NetBeans Platform Learning Trail

Last reviewed on 2022-01-14

What is the NetBeans Platform?

The NetBeans Platform is a broad Java framework on which you can base large desktop applications.

See a list of NetBeans based applications that have been built on top of the NetBeans platform.

The fact that we use the NetBeans Platform to build the NetBeans IDE does not mean that you can only build IDEs with it. People design planes, manage airports and harbors, manage satellite earth stations, build passenger information systems, design radar systems, play music, paint complex graphs and more using the NetBeans Platform.

The NetBeans Platform contains APIs that simplify the handling of windows, actions, files, user selection and many other things typical in desktop based applications. This greatly makes things easier for you, reducing the time-to-market required to create great applications.

Of course great power comes with great responsiblity, so you have to learn how to use the NetBeans Platform before taking advantage of its full potential. This page may be of help.


This section contains links to books, refcards, blogs and videos that you may consider useful while learning the NetBeans Platform.


This is a list of books that may help you get started. Some of them are somewhat old, but NetBeans main concepts have not evolved that much, and most of them are still up to date.

Reference cards

The dzone Essential NetBeans Platform Refcard may be of interest to you.


Our wiki’s NetBeans Developer FAQ has interesting "tricks" you may want to take a look at. NetBeans APIs idioms is also useful to know the answers to many frequent questions.


Some blogs you may find of interest:


We have a YouTube channel with many videos you may want to check.

Community-Contributed Docs

The community has also contributed documentation along the years. Let us know if you want yours included here!

NetBeans Platform Tutorials


We have ported the NetBeans Tutorials to this site, but some of the tutorials need a review.

You can help us improve the tutorials following these contribution guidelines.

Extending the NetBeans Platform

The NetBeans module system is very extensible, meaning that you can add features through different mechanisms: the Java’s service provider interface, the Lookup API (that also works with the service provider interface) and the concept of "layers" (that works in a similar way to the Windows registry).

Using OSGi modules with the NetBeans Platform

You can use OSGi modules within a NetBeans Platform.

Testing and diagnostics

When building applications on top of the NetBeans Platform you want, of course, to test things. Also to diagnose what’s going on. These are of help:

Building custom project types

Since we use the NetBeans Platform to build the NetBeans IDE, we use objects known as "Projects" to represent Java, PHP or C/C++ "projects".

You can use "projects" to represent a set of files or concepts organized in a hierarchy. Be either the list of rails in a train station, or a hierarchy of parts of a component you’re designing.

These tutorials explain how to extend existing project types or to create your own.


We use "templates" to create files with some predefined content.

Property editors

When you select an object in your application, the "Property Editor" window automatically shows the properties of the object. Be it a plane, a train or a satellite.

Quick search, Ribbon bars, Wizards

The IDE has specific components that help you create quick search fields, ribbon bars and wizards.

Ant and Maven

These are tutorials on how to use Ant and Maven with the NetBeans Platform.

API Reference