NetBeans Does Android
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Wednesday, 17 October 2012

For lots of reasons which mostly have little to do with technology, Android development is tied to Eclipse. But Eclipse is not the only Java IDE. You can do Android using NetBeans and now there is a layout addon making it even easier to use.

NetBeans is open source but under the control of Oracle and, as Oracle and Google don't get on too well, Eclipse is the preferred IDE for Android development. NetBeans, however, has lots of nice features and many dedicated users. Eclipse supports Android by way of a number of plugins and NetBeans has a plug-in architecture too.

A community driven project - NBAndroid - has been working on making it possible to build Android projects using NetBeans. Until recently, however, you have had to build the UI in text using XML.

Now there is an early version of a layout preview addon. This isn't quite as good as an interactive designer, but at least it lets you see what your UI code creates quicker than having to do a complete run of the application. It is also a step on the road to a full designer.

 

Click for larger image

netbeansandroidviewsmall

 

Now here is an interesting idea. What if Oracle made the project official?

NetBeans would capture a large chunk of the coding market as it is currently a lot better than Eclipse in all sorts of ways. Somehow I don't think it is likely to happen.

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