NetBeans 6.5 RC

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I first blogged about the PHP support in NetBeans at JavaOne this year. At that stage it was only available as an Early Access release and was a little too buggy for serious use so I always found myself having to switch back to Zend Studio. Since then the development builds have been getting better and better and now there is a NetBeans 6.5 Release Candidate available.

The improvement in the last few months has been massive and the PHP support has reached a level of maturity such that I have no problems using it as my main IDE. Last week I made heavy use of it on a project at work based on Zend Framework and not once was I forced to switch back to Zend Studio. Code completion and source navigation works great, debugging is integrated nicely with Xdebug (which is much easier to get working than the Zend debugger), plus you get all the other NetBeans goodness like great subversion support and local file history, source highlighting for loads of languages, a nice CSS editor and refactoring support. If I did much JavaScript programming I’m sure I’d be impressed with the JavaScript support, too. It also means I only need one IDE for all my PHP, Java and Grails projects and can take advantage of all the NetBeans plugins available.

According the to the roadmap, NetBeans 6.5 is due for release on November 18 but if you’re still using Zend Studio or even emacs or vi I strongly recommend downloading it and giving it a go.

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