Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eclipse to NetBeans: Quick Outline Module

I'm trying to be 100% NetBeans these days, and I'll be documenting tips and tricks as I learn them. Hopefully others going through the same exercise will find these tips and they'll help make the transition smoother.

Why am I making this move, you ask? Well, of course there's the whole fact that I work for Sun, but that's not the primary motivation; if a tool doesn't accomplish what I want, I'm not going to use it. But NetBeans has made amazing strides this past year. It's now not only better-looking and faster than Eclipse, it also includes includes a much, much larger set of functionality in the base download. And that download? 30-60MB smaller than Eclipse 3.2. That's pretty amazing.

Anyway, one feature I sorely missed was the "Quick Outline" in Eclipse, where Command-O (or Ctrl-O) brings up a fast search for members of the current class. It's pretty darn useful, and I really, really missed it.

However, Sandip Chitale to the rescue. He's created a "Java File Structure" module, which exactly duplicates the Quick Outline functionality. Thank goodness!

Read Sandip's post to install the NetBeans Quick Outline module (Java File Structure) and try it for yourself. He's also got a quick Java class hierarchy module that looks great, but it's not something I use very often. Perhaps I will use it more now.

Oh, and you can find information about the modules in Help after they're installed, but to save you some confusion: The shortcut for File Structure is initially Cmd-Shift-S (Ctrl-Shift-S) and for Hierarchy is Cmd-Shift-H (Ctrl-Shift-H).

One more NetBeans annoyance down the drain!


  1. Hi,

    Your interest in netbeans makes perfect sense now that you work for sun, but please don't ignore eclispe/RDT.

    RDT is clearly a strugling project, especially in regards to jruby, but it's the best there is today. However, not having a jruby debugger, for example, is a critical feature missing for those of use trying to build non-trivial apps in jruby. I think they probably could use your help


  2. To be honest, all my time has been spent on JRuby and supporting Ruby apps that we want to run under JRuby. We've provide what support we can for both RDT and NetBeans development, but neither Tom nor I have spent any cycles developing on either.

    I think it's unfortunate that there aren't more organizations interested in devoting resources to RDT. We've mostly stayed out of the IDE politics, but the tool developers at Sun have demonstrated they're quite devoted to making Ruby work well in NetBeans. I hope someone will step up to help push RDT forward as well.

  3. How is this different from the "Navigator" window (can also be accessed using ctrl-7)?

  4. anon: This provides a "quicker" access to the same outline of a file, as well as a narrowing list of results and an on-screen popup. The navigator view can be quickly accessed, but it doesn't narrow as you type and it's more intrusive.

  5. How can I use NB as the IDE for developing JRuby apps?