Sciology = Science + Technology

Commonsense in Technology

Eclipse 3.3 and NetBeans 6.0 compared !

Posted by sureshkrishna on October 5, 2007

I am so happy to be working on Eclipse platform from past 5 years. I have been playing with eclipse 3.3 from past few weeks. With too many ads on java sites about the NetBeans 6.0 Beta release, i was intrigued to have a look into it. NetBeans does come in a variety of flavours and selectable modules. I found very similar categories that i see in Eclipse, i really liked the matrix of different downloads it has.
Following are some of the modules from NetBeans and i tried to give equivalent in Eclipse.

Java SE= Base IDE + Java SE [equivalent to JDT ]
C/C++= Base IDE + C/C++ [equivalent to CDT]
Ruby= Base IDE + Ruby [ Dynamic Language Tool Kit]
Mobility= Base IDE + Java SE + Mobility Pack [Embedded and Device Development ]
Web & J2EE= Base IDE + Java SE + Web & J2EE + GlassFish v2 + Tomcat [equivalent to WTP without GlassFish and Tomcat]
All= Web & J2EE + SOA + UML + Ruby + C/C++ [I dont know what to say…]

I anyway installed the “All NetBeans Pack” and some i could go through it with few humps. Any way finally it takes 500 mb of disk space. In the end i worked few hours on Net Beans to find out quick feature set and good things about the modern IDEs. I am definitely looking for features which are coming as best of both the worlds. I did see many applications built on the NetBeans platform too and these products were great. I saw many of the graphical editors on NetBeans.

Anyway following is the criteria where i was looking into both the IDEs…

Installation: Eclipse comes as a simple zip file which need to be unzipped. That’s it you are ready to use the IDE. NetBeans comes as an exe and during the installation time it asks for the JDK location. Some how i did not like this as it could have automatically taken from system settings as eclipse does.

Startup Times: I have tested both on a laptop with Intel Pentium Dual Core 1.6GHz and 1GB Ram. I have only an IE and Windows explorer programs opened. Eclipse WTP All in One SDK 2.0 could start in 20 seconds once i chose the workspace. NetBeans 6. Beta takes around 80-85 seconds to start up once the splash screen comes.

Source Code Editing: This is quite interesting time for me in both the editors. Both has Code Folding, Code Completion, Code Formatting, Instant Syntax Checks, Code Coloring, Syntax Highlighting, etc. In my view both IDEs have great tools for editing. I am writing these experiences from my Java Editor experience.

Even though i felt some of the functions like in NetBeans are little slow. Some times thay take long time before the code suggestions comes as a list. I am not sure if this is because this is a beta version.

Compile and Build : Both have good support for Compile, Build, Clean functions. Both have Save participants and of course who would not like this.

Debugging Support : Both do have the debugging support. But i am not sure how good is the NetBeans Debugging support, if some one wants to write a new debugger with the help of Net Beans.

Some how the debugging is not intuitive in NetBeans, i closed few example project that’s came along and had only my example project (by name When i invoke the debug action on NetBeans, it does take some time before some thing happens. I am also worried that each time i launch the degug, the Feed Runner application comes up. And i am perplexed in the same way as you are right now. In the end i do not have a good experience on Netbeans in debugging a simple HelloWorld program.

Refactoring: Basic refactoring techniques are present in both the IDEs. But Eclipse does have advanced refactoring functions. e.g. when extracting a method, eclipse does show how the method looks like. Some time it also suggests the input parameters for a method.

Version Control: Eclipse and NetBeans comes with a good Team support. Eclipse comes with CVS by default. Subversion plugin can be additionally installed. What i really liked about the NetBeans is that it has both CVS and SubVersion support by default.

Help System: Eclipse and NetBeans does have help system. I am slightly disappointed by the performance of the NetBeans. I have no clue what happens when i click on the “Help Contents” menu item. I dont see the mouse icon and there is a huge hard disk activity. I did feel that transition between the pages also takes some time.

Search System: For sure Eclipse does have a advanced search system. NetBeans have a file level an project level search and replace system. But Eclipse definitely have more than that. Eclipse has File Search, Java Search and Plugin Search. And i personally use these a lot and definately miss them in Net beans.

UI Response: What ever may be the reason, Eclipse is definitely faster and it has better response times than NetBeans. Of course its the matter of how i percieve when i do a particular action in the IDE.

Profiling: Awesome in NetBeans. I like this feature which is a part of NetBeans by default. Eclipse does have some profiling tools, but they need to be downloaded additionally.

Perspective: Last but not the least, this is some thing that i definitely miss in the NetBeans. Perspecives is a great concept interms of developement and also as when an application is developed. We often develop applciations for different users and in my experience, perspectives in eclipse does a lot more than pne can imagine.

In the end in terms of features both have good feature and qualifications as IDEs to improve developers productivity. For some of the obvious reasons, i feel that NetBeans need to catch up with performance and UI feel. NetBeans does not even show a wait state icon when some long running activity is happening. The Feed Burner example takes too much of time to start up and  some how my experience is rugged. 

Kudos to eclipse, for its wonderful nimbleness and flawless releases. There are some other categories that i did not consider as i am not sure if i can really compare this in NetBeans. Like the EMF, GEF, GMF, DTP, ATF, RAP, etc… Last but not the least, Workspace concept is some thing that i really like in eclipse. Not sure if there is an equivalent stuff in Net Beans.


19 Responses to “Eclipse 3.3 and NetBeans 6.0 compared !”

  1. Spiderman said

    Hello, I would like to know if there is a very nice tutorial for JSP/Servlet Web Development using Eclipse/Tomcat… The reason why I want to use NetBeans is primarily because of this But in reality I prefer to use Eclipse because I hear good news about it. Please let me know.. thanks!

  2. Spiderman : You can see “”
    I could not get a similar link in eclipse as you described with NetBeans.
    But i see that its quite intuitive to develop with Eclipse (you need to get WTP plugin to do this)

  3. nacer said

    I am really surprised about your comparison. It is clear that you didn’t look at netbeans carefully. For example, in the refactoring section, netbeans integrate jackpot that brings very much power to refactoring in that IDE. I am not saying that Netbeans is better that eclipse, but it seems to me that your comparison is not objective. I invite you to read the last netbeans magazine that will brings much more information to this comparison.

  4. Hrm... Lol. said

    Very biased review. Eclipse is nice, but it falls short of NetBeans than the opposite. There are things in NetBeans that are mature and find no equivalent in Eclipse. NetBeans has excellent support for J2EE 5, Visual JSF/AJAX web development, awesome SOA/UML tooling, and good integration with Tomcat and GlassFish.

    The Beta installs that I’ve run (Beta 1 and 2) both went on without a hitch. It gets the JDK from the system (default) but gives you an option to change which JDK you would like to you.

    Just having all this functionality from a single source, in one convenient package is a huge boon for NetBeans over Eclipse. Personally, I don’t care that I have to run the installer – I rather prefer it.

    Eclipse has a good editor, but unfortunately it’s way too big and slow to justify downloading it just for “it’s editing functionality”.

    Both great tools, but it seems NetBeans is developing into a sort of Visual Studio for the Java community. Eclipse falls short in more than a few ways.

    P.S. NetBeans starts faster after the first start of it. Maybe you should have run it twice?

  5. Mihir said

    nice article

    well i would like to know if i can use Netbeans and Eclipse on the same project using SVN system.

    since i have some areas where eclipse is great & some where netbeans is good.

    but wen i tried using svn all the
    Netbeans project info is also getting stored in the repository

    maybe i am not aware of the SVN config in both the IDEs.

    any help wouls be great

  6. Someone said

    An unfair review from someone who knows very little about netbeans.

    – In startup time comparison, it seems you have taken the time you run the IDE for the first time. Also you can disable modules you don’t need (Ruby, Mobile, C-C++, …) and your IDE will be very much faster.

    – You have not even looked at 90% of the features comming with netbeans without even bothering to download and install a plugin. Netbeans provides a very good plugin manager in case you want to install something and it will download and install whatever you want.

    – You have not even mentioned Matisse. This is the most important feature of Netbeans.

    – Refactoring features and the totally new editor are not verified obviously.

    By the way I am using Eclipse for very early version and it is my main IDE right now because of the performance issues of Netbeans.

  7. Thanks for your feedback. I have been using NetBeans from time to time from 2002.
    Its definitely have come very far in its features. I am aware of the Refactoring, Modular concept and finally the Matisse.
    I did use Matisse for some time. Matisse builder definitely is very advanced.

  8. Hi Mihir,

    Sorry for late reply. Ideally you can use Eclipse and NetBeans for the same project.
    But you need to use some extra plugins, so that the same project is compatible on both the IDEs.

    I am not sure of the NetBeans but in Eclipse you can filter the data that gets into the SVN / Config System.
    You can actually set them from Window -> Preferences -> Team -> Ignored Resources.


  9. OneElf said

    Dude, if you like Eclipse, please all by means continue to use it. Nobody wants your biased opinions

  10. ozGuy said

    From what i discovered using netbeans 6, it does have good feature, but very poor performance. even after increasing the heap memory in the configs, netbeans performance is very slow. Am running on dual core 2.66GHZ with 2gb of RAM………

  11. Bob said

    I do Swing development. Netbeans has a decent visual form editor, Eclipse does not. Since I’m not about to code my GUI forms by hand, Eclipse is not really an option for me.

  12. Wawa said

    check your eclipse instance in task manager 🙂

  13. Swing screen development is not so easy in eclipse.
    I need to go fishing for the right visual editor plugin and doesn’t suggest anything 😦
    But the performance is good in Eclipse.

    Profiling is good in NetBeans.

    So i happened to use both. 🙂

  14. queperknuckle said

    In netbeans 6.0.1 – the latest release – the performance has increased dramatically. From my experience, it flies and out performs eclipse europa. You should try it again, keeping in mind that nowadays applications are hogs. My computer is using 2 gigs of ram. You just can’t write a review saying performance is slow if you are using less than 1 gig of ram.

    My biggest grip with eclipse are the different views. These are just annoying. A different view for debugging, for looking at databases, for editing javascript, etc. And switching back and forth between views is just a huge hastle. That’s really where netbeans wins hands down and makes it a far more user friendly experience. Netbeans has got it right. Give the new version a shot.

  15. Benny Lava said

    I like both netbeans and eclipse, and don’t have favourite. Eclipse is faster than eclipse, and has more functionalities and it’s really easy to find them which is not the case with net beans. I think people that make eclipse know better which things developers use more often and put them where it is very easy to find them and use them. NetBeans has not solved this problem too hapily…
    Also, I think netbeans is far more reliable than eclipse.
    The reason why I use netbeans on my projects at work is because I have glassfish bundled with IDE, and the MOST IMPORTANT REASON is because eclipse deleted my project files TWO TIMES ALREADY and it crashed several times!!!??? This never happened with netbeans to me…

  16. Alex said

    How do you compare eclipse startup AFTER you select the workspace dir? At that moment, EVERYTHING is loaded.
    In that case, compare NetBeans after you click on “Open project”.

  17. Bill Abbott said

    A number of developers I know use and/or suggest Eclipse, for Java, but I have to say I found Eclipse harder to get started in than NetBeans. Coming from a doing-my-homework-on-the-command_line perspective, I could just start NetBeans and pick up the existing code (very polite, it has no problem reading in existing code). With Eclipse I had to start a new project and then paste in my code. With experience I got more confident with Eclipse and learned how to just mess around with it to get what I wanted. I wouldn’t judge either tool based on my getting started experience- they’re complex and powerful tools, and I’m just learning their forward and reverse motions.
    I am pretty pleased with the built-in profiling in NetBeans. Plug in your code and start profiling. No wasted motion. In Eclipse I fooled around with JMeter and couldn’t get it aimed at a simple Java program, it seems to want a web-based application. JProfiler is much easier to install and get started (I succeeded in doing both) but isn’t free by any measure. Perhaps one gets what one pays for? Anyway, the JProfiler people integrate with either Eclipse or with NetBeans and who know what else. Compare to TPTP, which is available under Linux and Windows but not Mac OS X! I mean, c’mon! What is this, 1995? Again, JProfiler does a very good job here- you pay money, you expect the product to work, so they take the trouble to make it work on Mac, Linux and Windows, as well as others. (HP-UX…)

    That said, the best platform independant profiling I’ve found to date isn’t integrated with the IDE at all, its HProf run on the command line when running the code. ASCII output and connection to the JVM are the keys here. HProf is scriptable, none of the others are….


  18. andrew said


    My 0.02 EUR. I use both Eclipse and NetBeans, mostly due to historic reasons (I hate migrating projects), but also in wait for a clear winner.

    Eclipse is PITA (literally!) with its non-intuitive UI (I still don’t know why I need so many different searches, but still, none of them are available on right-click on a project name; and while the writer is clearly in favor of perspectives, I find them VERY annoying). Eclipse looks as “if it had been not so much designed as congealed”, to quote D. Adams. It is often faster to find the location of a new feature from the Internet than to search for it in UI. And of course, it has no Matisse, which is a very useful tool if you need it.

    From the above you might wonder why I still use Eclipse. Because of speed. NetBeans (6.7?, …, 6.9.1, 7.0 beta) is slooooooooow, especially when (re)indexing your project files. I usually run it at the start, then go check my e-mail, then return to programming. Very annoying, much more than searching for “lost features” in Eclipse. I really hope NetBeans devs optimize it and make it run properly. Someone please take away their fast machines and give them some old ones – they’ll do it in a week tops. 🙂

    I am tempted to try the IntelliJIdea, but their price tag is a bit high. We’ll see.

  19. Whats your Top Ten Everything…

    […]Eclipse 3.3 and NetBeans 6.0 compared ! « Sciology = Science + Technology[…]…

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