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NetBeans 6.9 M1: OSGi Support, JDK 6 Required

02.17.2010
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Only a few months after the release of NetBeans 6.8, 6.9 development is already well underway with the release of its first milestone.  This is the first version of NetBeans that requires Java 6 to run and it marks the beginning of a major effort to support OSGi.  The stable development build for NetBeans 6.9 M1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Linux.

NetBeans 6.9 is moving on, and developers who want to take advantage of all the goodies still to come will have to move on with it - to JDK6.  The installers and launchers on NetBeans 6.9 have been modified to require JDK6, not allowing Java 5 anymore.  As a result of the switch, NetBeans launchers now use the -splash option to give the IDE a faster startup.  NetBeans 6.9 adds additional benefits from the enterprise edition of Java 6.  Along with simpler REST client generation and web service consumption, 6.9 M1 also comes with built in support for CDI (Contexts and Dependency Injection).  In NetBeans 6.8, CDI is only available through a patch.

NetBeans 6.9 M1 CDI Wizard



The new version of NetBeans also wades deeply into the waters of OSGi.  NetBeans 6.9 M1 incorporates a mature OSGi integration for NetBeans called Netigso.  The Netigso module is the bridge between the NetBeans module system and OSGi bundles.  It plugs into the NetBeans Runtime Container and embeds Apache Felix to manage the bundles.  The Felix 2.0.3 container is used by default, but experimental support has also been added for Eclipse's Equinox.  The new OSGi support allows bundles built with Ant or Maven to be imported into the NetBeans platform.  There is also experimental support for converting NetBeans modules into OSGi bundles and running the bundles in an unmodified OSGi container with no special startup procedure.

6.9 M1 now has support for the Spring 3.0 framework, which was recently released in GA.  There's also better applet and JNLP support, debugger attach history, and improved breakpoint management.  Milestone 1 has productivity enhancements such as in-editor annotation processors, the ability to jump from the editor to the browser using "URL jump", and the ability to jump to overridden methods within the editor.  

There are additional language-specific enhancements as well.  C/C++ has better Makefile support (editor, navigator, run targets) and more virtual functions.  The CSS editor now has rename refactoring and Ruby Gems indexing has been improved.  PHP received enhanced code formatting options in 6.9 M1 along with support for the Zend Framework.  Unfortunately, NetBeans 6.9 M1 does not have JavaFX support yet because the developers are using a version of the JavaFX SDK that has not been released yet, but it is definitely coming.  

Check out the recently released second preview of JavaFX Composer.