Using NetBeans IDE 3.6

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Using NetBeans
IDE 3.6
Your Guide to Getting Work Done in NetBeans IDE
Welcome to the Using NetBeans
IDE 3.6 guide. This guide is designed to
give you a more detailed introduction to the IDE than available in the
Getting Started tutorial. Various aspects of the IDE are explored in detail.
This guide is geared mostly for newcomers to NetBeans IDE, whether they
are new to Java, new to using IDEs, or experienced IDE users that are
switching over from a different IDE.
This guide covers the following:

Setting Up Your Project

Basic IDE Concepts

The Filesystems Window

Projects in the IDE

Accessing Source Directories

Filesystems and the Java Classpath

Correctly Mounting Java Packages

Mounting Resource Libraries

Advanced Project Setup

Creating and Editing Java Source Code

Creating Java Files

GUI Templates and Java Templates

Editing Java Files in the Source Editor

Using Abbreviations, Word Matching, and Code

Configuring Code Completion

Adding Fields, Bean Properties, and Event

Working With Import Statements

Search and Selection Tools

Formatting Java Source Code

Navigating Between Documents

Configuring the Editor
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Compiling Java Programs

Compiling Files

Working with Compiler Types

Specifying the Compiler Type for Files and Projects

Creating Custom Compiler Types

Setting the Target Directory for .class Files

Cross-Compiling Between Java Platforms

Using JavaMake to Manage Class Dependencies

Debugging Java Programs

Basic Debugging

Starting a Debugging Session

Debugger Windows

Stepping Through Your Code

Working With Breakpoints

Setting a Breakpoint

Setting Conditions for Breakpoint

Customizing the Output for a Breakpoint

Breakpoint Types

Setting Watches

Packaging and Deploying Your Applications

Creating a JAR File

Creating a JAR Recipe

Compiling and Creating the JAR File

Mounting and Checking the JAR File

Modifying a JAR File

Adding Files to a JAR Recipe

Modifying the Manifest File

Setting the JAR Content Filter

Executing a JAR File

Using Javadoc

Integrating Java API Documentation into the IDE

Making Javadoc Documentation Available in the

Searching and Displaying Javadoc Documentation

Configuring the External Browser to Display
Javadoc Files

Adding Javadoc Comments to Your Code

Generating Javadoc Documentation
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Specifying an Output Directory for Javadoc Files

Team Development With CVS

Checking Out Sources

Mounting a CVS Filesystem

Specifying Advanced Command Options

Configuring a CVS Filesystem

Setting the Relative Mount Point

Shortening and Hiding File Status

Working With CVS Files

Using the Graphical Diff Tool

Creating and Applying Patches

Resolving Merge Conflicts Graphically

Making Safe Commits

Configuring the IDE

Setting IDE Default Settings

Configuring IDE Startup Switches

Configuring General Java Settings

Working with Unknown File Types

Enabling and Disabling IDE Functionality

Disabling Modules

Installing New Modules from the Update Center

Boosting NetBeans Performance

Tuning JVM Switches for Performance
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Setting Up Your Project
Using NetBeans IDE 3.6
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This section covers the basics of
correctly setting up your IDE to
start developing your projects.
The process of managing project
contents and properties is centered around the Filesystems window. The
most common tasks in setting up a project are adding source files to the
project, making resource libraries available to the project, correctly setting
up the Java classpath, and configuring output directories for compiled
classes and Javadoc documentation.
This section covers:

Basic IDE Concepts - The Filesystems window and working with

Accessing Source Directories - Adding source files and directories
to a project, understanding filesystems, configuring the Java
classpath, correctly mounting Java packages, and making class
libraries (JAR files) available to the project.

Advanced Project Setup - An example of a more advanced IDE
project with two separate output directories for compiled classes and
one for Javadoc documentation.
Basic IDE Concepts
Before you start setting up your project, let's take a minute to get
acquainted with some of the basic concepts involved with using the IDE.
The Filesystems Window
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The starting
point for
in the IDE is
window. The
window is
where you
your project
access and
on individual
files, and
view the
structure of
your source
files. The
contains all
of the
and archive
files that
you have
added to
your project.
When you first run the IDE, the Filesystems window contains the NetBeans
sample directory with some sample code. Each source file has its own
Filesystems window node. These nodes have:

Contextual Menu Commands - You can run commands on files by
right-clicking them and choosing from the contextual menu. The
commands that are available vary depending on the type of node you
are working with.

Properties - Choose Window > Properties (Ctrl-1) to open a context-
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sensitive Properties window. The Properties window always shows the
properties of the component in the NetBeans user interface that has
the focus. If you want to open a persistent Properties window that
only shows the properties of one Filesystems window node, right-click
the node and choose Properties.
If a property contains an ellipsis button (...), you can click the button
to access a special property editors that you can use to define
properties visually.

Subnodes - You can expand most nodes in the Filesystems window
to view subnodes representing the internl structure of the node's file.
These subnodes often have their own properties and contextual menu
The Filesystems window does not show a node for every file in a mounted
directory. For example, for the compiled ColorPicker form object, the source
directory contains the source file, the ColorPicker.
form file used to build its GUI in the IDE, and the ColorPicker.class
compiled class. The IDE hides .form and .class files by default, so only
one node is shown for ColorPicker. You can also choose to hide files by type
and extension.
Projects in the IDE
A project is the basic unit of work in the IDE. It includes all the files with
which you are working and the IDE settings that you apply to those files.
The NetBeans IDE has a very straightforward projects system. You always
have one project open at a time. Everything that is in the Filesystems
window is part of the currently open project. You add directories and files to
the project by mounting them as filesystems in the Filesystems window.
Note: You do not have to create a new project for each application you are
working on. You can add the source files for multiple applications to the
Filesystems window and work on them at once. Each project, however, has
only one classpath and set of IDE settings.
Most IDE settings are applied at one of two levels: for the whole project or
for individual files. Project-wide settings are managed in the Options
window. You can open the Options window by choosing Tools > Options in
the Main window. You configure settings on a file using the Properties
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When you open the IDE, the default project opens with some sample source
mounted in the Filesystems window. If you do not need the examples, you
can remove the sample filesystem by right-clicking the filesystem node and
choosing Unmount Filesystem. You can also create an empty project by
choosing Project > Project Manager and clicking the New button.
Accessing Source Directories
As mentioned before, you access source directories and files in the IDE by
mounting them in the Filesystems window. To mount a local directory as a
filesystem, go to the Filesystems window, right-click the root Filesystems
node (
) and choose Mount > Local Directory.
Each project also contains some hidden filesystems that are added by the
IDE. These filesystems contain the JDK sources which you can view in
debugging sessions, common Java libraries, and Javadoc documentation
libraries. You can view all of the filesystems in your project by right-clicking
the root Filesystems node and choosing Customize.
Note: If the sources you are working with are under version control, you
can mount them as a VCS filesystem. VCS filesystems let you see files'
versioning status and run VCS commands right in the Filesystems window.
For more information, see Team Development With CVS.
Filesystems and the Java Classpath
Mounting filesystems not only defines the contents of a project, it also
defines the Java classpath for the project. Unlike in command-line
development, the IDE ignores the CLASSPATH variable on your system and
builds a unique internal classpath for each of
your projects. This classpath is
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made up of all the mounted
filesystems, including
hidden filesystems and
filesystems that are
mounted by default by the
Note: You can view all of a
project's filesystems,
including hidden
filesystems, by right-
clicking the root Filesystems
node and choosing
In general, whenever you
want to add something to the classpath, you should mount it in the
Filesystems window. This includes Java libraries (JAR files) that your code
depends on (see Mounting Resource Libraries). You can also customize
the classpath for various operations, like running, compiling, and
debugging, using the filesystem's property sheet. Go to the filesystem's
property sheet and set the Capabilities properties accordingly. For example,
you should exclude filesystems that only contain Javadoc documentation
from the classpath for running, compiling, and executing.
In addition to building the classpath, mounting files in the Filesystems
window also makes them available for other IDE tools such as code
Correctly Mounting Java Packages
Directories that contain Java source code must be mounted at the package
root, which is the directory that contains the default package. The sources
in the directories must be in packages corresponding to their position
relative to the mount point. If a filesystem of Java sources is mounted at
the wrong point, your source code will contain error markers in the Source
Editor and will not compile.
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If you have multiple source trees with the
package root of each tree grouped
together under one directory, you have to
mount each package root separately. For
example, in the directory structure
pictured on the right, src is the package
root for the class
and lib is the package root for the class In this example,
you cannot simply mount MyProject - you
have to mount src and lib separately.
You can add more than one directory at a time by holding down the Control
key and selecting multiple directories in the Mount wizard.
Mounting Resource Libraries
If your code depends on any resource libraries, you have to mount the
libraries in order to add them to the project's Java classpath. Resource
libraries can be contained in regular directories or, more commonly, in JAR
files. You can mount a JAR file as a filesystem in the IDE by right-clicking
the root filesystem node and choosing Mount > Archive File. Mounting a
resource library also makes all of its contents available for code completion.
If you do not need to browse through the files in your resource library, you
can hide the filesystem by setting its Hidden property to True.
Note: You can display a hidden filesystem by right-clicking the root
Filesystems node and choosing Customize. In the customizer, select the
hidden filesystem and set its Hidden property to False.
Advanced Project Setup
Now let's look at a more complicated project structure and how to mount it
correctly in the IDE. We will be discussing a few concepts we haven't gone
over yet, but you can use the links in the text to jump ahead to any
sections that you are not clear about.
Here is the structure of our project:
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src // contains sources for myApp
lib // contains binary libraries (JAR files) used by myApp
src // sources for a library used by myApp and other
lib // contains binary libraries (JAR files) used by myLib
myApp // output dir for compiled classes for myApp
myLib // output dir for compiled classes for myLib
lib // contains binary libraries (JAR files) used by both
myApp and myLib
doc // contains generated Javadoc for the project
First, mount the myApp/src and myLib/src directories as separate
filesystems. These are our main development directories - except for the
doc directory, they will be the only filesystems that are visible in our
Filesystems window when we are done setting up our project.
Next, mount the output directories for our classes, build/myApp and build/
myLib, as separate filesystems. There is no reason to keep the output
directories visible in the Filesystems window, since you can execute files
from their source nodes in the development directories. Hide the filesystems
by setting their Hidden property to True.
Now let's set up the compiler types that will place the compiled classes for
myApp and myLib in the correct build directories. First, go to the Options
Window and make a copy of External Compilation called myApp
Compilation. To set this compiler type to store compiled classes in the
build/myApp directory, set the compiler type's Target property to build/
myApp. Then create another copy of External Compilation called myLib
Compilation and set its Target property to build/myLib.
Now we are ready to assign our custom compiler types to the sources in our
source tree. This is a bit tricky, since you cannot just select a filesystem or
group of files in the Filesystems window and set the Compiler property for
all of them. Instead, we will search for all Java objects in each filesystem
and assign the compiler type from the Search Results window.
First, choose Window > Properties (Ctrl-1) to open the Properties window.
Then right-click the myApp/src filesystem and choose Find. Click the Type
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tab and select Java Source Objects, then click Search. The Search Results
window returns all the Java source files in myApp/src. Select all of the
sources, then in the Properties window set the Compiler property to myApp
Compilation. Follow the same process to assign myLib Compilation to all the
Java sources in myLib/scr.
Next we can set up our Javadoc output directory. Mount the doc directory
as a filesystem. In the filesystem's property sheet, set the Use in Execution,
Use in Compiler, and Use in Debugger properties to False and set the Use as
Documentation property to True. Then go to the Options window and set
the IDE to use it as the default Javadoc output directory for the
project. The directory will then house all of the Javadoc documentation you
generate for the source you are developing. This documentation will also be
available for Javadoc index searches in the IDE.
Finally, mount your resource libraries in the Filesystems window. In our
example, the libraries are stored in JAR files throughout our source tree, so
you have to mount them with the Mount > Archive File command. If you do
not need to browse through the code in these libraries, hide the filesystems
so that they do not clutter up your Filesystems window.
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Page 11 of 58
Creating and Editing Java Source Code
Using NetBeans IDE 3.6
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Creating and editing Java source code is the most
important function that the IDE serves. After all, that's
probably what you spend most of your day doing. NetBeans
IDE provides a wide range of tools that can compliment any
developer's personal style, whether you prefer to code everything by hand or want the IDE to
generate large chunks of code for you.
This section covers the following topics:

Creating Java files - Using the New wizard and the IDE's templates to create new files, GUI
form templates versus Java source templates.

Editing Java files in the Source Editor - Using code completion and abbreviations,
generating bean properties and event listeners, working with import statements, search and
selection tools, and formatting Java code.

Navigating between documents - switching between open files, cloning the view of a file,
and splitting the Source Editor.

Configuring the Source Editor - customizing the Source Editor to fit your development style.
Creating Java Files
NetBeans IDE contains templates and wizards that you can use to create all kinds of source files,
from Java source files to XML documents and resource bundles.
The easiest way to create a file is to right-click the directory
node in the Filesystem window where you want to create
the file and choose from the New submenu in the node's
contextual menu. The New submenu contains shortcuts to
commonly-used templates and an All Templates command
that you can use to choose from all NetBeans templates.
To demonstrate some of the IDE's source creation and
editing features, let's recreate the ColorPreview class that
comes with the colorpicker example in the IDE's sample
code. Right-click any directory in your mounted filesystems and choose New > Java Class. Name the
file ColorPreview and click Finish. The file opens in the Source Editor.
GUI Templates and Java Templates
If you want to visually edit a Java GUI form using the Form Editor, you have to create the form's
source file using the IDE's Java GUI Forms templates. This template group contains templates for
AWT and SWING forms. For example, you cannot create a normal Java class file and then change it
to extend JPanel and edit it in the Form Editor. The form must be created from the JPanel template.
Editing Java Files in the Source Editor
The Source Editor is your main tool for editing source code. It provides a wide range of features that
make writing code simpler and quicker, like code completion, highlighting of compilation errors,
syntax highlighting of code elements, and advanced formatting and search features.
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Although we talk about the Source Editor as one component, it is really a collection of editors. Each
type of source file has its own editor that provides different functionality. In this section we'll be
dealing with the Java editor, but many of the same concepts apply to other editors.
To open a Java source file in the Source Editor, double-click the file's node in the Filesystems
Note: Double-clicking a Java form node (
) in the Filesystems opens two tabs in the Source Editor:
a source tab containing the Java source code for the form, and a Form Editor tab showing the design-
time view of the form. To edit the source code for a Java form without opening the Form Editor, right-
click its node and choose Edit.
Using Abbreviations, Word Matching, and Code Completion
The Source Editor provides many features that spare you from having to enter long Java class names
and expressions by hand. The most commonly used of these features are abbreviations, code
completion, and word matching.
Code completion in the Java Source
Editor lets you type a few
characters and then choose from a
list of possible classes, methods,
variables, and so on to
automatically complete the
expression. The Source Editor also
includes a Javadoc preview window
that displays the Javadoc
documentation for the current
selection in the code completion
box, if any exists. The Javadoc is
drawn from the compiled source
files mounted in the IDE.
Abbreviations are short groups of
characters that expand into a full
word or phrase when you press the
space bar. For example, if you enter
psfs and press the space bar, it expands into public static final String. For a full list of the
IDE's default abbreviations, click here.
You can also add your own custom abbreviations for each type of editor. In the Options window,
select Editing > Editor Settings > Java Editor and open the property editor for the Abbreviations
property. You can use the Abbreviations property editor to add, remove, and edit the abbreviations
for Java files.
Word matching is a feature that lets you type a few characters of a word that appears elsewhere in
your code and then have the Source Editor generate the rest of the word. Type a few characters and
press Ctrl-L to generate the next matching word or Ctrl-K to generate the previous matching word.
As a quick exercise, let's make ColorPreview extend JPanel. Put the insertion point after
ColorPicker in the class declaration, then type ex and press the space bar to expand the
abbreviation into extends. Then type the first few letters of javax. The code completion box should
pop up after a few seconds. If it does not, you can always manually open it by pressing Ctrl-Space.
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Use the code completion box to enter javax.swing.JPanel.
Configuring Code Completion
The IDE maintains a code completion database which it uses to provide suggestions for code
completion and other features. The code completion database contains classes from the J2SK version
1.4, other commonly used APIs like the Servlet and XML APIs, and the sources in all of the
filesystems you have mounted in your project. Whenever you mount a filesystem, the IDE
automatically adds all of the filesystem's public and protected classes to the project's code
completion database. You can also right-click the filesystem and choose Tools > Update Code
Completions to configure which of the filesystem's classes are available for code completion.
In the Options window, you can disable and enable code completion and set the length of the pause
before the code completion box appears in the Source Editor. Select Editing > Editor Settings > Java
Editor and set the Auto Popup Completion Window property and the Delay of Completion Window
Auto Popup property accordingly.
You can also turn off the Javadoc preview box for code completion. Select Java Editor and uncheck
the Auto Popup Javadoc Window property.
Adding Fields, Bean Properties, and Event Listeners
Even if you prefer to write your code the old-fashioned way, the NetBeans Java editor has some cool
code generation features that you may find handy, especially when dealing with bean properties and
event listeners.
Let's start by adding some of the fields for our colors in ColorPreview. Go to the first line after the
class declaration and type in the following code:
private int red;
Now let's turn this ordinary field into a bean property by making some getter and setter methods for
it. Right-click anywhere in the field declaration and choose Tools > Generate R/W Property for Field.
The following code is generated in the file:
public int getRed() {
return red;
public void setRed(int red) { = red;
The methods now show up under the Methods node. The Bean Patterns node now also contains a
bean property node for red.
Now let's add both the field and the get and set methods at the same time. In the Filesystems
window, right-click the Bean Patterns node for ColorPreview and choose Add > Property. In the
dialog, enter green for the name and int for the type, then check Generate Field, Generate Get
Method, and Generate Set Method and click OK. The following code is added to the file:
private int green;
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public int getGreen() {
public void setGreen(int green) { = green;
So far, so good. But to fully generate a working bean that can get and set the value of each of the
color bean properties and notify the caller of its changes, we have to add event listeners to each of
the set methods. There are two ways to do this. You could right-click the Bean Patterns node and
choose Add > Multicast Event Source to add the java.beans.propertyChangeListener methods,
then enter the rest of the source by hand.
An easier way is to generate all of the necessary code when you create the bean properties. First,
let's get rid of all of the methods and fields we have created so far. You can do so by deleting the
nodes from the Filesystems window or just by deleting the code in the Source Editor.
Next, right-click the Bean Patterns node and choose Add > Property. Enter red for the name, int for
the type, and select the Bound checkbox. Now you can set the dialog to generate not just the field
and methods for the property, but also the property change support code. Click OK to generate the
following code in the Source Editor:
private int red;
private java.beans.PropertyChangeSupport propertyChangeSupport = new java.beans.
public void addPropertyChangeListener(java.beans.PropertyChangeListener l) {
public void removePropertyChangeListener(java.beans.PropertyChangeListener l) {
public int getRed() {
public void setRed(int red) {
int oldRed =; = red;
propertyChangeSupport.firePropertyChange("red", new Integer(oldRed), new
Then all you have to do is repeat the process for the green and blue properties and change the
ColorPreview constructor to the following:
public ColorPreview() {
propertyChangeSupport = new java.beans.PropertyChangeSupport(this);
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And that's it! You've got a nice working bean ready to be used by the ColorPicker program.
Working With Import Statements
Whenever the IDE generates Java source code, it uses the fully qualified names for all the elements it
creates. There are two tools that you can use to add import statements to your code and change
between simple names and fully qualified names: the Fast Import command and the Import
Management Tool.
To use the Fast Import command, place the insertion point on any class name and press Alt-Shift-I.
In the following dialog box, specify whether to import the class or the entire package.
Unfortunately, the Fast Import command does not change all fully qualified names for the class to
simple names. A more complete tool for handling import statements is the Import Management Tool
(IMT). By default, the IMT changes all occurrences of fully qualified names into simple names and
creates a single-name import statement for each.
Right-click anywhere in the ColorPicker file in the Source Editor and choose Tools > Import
Management Tool. The first page of the IMT shows any unresolved identifiers in your file. These can
occur when you incorrectly enter the class name or when you are referencing code that you do not
have mounted in your project yet. You can enter a new package name to import for the classes, or
import the classes as they are written.
At this point, you can click Finish immediately to run the IMT with its default settings. You can also
click Next to further customize the tool's actions. For example, if you are importing several classes
from a single package, you may want to import the entire package. You can do so on the Removed
Unused Imports page of the wizard. Change the Action column for the package from Use Single-
Name Import to Use Package Import.
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Search and Selection Tools
When you are dealing with a large group of files, the ability to quickly find, navigate to, and select
certain strings or files is critical to your productivity. The following list gives you a quick overview of
the search and selection tools that are available in the Source Editor:
of Command
Ctrl-F Search for text in the currently selected file. The Source Editor jumps to the
first occurrence of the string and highlights all matching strings. You can use
F3 to jump to the next occurrence and Shift-F3 to jump to the previous.
Ctrl-H Replace text in the currently selected file.
F3 Find the next occurrence of the word you searched for.
Shift-F3 Find the previous occurrence of the word you searched for.
Ctrl-F3 Search for the next occurrence of the word that the insertion point is on.
Alt-Shift-H Turn off search result highlighting.
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Alt-Shift-O Open the Fast Open dialog box, which lets you quickly open a file. Start typing
a class name in the dialog box. As you type, all files that match the typed
prefix are shown. The list of files is generated from the the project's mounted
Alt-O Go to source. This shortcut opens the file where the item at the insertion point
is defined.
Alt-G Go to declaration. Similar to the previous shortcut, this opens the file where
the variable at the insertion point is declared.
Ctrl-G Go to line. Enter any line number for the current file and press Enter to jump
to that line.
Ctrl-F2 Add a bookmark (
) to the line of code that the insertion point is currently
on. If the line already contains a bookmark, this command removes the
F2 Go to the next bookmark.
Alt-L Go to the next location in the jump list for the currently selected file. The
jump list is a history of all locations where you made modifications in the
Alt-K Go to the previous location in the jump list for the currently selected file.
Alt-Shift-L Go to the next jump list location in all files (not the currently selected file).
Alt-Shift-K Go to the previous jump list location in all files.
Formatting Java Source Code
The IDE automatically formats your code as you write it. You can automatically reformat specific lines
of code or entire files. The following table lists some common formatting commands.
of Command
Ctrl-Shift-F Reformat the entire file or whatever text is selected in the Source Editor.
Ctrl-T Shift the current line or selection one tab to the right.
Ctrl-D Shift the current line or selection one tab to the left.
Ctrl-E Remove the current line.
Ctrl-Shift-T Comment out the current line or all selected lines with line comments ("//").
Ctrl-Shift-D Remove comments. This command only works for lines that begin with line
comments ("//").
Navigating Between Documents
The Source Editor makes it easy to manage large number of open documents at one time. The
Source Editor displays a row of tabs for open documents. The tabs appear in the order in which you
opened the documents. You can grab any tab and drag it along the row of tabs to move its position.
Use the left and right buttons in the top-right corner to scroll through the row of tabs.
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To switch between open files, do any of the following:

Use the drop down list at the top-right of Source Editor. The drop down list displays all of your
open files in alphabetical order.

Press Alt-Left and Alt-Right to move one editor tab to the left or right.

Press Ctrl-` to open the IDE window manager, which contains icons for each open document in
the Source Editor as well as all open windows like the Filesystems window.
You can also:

Maximize the Source Editor. Double-click any document tab or press Shift-Escape to hide all
other IDE windows. If you have split the Source Editor, only the partition you maximize is

Clone a document. Right-click the document in the Source Editor and choose Clone

Split the Source Editor. Grabbing any document tab and drag it to the left or bottom margin
of the Source Editor. A red box shows you where the new Source Editor partition will reside
once you drop the document. Any Source Editor partition can also be split any number of times.

Move documents between Source Editor partitions. Grab the document tab and drag it to
the row of tabs in the destination partition.
Configuring the Editor
To configure Source Editor settings, open the Options window and expand Editing > Editor Settings.
The Editor Settings node has subnodes for the editors used for each different file type. In this
section, we will be looking at configuring the Java editor, but many of the settings are the same for
all editors.
Here is a quick overview of some of the more common customizations to the Source Editor:

View or change abbreviations. Open the property editor for the Abbreviations property and
make any changes to the list.

View or change all keyboard shortcuts for the IDE. Open the property editor for the Key
Bindings property.

View or change all recorded macros. Open the property editor for the Key Bindings

Turn off code completion. Set the Auto Popup Completion Window property to False.

Set the font size and color for code. Use the Font Size property to quickly change the font
size for all Java code in the Source Editor. Open the property editor for Fonts and Colors to
change the font and color of each type of Java code, like method names or strings.

Change the indentation used in your code. You can switch between indentation engines by
choosing a new engine from the Indentation Engine property. You can also configure each
indentation engine by opening the property editor for the property.

Set how many spaces are inserted for each tab in your code. Set the Tab Size property

Turn off Javadoc for code completion. Go to the Expert tab and set the Auto Popup
Javadoc Window to False.
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Page 19 of 58
Compiling Java Programs
Using NetBeans IDE 3.6
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Basic compilation is simple. You select the file or folder you want
to compile and choose the appropriate Build or Compile
command. The IDE then compiles the files using the compilation
type you have specified for them. The NetBeans IDE also gives
you tools to deal with more complex project compilation, such as JavaMake
for dependency
management and advanced compilation options for cross-compiling for different SDK versions.
In this section you will learn about the following:

Compiling files - the behavior of the Compile and Build commands and viewing output from the

Working with compiler types - which one to use, creating custom compiler types, setting the
output target directory.

Cross-compiling between Java platforms - specifying the compiler executable or libraries used
in compilation.

Using JavaMake to Manage Class Dependencies - managing complex dependencies between
Java classes.
Compiling Files
To compile a file or directory, select it in the Filesystems window and choose one of the following from the
main window:

Build > Compile (F9) to compile only those files that are new or have changed since the last
compile. The up-to-date check is done by comparing timestamps between the source (.java) and
products (.class) of the compile. This command does not compile the files in subfolders.

Build > Compile All (Shift+F9) to compile only those files that are new or have changed since the
last compile, including the files in subfolders.

Build > Build (F11) to build all the selected files from source regardless of their up-to-date status.
This command deletes the sourcename.class files in the folder and compiles the source files. This
command does not remove .class files or compile source files in subfolders.

Build > Build All (Shift+F11) to build all files from source within the selected folder and its
subfolders .
Any compilation errors and output are displayed in the Output Window. In the Output Window you can:

Click any error to jump to the location in the source file where the error occurred.

Copy the output to the clipboard by right-clicking in the window and choosing Copy.

Redirect the output to a file by right-clicking in the window and choosing Start Redirection of This
View to File. The output is written to the output directory in your IDE's user directory. You can also
choose a specific directory to redirect the output to under Output Window settings in the Options
Working with Compiler Types
Now that we've seen how compilation is initiated, let's look at how the NetBeans IDE defines the rules for
how compilation is carried out. Compiler types are the IDE's main tool for specifying compilation options.
To view and configure compiler types, go to the Options window and expand Building > Compiler Types.
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Internal Compilation compiles files within the same virtual machine as the IDE using the javac compiler of
the IDE's default SDK. External Compilation spawns a new VM for compilation. While Internal Compilation
is faster, External Compilation offers you greater configuration options.
All other compiler types shipped with the IDE are basically copies of External Compilation that have been
configured for different compiler executables. Additional IDE modules may insert their own compiler types,
such as the RMI Stub Compiler from the RMI module.
Specifying the Compiler Type for Files and Projects
You can specify which compiler type is used for compilation
at two levels:

The project-wide default compiler type. Open the
Options window, select Editing > Java Sources, and
set the Default Compiler property.

The compiler type for an individual file. Right-click the
file in the Filesystems window, choose Properties, and
set the Compiler property.
Creating Custom Compiler Types
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Each compiler type contains properties that affect how the compiler generates code, such as whether to
generate debugging information and which libraries to use. You can configure compiler types in the Options
window under Building > Compiler Types.
Remember that when you change a compiler type's property, that property is changed for all files that use
that compiler type. If you need to set different options for only some files in your project, you should make
a copy of the compiler type with the desired configuration changes, then set the appropriate files to use
this new compiler type.
You can create a new compiler type with default settings by right-clicking the Compiler Types node in the
Options window and choosing from the New menu. To copy an existing compiler type with all of its
settings, right-click the compiler type and choose Copy. Then right-click the Compiler Types node and
choose Paste > Copy.
Note: You can also change compiler options from any Java source file node's property sheet. Just right-
click any Java source file node in the Filesystems window, choose Properties, and click the ellipsis (...) in
the Compiler property. Remember, though, that the properties you change in the Compiler dialog box are
applied to all files that use this compiler type.
Setting the Target Directory for .class Files
By default, the IDE generates your compiled .class files to the same
directory as the Java source files you are compiling. If you want to keep
your .class files in a separate directory, first mount the target directory in
the IDE. Because the compiler generates classes into subfolders of the
class package, you only need to direct the output to the root of the
For example, in the figure on the right is in the package com.
mycompany. If you redirect the compiler output to the build directory, the
compiler automatically generates the com and mycompany directories to
house Digits.class.
Once you have mounted the output directory, select the compiler type's
node in the Options window. The Target property for the node contains a
combo box with all mounted filesystems in your project. Select the output directory in the combo box.
For more information on mounting complex project structures, see Advanced Project Setup.
Cross-Compiling Between Java Platforms
By default, the IDE compiles sources against the JDK on which it is running. You may, however, want to
compile an application to optimize it for a specific version of the Java platform. In this case, you will want
to compile the sources against a specific Java platform's system libraries and possibly using a specific
compiler version.
For example, you might be developing an application that is designed to run on JDK 1.3 while running the
IDE on JDK 1.4. In this case, want to configure the compiler type for your source files to use the JDK 1.3
compiler. To do so, select the compiler type type used by your source files (for example, External
Compilation) in the Options window. Then click the ellipsis button in the External Compiler property. The
External Compiler dialog box, shown below, opens.
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This dialog defines how the IDE makes calls to the compiler executable. The Process field points to the
executor that is used. In this case, the Process field is using the {jdk.home}variable to point to your
computer's default SDK. The Arguments field uses variables to insert the various compilation options that
are defined for the compiler type, such as Debug or Optimize.
To switch this compiler type to use a different Java platform's compiler executable, click the ellipsis button
and browse to the executable, or type the absolute path to the executable in the field. Also, since you are
not using the JDK 1.4 compiler, make sure to uncheck the Enable JDK 1.4 Source property.
However, you might need to compile an application against an older JDK version without using the older
JDK's compiler. For example, you might need to compile applets against JDK 1.1, but not want to use the
JDK 1.1 compiler because of performance reasons. In this case, set the compiler type's Boot Class Path
property to the desired Java platform libraries. Again, make sure the Enable JDK 1.4 Source property is
Using JavaMake to Manage Class Dependencies
When you compile Java classes, the compiler performs a basic dependency analysis on the classes you are
compiling. The compiler looks for classes that the class being compiled is dependent on, checks if they are
up-to-date as described above, and compiles any classes that are not up-to-date.
For simple projects this is often enough. For code with complex dependency relationships, however, the
normal Java dependency checking mechanism isn't enough. For examples of what kinds of dependency
relationships are missed by javac, see
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NetBeans IDE solves this problem by integrating JavaMake, a tool that provides more extensive
dependency management between Java classes. You can enable JavaMake for all of your project's Java
classes by selecting Editing > Java Sources in the Options window and checking the Use JavaMake
The first time you compile a project with JavaMake, the IDE examines all of the classes in a project's
mounted filesystems and records the dependency information in a project database. The IDE only records
dependency information for filesystems which have compilation enabled. The IDE uses this information
during compilation to perform a complete check for any dependent classes that need compilation.
When JavaMake is enabled, the Compile and Build commands behave differently than when using normal
compilation. The behavior of the commands is as follows:

Compile/Build. Only compiles or builds the selected files without checking the status of dependent

Compile All/Build All. Compiles the selected file and checks all dependent classes. If any dependent
classes are not up-to-date, the IDE compiles them. These commands effectively build or compile the
entire project, regardless of which class they are run on
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Debugging Java Programs
Using NetBeans IDE
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Example Code:
NetBean's debugging features
expand on the capabilities
provided by the JPDA debugger.
You can visually step through
source code and monitor the state
of watches, variables, strings, and
other elements of your code's
In this section you will learn about:

Basic debugging - Starting a debugging session, using the
Debugger windows, and stepping through your code.

Working with breakpoints - Adding and removing a breakpoint,
different types of breakpoints, setting breakpoint conditions, and
customizing the output of a breakpoint.

Setting watches - Adding a watch or fixed watch to an object.
Basic Debugging
In this section, we will use a simple example to demonstrate how to start a
debugging session, step through your code manually, and monitor variables
and method calls in the Debugging workspace. We will leave more advanced
functions like setting breakpoints and watches for the following sections.
Our example for this section is the arrayFill program. This program is
very simple. It creates an array of sampleBeans, each one of which has two
properties, firstName and lastName. It then assigns values to the
properties of each bean and prints out the values.
The first thing you want to do is run the program to see if it throws any
exceptions. Open and press F6 to execute it. The following
output should appear in the Output window:
at arrayFill.loadNames(
at arrayFill.main(
Exception in thread "main"
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Starting a Debugging Session
When you start a debugging session in the IDE, the IDE compiles the files
that you are debugging, runs them in debug mode, and displays debugger
output in the Debugger windows. To start a debugging session, select the
file that you want to debug and choose one of the following commands from
the Debug menu:

Start > Run in Debugger (Alt-F5). Runs the program until the first
breakpoint is encountered.

Step Into (F7). Starts running the program and stops at the first
executable statement.

Run to Cursor (F4). Starts a debugging session, runs the program
to the cursor location in the Source Editor, and pauses the program.
Since you did not set
any breakpoints in the
example program, just
select arrayFill in the
Filesystems window and
press F7. The IDE opens
the file in the Source
Editor, displays the
Output window and
Debugger windows, and
stops just inside the
main method.
Debugger Windows
Let's take a minute to look at the Debugger windows. The Debugger
windows automatically open whenever you start a debugging session and
close when you finish the session. By default, the IDE opens three Debugger
windows: the Local Variables window, Threads window, and Call Stack
You can open other Debugger windows by choosing from the Window >
Debugger menu. When you open a Debugger window during a debugging
session, it closes automatically when you finish the session. If you open a
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Debugger window when no debugging session is open, it stays open until
you close it manually. You can arrange Debugger windows by dragging
them to the desired location.
The following table lists the Debugger windows.
Name Shortcut Description
Ctrl-Alt-1 Lists the local variables that are within the
current call.
Watches Ctrl-Alt-2 Lists all variables and expressions that you
elected to watch while debugging your
Call Stack Ctrl-Alt-3 Lists the sequence of calls made during
execution of the current thread.
Classes Ctrl-Alt-4 Displays the hierarchy of all classes that have
been loaded by the process being debugged.
Breakpoints Ctrl-Alt-5 Lists the breakpoints in the current project.
Sessions Ctrl-Alt-6 Lists the debugging sessions currently
running in the IDE.
Threads Ctrl-Alt-7 Lists the thread groups in the current
All in One Ctrl-Alt-8 Provides session, threads, calls, and local
variables in a single view.
Stepping Through Your Code
You can use the following commands in the Debug menu to control how
your code is executed in the debugger:

Step Over (F8). Executes one source line. If the source line contains
a call, executes the entire routine without stepping through the
individual instructions.

Step Into (F7). Executes one source line. If the source line contains
a call, stops just before executing the first statement of the routine.

Step Out (Alt-Shift-F7). Executes one source line. If the source line
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is part of a routine, executes the remaining lines of the routine and
returns control to the caller of the routine.

Pause. Pauses program execution.

Continue (Ctrl-F5). Continues program execution. The program will
stop at the next breakpoint.

Run to Cursor (F4). Runs the current session to the cursor location
in the Source Editor and pauses the program.
In our example, use the
F7 key to step through the
code one line at a time.
The first time you press
F7, you are presented
with a dialog saying that
the IDE couldn't find java.
loadClassInternal in the mounted filesystems. If you want to be able to
step through methods in the JDK as well, mount the JDK sources in the
Filesystems window. Otherwise, use the Step Out option in this dialog to
have the debugger execute the process without trying to open the file in the
The NullPointerException occurred in the loadNames call, so when you
step to that call, watch the value of the names array in the Local Variables
view. Each of the beans have a value of null. You can continue stepping
through the loadNames method - the names beans are null throughout.
The problem here is that while the line
sampleBean[] myNames=new sampleBean[fnames.length];
initiates the array that holds the beans, it does not initiate the beans
themselves. The individual beans have to be initiated in the loadNames
method by adding the following code in line 28:
names[i]=new sampleBean();
Working With Breakpoints
Most programs are far too big to examine one line at a time. More likely,
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you set a breakpoint at the location where you think a problem is occurring
and then run the program to that location. You can also set more
specialized breakpoints, such as conditional breakpoints that only stop
execution if the specified condition is true or breakpoints for certain threads
or methods.
In this section, we will use the arrayFill program from the last example,
so you will have to recreate the bug by commenting out the code you added
Setting a Breakpoint
If you just want to set a
simple line breakpoint,
you can click the left
margin of the desired line.
A line breakpoint icon (
appears in the margin.
You can remove the line
breakpoint by clicking it
For more complex breakpoints, use the New Breakpoint (Ctrl-Shift-F8)
command in the Debug menu. The New Breakpoint dialog box lets you
choose the type of breakpoint you want to create and set breakpoint options
such as conditions for breaking or the information that the breakpoint prints
to the Output window.
Setting Conditions for a Breakpoint
Conditional breakpoints only stop execution if a specified boolean expression
is true. If you want to set a conditional breakpoint, open the New
Breakpoint dialog box and enter an expression in the Condition field.
For example, open, set the insertion point in the
loadNames method call in the main method, and press Ctrl-Shift-F8. In the
dialog box, enter myNames=null in the Condition field and click OK. The
conditional breakpoint icon (
) appears in the margin before the method
call. Then press Alt-F5 to start debugging the program. The execution
should break at the loadNames method call.
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Customizing the Output for a Breakpoint
In the New Breakpoint dialog box, you can also specify what information is
printed when a breakpoint is reached. Enter any message in the Print Text
field at the bottom of the dialog box. You can use variables to refer to
certain types of information you want displayed.
Breakpoint Types
The following table lists the different breakpoint types that are available.
Type Description
Line You can break execution when the line is reached, or when
elements in the line match certain conditions.
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Method When you set a breakpoint on a method name, program
execution stops every time the method is executed.
Exception You have several options for setting a breakpoint on an
exception. You can break whenever a specific exception is
caught, whenever a specific exception is not handled in the
source code, or whenever any exception is encountered
regardless of whether the program handles the error or not.
Variable You can stop execution of your program whenever a variable
in a specific class and field is accessed (for example, the
method was called with the variable as an argument) or
Thread You can break program execution whenever a thread starts,
stops, or both.
Class When you set a breakpoint on a class, you can stop the
debugger when the class is loaded into the virtual machine,
unloaded from the virtual machine, or both.
Setting Watches
A watch enables you to track the changes in the value of a variable or
expression during program execution. To set a watch, select the variable or
expression you want to set a watch on in the Source Editor, then right-click
and choose New Watch (Ctrl-Shit-F7).
You can also create fixed watches in the Watches view. While a normal
watch describes the content of a variable, a fixed watch describes the object
that is currently assigned to the variable. To create a fixed watch, right-click
any item in the Local Variables or Watches view and choose Create Fixed
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Page 31 of 58
Packaging and Deploying Your Applications
Using NetBeans IDE 3.6
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Example Code:

NetBeans example code
The standard tool used for packaging and deploying Java applications is the Java
Archive (JAR) file format. JAR files are packaged with the ZIP file format. You can use
JAR files for simple compression and archiving of your application class files, or you can
specify more advanced options like signing and verifying your JAR files or making them
runnable. The IDE provides several features that help you to easily create and work
with JAR files.
This section covers the following topics:

Creating a JAR File - Using JAR recipes to specify JAR file contents and
properties, creating a manifest, creating and mounting the JAR file.

Modifying a JAR File - Adding and removing files to an existing JAR file, making changes to the manifest, and setting
custom file filters.

Executing a JAR File - Specifying the main method in the manifest and executing your application.
Creating a JAR File
To create a JAR file in the IDE, you first create a JAR recipe that specifies the contents and properties of the JAR file. You then
create the JAR file itself by running the Compile command on the JAR recipe file. In this example we will create a JAR file using
the example sources that are automatically mounted in the IDE when you first start the IDE. If you have lost or deleted the
example sources, you can download them using the link above.
Creating a JAR Recipe
To create a JAR recipe, choose File > New from the Main window. In the wizard, expand the JAR Archives node, choose JAR
Recipe, and click Next. In the second page of the wizard, specify the name and location of the JAR file you are going to produce.
The third page of the wizard is where things start getting interesting. This is where you specify the contents of the JAR file.
Select any directory or file from the panel in the left of the wizard and use the Add button to schedule it for inclusion in the panel
on the right. The panel on the left shows all of your mounted filesystems. At this point you can click Finish to create the JAR
recipe, or click Next to specify more detailed options.
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The fourth page of the wizard lets you set special options for the JAR file contents. The most important part of this page is the
Target Directory column, which shows the directory structure of the JAR file's contents. For Java sources, the directory structure
must correctly match the Java package structure of the Java classes. If the filesystem from which you added the contents was
correctly mounted at the Java package root, this should automatically be configured correctly. For example, the target directory
for our examples.colorpicker.ColorPicker class is correctly set at examples/colorpicker.
Finally, the fifth page of the wizard lets you generate the manifest file for the JAR file. The JAR manifest file contains meta
information for handling the files contained in the JAR file, such as the location of the main method or signing information. For
more information about the JAR manifest file, click here.
In the JAR Manifest page of the wizard, you can generate basic manifest information automatically, enter information by hand, or
use an existing file as the manifest file. For now, let's just enter the basic manifest information by clicking the Generate button.
Then click Finish to create the JAR Recipe.
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The JAR recipe node appears in the Filesystems window, as shown in the
figure on the right. The JAR recipe node includes a subnode for the JAR file
it creates and a Contents subnode listing all of the JAR recipe contents. You
can use the property sheet to modify the contents and properties of the JAR
recipe, such as the compression level and file filter used to produce the JAR
file. To open the property sheet, right-click the JAR contents node and
choose Properties.
Compiling and Creating the JAR File
Once you have created a JAR recipe, you can compile its contents and create the JAR file by right-clicking the JAR recipe and
choosing Compile. The contents of the JAR file are compiled using whatever compiler types and settings you assigned to them in
the IDE. See Compiling Java Programs for more information on compilation settings.
Mounting and Checking the JAR File
If you want to check your JAR file to make sure that the directory structure and manifest file are correct, you can mount the JAR
file in the Filesystems window. To mount the file, right-click the JAR recipe node or the JAR file node under it and choose Mount
JAR. You can then expand the JAR file to view its contents and execute any executable classes it contains. Mounting a JAR also
adds it to the project's classpath.
Modifying a JAR File
Once you have created a JAR recipe, you can modify all aspects of the JAR file that it produces. Your main tool for modifying a
JAR recipe is its property sheet. You can open the property sheet by right-clicking the JAR recipe node and choosing Properties.
Whenever you modify the JAR recipe, you can update its corresponding JAR file with your changes by recompiling the JAR recipe.
Note: If you make any changes to the JAR recipe and recompile the JAR file, these changes are not reflected in the mounted JAR
file. You have to unmount the JAR file and mount it again to view the changes.
Adding Files to a JAR Recipe
You can add files to a JAR recipe using the Contents property in the JAR recipe's property sheet. The Contents property editor
lets you add files and directories to the JAR recipe like you do in the JAR Recipe wizard. The Chosen Content pane on the right
also contains the Target Directory and Target Name info, so you can check that the JAR file's directory structure is correct.
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In our case, we want to add the entire colorpicker directory to the JAR recipe, since the ColorPicker application will not work
without the other classes in the directory. To do so, select the directory and click Add. Then click OK and recompile the JAR
recipe to update the JAR file.
Modifying the Manifest File
To modify the manifest file, open the property sheet for the JAR recipe node and click the ellipsis button for the Manifest
property. The Manifest property editor is basically the same as the Manifest page in the JAR Recipe wizard. You can enter the
manifest information by hand, generate the basic information using the Generate button, or use an existing manifest file using
the Load From File button.
Setting the JAR Content Filter
Use a JAR recipe's File Filter property to specify which types of files should be included in your JAR file. When you create a JAR
file, you usually want to include just the compiled .class files and any other resource files located in your source directory, such
as resource bundles or XML documents. The default JAR filter does this for you by excluding all .java, .jar, and .form files from
your JAR file.
Regular Expression Description
Include all HTML files
\.java$ Include all Java files
Include all HTML and Java files
Include all GIF files and any files with
Key in their name
In the File Filter property editor, you can also set the filter
using a POSIX-style regular expression. The Regular
Expression field checks your expression's syntax and displays
any invalid expressions in red text. The custom filter is stored
in the JAR recipe file, so you can use or edit the filter if you
later modify the JAR.
The table on the right provides some examples of regular
expressions you can write. For a guide to regular expression
syntax, click here.
Executing a JAR File
In order to execute a JAR file, you must first specify the JAR file's main class in the manifest. If the sources in your JAR file
depend on sources located in other JAR files, the manifest must also contain the classpath to those JAR files. It is not enough to
have the JAR files mounted in the IDE, since the IDE classpath is ignored when running a JAR file.
To make the example JAR file runnable, open the Manifest property editor for its JAR recipe and add the following line:
Main-Class: examples/colorpicker/ColorPicker
Then compile the JAR recipe to produce the new JAR file. You can then run the JAR file by right-clicking the JAR recipe node and
choosing Execute. The ColorPicker application should open in a new window.
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Page 36 of 58
Using Javadoc
Using NetBeans IDE 3.6
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Example Code:

NetBeans example code
Javadoc is the Java programming language's tool for generating API
documentation. Java API documentation describes important elements
of your code, such as methods, parameters, classes, fields, and so
forth. You can insert special Javadoc comments into your code so that
they will be automatically included in the generated documentation.
Describing your code within the code itself rather than in a separate
document helps to keep your documentation current, since you can
regenerate your documentation as you modify it.
In this section, you will learn about the following:

Integrating Java API documentation into the IDE - Searching for and displaying Javadoc, mounting
and configuring Javadoc filesystems, configuring the IDE's Web browser to display Javadoc files, and
integrating Javadoc with code completion.

Adding Javadoc comments to your code - Rules and special tags for Javadoc comments, tools for
automatically commenting your code, and correcting errors in comments.

Generating Javadoc documentation - Using the standard Javadoc doclet, initializing generation, and
specifying the output directory for the generated files.
Integrating Java API Documentation into the IDE
The IDE lets you integrate API documentation for the code you are working on into the IDE itself. You can then
quickly bring up the documentation for any classes in your code or even when you're looking for a particular
class or method in the code completion box. The referenced API documentation can be stored in an archive file,
regular directory, or on the Internet.
Making Javadoc Documentation Available in the IDE
In order to make Javadoc documentation available in the IDE, you must mount the documentation as a Javadoc
filesystem. A Javadoc filesystem is any directory, archive file, or location on the Internet that contains API
You mount Javadoc filesystems in by choosing Tools > Javadoc Manager from the main window. Use the Add
buttons to add the appropriate type of Javadoc filesystem. You must mount each filesystem at the directory
that contains the Javadoc index, which is located in a document called index.html file or a directory called
index-files. (Sometimes both an index file and an index directory are present). The directory that contains
the Javadoc index is usually called api or apidocs.
For example, if you want to make the NetBeans Execution API documentation available directly from the portal, click Add HTTP and enter
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For each filesystem, you can specify the following:

Hidden. Specifies whether this filesystem is visible in the Filesystems window. You should set this
property to False if you want to browse through the documentation tree in the Filesystems window.

Search Engine. Specifies the default Javadoc search engine. The Japanese version of the search engine
lets you to search internationalized Javadoc documentation.

Root Offset. If your Javadoc documentation is inside a JAR or zip file, the Javadoc index is sometimes
buried in the file's hierarchy. Since you can only mount the JAR or zip file as a whole, you have to set the
Root Offset for these filesystems to the directory that contains the Javadoc index. (For HTTP and local
filesystems, you just mount the filesystem directly at the directory that contains the Javadoc index.)
Searching and Displaying Javadoc Documentation
The easiest way to search for Javadoc documentation for any element of Java code is to select any occurrence
of the element in the Source Editor and press Shift-F1. Doing so opens the Javadoc Index Search in a Source
Editor tab. The Javadoc Index Search tab displays all matching entries in your mounted Javadoc filesystems.
Select any search result to view the Javadoc in the bottom panel of the dialog box, or double-click a search
result to open it in the IDE's external browser.
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If you prefer to browse through your Javadoc filesystem hierarchy, choose the Javadoc filesystem from the
View > Documentation Indices menu. The filesystem's index page is opened in your external web browser.
Configuring the External Browser to Display Javadoc Files
Javadoc files are displayed in the IDE's designated web browser. To set the IDE's designated web browser,
choose Tools > Setup Wizard and choose a browser from the Web Browsers combo box. The Setup Wizard lists
all of the web browsers installed on your system.
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If you select a web browser and it does not open correctly, it is possible that the IDE does not have the correct
location for the browser executable. You can configure the web browser by opening the Options window,
expanding IDE Configuration > Servers and External Tool Settings > Web Browsers and selecting the web
browser. Open the property editor for the Browser Executable property, then click the ellipsis button for the
Process field to locate your browser executable. Then click OK to exit the dialog box.
If your Web browser uses a proxy to access the Internet from behind a firewall, you must also configure the
browser to bypass the proxy for local files. If this option is not set, you could get a 404 File Not Found error
when you try to display Javadoc files that reside on your local machine.
Adding Javadoc Comments to Your Code
Javadoc comments are special comments (marked by a /**, as opposed to a /* for regular comments) that
describe your code. When you generate Javadoc documentation for a source file, all of the Javadoc comments
in the file are automatically included in the documentation. You can put special tags describing elements of your
code in Javadoc comments and format your comments with XHTML tags.
The IDE provides an Auto Comment tool that analyzes your code for any elements that have incomplete or
incorrect documentation and lets you enter the documentation right in the tool. To see how the Auto Comment
tool works, let's use it on one of the example files that comes with the IDE. In the IDE's default project, go to
the examples/colorpicker directory and double-click the ColorPreview Java file node to open the file in the
Source Editor.
The ColorPreview class is a simple bean that sets the background color for a visual component to various
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colors. The code is already completely documented, so to see how the Auto Comment tool works let's first put
some errors in the documentation. In the comment above the addPropertyChangeListener method, remove
one of the stars (*) to change it from a Javadoc comment to a regular comment.
Now right-click anywhere inside the Source Editor and choose Tools > Auto Comment. The Auto Comment tool
shows all of the methods in the file that should be commented in the top left of the tool. You can use the
buttons above this field to choose which methods are processed by the tool.
As you can see, all of the methods in the file have the green "correct Javadoc" icon except for
addPropertyChangeListener, which has a red "missing Javadoc" icon. Select addPropertyChangeListener to
see what problem the tool found with the method's comment. Use the View Source button to jump to the line in
the Source Editor where the method first appears and the Refresh button to rescan the file for incorrect
comments. You can add Javadoc comment text and tags in the right side of the tab.
Generating Javadoc Documentation
Once you have entered Javadoc comments into your code, you can generate the HTML Javadoc files for your
source files. The Java language uses a program called a doclet to generate and format the API documentation
files. Although there are numerous doclets that produce documentation in a wide variety of formats, the
standard doclet used by the IDE generates HTML documentation pages.
To generate documentation, right-click any file or folder and choose Tools > Generate Javadoc. By default, the
doclet generates the documentation files to the javadoc directory in your user directory. The doclet generates
the Javadoc index files (including frame and non-frame versions, package lists, help pages explaining how the
documentation is organized, and so forth) into the javadoc directory. Individual files describing each class are
generated into subdirectories that match the directory structure in your source tree. For example, if you run the
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Generate Javadoc command on the sampledir filesystem, the javadoc directory contains the Javadoc index
for the filesystem and a directory called examples with all of the individual documentation files.
Specifying an Output Directory for Javadoc Files
You can specify any mounted filesystem as the output directory for generated Javadoc files. For example, if you
want to create a docs directory to house API documentation for sources in the sampledir filesystem, create the
docs directory somewhere on your system and mount it in the IDE. Then go to the Options window, select Code
Documentation > Doclets > Standard Doclet, and choose the docs directory in the Destination property.
Previous - TOC - Next
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Team Development With CVS
Using NetBeans IDE 3.6
Previous - TOC - Next
Version control software (VCS) programs track the changes to a set of files
and manage how users access and change those files. A VCS is an
essential tool for any team of developers that works on a common code
base. It lets you roll back any unwanted changes, avoid conflicts when two
developers alter the same file, and establish different development branches on the same codeline.
NetBeans IDE integrates VCS functionality right into the IDE itself, letting you view versioning status and run VCS
commands on files in the Filesystems window. The IDE uses VCS profiles to pass commands and arguments to the
VCS executable on your machine. Profiles for Concurrent Versioning System (CVS), Visual Safe Source (VSS) and
Polytron Version Control System (PVCS) are included in the IDE, and you can download experimental profiles for
other VCS programs from the website. The IDE also includes a built-in CVS executable that you can
use without having CVS installed on your computer.
In this section, we will cover the basics of using CVS in the IDE. Although command usage differs between VCS
applications, many of the concepts discussed here are common to all VCS applications.
This section covers:

Checking Out Sources - Mounting CVS filesystems, selecting which sources to check out, and running CVS

Configuring a CVS Filesystem - Configuring CVS filesystems and changing the display of file status

Working With CVS Files - Generating diffs and patches, applying patches, and resolving merge conflicts.

Making Safe Commits - Finding all modified files in your working directory, checking for mistakes,
committing your changes.
Checking Out Sources
Like all source files, you have to mount version controlled sources in the Filesystems window to be able to work with
them. You mount version controlled sources in a VCS filesystem. A VCS filesystem is just like a regular IDE
filesystem, except that it is directly linked to the VCS repository so you can use it to call VCS commands right in the
Filesystems window. You can mount a source directory that is already under version control, or mount an empty
directory and check out source files from the CVS repository.
To illustrate how to check out sources in the IDE, let's check out the Beans module from the NetBeans CVS
repository. We will use the anoncvs guest account, so you do not have to worry about registering with
to complete this example.
Mounting a CVS Filesystem
To get started, choose Versioning > Mount Version Control from the main window. In the wizard, select CVS in the
Version Control System Profile combo box.
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Now you can start filling in the CVS repository information. First, you need to create a directory to house the
sources. Click the Browse button in the Working Directory field and create a directory called beans somewhere on
your system. Then fill in the following CVS server information:

CVS Server Type - pserver

CVS Server Name -

CVS Server User Name - the anonymous login name, anoncvs

CVS Repository - the location of the sources on the repository server, /cvs

Use Built-In CVS Client - sets which CVS client the IDE uses
Before you finish mounting the CVS filesystem, you have to log in to the server. Click the Login button without
entering a password. . (No password is necessary for the anoncvs account.) If the command succeeds, the text
beneath the Password field changes to You are already logged in. If the command fails, check your connection
to the Internet and your firewall settings.
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Note: To use CVS, you must be able to access the Internet on the CVS port (2401 by default).
Click Finish to close the wizard and mount the filesystem. A new CVS filesystem node appears in the Filesystems
Now that you have mounted the
filesystem, you can get the sources
from the repository. Right-click the
filesystem node and select the CVS
submenu. This submenu contains
CVS commands that you can run
on your files. Hold down the Ctrl
key and choose Checkout from the
CVS menu.
The CVS Checkout dialog box lets
you set advanced options for the
CVS Checkout command. The "." in
the Module(s) field indicates that
you want to check out the entire
CVS repository. Since we only want
to check out the Beans module,
enter beans in this field and click
OK. Alternatively, you can click the
Select button to view a list of all
modules in the repository and then
select from the list.
Once you run the command, the
VCS Output window opens listing
the CVS command status and the
CVS output. You can kill the
command by clicking the Stop
button. When the command
finishes, you can expand the
filesystem and begin working with
the files.
Specifying Advanced Command Options
The IDE's CVS support lets you set all of the command options that are available on the command line. To see a
command dialog in which you can specify advanced command options, hold down the Ctrl key when choosing a
command from the CVS commands menu. You can also configure a VCS filesystem to always display the advanced
options dialog of CVS commands. Right-click the filesystem's node in the Filesystems window and choose Properties,
then set the filesystem's Advanced Command Options property to True.
Configuring a CVS Filesystem
Once you have checked out your files, you can usually start working with them immediately. You may, however,
need to further configure the filesystem to correctly build the Java classpath or display VCS status information. The
two main tools for configuring a CVS filesystem are the VCS filesystem customizer, in which you can change the
server and user information that you entered when mounting the filesystem, and the filesystem's property sheet.
Right-click the filesystem and choose Customize to view the filesystem's customizer, or choose Properties to view
the filesystem's property sheet.
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Setting the Relative Mount Point
Like all Java filesystems in the IDE, CVS filesystems must be mounted at the directory that contains the default
package. In order for all your VCS commands to function correctly, however, the filesystem must be mounted at the
working directory root. You can resolve this problem by mounting the filesystem at the working directory root, then
setting the relative mount point at the default package root.
For example, the default package for the sources in the Beans filesystem is in the src directory. To set the relative
mount point, right-click the filesystem node and choose Customize. Click the Select button in the Relative Mount
Point field, expand beans, and select src. Then click OK to apply your changes.
If you want to mount more than one directory as a default package root, hold down the Ctrl key, select all of the
relative mount points, and click OK. Each relative mount point is mounted as its own filesystem.
Shortening and Hiding File Status
Expand the Beans filesystem to take a look at how
NetBeans IDE displays CVS status information. The
name of each file is followed by the file's status, its
revision number, and if you are working on a branch
also the branch tag name. If you double-click a file to
open it in the Source Editor, you will notice that the
CVS status information is also printed on the file's
Source Editor tab.
This status information can actually be problematic,
because it makes the Source Editor tabs take up a lot
of room. One solution is to set Shorten File Statuses to
True in the filesystem's property sheet . This option
saves some space, but not very much.
As you can see, the IDE also displays a badge for each
file that expresses its CVS status. The badges and their
meanings are shown in the table below.
Badge Description
Locally modified
Locally removed
Merge conflict
Needs checkout
For the most part, you probably just want to know whether a file is up-to-date or not.
You can therefore hide all file status information and just use the badges. If you need to
see more versioning information, like the file's version number or sticky tag information,
you can always run the CVS Status command on the file.
To hide all status information, open the filesystem's property sheet and click the ellipsis
in the Annotation Pattern property. The Annotation Pattern property editor shows a node
for each type of CVS status information, plus subnodes that govern how the information
is displayed. Simply delete each node (except the Variable:filename node, of course)
and click Apply Changes. If you find that you miss the status info, you can always
display it again by opening this dialog box and clicking Restore Defaults.
Working With CVS Files
One of the main advantages of CVS is that it lets you see how your files evolve as you and members of your
development team make changes to them. NetBeans IDE expands on this functionality by making it easier to view
changes to files and resolve conflicts between file revisions. It also makes it easier to prepare your checkins and
check for mistakes before you commit.
Using the Graphical Diff Tool
When diff version-controlled files on the command line, the diff command compares two file revisions and prints
out the differences between the two revisions along with the line numbers where they occurred. Although many
command-line users are adept at reading long diff print outs, new users (and even some command-line veterans)
often find this format confusing.
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NetBeans IDE uses a graphical diff viewer to display both file revisions side-by-side with the differences highlighted.
The repository version is shown in the left pane, and your working file is shown in the right pane. You can use the
buttons in the top left-hand corner of the viewer to navigate through the revision differences.
To run a graphical diff on a file, right-click it in the Filesystems window and choose CVS > Diff Graphical. If you run
the command without any advanced options specified, it compares your working directory version with the head
revision in the repository. If you want to specify which revisions to diff by tag name or date, hold down the Ctrl key
while choosing the command and enter the information in the advanced command dialog.
Unlike the Diff Textual command, you cannot run the Diff Graphical command on a directory. You can, however,
select several files in the Filesystems window and run the Diff Graphical command on them. The diff for each file
appears in its own Source Editor tab. As we will see in the Making Safe Commits section, you can also use the
Search Results window as a powerful tool to find and diff all Locally Modified files in a filesystem.
Creating and Applying Patches
A patch file lets you take a snapshot of the changes between two revisions and send them to another developer
without checking in the changes or even requiring the other developers to have a CVS connection to the repository.
Patch files are often used when a development team wants to evaluate a proposed change before checking it into
the repository.
To create a patch, right-click the directory or file you want to create the patch from and choose CVS > Diff Textual.
Click OK without specifying any options if you want to diff your working directory against the current head revision
in the repository, or enter any additional options like specific tags or dates.
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The patch is displayed in the VCS Output window. Right-click inside the VCS Output window and choose Save to
File, then specify a location and name for the file.
To apply a patch file, right-click the exact file or directory from which the patch was created and choose Tools >
Apply Patch. Then browse to the location of the patch file and click OK. If you want to undo the changes made by
the patch, you can delete the modified files and then run the Update command to get a clean version from the
Resolving Merge Conflicts Graphically
When you update a locally modified file, CVS merges changes from the repository with the changes you have made
to your local file. If someone else on your development team has committed changes to the same lines that you
have changed in your working directory, a merge conflict occurs.
CVS marks merge conflicts by bracketing the offending lines with error markers (<<<<<< and >>>>>>>). In the
following example, the changes to the field name have generated the merge error. The first line of the error shows
what you have in the working directory, and the second line shows what is in the repository.
private int yellow;
private int orange;
>>>>>>> 1.2
Normally, you would open the file in a text editor, delete the error markers and the version you do not want to
keep, and commit the file. (You do not necessarily have to choose one of the two versions - you could write
something completely new.) As long as the error markers are present in the file, CVS will not let you check it into
the repository.
The IDE provides a Merge Conflicts Resolver that makes resolving merge conflicts easier. To open the tool, right-
click any file whose status is Merge Conflict and choose Resolve Conflicts. The Merge Conflicts Resolver looks very
similar to the Graphical Diff tool - it displays the repository revision on the right, working revision on the left, and
the final version in the bottom.
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Use the Accept buttons to choose which of the two versions you want to accept. You can use the Accept & Next
buttons to resolve a conflict and jump to the next conflict. You cannot write into the bottom panel of the Merge
Conflicts Resolver, so if you want to write something new rather than accepting either of the two versions, close the
dialog and resolve the conflict manually in the Source Editor.
Making Safe Commits
CVS lets you roll back most changes to the repository, so for the most part you do not have to worry about your
commits doing permanent damage to your project. Still, introducing code that breaks your project's build process or
introduces critical bugs is embarrassing and time-consuming to fix. This can often happen not because your code
contained bugs, but because you forgot to check something in or checked something in that you did not mean to.