Eclipse RCP vs NetBeans Platform

I am a big fan of Eclipse RCP. But as a software engineer, it is always a good idea to know more than one platform. Since almost one year I am also interested in what’s going on in the NetBeans world and I have to admit, I find it pretty interesting, especially NetBeans Platform 6. Recently I wrote two articles for the German Eclipse Magazin, comparing Eclipse RCP and NetBeans Platform. Unfortunately these articles are only available in German, but if you can read German, part 1 and part 2 are available as PDF.
Here is my conclusion: In the two articles I tried to give a brief comparison of the NetBeans Platform and the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, using my little show case application (MP3 Manager), to compare a few common use cases. I explicitly did not want to make a list of + and -, how a specific issue could be solved better or worse with each platform. My intention was rather to show that many typical uses cases can be implemented using the one or the other platform. Both platforms offer a huge collection of reusable functionality and can help building mature, high quality Java rich client applications. The platforms have some fundamental differences as well as some very similar approaches. When it comes to a platform decision, I think it is very important to get the requirements for the rich client application first. There might be non-functional requirements like scalability, extensibility, reliability, usability and so on as well as functional requirements. After prioritizing the requirements, make the platform choice. Both platforms Eclipse RCP and NetBeans Platform offer a lot and help to build better Java rich client applications.

BTW, I submitted a LongTalk for EclipseCon about this topic. So far I have seen lots of interest in both the Eclipse community as well as the NetBeans community.

Are there any software engineers out there who have experience with both platforms? If so, I would be very interested in sharing experience.

What do you think when comparing both platforms yourself?
Have fun 🙂


This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Donald Smith

    The link to the PDF’s is broken, and I can’t find them on the redirected landing page.

    Plus, all I’m hearing is how wonderfully close to almost being the same NB is. I want to hear what’s new, novel and interesting. Can you share anything new novel and interesting?

    – Don

  2. Kai Tödter

    Hi Don,

    sorry for the broken links, they should work now. It’s not that NetBeans Platform is “almost being the same”. On the contrary, the implementation is very different compared with Eclipse RCP but some of the concepts with regards to a Java module system, XML layers for UI contributions, Lookups etc. are similar. I was particularly interested in how common use cases like update, help, loose coupling etc. could be realized. I personally find the NetBeans Node system very interesting. For instance, if you want to deal with certain file types, a wizard generates a lot of infrastructure for you that can be very easily adopted to create different views on data models. Another thing I like is the concept of an explorer manager that makes it quite easy to create different kind of views for the same node based model.

  3. Donald Smith

    Thanks for the links, now I have to brush up on my German 🙂

    – Don

  4. Jacek Pospychala

    I’d love to see those MP3M implementations for different platforms, are they available anywhere for download? Afair the Eclipse RCP one was at, but the address doesn’t seem working now.

  5. Kai Tödter

    Hi Jacek,

    unfortunately the server crashes very often, I’ll try to fix that. I will set up a mirror with the latest milestone release.

    – Kai

  6. Andreas Billmann

    Hi Kai,
    is the NetBeans Version also available? I am just starting using NetBeans RCP and searching for some basic applications to learn from. And your application seems to be a good choice.

    – Andi

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