|By Qusay H. Mahmoud, February 2005|
An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a necessity for enterprise developers who want to have all their productivity tools under one umbrella. An IDE enables the developer to move from one phase of application development to the next without having to worry about manual management of source code or tool interfaces. With so many IDEs available on the market today, it has become a time-consuming task to decide on and choose one. Ideally, you should be looking for an IDE that maximizes your productivity: easy to use, fun to work with, enables you to get the work done, and has out-of-the-box support for open standards and technologies.
The NetBeans IDE 4.1 Early Access 2 (EA2), which was released in January 2005, includes Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and web services development capabilities. This new release allows developers to not only develop applications in the web tier but also includes Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs) and web service development capabilities. NetBeans IDE 4.1 is a single platform with out-of-the-box development capabilities and support for enterprise (J2EE 1.4) applications and web services, mobile/wireless Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) applications and services and desktop Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) applications.
The NetBeans IDE, which is sponsored by Sun Microsystems, is a free and open source IDE that enables you to develop J2EE 1.4 applications and web services, mobile/wireless applications and services, and J2SE desktop applications. Using the NetBeans IDE, developers get their work done in a fun development environment that enables them to concentrate on the business logic of their applications. It provides productivity tools, and supports refactoring and integrated debugging, that simplify the work of Java technology developers.
NetBeans IDE 4.1 (EA2) supports the development of J2EE 1.4 applications and web services, and their deployment on the freely available Sun Java System Application Server 8.1 Platform Edition (Application Server PE 8) and Tomcat. Application Server PE 8 is the first compatible "production grade" application server implementation of the J2EE 1.4 specification, and it is free for development and deployment. This release of NetBeans IDE 4.1 with support for J2EE 1.4 will make a big difference for enterprise applications developers as it provides them with out-of-the-box support for J2EE 1.4, which helps them increase their productivity.
In this release (4.1), J2EE EJBs and web services are first class citizens. The IDE features ease of use, and the overall design of the IDE keeps the tools you need the most immediately at your fingertips. Developers get everything they need to develop J2EE 1.4 enterprise applications and web services with a single download.
The NetBeans IDE 4.1 (EA2) allows developers to:
Note that the NetBeans IDE is not only meant to be used by advanced developers, but also by beginners who wish to learn about J2EE and web services technologies. The NetBeans IDE 4.1 allows you to try out the sample applications to learn and understand the J2EE technology and web services.
The IDE increases the productivity of developers by guiding them through the development process, and automatically building the underlying J2EE infrastructure. The distribution provides several great quick starts and tutorials that enable beginners to get up to speed quickly. In addition, it comes with numerous samples of J2EE applications that can be easily accessed from within the IDE, as well as contributions from the J2EE Java BluePrints catalog.
The NetBeans IDE 4.1 (EA2) features significant new development capabilities for J2EE 1.4, including EJB components and web services. It has over 15 new modules for developing J2EE 1.4 applications and services. The three key features are:
The NetBeans IDE 4.1 is available for the Solaris Operating System, Microsoft Windows, and Linux. It runs on J2SE SDK 1.4.2 as well as J2SE SDK 5.0. I recommend that you download the NetBeans IDE 4.1 EA2 + AS 8.1 Bundle Installer.
If you wish to experiment with some J2EE projects, chose
File -> New Project then expand the
Samples folder. In addition, the IDE includes samples from the Java BluePrints Solution Catalog as shown in Figure 2. You can select one of these samples and install it.
Once you select a sample project, press F6 to run the project. Figure 3 shows a sample run.
You can easily develop new J2EE applications and web services. To learn how to create J2EE applications, EJB modules, web modules, and to call, deploy, and test applications, please see the Quick Start Guide for J2EE Applications, and Exposing and Consuming Web Services, which provide you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started with J2EE and web services development.
The NetBeans IDE 4.1 (EA2) currently supports deployment on the Application Server PE 8 and Tomcat, but netbeans.org needs your support in order to ensure that the majority of J2EE 1.4 compliant application servers can be used as both development and deployment targets from the NetBeans IDE.
If you are interested in supporting this effort, you can download the source code that implements the support for J2EE 1.4 in the NetBeans IDE 1.4 (EA2) from the NetBeans.org J2EE page.
If you are a serious Java developer looking for an IDE with out-of-the-box support for J2EE and web services, that is easy to install, simple to learn and use, fun to work with, and enables you to get the job done, then try the NetBeans IDE 4.1 early access. Download it today and see for yourself. Learning about J2EE and building Java EE applications and web services has never been easier.
Special thanks to Judith Lilienfeld of Sun Microsystems for her contributions to this article.