07 October 2019


My name is Jack Woehr. I've worked from microcode to mainframes and everything between. My professional practice nowadays is mostly IBM big-iron business systems, doing core coding in legacy languages and modernization in open source languages.

I started using NetBeans in the 1990's when it was called Xelfi. Over the years I have used NetBeans, sometimes alongside simpler text editors, to develop (among others) the following open source projects: FIJI ForthIsh Java Interpreter, PigIron Open Source Java Class Libraries for VSMAPI and Ublu Midrange and Mainframe Life Cycle Extension Language.

I also coded my wife's pottery website in PHP using NetBeans.

I'm not a tool adopter by nature. I do as much as possible with the simplest tools I can find. I found early workstation-based IDEs largely repellent, as they imposed a model upon programmer.

Xelfi and its later incarnations up to modern NetBeans mostly did not / does not impose upon the programmer. At times when the project strayed in that direction, it seemed to quickly auto-correct its course back towards simplicity and programmer freedom.

NetBeans has nothing to sell, and I appreciate that. Everything it implements tends to common sense practices. Everyone uses Ant / Maven. Everyone uses version control. Everyone appreciates syntax checking, jumping to definition / declaration, code completion. Even in this latter, NetBeans suggests completions in the least obtrusive manner of any IDE I have tried.

If NetBeans has one gap affecting me, it's lack of full-featured Python support.

I have been pushed towards other IDEs from time to time, but never stuck with me. Too large and too complex. NetBeans seems to have become a minority approach, but a critical approach for those of us who focus more on our programming than on our programming tools.

Long live NetBeans!

I can be reached by email.