I've been using eclipse for a few months now and have gotten pretty used to it. I tried Netbeans 5.0 a while back and didn't like it. I think comming from a Websphere Studio background eclipse was just more comfortable. However, since going to the Sun and Netbeans conferences recently I've started playing around with netbeans more and am really liking the new features that 5.5 has to offer. The visual web pack is very cool and I think would be a very good way to convert those poor lost .NET developers into our world!
I'd really love to know what everybody else thinks about the two products, and which ones you prefer and why!
I use both, and tend to bounce back and forth. That introduces a certain "hassle factor", but I just can't decide which one to use full time. I like NB's integration with Tomcat better, and in general I like doing web development in NB. But Eclipse has some pretty compelling plugins.
I think that if we ever get to a universal plugin environment, I might stick with Netbeans, which was my first Java IDE (in the 2.x days).
Philip Shanks, SCJP - Castro Valley, CA
My boss never outsources or has lay-offs, and He's always hiring. I work for Jesus! Prepare your resume!
Picking an IDE is really very subjective, when you come down to it. Subtle aesthetic considerations can matter almost as much as significant capabilities.
I'm going to deliberately omit any discussion of my favorite IDE, which is neither of these two, and just say that I prefer Eclipse over NetBeans mainly because NetBeans feels too "heavyweight" for me. Both of these IDEs force you to learn some of their own concepts to use them effectively: what's a "workspace", "project", library, etc. from their perspective. NetBeans seems worse in this regard to me; to some extent this just means that Eclipse's concepts are closer to my own internal ones.
I'm not sure about NetBeans since I haven't used it in a few years, but one compelling feature of Eclipse is the ability to use it to code in other languages. It works beautifully for Perl. I'm told it will work with Ruby and plan to try that soon and I once did a toy program in C# with Mono just to prove that it would work. This may not be important for you but for some people it's really great to be able to use the same IDE for more than one language.
So far, I've used Eclipse for Java (of course!), C, Perl, PHP, shell scripts and Python, using appropriate plug-ins to make each of the above more pleasant. I probably should try out the .Net stuff, since I just got saddled with a WINCE project, but I don't trust Microsoft to keep .Net clean enough to be fully supportable by anyone except Microsoft.
An IDE is no substitute for an Intelligent Developer.