Source nostalgia

08 February 2020

I had lots of fun a while back restoring my first PC, a beige Cyrix desktop with 16MB of EDO RAM. Nostalgia is a powerful sentiment and with some added skills I could finally look back at the technology that had the biggest initial impact on me.

The NetBeans involvement feels similar: it's inward looking, it's about understanding. "Coagula" following the initial "solve".

CoolBeans was also an experiment poking into the IDE market and seeing how a lifestyle product could exist there. In that regard, the answer was a clear "no". There is a market for tooling, but not one for a NetBeans distribution.

OpenBeans is no longer a product but a personal exploration and restoration project.


OpenBeans 2019.12 released

23 January 2020

OpenBeans 2019.12 has been released. Since no major issues were reported, these are the exact same bits as the OpenBeans 2019.12 beta.

If you are using an older OpenBeans or CoolBeans then this release will bring you some new goodies since it's built on top of NetBeans 11.2u1 with AdoptOpenJDK 11.0.5.

Grab the latest installers from the main page.


OpenBeans 2019.12 beta

03 December 2019

The OpenBeans 2019.12 beta has been published.

Grab the latest installers from GitHub.


CoolBeans Open Sourced

07 November 2019

CoolBeans has been open-sourced. The project uses the same simple license as OpenBSD.

CoolBeans fulfilled an important role end of 2018 when people were still waiting on a NetBeans release. It was downloaded massively those first months. The NetBeans April 2019 release gave the world the Java Enterprise modules and this made things a bit calmer.

CoolBeans was also an attempt at creating a lifestyle business which would support more involvement into open-source Apache NetBeans.

Since CoolBeans was thought out as a distribution it switched during development to pkgsrc. The pkgsrc and Java combination is probably unheard of but it made sense for the purpose of the project. The 2019.06 release source tree fits onto a floppy disk but produces an 1GB application!

The closed-source nature of CoolBeans had the role of not to splintering the community. NetBeans was still under incubation in 2018, the author was in the PPMC and didn't want to create a fork. Of course, by being close sourced it was also supposed to encourage companies to buy licenses.

CoolBeans will continue to be maintained in the future.

A ports tree with the existing 3rd party open-source modules has been planned for a long time and having everything in the open might just make it happen sooner.

To celebrate open-sourcing, CoolBeans will be rebranded in the future as OpenBeans and the new site will be The previous brand and website will be active in parallel for a while.


CoolBeans installers available via torrents

14 October 2019

I'm noticing more partial downloads with the OVH server, which means there may be some throttling from the OVH side which interrupts downloads mid-way.

This means that soon I will have to start another Scaleway download mirror. And, perhaps, move entirely to Scaleway.

In the meantime I've added torrent download links for all the CoolBeans installers. I always assumed this is really hard to do but it turns out to be quite easy with transmission-daemon.

I suspect torrent downloads will do wonders for countries further away from Europe, where the servers are.


CoolBeans via Homebrew

28 July 2019

CoolBeans has been included in Homebrew right after the initial release, all thanks to Tushar Joshi.

Still due to Tushar Joshi there is now a special "tap" for it. To install CoolBeans with Homebrew you need to run these commands:

brew tap emilianbold/coolbeans
brew cask install coolbeans

That's it.


CoolBeans 2019.06 released

23 July 2019

CoolBeans 2019.06 has been released! CoolBeans 2019.06 uses the Apache NetBeans 11.1 branch. So any NetBeans project will open without problems.

On top of that we have:

  • Bundled JDK. The macOS/Windows installers include AdoptOpenJDK 11.0.3 so you don't need anything else to start coding.
  • Native notifications. All the IDE notification will be shown using the macOS/Windows/Linux notification system.
  • Compact diff window. Which allows you to see a few more lines of text. Perfect on smaller laptop displays.
  • Error reporter. You can upload errors directly to the server so they get looked at later.
  • Java: Online Maven support. Maven queries will be sent to Maven Central instead of downloading the Maven Central cache which takes GBs of your disk.
  • Java: Fixed Profiler on Windows 64bit
  • Java: Re-added WildFlyAS support
  • Java: Bundled nb-javac. For the best Java support.
  • JS: Bundled JS libraries.
  • JavaFX: Bundled JavaFX libraries.
  • C/C++ support
  • Signed installers. So you know you run unaltered bits.

Grab the latest from the download page.


CoolBeans 2019.06 final beta

15 July 2019

The CoolBeans 2019.06 beta has been updated. This is the final beta before the release and unless something happens this build will become the actual release.

Compared to the previous beta build we now have:

  • New splash screen and icons
  • AdoptOpenJDK 11.0.3 across the board: macOS, Win 32bit and Win 64bit
  • Latest nb-java-x from Oracle (which means all Java editor features work best)
  • Using the NetBeans 11.1 branch
  • Recompiled Windows launcher with proper icon and version info
  • Better Windows shortcuts to prevent a rare "platform encoding not initialized" Java error

Grab the latest beta from the beta download page.


CoolBeans 2019.06 beta update

23 June 2019

The CoolBeans 2019.06 beta has been updated. Mark J Koch found a super-interesting bug in the macOS notifications code. Thanks Mark!

Grab the latest beta from the beta download page.


Snowdrop edition

22 February 2019

The lastest CoolBeans includes Maven remote search (which should save you some GB of disk space), native OS notifications (on Windows, macOS and Linux) as well as the C/C++ modules.


C/C++ Beta

16 February 2019

Go to the beta page to download the latest CoolBeans build with the C/C++ modules.

Everything else is about the same, the major changes have actually been in the way I'm building CoolBeans. I am using pkgsrc now which is really odd for a Java project but seems to fit really well with a distribution. What this means is more builds in the future!


Signed Windows installer

24 January 2019

The CoolBeans Windows installer is now digitally signed. If you already have CoolBeans running you don't have to do anything as there are no other changes.

As an addition, a Windows 32-bit installer was created. Turns out there are still systems being built and sold with Windows 32-bit (although the processor might be 64-bit). And as a bonus, the 32-bit CoolBeans comes with the latest Java 11.0.2 (all the other packages are still on Java 10.0.2).


CoolBeans Philosophy

15 January 2019

You will not find the CoolBeans source code anywhere because it's not public. CoolBeans is not Open-Source.

What?, I hear you say. But you are contributing to Apache NetBeans, how could you do this to CoolBeans?

Well, Apache NetBeans is one reason. I don't want with CoolBeans to create another community, I don't want to fork NetBeans, I don't want to break the community, I don't want contributors to have to think were to go. If you want to improve the IDE, join me on Apache NetBeans!

CoolBeans is just my attempt at covering a void left for users after NetBeans 8.2. Users need an installer, a bundled Java runtime, they need the JavaEE and C/C++ and other plugins, and they needed them last year!

CoolBeans will also be the place where I could add some features I deem essential, like native OS notifications. I tried doing many such features as Open-Source plugins or tangential projects (Retina icons), but I think what I had in mind was a vision for the whole IDE. Having actual results to show would allow me to push these features even faster into Apache NetBeans.

CoolBeans is also not Open-Source because an ugly shell script will do wonders for end-users but will be judged to no end if other folks look at it. The sausage does not get made in a laboratory.

That being said, I would love to hear from people that do want to improve CoolBeans too! Don't imagine a discussion has to start with a PR, write an email instead.

Still, will CoolBeans be Open-Source some day? Of course.


CoolBeans 2018.12.1 for macOS released

04 January 2019

CoolBeans 2018.12.1 for macOS has been released. Existing users can stick with the existing install if CoolBeans starts properly.

This release fixes a launcher bug discovered by John Jacoby. CoolBeans could not start on macOS if the .app had been moved to another folder compared to the one where it was initially started from. The workaround was manually deleting the ~/Library/Caches/CoolBeans/2018.12/ folder.

The cause was a typo in the CoolBeans launcher which worked fine on macOS as it is running by default on a case-insensitive filesystem. Still, the NetBeans caching code could not compute relative paths anymore so it stored absolute paths in the cache. The absolute paths meant that when the moved .app started it looked for modules in the old place, found none, then froze.


Early 2019 plans

02 January 2019

Happy New Year!

The CoolBeans website got a lot of hits over the holidays, especially since it was linked on Hacker News. I read HN but I didn't expect that many hits. Luckily I picked a too big instance size on Google Cloud and the server worked smoothly.

Now that Apache NetBeans 10 has also been released I get a steady stream of folks in need of the JavaEE plugins. Many also want the C/C++ plugins.

Next releases

I forgot to bundle the Oracle JS module. This is available for install at runtime and shouldn't break anything but I wish I had included it just like nb-javac.

During the 1st trimester there will be another release including the C/C++ plugins.

The GlobalSign Extended Validation process for a code signing certificate is done. The hardware token has not arrived yet but safe to say Windows releases made this year will be digitally signed. (macOS images are already signed).

Known issues

  • Phillip Kruger noticed the ZIP file references a relative JRE that's not bundled. This is somewhat by design as the ZIP may be used on any OS, not only Linux, and I didn't want to include any JRE. Yet, the relative ../jre path remained from the Windows and macOS installers which do bundle OpenJDK... Adding --jdkhome solves the problem.
  • On macOS it's possible that the application crashes at start if it is moved to another folder after some time. John Jacoby discovered the bug and it seems to me to be a NetBeans caching issue (the IDE looks for the modules in the old place, doesn't find them then crashes). The workaround is to remove ~/Library/Caches/CoolBeans/2018.12/. A small release with a fix for this in the next 2 weeks.
  • John Lavelle noticed the Help buttons don't work. I assume this is due to Apache NetBeans skipping JavaHelp. CoolBeans could ship with JavaHelp.


CoolBeans 2018.12, Holiday Edition

25 December 2018

CoolBeans 2018.12 is now available for download.

CoolBeans 2018.12 is a small release compared to CoolBeans 2018.11 but it's important as it gets in sync with the Apache NetBeans 10 upstream release.

Besides that, CoolBeans now includes the Oracle nb-javac library which is really essential for a good Java editor. Also, the profiler is fixed on Windows 64 bit systems.

The update center is still not up for 2018.12 but should be next year. It's not really necessary at this point since all the bits are so fresh.

Merry Christmas!

Hello CoolBeans, what next?

21 November 2018

Today is the public release of CoolBeans. Download your next IDE.

CoolBeans is an IDE distribution, the same way Ubuntu is a Linux distribution. CoolBeans is based on Apache NetBeans!

PHP, standard Java and Java EE are included out of the box.

What next?

This is just the initial release of CoolBeans, which is compatible with Apache NetBeans 10. There is a lot of work ahead.

CoolBeans will be kept in sync with the upstream project, but also add polish, especially for native OS integration. First on the list is native notifications but more will follow.

In parallel, an open-source Plugin Portal will be built. Unlike the older NetBeans plugin portal, the new Portal will not accept or expect binaries from authors. Instead, it will track the upstream open-source plugins and provide builds made by CoolBeans infrastructure.

This already started with the easyUML plugin which is now available.

More plugins will be added and a separate Plugin Portal for closed source plugins.

Older posts are available in the archive.