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NetBeans Celebrates 20 Years of Guidance

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Many members and former members of the NetBeans team gathered in Oracle’s Prague office recently to celebrate twenty years since Sun acquired NetBeans. In that acquisition, the one-year old Czech company was combined with Forte as part of Sun’s Java developer tooling group. This purchase occurred approximately eleven years before Sun was sold to Oracle, who donated NetBeans to the Apache Software Foundation in 2016.

Current and former members of the team returned for the celebration, with about 60 people in attendance. Jiří Kovalský assisted the former managers who returned for the event. "I have not helped with cutting [the cake] but certainly with eating it," explained Kovalský, describing the sweets and delicacies that were available for those in attendance. "It was delicious."

In its twenty-one year lifespan, NetBeans has grown from a student project to create a Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE) into a feature-rich multi-language IDE. The current version of NetBeans offers more than common Java projects, offering an environment for developing and debugging in PHP, HTML, C/C++, Groovy, and other common platforms.

With all code in the open-source Apache project, NetBeans’ twenty-year milestone garners respect from other members of the software community. "It’s great to see NetBeans still prospers after two decades. I wish it to continue flourishing under Apache Software Foundation along with the future development of Java," stated Xaiokai He, product manager of Java on Microsoft’s VS Code platform. Microsoft has carried out many well-received actions in the Java community, including its recent acquisition of jClarity.

Sean Garrity provided a history of NetBeans' growth over the years, indicating its adoption in academic circles. The platform has been beneficial in other areas as well, for example, it is used by Gephi's graph visualization and helps visualize the intermediate representation of code produced by GraalVM.

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