Posted by gsporar
on March 18, 2007 at 6:08 PM PDT
The Favorites window is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NetBeans IDE. It does not get the respect it deserves.
The late Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian whose trademark line was: "I don't
get no respect."
In the NetBeans IDE there is a window available called Favorites. Unlike
its siblings the Projects, Files, and Runtime windows it does not
get opened by default the first time you start the IDE. I suspect that is
why so many users have never discovered it. The end result is that the
Favorites window does not get the respect it deserves.
Frankly, I can't live without it. This is from the online IDE's help file:
The Favorites window enables you to access any file on your computer
or network without having to create a project for the file. You can
open the Favorites window by choosing Window > Favorites (Ctrl-3).
When you first open the Favorites window, it only contains your
computer's home directory. You can add any folder to the Favorites
window by right-clicking in the window and choosing Add to Favorites.
If the folder is registered as a VCS working directory in the
Versioning Manager, VCS commands are also available for the folder.
A few weeks ago I was at a work shop where I watched several demos of
the new Enterprise Pack tools that are coming
in version 5.5.1 of the
IDE. The folks doing the demos were, with perhaps only a few exceptions,
experienced NetBeans users. Yet repeatedly I saw them follow the same
pattern: if a step of their demo required them to modify a file (sample
data for example) that was outside their project they would switch
from the IDE to the operating system's file explorer utility.
I restrained myself (yes I know, that's unusual) from shouting out:
"Use the Favorites window!" :-)
when I was at St. Paul College I was supposed to do a demo
of the Favorites window. That demo had been specifically requested by our
host, Warren Sheaffer .
He sees a need for the Favorites window when teaching
because for some assignments he has the student start with an existing source
file that is available outside of the project on which the student is working.
But time got away from us and it slipped my mind.
So I offer this small blog entry as a substitute.
One additional note: the Favorites window will be more powerful in
the upcoming NetBeans 6.0 release (Milestones
are available now - select
Q-Build from the download page ).
In 6.0 the Favorites window will work
better with other applications - you will be able to drag files or folders between
the Favorites window and other applications.
As much as I like the Favorites window, its new capabilities are not
the main focus of NetBeans 6.0. To see the key new features in NetBeans
6.0, be sure to attend NetBeans Day
in San Francisco on May 7. It is
a free event but you do have to register .
The first 400 people in the
door will get a free copy of the upcoming book:
Rich Client Programming .