NetBeans is a free start-of-the-art IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for developing applications in Java, C, C++ & PHP languages. There are several other free IDEs like Eclipse, Visual C++ Express, JGRASP, BlueJ, so on. You are welcome to try them on your own as well. Based on my limited experience with a few IDEs, I believe NetBeans is one of the best IDEs in the marketplace.
Any good IDE has a built-in text editor that has lots of sophisticated features like auto-formatting, incremental compilation, good integration with compiler and debugger, so on. IDE takes care of lot of mundane things and helps the programmer to focus on logic and programming. In simple words, good IDE can be the difference between cryptic & painful learning vs. intuitive & enjoyable learning of a programming language.
Here are the steps to install NetBeans IDE in Windows PC. Actual software applications depend on whether reasonably new JDK is already installed in your PC & whether you are going to program in Java or C/C++ or both.
If you are planning to code in Java, C and C++, you will need to download & install
· NetBeans plus JDK Bundle: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html - look for "JDK 7u5 with NetBeans 7.1.2"
· C++ plug-in : Run NetBeans, select Plugins under Toos menu, look for C/C++ plugin & install it.
On the other hand, if you are strictly a Java programmer, NetBeans plus JDK Bundle alone will do. If you are strictly C/C++ programmer, following need to be installed.
· Standalone JDK: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html
· NetBeans C/C++ Download Bundle: http://netbeans.org/downloads/
You may run into problems with installing "JDK 7u5 with NetBeans 7.1.2" bundle if that JDK is already installed in your PC. In that case, abandon installing "JDK with NetBeans" bundle, go to NetBeans site and download NetBeans "Java SE" download bundle instead.
A few screen-shots to help with Download & Installation:
"Stand-alone JDK" or "JDK with NetBeans" bundle in Java website:
JDK download options:
NetBeans: Java SE download bundle & C/C++ download bundle:
Once JDK and NetBeans Java SE combination is installed, we can start programming in Java!
CYGWIN C/C++ compiler tools (gdb & make not shown here, but need to be included too):
Open NetBeans, under Tools menu, click on Plugins. Then select C/C++ and click on Install button in the bottom:
Now, we need to configure C++ tools within NetBeans. Click on Options under Tools menu, click on C/C++. Then, click on Add button in bottom-left corner of the window. Once "Add New Tool Collection" button appears, click on Browse, and select "C:\cygwin\bin" as the base directory and say OK.
Various tools will be automatically data-filled based on the base directory:
Now, we are all set to work on C/C++ programs using NetBeans IDE!
http://netbeans.org/kb/docs/java/quickstart.html shows the simple steps how to write Java programs in NetBeans. http://netbeans.org/kb/docs/cnd/quickstart.html shows the steps for building C/C++ programs in NetBeans.