Of all the Java components, the future of NetBeans is the most unclear under Oracle. Nothing concrete has been announced by Oracle, except to say that NetBeans will continue as a "lightweight" IDE for Java developers. Although what lightweight translates to exactly is uncertain, Oracle did say that NetBeans will remain a focus for Java ME, Java EE, and script-based development, with an added focus on mobile development and dynamic language programming.
However, Oracle JDeveloper and Eclipse remain strategic areas of focus for Java development going forward. JDeveloper is an integrated component in Oracle's Fusion middleware suite, and Oracle will remain a contributor to the Eclipse IDE as part of its Enterprise Pack for Eclipse 11g offering.
I assume Oracle will focus on existing and new tools around JavaFX content authoring, UI composition, as well as for the deployment, and management of Java and JavaFX applications. I personally would like to see NetBeans remain a strong Java IDE offering, having grown a fondness for it since switching to it in 2006. Hopefully Oracle will clarify its actual plans for the IDE in the near future
While the wheeling and dealing of the corporate world rarely affect developer communities as a whole, the Oracle acquisition of Sun will have far-reaching affects for years to come. And while the profitability of individual Oracle products may not concern you, as a developer, the most interesting points remain to be the:
- Combination of HotSpot and JRockit into an uber-JVM
- Unification of the Java SE and Java ME APIs
- Increased investment in JavaFX onto more platforms
- Continued integration of dynamic languages into the JVM.