through the output console on Netbeans and Eclipse is not frustrating. Netbeans displays the output window/terminal at the max-width. When you’re writing code i.e. click the editor with the right button of the mouse, the console displayed below the editor will hide automatically. You can make the output window in Eclipse fit to the width of the screen by minimizing the project explorer and hiding the tools displayed on the right side.

Clean useless files and upgrading/downgrading JVM

Eclipse can convert old workspace files to new ones when you update the IDE. Although this is a great feature, the code autocompletion may not work for XHTML/HTML/JSF files when you upgrade or change the JDK/JVM. You’ll have to manually change a variable in the Eclipse project configuration file. It’s easy to change the JDK version in Eclipse but changing the java-ee version is confusing.

Netbeans Eclipse Theme

Netbeans ships with a special tool called Janitor that frees up the storage memory wasted by old files. NetBeans 11.3.1’s Janitor tool freed 879 MB of storage memory on my laptop. Also, it is easy to upgrade/downgrade java-ee or JDK version in Netbeans.

Netbeans Eclipse Download

Other features of the two IDEs:

  • GIT, SNV, Mercurial support.
  • Powerful refactoring tool.
  • Option to bulk find and replace strings.
  • Hudson, Gradle support.
  • Capable of drawing UML diagrams (with a plugin).
  • Support for C, C++ programing language, and PHP scripting language.
  • Getter/setter/constructor generators, etc.

Which Java IDE is better?

I wrote this article to make you aware of the similarities and differences between Eclipse and Netbeans. It is very difficult for me to choose one IDE from the two as I switch from one IDE to another often. As I build Maven applications and as Eclipse and Netbeans support Maven, switching from Netbeans to Eclipse and vice versa doesn’t affect my projects.