The crux of the NetBeans 5.5 update is compliance with Java EE 5, which was released in May. The integrated development environment (IDE) for Java application development now offers a host of tools supporting key Java EE 5 features, such as the Java Persistence API and JAX-WS 2.0 Web services.
A full feature list for NetBeans 5.5 and the code for the free, open-source software is available on Sun's NetBeans Web site. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun concurrently released five add-on packs for service-oriented architectures (SOAs), C/C++, Web and mobile device development, and application performance testing.
NetBeans competes primarily with Eclipse, the dominant IDE for Java development. Sun's expanded NetBeans partner program is aimed at expanding the NetBeans ecosystem by spotlighting the partners working there.
"What we wanted to do was set up something specifically for companies that are building their business on NetBeans, either by building plug-ins to the NetBeans IDE or by making NetBeans part of what they're recommending to their developer communities," said Matt Volpi, Sun's product line manager for mobile tools.