zerosum dirt(nap)

evolution through a series of accidents

zerosum dirt(nap)

NetBeans: Helpful Plugins

December 13, 2007 by nap · Comments

So, NetBeans 6.0 Final was released a few weeks ago. v6.0 is all about the Ruby love, right out of the box. If you haven’t tried it, I implore you to give it a shot. Even if you’re not a fan of traditional “heavyweight” IDEs, I think you’ll be impressed with what they’ve done. There’s even a slimmed-down Ruby-only version. But sometimes, I must admit, I still miss the power and (relative) simplicity of vim.

I’m in the process of re-reading The Pragmatic Programmer, and was just pawing through the passage on “power editing”, in which Dave and Andy suggest that you “choose [one] editor, know it thoroughly, and use it for all editing tasks”. For me, that editor is most definitely vim. I’ve used it for quite some time, it’s familiar, I don’t even have to think about the keybindings when I’m working in vi, and I’m spoilt by the easy text manipulations that just aren’t possible with some fancy graphical editing tools. I use vim for practically everything text-related.

Everything, that is, except writing Java and Ruby code (and a few random tasks that have to be performed in a word processor, sadly). Yep, you read that right. I use vim for sysadmin tasks, hacking quick scripts, editing config files, and even taking notes, but lately I haven’t been using it where I’d probably see the single largest productivity boost from it.

Since switching to NetBeans, my comfort level with having all the tools I need in one place has increased dramatically, including things such as easy access to a console, in-IDE debugging, test output, solid class introspection, integrated rdocs, and so on. But I also realize that I’ve been doing myself a bit of a disservice when in “heavy edit” mode. Fortunately, that’s easily fixed, as there’s a vi plugin for NetBeans. YES. No idea why I didn’t bother to search for something like this before.

So in any case, if you’re interested, you can retrieve the NetBeans plugin from the jVi homepage. The file named nbvi-FOR-NB-RC1-1.1.2.×6 is the one you want (as of this writing, anyway). Once you’ve downloaded the package, you can install it in NetBeans by going to tools => plugins. Choose the downloads tab, click ‘add plugins’, select the vim core and keybindings plugins, install them, and be happy. Thanks guys, this is so awesome.

Oh and speaking of plugins, here are a few other helpful Ruby-related plugins for NetBeans that you may be interested in. Most of them are available through the plugins browser built into the IDE.

  • Rspec Support (nice!)
  • Ruby dark pastels color scheme (hrmm looks familiar…)
  • HAML and SASS plugin (if that’s the way you roll)
  • Extra Source Code Hints
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