The NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment) 5.0 adds tooling, called Matisse, for building an application's front-end interface. The update also has been enhanced to simplify the process of building add-on products, or "plug-ins," which extend the tool's features.
In addition, NetBeans IDE 5.0 works better with Java application servers from JBoss and BEA Systems, according to the product's release notes. The NetBeans creators have also built in collaboration features to make it easier for developers to chat and share files.
In tandem with the release, Sun said that it has set up a free beta program to provide technical support to developers.
The NetBeans 5 update is significant for Sun, which is seeking to rally the Java developer community around Sun products. The company said that the number of active NetBeans users has tripled in the past 18 months.
Sun has based its line of development tools, such as the recently released, on the NetBeans software.
The server and software company had in 2003, which over the past two years has seen a and developer interest. Instead, Sun decided to focus its development tools strategy on NetBeans and try to recruit other software companies to support NetBeans.
In announcing a refreshed partnership with Oracle, Sun said that Oracle has endorsed NetBeans. However, Oracle has said only that it isand focusing its development products on Jbuilder and Eclipse.