Netbeans 4.0 Beta 1 – first impressions

The potential is great but I have mixed first feelings.
Netbeans 4.1 splashThe new Netbeans is (Ant) project oriented a la Eclipse, IntelliJ and others. Point at an Ant build script, and Netbeans will try to pick out source, target and library directories. No more mounting ad hoc mounting of directories, things have to be more organised.
Refactoring has a dedicated menu option. You will be able to rename and move classes around; Netbeans will search all of the code base and reflect the changes.
Multiple build targets is something that has always been lacking. Finally Netbeans 4.0 allows you to define a build target for each source path. Build your Servlets, EJB implementations, interfaces, utilities and etc to different targets.
I know this is just a first beta (the final release is scheduled for December 2004) but there were exceptions all over the place. Possibly because I tried to open two medium to large sized existing projects. Had I started creating a small project from scratch, it would have given NB 4.0b1 a more fair chance.
The J2EE development support preview coming in October will be interesting. Additional exciting coming feature is the Profiler. I have already tried the stand-alone preview and once again it did not manage to profile two of our main projects due to exceptions 🙁
Here is a good document on how to move from Netbeans 3.6 to Netbeans 4.0.