Setting up NetBeans for Educational Use

NetBeans is an IDE with a lot of features. In an educational environment where the IDE is used to teach students Java, most features are unnecessary and confuse people with complex IDE functionality. The features also consume memory and CPU time, making the IDE slower and less responsive on older computers. However, there is a way to put NetBeans on a diet. As NetBeans was designed to be a modular IDE, all functionality is contained in modules. It allows the user to dynamically enable/disable modules. Unnecessary features can be disabled with a simple mouseclick.

2. How to enable/disable modules
You can enable/disable modules easily by choosing Tools | Module Manager to display a tree view of installed modules. You can clear the checkbox for modules that you do not want to use. If a module depends on the module you are trying to disable, you will be prompted to make sure that you want to disable those modules.

3. Which modules should I leave on?
Students who make their first steps in Java programming only need basic functionality. They'll probably mainly make use of modules in the following categories:

  • Editing - for editing source files
  • Help - to access Help documentation
  • Infrastructure - provides IDE "plumbing"
  • Java - for creating Java projects and working with Java source files
  • Tools - provides various user interface features, such as the Options window
  • Libraries - provides additional infrastructure.
  • the help system

    You might find it worthwhile to disable individual modules or whole categories of modules.

    One caveat: in the Web category, do not disable the Web Browser Ant Task module. This module is necessary for creating standard IDE projects.
    That's it! There's no need to restart the IDE, you can continue using it. Notice that a lot of menu items are gone and that the IDE is running more smoothly.

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    About this Project

    edu was started in November 2009, is owned by Antonin Nebuzelsky, and has 85 members.
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