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Whats NetBeans 6.7 got for Groovy and Grails?

Well I have to admit that ive been looking forward to the release of NetBeans 6.7. In the last release of Netbeans (6.5) it really did feel like Groovy and Grails support was a bit of an afterthought and somewhat rushed into the release, so ive had my fingers crossed that the 6.7 release would bring solid support for this new dynamic language and great web framework. My hope was that this would be the first decent free IDE for Grails (IntelliJ Grails support looks solid).

(This is a quick look at NetBeans 6.7 RC1)

First thoughts

  • The first thing that I noticed was how fast this new version of Netbeans (NB) starts up, fantastic! In general this release feels a lot more responsive which is a big plus because sluggish performance has always been a weakness of NB.

  • NB integration with standard Grails scripts has greatly improved, you can now clean, create a war file and open the Grails shell as well as select a Grails command from a comprehensive list. This means that you no longer have to leave NB to perform some commands from the command line (e.g. the clean command wasnt supplied in NB 6.5).

  • Unfortunately there seems to still be no support for auto code completion when editing GSP pages. This is a real problem for me because one of the things I enjoy the most about Grails is its comprehensive tag library which grows as you install plugins. I use "g" tags all time, so it is a hassle for me to have to break out of the IDE to go and look at the documentation to find a specific tags attributes.

  • It still looks like there is no obvious way to debug your application, you can insert breakpoints but I could not find anyway of running the application in debug mode.

  • Groovy refactoring still looks as though its effectively disabled, so large complicated find and replaces will have to do for a little longer I guess.

  • Groovy code completion looks like its improved a lot. My domain objects now show up with code completion tips for dynamic GORM query methods and weakly typed collections also show up with useful code completion tips. I think this Groovy code completion enhancement has been the main focus of this release.

So to be honest im left feeling a little disappointed overall with this releases Groovy and Grails support. It looks like we will have to wait a little longer for our solid free Grails IDE.

Learn more about whats in NetBeans 6.7 here
 

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