MacBeans: Native-looking NetBeans for OSX
Thursday, October 2, 2008 12:36:51 PM
An ugly look and feel is not NetBeans' only weakness. In Forte CE days, NetBeans' GUI builder, while so buggy and unstable, didn't even support undo/redo and it was not surprising to lose hours of GUI work on every single day. Deleted all the components from your frame accidently? Poof! They're all gone! Looks like the situation is not improved much since then: to some users, even today, "GUI builder is a medieval torture device". It "turns sane men into raving lunatics". If someone at the end of a working day finds out that he has not used the sacred "F" word he will feel so excited and happy. You have to bring your blood pressure medicine to work with you cause NetBeans is known to skyrocket its victims' blood pressure.
Now enough bashing for today. Some time ago I wanted to make NetBeans more native-looking on OSX and today I made some progress. First, lets see how a decent OSX/Cocoa app looks like on Leopard:
Now lets see how NetBeans looks on Leopard:
The toolbar is both different and not unified with the title bar and tabs also look different. These are the primary things I want to fix. Making the toolbar unified was very trivial:
At the moment I am working directly on NetBeans source code but eventually I want to turn the project into a plugin. My goal is to finish it by the end of February 2009. The only non trivial component to fix is NetBeans' custom tabbed pane. I will write more about this as I move forward.