HOWTO configure NetBeans with ns-3

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Basic Configuration

Idea taken from ns-3-users group post.

Makefile wrapper

NetBeans needs a Makefile to recognize a project as such. Create a file named Makefile inside ns-3-dev directory, containing the following.

# Makefile wrapper for waf


# free free to change this part to suit your requirements
	./waf configure --enable-examples --enable-tests

	./waf build

	./waf install

	./waf clean

	./waf distclean

Importing project

  • Run "./waf shell", and then in the same terminal start NetBeans using "netbeans" command.
    • Inside NetBeans go to File->New Project..., choose C/C++->C++ Project with Existing Sources, and click Next >.
    • Choose ns-3-dev under Specify the folder that contains existing sources: and make sure that Auotomatic (using Makefile) is selected under Select Configuration Mode:. Click Finish.
    • Waf clean and build get executed by NetBeans, this may take some time.

Editing project properties

  • Right click on ns-3-dev in Projects and select Properties.
    • Under Run, Set Run Command to "./build/examples/tutorial/ns3-dev-first-debug" or any executable you want to run and debug.
      • If you want to set it to "/build/examples/tutorial/ns3-dev-first-debug" make sure you used "--enable-examples" option in "./waf configure" under Makefile.

Running programs

  • Click Run Project (ns-3-dev) button.

Debugging programs

  • Set breakpoints and click Debug Project (ns-3-dev) button.
  • To debug a running ns-3 program, use Attach Debugger... under Debug menu or Debug Project (ns-3-dev) button dropdown.


  • Q: Code Assistance doesn't work in a particular file.
    • A: Doing the following two things usually solves this.
      • Right click on ns-3-dev in Projects and select Code Assistance->Reparse Project.
      • Change something in that particular file, save it and use Build Project (ns-3-dev) button or Run Project (ns-3-dev) button.