Version 7. 0 of the NetBeans open source IDE is due in April, featuring capabilities for Java SE 7, as well as faster deployment to the WebLogic Server application server, according to the NetBeans Oracle-sponsored website.

NetBeans has served as the chief rival to the Eclipse Foundation's Eclipse IDE. In a beta release stage since mid-November, NetBeans 7.0 includes backing for Java Development Kit 7, which encompasses version 7 of the standard edition of Java. JDK 7 capabilities cited on the NetBeans 7 release notes include editor enhancements such as code completion and backing for Project Coin, which offers "small language" changes such as type inferencing.

"[Version 7.0] also provides enhanced integration with the Oracle WebLogic server, as well as support for Oracle Database and GlassFish 3.1. Additional highlights include Maven 3 and HTML5 editing support, a new GridBagLayout designer for improved Swing GUI development, enhanced support for executing and debugging standalone Java EE applications, enhancements to the Java editor, and more," according to the NetBeans 7.0 release notes.

The beta version is available for download.

Previously a Sun Microsystems-led project, the IDE fell into Oracle's purview when it acquired Sun Microsystems last year. Although Oracle already was backing the Eclipse IDE and its own JDeveloper Java IDE, it has maintained an interest in NetBeans.

Enterprise Java capabilities cited for NetBeans 7.0 include improved support for CDI (Contexts and Dependency Injection), REST services, and Java Persistence, along with new support for Bean Validation and backing for JSF (JavaServer Faces) component libraries.

Version 7.0 includes enhanced profiler integration as well as less-intrusive checking for external changes when switching between the IDE and other programs. Other features include a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) formatter and capabilities for PHP and C/C++.

Oracle database capabilities noted for version 7.0 include a simplified connection wizard, guided installation to the JDBC driver, and editing and deployment of stored procedures.

The NetBeans release road map also cites a NetBeans 7.1 IDE due in September. NetBeans works on Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris. Along with the IDE, the project features an application platform for developers to build Web, enterprise, desktop, and mobile applications using Java as well as JavFX, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby and other languages.