2008Q2 Grant Proposal - Add Perl support to Netbeans

34 Comments
  • Name: Sven Dowideit
  • Title: First class Perl support in an activly maintained cross platform IDE (Stage 1, project and debugger)
  • Synopsis: 
Add Perl Project, Perl Syntax highlighting, Perl Debugging and Perl Refactoring support to NetBeans (stage 1)
Name:
Sven Dowideit

Project Title:
First class Perl support in an activly maintained cross platform IDE (Stage 1, project and debugger)

Synopsis:
Add Perl Project, Perl Syntax highlighting, Perl Debugging and Perl Refactoring support to NetBeans (stage 1)

Benefits to the Perl Community:
Give Perl developers access to a first class Perl IDE, thus simplifying entry into Perl for new Developers

Deliverables:
Stage 1 is to create a Perl project support and debugger Netbeans Plugin, laying the groundwork for the later stages of integrating Perl language support.

Project Details:
The complete project can be broken into the following components:
  1. Perl Project support, with Options panel
  2. Debugger
  3. Syntax colouring and completion, with intellisense support
  4. Perl Critic, Warnings and Errors 
  5. PPI
(only point 1 & 2 are covered by this grant)

While Netbeans, and thus the basis of the Plugin are written in Java, I hope to be able to call out to existing Perl modules, such as PPI and PerlCritic as much as possible.

Project Schedule:
Stage 1 is expected to be completed within 2-3 months, with alpha and beta releases made for testing, comment and re-design along the way.

6-12 months to complete all components, each building on the work of the previous.

Bio:
I'm a Software engineer and TWiki consultant with over 10 years experience developing integrating complex development tools.

Amount Requested:
$3000-6000 ?

34 Comments

Just a comment on #3, "Syntax colouring and completion, with intellisense support".

I know it's not part of the delivery, but I would estimate that "intellisense" is about two orders of magnitude more difficult than "syntax colouring". So grouping these two together may not make much sense when it comes to project planning.


/J

I'm very happy with this project idea and think it would be great to have Perl support in such a popular editor. However, I'm wondering if it would be possible to split #3, "Syntax colouring and completion, with intellisense support" into two parts and make the syntax colouring part of the deliverables. It just seems to me that syntax colouring is a fairly basic feature for a programming editor. What do you think?

The Eclipse' extension epic have all these features that you want into NetBeans... years ago.

Another project to reinventing wheels?

I would prefer that this project will become to add more features to epic.

The Eclipse' extension epic have all these features that you want into NetBeans... years ago.

Another project to reinventing wheels?

I would prefer that this project will become to add more features to epic.

Highlighting

Yes, it could be possible to split colouring and intellesense - and I will certainly do some if I have time - BUT - after messing about with many other editor's syntax colouring, and their failures wrt unescaped quotes within regex's, and #'s that aren't comment markers, I thought discretion was in order. In the longer term, I hope to be able to use AdamK's PPP work for this, but _that_ will be a future proposal :)


Eclipse & EPIC

In all the years that I have tried to use Eclipse, I have not once had an enjoyable experience with it. It has always managed to fail to be responsive, installable or helpful to me.

I realise this is a woefully biased, unhelpful thing, but it is what has happened.

In comparison, I've found NetBeans, and its SunStudio personality for C++ pretty impressive on all my development platforms, just missing Perl support.

Perhaps it would be better to say this proposal is not re-inventing a wheel, just providing support for other Developer's personal (or comercial) preferences?

It's hard for me to get excited about this proposal. I use Emacs, and I imagine a lot of existing Perl programmers are using one of Emacs, Vim, and probably TextMate.

Big IDEs like NetBeans and Eclipse just aren't very Perl. Plus there's a lot of them, so does adding some basic Perl support to just one matter?

Why not Komodo? Isn't that open source now? Doesn't it already have a fair bit of Perl support baked in?

This project doesn't much excite me. OTOH, maybe support in these sorts of editors is the key to enticing existing Java/C++/C# programmers to check out Perl.

I'm with Dave, with this rephrasing: it doesn't excite me, because I don't care about that IDE. I can believe that a lot of people do, and some evidence would make this proposal seem more worthwhile. NetBeans is a big deal, and I imagine that having good support for Perl there would lower the barrier for entry to people who would consider using it.

Responding to the people who question the value of an IDE:

I have used Emacs for Perl coding since I learned Perl in 1999. I have been using Eclipse for Java development for about a year now. I hated coding Java in Emacs, but Eclipse is amazingly productive. The IDE features I really miss when I go back to Perl are:

* Instant (INSTANT!) access to documentation by hovering over a method or class name
* Auto-complete of method/variable names -- saves a trip to the docs when you can't remember if the variable is spelled $color or $colour

Like some others, I've tried EPIC for Perl coding in Eclipse. I hate to say anything negative about the clearly large amount of work invested in that plugin, but it just wasn't good enough for me to adopt it enthusiastically. Because of that I would be thrilled if more effort were expended improving Perl integration into existing IDEs. I admit that I've never tried Komodo (I feel a little guilty about that given all the talk time I've given to Perl IDEs...)

I would rather see more energy be invested in Komodo or EPIC than starting a new integration project, but given that there are no other IDE grant proposals this quarter, I think this proposal is worth funding.

Komodo is a non starter from what I can see - the Free OSS Komodo does not do debugging - thats what you pay for the closed source one for - and that doesn't run on any of the platforms I'm working on.

I'd love to have an IDE which is not too complex (like Eclipse) and which could attract other people to Perl as well. So this proposal should definitely be funded.
To all those 'I have Emacs/Vim/echo, I need no IDE'-people: I'm sure _you_ don't need 'em, but there are a lot of interested guys out there who would appreciate Perl support in Netbeans - and thus the whole Perl community would benefit from it.

Chris:
* You can access to documentation with Ctrl+Shift+H (call to perldoc executable with the name of class selected).
* Auto-complete. EPIC can auto-complete vars and methods (Content assist at the features page).

Sven:
You are right: Eclipse is evil application ever for installation. But, once installed, I have written projects with thousands of lines.

I think that this is a very worthwhile project.

I'm using NetBeans 6.x with Ruby/JRuby and it's great.

I tried Eclipse and some Eclipse-based Rails editor and they were both too slow and in the way.

NetBeans is a joy, however, and I use Vi/Vim and cat >> myfile all the time....

Having Perl is NetBeans would be awesome!

I really don't like to see comments like "I use Emacs" or "Big IDEs like NetBeans and Eclipse just aren't very Perl.". The first one is simply an expression of personal taste and therefore irrelevant in this context. And the latter one I simply don't understand. I'd rather say giving people yet another opportunity to code perl is very perlish (timtowtdi).

I use vim most of the time - but most people starting out with programming today grab some IDE and start there. If we want to attract new people to the perl community we should make it easy for them to experiment with perl.

Yes, NetBeans is only one IDE of many. But if the proposed project is successful others might follow ;-)

The more people we attract to perl the bigger is my chance to work with them at $job using perl. So +1 from me for this proposal.

You can get quick documentation in emacs if you use the cperl emacs package: just type M-x cperl-perldoc. It even goes to the documentation for the code you have under your cursor by default. Look at the book 'Perl Hacks' for more. :)

I still think adding perl support to Netbeans is worthwhile.

I would love to see this perl plugin combined with maven2 usability. It would be great to use something like maven assembly plugin to assist in writing only one sourcecode and deploy to different environments.(eg. development, testing or production setup). Of course a maven2 perl (assembly) plugin must be a project of its own!

Netbeans 6.1 is out && rant!

I would have never guessed that one day I’d use Netbeans and like it. Netbeans is really a great IDE for java programming and make a lot of things really easy: db connections (mysql!), GUI graphical editor (aka Matisse) for Swing applications, Webstart (deploy your *desktop* apps from a website), jar creation including jar dependencies, webservices apis (Flickr!, Google, …), subversion support, etc, etc. Really a nice product that has improved a lot.

If only Netbeans would support perl and shell scripts (very important for sysadmins), it would become - at least for me - the IDE to rule them all. For now, I use Eclipse with the epic plugin for perl development (syntax checking, factoring, context assitance, debugging …), and the shelled plugin for shell scripts. Who knows what the future will bring, but working with two IDEs is kind of suboptimal…

From: http://nxadm.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/netbeans-61-is-out-rant/

Perl support for Netbeans would be awesome... I've tried a few IDE's for Perl and all of them fail miserably... Netbeans is a great IDE and I love using it but no Perl makes it seem like there's a whole missing in it. I love perl but it can be hard to develop in... I think Netbeans support would interest people worried about the learning curve and add a lot of new programmers to the mix

Quite often in the last months I saw blog posts or mails where people expressed their concern that the Perl community isn't attracting enough fresh young blood.
In my opinion, adding first class Perl support to the most popular cross platform IDEs is one of the most promising ways of drawing todays young programmers towards giving Perl a chance.
Therefore I'm quite disappointed that this proposal wasn't funded...

Why not port Eclipse Epic (link) to Netbeans?

Although the platforms are very different I suspect you may be able to "borrow" some of its codebase in your effort.

DSL

I am a fan of Netbeans from v.3.x. Recently I switched to Perl in my job and my choice of IDE is Eclipse with Epic but I still hope that Netbeans will add Perl support.

I just want to say thanks to everyone that commented here. This page came up in a search for Netbeans and Perl. I use Perl for admin tasks and just finished setting up netbeans for student java classes (I work in a college). I thought, hey, maybe if I used Netbeans for Perl, I could learn a little bit about it for supporting students.

In reading these comments, I've learned everything I need to know: No, netbeans doesn't support Perl, there are alternatives, and that no, netbeans support for Perl isn't happening anytime soon. Thanks, that's all I needed to know :)

David...

Perl support in Netbeans would be excellent. Eclipse has gotten very unstable for larger projects.


It would be great to have Perl support in NetBeans because then I wouldn't have to step outside and go through the Eclipse/EPIC installation experience. Perl is the only part in my Java/PHP/Tcl/bash/.bat/Groovy universe not covered by NetBeans.

I use many programming languages, and Perl is one of them. I would love to have Perl integration in NetBeans because it would help cut back on the times I need to switch between editors. Anything you can do to make Perl more accessible to Java developers is a good thing, I think.

I try as much as possible in places I work to push Perl for most (or all) shell scripting uses, to simplify migration between systems. It's very nice to say that installation and configuration scripts will run unmodified on any OS, just like the Java code we use.

In terms of bonalnoy erudition - grammotno done!

I'd definitely like to see this happen. I'm using Netbeans for as much as possible right now, including Java, PHP, HTML, CSS, and of course Perl. Giving Netbeans the kind of support for Perl that it has for these other languages would definitely be helpful.

The fact that other IDEs already support Perl in this way and the fact that some people prefer not to use IDEs takes nothing away from this proposal. Those who are already using Netbeans for other things (and may be using it for Perl in spite of its lack of support) will certainly benefit from it, and it may make it easier for those using Netbeans to consider using Perl for projects that it is well-suited to.

I'd definitely like to see this happen. I'm using Netbeans for as much as possible right now, including Java, PHP, HTML, CSS, and of course Perl. Giving Netbeans the kind of support for Perl that it has for these other languages would definitely be helpful.

The fact that other IDEs already support Perl in this way and the fact that some people prefer not to use IDEs takes nothing away from this proposal. Those who are already using Netbeans for other things (and may be using it for Perl in spite of its lack of support) will certainly benefit from it, and it may make it easier for those using Netbeans to consider using Perl for projects that it is well-suited to.

We have already started work on a Perl plugn for Netbeans.
Our plans are very ambitious. You can visit our project homepage here http://code.google.com/p/nbperl/.

However we are fairly new at Language plugin development especially, when it comes to parsers, error recovery and such. As a result, our work is going extremely slowly. Anybody who has experience in this area and would like to guide us, please do so.

Hi, I am happy to find this perl support for Netbeans, I am fed up with the 'Out of Memory' error in recent Eclipse 3.4.
So I decide to change to Netbeans.
I want to know what's the web site for this Netbeans plugin?
Whether the plugin has been published? Can I install it to Netbeans now?

And Thanks for your great effort.

I would very much like to see this effort funded.

I use NetBeans for every other programming task I have, including Python -- although this is still in the development phase, I've found it's pretty good. NetBeans is superior to Eclipse because unlike Eclipse, I can pretty much sit down and start working. I don't have to do any special configuring or know anything special about my IDE.

If Perl is to remain a relavent language, we need to make an effort to ensure that the tools we use to write Perl in are up to date.

In short, this is a worth while effort.

I would like to see this project come true! I'm sick of eclipse and would like to have perl support in my favourite IDE, too.

Sure, I will try python or ruby if my IDE cannot support me with perl. I'm a professional in developing perl applications since 10 years now and it sure will be replaced (more or less slowly) by one of the two languages.

I still hope to have perl support in Netbeans.

Another vote of support here.

Regardless of your or my personal preference, NetBeans is a high-quality up-and-coming IDE and is gaining momentum. Having Perl support there would be a great way to promote Perl as a modern, accessible language.

The latest generation of programmers are used-to (and expect) the productivity benefits that an IDE offers. At present Eclipse/Epic is the only real option for Perl, and while it's a workable solution, it's clear from the comments here that it falls short of expectations.

Guys,

You may want to check this out : http://code.google.com/p/perl-on-netbeans/

I kinda like it. :)

Does this suggestion still get attention? I would love to see this happen as I am thinking of dabbling in perl, but I am very biased towards netbeans after one too many eclipse "gotchas".

About TPF

The Perl Foundation - supporting the Perl community since 2000. Find out more at www.perlfoundation.org.

Recent Comments

  • Shane Jennings: Does this suggestion still get attention? I would love to read more
  • John: Guys, You may want to check this out : http://code.google.com/p/perl-on-netbeans/ read more
  • Nick: Another vote of support here. Regardless of your or my read more
  • tor: I would like to see this project come true! I'm read more
  • dan brann: I would very much like to see this effort funded. read more
  • yuanyun.kenny: Hi, I am happy to find this perl support for read more
  • Z.S.: We have already started work on a Perl plugn for read more
  • lehket: I'd definitely like to see this happen. I'm using Netbeans read more
  • lehket: I'd definitely like to see this happen. I'm using Netbeans read more
  • Arijs : In terms of bonalnoy erudition - grammotno done! read more

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Alberto Simões published on May 1, 2008 9:00 PM.

2008Q2 Grant Proposal - SMOP: Simple Meta Object Programming was the previous entry in this blog.

2008Q2 Grant Proposal - Perl 6 Tables is the next entry in this blog.

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