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JDJ Archives: Eclipse vs NetBeans - "Point/Counterpoint" Special

Point/Counterpoint over Java's Desktop UI technology

Rebuttal: Henry Roswell

One of the urban myths on JavaLobby is that the name Eclipse itself was designed to be a joke about blocking out the Sun and designed to antagonize the creators of Java. This isn't true, and what occurred was when the first prototypes were shown to a group of IBM executives they were so impressed by its functionality the comment was made "This is amazing - it eclipses everything we've ever done before".

The reference in other words was to previous IBM tooling efforts, so if anything the name is a snub on IBM previous track recording in tooling. Eclipse is a true open-source project that was seeded by IBM and its business partners to be the foundation for their tools stack, but since has grown into a much larger and more independent movement. The list of current participants is a who's who of the IT business including Intel, Red Hat, Oracle, Borland and many others.

Despite its comparisons to NetBeans, Eclipse itself was not intended to be an IDE per se, and was designed to be useful for "anything and nothing in particular". It's flattering that it gets frequently included towards the top of "Best IDE" polls, but out of the box it is missing lots of features required for Java development - such as those for J2EE artifacts. However, the community that has grown up around Eclipse has recognized this and there is signifigant momentum behind efforts to shape it more towards these product stacks. A lot of Eclipse's strength comes not from IBM but from other participants and grassroots developers who contribute feedback, build plugins, and use the tool in new and exciting ways.

Eclipse also gets employed by people doing more specialist vertical industry development such as SAP, and one of the most exciting projects going on right now is the rich client development platform that will allow more people to take advantage of the workbench and its plugin architecture for their own end-user applications.

It's great that Joe Ottinger both likes and dislikes Eclipse and NetBeans. I won't enter into a debate about NetBeans for the "counterproductive" reasons listed in Joe's opening paragraph. Good technology stands up on its own strengths without needing to knock the competition down, and I have no doubt that there are many excellent features of NetBeans that its users find productive and powerful.

Joe does make an interesting point about operating systems portability, when he recalls the story of opening Eclipse on another OS (presumably other than Windows) and describing it as amazingly ugly. Without knowing more about the particular OS and problem I can't comment on why this occurred.

The feedback he received about why he was using that OS or why didn't he port SWT were probably from a general public forum. The views of individuals on newsgroups, whether they're pugnacious or not, don't often represent the people they believe they are backing, any more than football hooligans don't speak for their team's players. It's not a goal of Eclipse that you should choose your OS based on a specific program, and if the particular platform Joe used was one supported by Eclipse then he should raise issues in Eclipse's bug tracking system and engage the developers rather than the newsgroup pundits.

At the end of the day, "you download your tool and you takes your choice." Having Eclipse, NetBeans, as well as the other great IDE tools out there (JBuilder, Weblogic Workbench, WebSphere Studio) is good for the Java community. It creates healthy competition as they all leapfrog each other's functionality with successive releases - and the real winners are users of Java who focus on their end user's problems rather than engage cycles arguing whether their IDE is superior based on its GUI toolkit or otherwise.

More Stories By Henry Roswell

Henry Roswell is a veteran consultant who would like to think he's seen it all, but is constantly amazed by new events every day.

More Stories By Joseph Ottinger

I am a software evangelist for GigaSpaces technologies, as well as a writer and musician. I've been the editor-in-chief of Java Developer's Journal and TheServerSide.

GigaSpaces Technologies is a leading provider of a new generation of application platforms for Java and .Net environments that offer an alternative to traditional application-servers. The company's eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) is a high-end application server, designed to meet the most demanding business requirements in a cost-effective manner. It is the only product that provides a complete middleware solution on a single, scalable platform. XAP is trusted by Fortune 100 companies, which leverage it as a strategic solution that enhances efficiency and agility across the IT organization.

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Most Recent Comments
Darren Pye 12/12/03 10:28:02 AM EST

Patrick, you say you want your apps too look right on each OS that they run. That is what Swing does! The difference between Swing and SWT is that Swing emulates the LAF by drawing it all from scratch, where SWT uses the native components to do it. But the final result is almost the same from a user stand point.

Swing is built on a plugable LAF framework. Swing can be made to look like any OS''s LAF by including the LAF for that OS. Swing has a generic, "Swing LAF" that is the default which is probably what you are getting confused by. However, it only takes 2 lines of code to make it look like Windows XP or Solaris, or you can download some of the cool third party LAF''s to give your applications a funky flashy UI, again without changing your code. That is not something that is possible with SWT. If you wanted you can even configure NetBeans to look like Windows XP when running Linux...not that many would.

Those who think Swing is slow are really just seeing bad examples of Swing usage. To put it simply, Swing is only responsible for rendering components. Unless you are running a Pentium 1, your computer can draw the GUI components faster then you are capable of seeing it, and in cases where slow draws occur, it is an in memory operation and then bit dumped to the screen.

The reason that some Swing applications look slow, is because the model level code of the application using Swing, can''t feed the components the data fast enough. SWT applications can suffer from the same problem, and do when not written properly. However, it is a little easier to hide the bad programming when using SWT because the native components operate in a different thread by default.

invantix 12/12/03 10:00:27 AM EST

I really don''t care about swing vs swt or what it looks like on linux or whats the future or past. I have been using JBuilder for 5 years and Eclipse for about 5 months. I find I am couurntly more productive in the elipse environment. note: I am using the myEclipse IDE and working with Tomcat. I also have installed some plugins.

I tried Net-Beans and perhaps did not give it a fair chance... I think because I got up and running in eclipse so fast I never went back.

JonCol 12/12/03 09:51:03 AM EST

Both are tools (IDEs).
Both are frameworks.
Neither are where I want them to be, but they both have active development communities, and there''s books on them both.

For an IDE it''s a wash; on the java side they are good, but when you factor in JSP, HTML, XML and other editors/perspecitives, Eclipse has more options.

Neither are JBuilder, IDEA, UltraDev or XMLSpy, but they''re good enough for daily use, and the $$$ tools are used when it counts to do it fast and "correct" the first time, provided you know how to use the tool.

The gotcha is on the framework side; using Eclipse as a application framework is great if I want embed ActiveX or I really want to make it behave like a MFC look & feel. Just don''t have it embed Swing functionality.

Netbeans as a framework is tougher since it''s all Swing based, so I can''t embed native apps easily- (I haven''t tried the ax bridge yet)

Given Java Web Start, I can use either framework and deploy something nice to my end users. (SWT is a bit more complicated, but ok) Once we get the Swing/SWT interop going we can then discuss the merits of either application framework, and believe me, this has got to be a contender to the .Net Windows Forms over SOAP. Portability across platforms should be the obvious answer not to use .Net, but in close second better be the application framework.

Java shines in the J2EE/JSP/Struts side, but for rich thin and integrated apps on the desktop neither the netbeans nor eclipse framework is the obvious choice.

Joseph Ottinger 12/12/03 09:47:11 AM EST

Scott, that''s a BRILLIANT point, and one I''ve made myself in other arenas. However, in this instance, I still disagree with you. Look at it this way: I choose my environment - Java - because it frees me from the constraints of which OS I have to run, and means I can move elements written in Java from OS to OS without effort. For example, since Sun''s admin tools are written in Java, there''s no GOOD reason why I can''t use a Windows-based bitty box to *truly* administer my E450. That''s good... except when the tools have completely different usages because the OS you''re on has changed.

scott 12/12/03 09:42:34 AM EST

re: "Um... right. I should choose my OS based on a specific program I want to run..."

That''s the ONLY reason to pick an OS. If you pick an OS based on what you *think* or *feel* you should run as opposed to what runs the software you *need* to run, well, you''ll be the fool. We''re talking about software development tools here. Therefore the goal of THIS machine is to create software <<''cause nothing else really matters! :-) >>. Find the tool(s) that rock and run the OS where they work well. Even it if is...um...Winblow$. Or in the case of Eclipse & SlickEdit...Linux!

Michael Franz 12/12/03 09:40:19 AM EST

I have been using Eclipse since 1.x. I love it! I used to have to use VAJ and have tried JBuilder, Eclipse beats them both. What I like most about Eclipse is that it looks like the OS that I am using. I use it both on Mac OS X and Windows. They both look like a native application and responde better than a Swing app. I haven''t used it on Linux, so if it looks bad on Linux it is the way Linux apps look. Which I think is the problem, and not a specific Eclipse issue.

Edoardo 12/12/03 09:40:08 AM EST

Since I use eclipse I have finally found ONE place to develop my server side apps, as well as some tiny desktop apps. I don''t know if it''s really useful developing gui applications but I am sure it is when you can lauch your favourite application server and debug servlets / JSP. Maybe you are right, maybe eclipse lacks something if runs under your OS (in any case, you didn''t mentioned it, is it Windows?) but eclipse is young and is growing rapidly and be sure that it is well supported and, in case you want to choose it and use it you might suffer in silence but not because it''s free but because is Open!

Patrick Schriner 12/12/03 09:39:00 AM EST

(Ok, i might have exaggerated a little bit ;-) )

The whole point of using SWT is, that it does NOT look the same, feel the same, etc. on different platforms. The idea is, that a MacOS Developer will want its IDE to feel like a MacOS X App, a Linux Developer will want Linux L&F, and of course on Windows you want Windows L&F.

That is the main reason for which I think SWT is superior for End-User apps than SWING (aside from speed).

If you want you´re application to have the same L&F on all platforms, use SWING.

ben 12/12/03 09:38:55 AM EST

I''ve used both Netbeans and Eclipse and like Eclipse much better, the UI feels more natural, and I think it generally is much more useable. None of the arguments about what is right or pure or good for java have any bearing on the comparision of Netbeans vs Eclipse as programs from a user perspective.

I think most users run one OS primarily, and it is more important to them that each program on that OS look and feel the same, and don''t care what that program looks like on another OS (presumably it should look like the other programs on that OS).
If someone routinely runs the same program on multiple OS''s, I can see why they would want the program to L&F the same regardless of OS, but I think that is a fairly uncommon user.
Since the consistent OS L&F is mutually exclusive to the consistent program L&F, I think IBM made the right choice.

Dustin 12/12/03 09:21:50 AM EST

Umm Rich,

"AND FINALLY, Eclipse is free!"

RTFA man.

Scott 12/12/03 09:18:20 AM EST

I use Eclipse because it is the best thing I can find for the price (free). I would likely use IDEA if I could afford it. The one major complaint I have about Eclipse is SWT. SWT is not the future, Swing is not the past. Swing is a much better UI framework, it is FAST if you don''t believe that you must be confused, thinking that because NetBeans is so slow it is Swing''s fault. Wrong. Swing is very flexible - you can use it inefficiently, that makes your program slow, but not because SWING is slow.

SWT was a completely wasted effort. Before they could get it ported to many platforms Swing performance improved tremendously. SWT is now just a bunch of legacy code that is a burden to porting Eclipse.

Don''t compare Eclipse to Netbeans - that is a big problem as the conclusions drawn are often silly e.g. SWT vs. Swing, when it is not the UI toolkit that is making the difference. Compare Eclipse to IDEA (IntelliJ) notice how IDEA has a fast Swing UI. See how SWT was a waste of time that could have been better spent improving Swing even more.

rittmey 12/12/03 09:13:52 AM EST

Are you kidding, Rich? In Java it is quite common that any programm looks ands feels the same regardless of the underlying OS. And that is exactly wherre Eclipse sucks. With GTK it is quite good on Linux, but it''s not the same as on Windows or the Mac. SWT was the biggest mistake IBM made. Really good-looking and highly reactive user interfaces are possible with Swing. The Author mentioned intellij. Yes, they have a good UI and it''s fast. And it''s the same on linux as on windows. I very much hope IBM and all the other Eclipse-developers will return to Swing. After that, Eclipse would be my IDE of choice.

Rich 12/12/03 08:58:07 AM EST

A product that behaves differently on say LINUX vs. Windows, what a surprise. The User Interface and Windowing environments are different. LINUX has not been tweaking the User Interface and making refinements for 15 years. When they have, I bet they will have a kick ass user interface. It really isn''t fair to compare windows with other user interfaces, unless the companies who made them have spent considerable effort in time and money and research to make them work for people. I would say a majority of the effort in LINUX (IMHO) is centered around server support - not a windowing environment (although I understand that is changing). Bottom line, Eclipse is only as good as the windowing environment under it. And for Windows, it is a good thing, and in LINUX it is a different thing. I didn''t feel it was bad, just different - and sometimes counter intuitive. But with SWT, that is an OS level issue, not an eclipse issue. AND FINALLY, Eclipse is free! Find something else that is better if you don''t like eclipse for LINUX or some other os.

Joseph Ottinger 12/12/03 08:58:06 AM EST

From netbeans.org: http://www.netbeans.org/products/platform/index.html

I''ll quote: "
The NetBeans Platform

The NetBeans platform is an application runtime - a "generic large desktop application." Most desktop applications have common requirements - menus, document management, settings and so forth. Nobody enjoys writing menu code or setting storage code. With the NetBeans Platform, you don''t have to. Just write modules to implement what you need, bundle them up with the NetBeans Platform, and you have a beautiful, branded, cross-platform application. And if you need custom functionality or components, the Platform is built to be flexible."

Try again, sir.

Patrick Schriner 12/12/03 08:52:41 AM EST

A lot of people seem to miss the fact that Eclipse isn´t meant to be a JAVA IDE alone. Even without the Rich Client Platform (3.0), it is a FRAMEWORK.

You can plugin allmost everything, and use what is there (and other plugins). WSAD demonstrates that to the extreme, but other utilities as well. Think about Rational XDE for Eclipe, Together for Eclipse, ReMail (Which at least looks like it´s going to be built on Eclipse), CDT, COBOL, All the News, etc.

JBuilder is just a Java IDE.
NetBeans is just a Java IDE.
Intellij is just a Java IDE.
Eclipse is more.

And IMHO you can feel the difference.

Rod Macpherson 12/12/03 08:40:30 AM EST

The Eclipse CVS interface is second to none. It slaughters all of the available stand-alone CVS clients out there and it has a killer repository comparison tool: shows files that have changed with respect to the server and vice versa. Open multiple versions and side-by-side compare with one click.

I know Eclipse. Eclipse is a friend of mine. NetBeans, you, sir, are no Eclipse.

David Whiteman 12/12/03 08:33:18 AM EST


>One of the things I love about VAST is the library manager - the versioning and the past history. I could wish for this in a Java tool. I can maintain/support the deployed version of my app while working on a new version without mixing the new code into the production version.

You can do this with CVS that is included with Eclipse. CVS allows you to version and to create new streams to work off of. I admit I still like the ENVY paradigm, but once you''ve used CVS awhile, I think you''ll find that it supports your workflow.

However, there is new technology on the horizon that will allow you to use Eclipse even more like your VA/ST environment. It''s a new version control repository concept called Stellation and it takes the ENVY concept and makes it even better. Read about it here:


> I also love that I can see the code of just one method instead of the entire class. Is there a Java IDE that provides that functionality?

Eclipse can do this. Select the "Java Browsing" perspective instead of the "Java" perspective. It will give you a Smalltalk-like browser for viewing your code. Instantiations also provides some more tools in their add-on product that will make you feel even more like you''re in Smalltalk.

Dana Kaufman 12/12/03 08:28:09 AM EST

I posted an article last week about my experiences with Eclipse: http://www.patternscentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=...

Even though Eclipse would not be my first choice, it is important to note that first IntelliJ and then Eclipse has caused a fundamental shift in the Java tools market. IntelliJ showed developers that a well architected, lower cost and lest bloated IDE could make them more productive. And Eclipse, that an OpenSource IDE and thriving plug-in community can support commercial developers. Gone are the days of spending thousands and thousands of dollars per copy of a development tool. This is definately lowering the cost of entry for developers into the Java space. We shall see how this plays out in the long run.

Jean Talbott 12/12/03 08:11:21 AM EST

I''m a neophyte when it comes to Java. I was and am still a VisualAge for Smalltalk (VAST) developer (until we can transition my app to Java or a vendor tool). I love the VAST IDE, but hated the VA Java IDE. I am using NetBeans to learn Java and like it. One of the things I love about VAST is the library manager - the versioning and the past history. I could wish for this in a Java tool. I can maintain/support the deployed version of my app while working on a new version without mixing the new code into the production version. I also love that I can see the code of just one method instead of the entire class. Is there a Java IDE that provides that functionality? I would love to know which one.

Ahmad Khalafallah 12/12/03 08:00:11 AM EST

I''m using both NetBeans for more than one year and Eclipse for nearly the same period. I''m using them not because they are free. I prefered them on many branded IDE''s except WSAD.
If netbeans get faster eclipse will have no place to be. But eclipse is faster and more organised than netbeans but it seems netbeans is built for java while eclipse isn''t. So I''m relaying on SWING rather SWT and make my work as pure SUN Java as possible.
I think netbeans overall is good and eclipse will be.

Dan Barthel 12/12/03 07:44:17 AM EST

If you liked Visual Age, you''ll like Eclipse. I hated Visual Age, and I hate Eclipse. I just don''t buy into the philosophy. I don''t like Netbeans either. I prefer JBuilder to just about anything else out there. I hope Borland can hang in there.

Dan Barthel 12/12/03 07:42:13 AM EST

If you liked Visual Age, you''ll like Eclipse. I hated it, and I hate Eclipse as well. I just don''t buy into the thinking reflected with both products. I''m not a Netbeans fan either. I still prefer JBuilder to anything else out there. I hope Borland can hang in there.

Joseph Ottinger 12/12/03 06:50:57 AM EST

Henry, I feel your pain, but you''re still wrong.

Explicit resource release is fine... except when it''s mandatory. Java doesn''t rely on it. Oh wait, SWT does. (At least, so it''s been explained to me. Am I incorrect?)

AWT doesn''t enforce this non-java paradigm, nor does it require extra things installed to run. (And yes, if SWT got rid of the resource allocation and was distributed as part of java - and looked halfway decent on my OS - many of my reservations would disappear.)

As for the rank and file... hey, I understand. Really. Painfully so. The problem there STILL isn''t Swing, though. The problem is edumication, and someone''s dropped the ball when it comes to Swing, whether it be O''Reilly or Sun itself. (I vote the latter.) By advocating SWT, you''re throwing the baby out because you don''t know how to use the bathwater.

Henry Roswell 12/12/03 06:45:59 AM EST

Joe, my understanding is that explicit resource deallocation is to stop the indereministic nature of finalization being responsible for controlling how long your application hangs onto platform resources. GC is great for Java heap memory management, but if that Java object is hanging onto an external resource what''s so bad about telling it when to let itself go. Surely this is no worse than having to close a FileStream ? As for non-Java paradigms, I guess that means AWT is non-Java because it uses native widgets ? What about all of the advances recently in Java graphics that program directly to the video card - surely you can''t get more native than that. Java gaming GUIs don''t use Swing. Leaving aside the fact that IDEA is a great program (sorry for leaving off my original list of IDEs) this was written by very skilled programmers and its users are Java programmers so it''s OK for you (and others) to use it as a Swing standard bearer, but what about end-user apps. What about people using Swing to build help desks or banking or insurance client applications. How do their users feel about Swing ? Would they prefer SWT ? That''s the most important question, for we (the Java community) should be driven by their needs and not by academic feather rustling between divided camps of engineers about which is "pure" or "impure"

Joseph Ottinger 12/12/03 06:33:00 AM EST

I''m really getting scared about some of the comments here.


Hopefully, you''ll pardon my skepticism, but... let''s think about some of the things being said here. David Smith had the right idea: no IDE is perfect, not the "one" I use (I''ve been known to use four IDEs on a single project, just because), not the one YOU use.

Someone suggested that porting SWT to Swing was possible, and "the point" was countered. I''m supposing that the pro-Swing point was the one you were countering, but even there... think about it. One of my primary gripes with SWT is the fact that it uses non-Java paradigms, such as disposing every resource you allocate. That makes sense, honestly... nothing wrong with it - if you''re using C. It''s a C/C++ mindset. It''s the same "Gee, Java is slow, but let''s use it" crap that has burdened Java from day one, and a major vendor fell for it, and instead of trying to improve Swing, they replaced it with something they, as C++ programmers, were more comfortable with. In Java, you EXTREMELY RARELY *have* to deallocate your resources. You can explicitly mark them for being free, but that doesn''t free them the way SWT does.

I don''t mind products that I''ll never use being on SWT, but I can tell you that your SWT-based products will never run on my platforms. That''s wise, in the not-so-wise meaning. Swing is capable and fast, and I can prove it through the existence of complex GUIs like IDEA and a few others. What you''re saying is, "in the absence of our knowledge of how to get Swing to perform, we''ve chosen to limit our market." Why not use C++ and get it over with?

I don''t think Java ever relied on Swing to "have a chance." Why would Swing be relevant on the server side? For that matter, why is it really relevant on the client side? SNA is SNA, regardless of rendering.

Simon 12/12/03 05:13:38 AM EST

Eclipse to be rewritten as Swing? You are joking aren''t you? Swing still sucks. I have been involved with an SWT project, and i tell you, as for speed, it blows Swing out of the water. It also gives you a native looking application. I don''t care what the java purists say, but a Swing looks like a clunky, god awful piece of code. It does nothing to warm you to Java. Thank god IBM agreed that Swing was crap, and developed SWT. Now Java has a chance.

Thomas Hallgren 12/12/03 04:24:59 AM EST

On the subject Swing/SWT. Swing has all the advantages from a technology standpoint. Unfortunately it has got quite a lot of bad reputation over the years (some of it very well deserved). Today it''s mature and performs very well. It needs great applications and IDE''s to prove its worthiness. As a such, and in my humble opinion, Netbeans really suck.

The greatest thing that could happen for the free IDE market (and for Java as a graphical platform) would in my opinion be if Eclipse was rewritten to use Swing. Don''t think that''ll ever happen though.

Henry Roswell 12/12/03 04:19:48 AM EST

My understanding with Swing/SWT is that IBM made a point in time decision to use SWT over Swing, but that it was based on JRE 1.2.2 which had issues with performance and platform fit and finish. Ironically a number of Eclipse UI controls (the StyledText used by its Java editor) or the flashy blue gradient folder labels are in fact emulated widgets and all done using low level paint requests - similar to Swing. SWT however perfectly happily mixes and matches its native conrols with the emulated ones. Perhaps if this were solved with JFC and Swing and AWT could interoperate better then we''d get the benefits of JTable and JList (which are great lightweight widgets with good performance over and above SWT) coupled with just having the basics like buttons looking like buttons, and multi line text fields having the correct platform font and behaving like other native apps. I remember at JavaOne a presentation by someone about better AWT/Swing interoperability and also there were a number of stories floating around about SWT/Swing interopability being worked on. Both SWT and Swing are good toolkits and if they could interoperate so a SWT container could host Swing and vice-versa I think a natural balance point would be found. Whether Sun and IBM/Eclipse undertake this work remains to be seen, but if they could put their egos aside and put their best engineers on the issue it''d probably be solved in a couple of days and the world of Java would be a better place.

Patrick Schriner 12/12/03 04:12:41 AM EST

I love Eclipse. For it´s plugins, for it´s concept. (I hate VS)

And I use it on Windows. As does my universities software engineering department, because there are only Windows machines (Luckily, they are W2k and not WXP).

There were statements by the Eclipse team, that a good SWT Windows support is crucial for the success of Eclipse. And to be honnest, I agree. Of course that´s not best for Java, but you have live with the fact (at least for the next few years), that Windows IS the most important Enduser Application OS (And I consider an IDE an Enduser Application).

That said, there I still a lot of effort going on to bring SWT to other platforms. But if a particular Build breaks performance on Linux/GTK, that IS not as important as breaking performance on Windows. They try hard to get other SWT Implementations to the same level as the Windows SWT.

I think the Eclipse IDE is great for Productivity and it´s without questions the best free (!!!) Java IDE (As for non-free, Intellij might be an option).

Jeff 12/12/03 04:05:09 AM EST

I use Eclipse exclusively! Why? Because it''s FAST. I also choose SWT over Swing. Let''s face it, however you try, you will NEVER outperform native/local interfaces. NEVER! Why do you think the .Nut stuff performs better than Java on Winbloze servers? That''s because MicroCopy bundled/embedded/FUSED their .Nut components and shared libaries with the OS itself! To me, SWT is the next best alternative to going native. The first time I tried NetBeans, it was slow and very clunky. I simply can not stand SWING applications. They are SO SLOW!

Maciek Wegorkiewicz 12/12/03 03:55:48 AM EST

I use NetBeans for all my development. I am in a point where I just do not search for any other IDE because this one fits all my needs. I have seen WSAD in action (which is something based on Eclipse I suppose).
Eclipse is not solution for as it has not any Swing support (or has in an early stage). I believe SWT is not serious solution for any portable UI development. Let my say why:
It is just because you cannot do any really custom component in that way. You depend on the OS. In my app (ePortfel - personal finance manager) I have a few custom components - like TreeBox, calendar chooser or currency text field. If I tried to do it on SWT I would be forced to code in C++ and OS GUI API. If I tried on special canvas (I believe JFace concept is) I got something like Swing inside SWT. So why bother? It makes no sense.
Fortunately I didn''t waste my time on trying SWT after I realized it is impossible to highlight (colour) single rows in SWT''s table component. I do this on Swing (very simply) and need it.

Vlad VARNICA 12/12/03 03:53:37 AM EST


Netbean is an IDE, Eclipse is a framework.
Swing is the past , SWT the future of Java.
We are software vendor and develop EclipseUML using exclusively SWT and GEF (graphical editor framework).
Have a look and you will understand why our tool is a lot faster and nicer looking than other java modeling tool.
Thanks to Eclipse/IBM team for their great SWT, GEF, EMF, Webtools, UML2 etc....open source projects. We are using SWT and will never switch to Swing/Netbean technologies.

Omondo Corp,

Tom 12/12/03 02:28:27 AM EST

Well AFAIK SWT can also be ported to swing and then the point is countered.

Chris L 12/11/03 11:32:32 PM EST

Netbean, Eclips, huh? Check out Intellij, it will blow everything away. I have used all three. Netbean sucks.
Eclipes is much better but too heavy and clumsy to configure and to use. Intellij is one - you have to try it.

Vinay Soni 12/11/03 08:51:09 PM EST

I will tell you what is worst of Java:

It is called Java Server Faces (JSF)

Eclipse is a beauty that shines in comparison to anything that SUN has produced except for the Language itself.

Thanks You

Emmanuel Proulx 12/11/03 08:18:32 PM EST

Eclipse does Java. NetBeans does Java. I''ve been working in a shop where people used, at the same time: Eclipse, NetBeans, IDEA, and JBuilder. None of them suck; they all worked. And at the same time, together. Use whatever you prefer. That''s the beauty of Java''s portability & standardness. Personally, I have 4 IDEs on my work computer; which one do I use? Whichever works best for the task at hand. For example, I use NetBeans for Swing. I use Eclipse for J2EE (Lomboz). I use TextPad for short test application. I use Workshop for WebLogic development. Guess what? If I change my mind and want to add an EJB to my Swing app, I can just DO it. I can even keep both IDEs pointing to the same project at the same time. I just quit one and open the other. Why complain?

Sharon Dagan 12/11/03 08:11:18 PM EST

I''ve been using Eclipse on Linux (RH9) for sometime now and it looks good as any other gtk2 application. The X version of Eclipse does indeed look bad, but then again, any pure X application does ;-) As for a Visual Editor - Eclipse just released one (VE v0.5) for building Swing-based UIs. Also, there are some really nice and free Struts plug-ins out there and an excellent one (though not free) in IBM''s WSAD v5.1.1.

At an abstract level, SWT isn''t that different from AWT. And besides, who cares about the GUI toolkit that is used to build the IDE? Swing advocates are so touchy

* I work for IBM

Scott 12/11/03 07:57:35 PM EST

Eclipse rocks on windows. It is by far the best IDE I''ve ever used. I used to pay lots of many for various IDEs, now I use eclipse for free and it blows all of the other IDEs away. I find it hard to believe anyone can find a reason to complain about eclipse.

If Sun wants people to use Net Beans instead of eclipse they are going to have to make their editor be as good as eclipse. People are not going to switch just because its ''good for java'', or because they might develop on another platform some day. People might deploy their code to many different OS''s, but most people choose 1 platform to develop on, and choose a tool that works well on their platform. If Sun''s selling point is that you can develop on multiple platforms, I think they picked a small market to focus on and that''s why they are unsucessful.

Victor Rodriguez 12/11/03 07:33:55 PM EST

I recently started using Eclipse seriously, and so far I can say that I like it (even though finding a JSP editor proved surprinsingly difficult). However, I don''t think SWT was a good idea. I think it uselessly goes against Java. It sacrifices portability for what? Faster performance? I won''t believe it, since in my machine IDEA runs faster than Eclipse. (And why would I want to use ActiveX controls on a Java IDE?) I hope at some point Eclipse can put aside SWT and use Swing. Too bad Mr. Rosswell didn''t touch in the subject, I would have been interested on what he things about it.

In my experience NetBeans is a good IDE, and I had an easier time setting it up and learning to use it than I had with Eclipse. As a matter of fact, I started using it after seeing how spectacularly ugly Eclipse was on my Linux machine (it''s been a while).

And since we are talking of IDEs, I have to say that having also used JBuilder and IDEA, IDEA beats hands-down NetBeans and Eclipse, and (hands-up?) JBuilder.

David L. Smith 12/11/03 06:56:20 PM EST

I like Eclipse. I''ve tried NetBeans, and I find it to also be a fair IDE. As a developer with deadlines, I have found Eclipse to be faster, more stable, and closer to what I need out of an IDE.

As a developer, my ultimate goal does NOT include being an evangelist for Sun, IBM, Microsoft, .Net, or Java. My personal goal is make the best living possible as a developer. That is, I am a technology whore who will take advantage of any technology helps me produce the best result for my client.

With that out of the way, my opinion is that no IDE is perfect. I''ve used SlickEdit, MultiEdit, NetBeans, JBuilder, Eclipse, VI, and many, many others. They all have something I like and something missing. So, I adapt to the one closest what I need. For now, it''s Eclipse.

I started using Eclipse in v2.1.0. Over the last several months, it has be faithful, fast, and I find it easy to use. I like how it organizes code. I also like the performance over NetBeans, if though its NOT pure Java.

Mr. Nichols: thanks for the info; I''ll check out the JBuilder support for Struts. It may be strong enough to cause me to switch over since I have a heavy Struts project coming up.

Paul Nichols 12/11/03 03:20:47 AM EST

Personally, I do not like the Eclipse IDE at all. I tried running it on Linux and it is not very pretty and it is a nightmare to install all of the Open Tools that pretty much come standard with NET Beans.

Personally, I much prefer either Oracle JDeveloper or Borland''s JBuilder. JBuilder is my favorite, and JDeveloper my second favorite. Eclipse would have to rank last overall, albeit there does exists some great Open tools for it.

I could use Net Beans almost exclusively except for the very poor Struts support available for it, and the fact that you cannot change certain code sections that the Eclipse wizards write for you (what a PITA)!

If there are some attributes or methods that are defined, called, or set in the non editable IDE code, you are pretty much glued, screwed, and tatooed. Either that or go into a Text Editor (like VI,EMACS) and change it manually. Why in thw world would they make it like this (Yes, I know about the XML files it uses)?

I would have to give Net Beans the overall nod over Eclipse on Linux Workstations. Lack of Struts tools and the uneditable code Net Beans creates however, keeps me using JBuilder.

Darren Pye 12/10/03 01:51:57 PM EST

Thanks for the heads up Henry.

I haven''t talked to my friend since September and didn''t realize this was out. I will be giving this a try, even if it is a 0.5 release. I am glad to see they included Swing.

Henry Roswell 12/10/03 01:44:34 PM EST

Darren - There is a Swing form painter. Check out http://www.eclipse.org/vep

Darren Pye 12/10/03 12:11:45 PM EST

Well, I also love Eclipse, and dislike (not hate) NetBeans to a degree. Our solution, use both. They both have good CVS integration so its not a problem. We develop our Swing forms in NetBeans because its painter is fairly nice (and Eclipese doesn''t even have a painter) and the code it generates is very isolated and clean. We do all other development in Eclipse because its code editor is superior (at least on XP) and its refactoring is a god send. We have both installed on our boxes and point them both at the same local directory. If we are doing form development we even have both running at the same time.

So, get the best of both worlds...use both :) I have a friend inside IBM who works on Elclipse and he tells me they will be adding form painting capabilities...weather they will support Swing is another question, but my fingers are crossed.

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