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Netbeans 6.1 Adds JavaScript Support, PHP Support Debuts as Early Access

by Scott Delap on May 06, 2008 |
Late last week Sun released Netbeans 6.1. At Monday's CommunityOne event this announcement was followed by the release of an early access preview of PHP support for Netbeans. From the press release:

...NetBeans IDE Early Access for PHP includes intelligent editing features such as prioritized code completion, instant rename, mark occurrences, dynamic code templates and easy navigation. Outside of the editor it provides debugging support; deployment to the local server; dynamic help and sample projects making it easier to get started with PHP development; support for embedded CSS, HTML and JavaScript(TM) technologies...

In addition to Monday's announcement of PHP support, version 6.1 of the IDE contains a number of new features including:

  • JavaScript Editor Support (Code Completion, Refactoring, etc)
  • Performance Enhancements Including 40% Faster Startup
  • Spring Framework Support
  • Enhanced Ruby Support
  • RESTful Web Service Tools
  • Hibernate Config File Assistance

InfoQ sat down with Sun's David Faulk and Greg Sporar to discuss the new release. They began by covering the releases top feature of JavaScript editing support. Sporar explained that a significant number of developers had asked for JavaScript support to round out the Java and Ruby development experiences. He went on to mention that the new JavaScript editor also includes assistance to inform developers of the compatibility level of the JavaScript they are writing between browsers. InfoQ asked Sporar how the code completion features recognize prototype based class inheritance in JavaScript:

Obviously, if there is documentation present (e.g. scriptdoc/jsdoc @extends) then that is used. This is the case for for example the YUI library (in the source distribution) and for the Webui library. NetBeans also analyzes the code for specific patterns that indicates typical JavaScript subclasses. For example, if in a constructor function you have something like this:

  function Foo() {
Bar.call(this);
}

Then Foo extends Bar. (This pattern is described in the Flanagan JavaScript book). Other specific patterns recognized are the dojo.declare and dojo.extend calls, YUI.extend, Ext.extend, Prototype's Object.extend (old style) and Class.create (new style).

After discussing Netbeans the conversation shifted to PHP. Faulk mentioned that the Netbeans team saw PHP as very complementary to their other recent IDE initiatives in adding JavaScript and enhanced database support (including MySQL). After the early access release he shared that the Netbeans team expects a summer of continued PHP enhancements to the IDE.

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