June 22, 2018

JBuilder 3: Building Java Apps Under Linux - page 6

Freely Available: JBuilder 3 Foundation for Linux

  • February 10, 2000
  • By Eric Foster-Johnson

Like most IDEs, JBuilder includes an integrated debugger. Turn on the debugging information setting to run the debugger after compiling code. This allows stepping through applications and helps track down problems.

An online tutorial helps you get started using the editor, UI designer, debugger and other modules.

A number of wizards dialogs that lead step-by-step through some tasks help speed up development. For example, the Project Wizard walks through the process of setting up a new project. Since JBuilder is built around a project-based organization, this can really help.

An object gallery lists wizards available by object type, such as applications or applets. For example, Applet Wizard helps create applets. The wizard automates creating a shell applet Java source file as well as a shell HTML file to launch the applet.

You can customize a lot of JBuilder, including where the integrated text editor places the curly braces that begin a block. You can use the end of line style (often called Kernighan and Ritchie, or K&R style, named for the coding style used in their book, the C Programming Language). For example:

public void doMyStuff() {
    if (condition) {

You can also place the beginning curly brace on the next line, like so:

public void doMyStuff()
    if (condition)

A handy setting permits changing this on a project-by-project basis.

In addition to the per-project settings, there are also controls for the IDE application in general. For example, switch between the IBM Common User Access, or CUA, and emacs settings. While the online help lists all the key bindings for both settings, it never gets around to explaining what CUA is in the first place. (CUA was originally developed by IBM, but most people are familiar with it from Windows. CUA defines the very basics of how a graphical interface should behave. Motif applications and the OS/2 Presentation Manager also follow the CUA guidelines. The main aspect of CUA lies in the keyboard shortcuts, which are quite different from emacs. For example, with CUA, you use Ctrl-X for cut, Ctrl-C for copy, and Ctrl-V for paste, which originated in the Macintosh interface.)

I couldn't find how to switch the editor entirely to something like emacs. But then, if you really want to use emacs, you more than likely won't enjoy using an integrated development environment.

One thing I really liked in the editor was a set of code templates, which allow you to more quickly enter common Java patterns. For example, the try-catch block:

try { 
catch (Exception ex) { 

This code template places the cursor inside the try block, so you can just start typing. The neat thing about these templates is that you can alter them to suit your preferences.

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