Eclipse and NetBeans compared

Eclipse 3.5 released few days ago, and NetBeans 6.7 just released. Of course I am using NetBeans 6.7 starting from beta versions and I know how it works, so I wanted to test eclipse. After using it for few hours came this comparison.
Both IDEs have clean install and run.


Two about dialogs to show used versions

Memory usage at the beginning

Memory usage just after startup. It's pretty comparable to say "there is no winner".

Step 1: project creation


New project dialog:

Eclipse gives lots of options on project creation page, and defaults are quite ugly. May be that is the reason why eclipse users are never writing small projects just to test some API?...


New project dialog:

NetBeans gives option to create Main class for project at once, but we will ignore this suggesion for comparison purposes.

Step 2: main class


Eclipse shows another overloaded window. Of course first bug in package input, Ctrl+Space just does not work there. As for me to save user's time it would be better to create just empty class as soon as possible, and editor will give possibilities to modify that options.


Quite better options than Eclipse gives, you see all possible templates for your Java project organised in tree.

But there is next window to complete Main class creation. It's a bit more usable than Eclipse's version because of good focusing system, but still it's step 2.

Step 3: autocomplete

Eclipse 1

Basic autocomplete is just ass-ugly. No text coloration, small and not monospaced fonts just suitable to print errors, but not information for developer.

NetBeans 1

Text coloration helps more than icons, but icons differs each other if compare to Eclipse's round icons with just letter changed. And of course monospaced font.

Eclipse 2

One point to Eclipse - after autocomplete focus is given to set type of list.

NetBeans 2

Not much to look at.

Eclipse 3

Another ugly autocomplete window.

NetBeans 3

Only imported types shown. Once this was IDEA's feature and it makes good job.

Eclipse 4

It's very strange to see icons and other information here, just can't understand who needs it.

NetBeans 4

Quite lot of variants.

Eclipse 5

Cool. 5 items in list and none will work for us.

NetBeans 5

Same problem, just showed everything it knew.

Eclipse 6

Nothing interesting.

NetBeans 6

The same.

Eclipse 7

Were there any worse possibilities?

NetBeans 7

Pretty good, all found List implementations will help us. Just why to show classes from com.sun.* packages?...

Eclipse 8

Still no help from IDE! I can do the same in plain text editor, why do I need IDE like this?

NetBeans 8

Perfect. The most suitable class and full javadoc for it.

Eclipse 9

One more point to Eclipse. It's good to write type and brackets when class is already known.

NetBeans 9

No brackets... I have to press another autocomplete to see available constructors. Even no autopopup of autocomplete here.

Eclipse 10

Another ass-ugly autocomplete. No text coloration, no text alignment, some strange info about class of object, and that stupig "arg0" labels... I don't know, did Eclipse guys ever saw what they developed?

NetBeans 10

Just perfect. Bold marks methods implemented in class and plain - inherited methods, text aligned to let you browse return types with ease.

Eclipse 11


NetBeans 11

Well, it's really the best found option around.

Eclipse 12

Hm... no text autoquoting?...

It even can't put semicolon to the right place!...

NetBeans 12

Oh, here is text autoquoting, autoputting of semicolons... But it's NetBeans who helped me to save my time.

Eclipse 13

Wait... but there is src.zip with my JDK installation, it's full of javadocs! Why can't it just show me javadoc from there? Do I really need to go and download javadoc.zip in 21st century?

NetBeans 13

Here we go, it's not hard, is it?

Memory usage now

Memory usage after comparison above. And you will be next to say me that "native SWT is faster than interpreted Swing"? I'll write separate article about that myth.


"IDE" stands for integrated, but as naturally I expect my IDE to help me in my every day job. Help in this case stands for autoquoting, autosemicolons, simple and fast dialogs, and of course pretty and usable interface, that saves your time searching required items. Currently NetBeans is only IDE that really tries to help me as much as it can, though there are things to work on. And that makes me NetBeans user, not just big user base or Sun trademark.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, it's nice work.
I'd like to add what makes netBeans more useable for me - it's key shortcuts: ctrl+shift+up/down arrow, alt+shift+up/down arrow, ctrl+k, ctrl+1/2 (which is also available in eclipse but you need to push much more keys). I also see docking windows much more flexible in netbeans (autohiding mainly).
The only plus for eclipse is IMHO more plugins available.

Aekold said...

Thanx for your comment.
Of course I forgot to say that I compared only java editors of both IDEs, but it's the part of IDE you're using 98% of time.
And yes, my workmates slobbering when they see me moving some java files to outer windows on second monitor ;)