The NetBeans open-source project made a "release candidate" for the NetBeans 5 Java development tool available earlier this month and said that the final version is due later in January.
According to the release notes, NetBeans 5.0 includes a revamped user interface and a set of wizards for making Web and Web services application development quicker.
Sun Microsystems is the largest backer of NetBeans, an open-source Java develoment tool framework that allows third-party companies to build plug-in programs. Company executives, including Sun's development tools chief technology officer James Gosling, have said that NetBeans 5 represents a significant enhancement over prior versions.
The rival open-source development framework is Eclipse, which in the past two years has seen a jump in interest from Java developers and ISVs.