A friend recently asked me if he could do it. I searched for like 2-3 hours and was able to get everything set up.
Disclaimer: If you REALLY wish to do it, here’s how.
You NEED to have Arduino IDE on your PC, too. Download it from the official site.
First Download and Install Netbeans 8.1 from the website for C/C++ development or the complete package. I have tested this with the MinGW compiler on my PC. GnuMake apparently works too. I have my Arduino installed at C:\arduino-1.6.5-r5. Please replace the path to your installation in each step in order for this to work.
Now install the Arduino plugin for Netbeans from this link. It is in the .nbm file format. Navigate to Tools>Plugins and install select the nbm file. Click on install and follow the regular installation instructions to install the plugin.
Next you need to make changes to the system Path variables file. For this go to the Control Panel on your PC and search for Edit System Environment Variables. In the Path variable, add a semicolon and paste the directory link to the avr-g++ compiler such as C:\arduino-1.6.5-r5\hardware\tools\avr\bin. Here’s a screenshot that shows you how.
In the end, open Netbeans and make a new Arduino project. In the Tools>Options>C/C++ tab, make a new build tool and enter settings as the given screenshot.
If you wish to have code completion, add the following paths in the code assistance tab.
And voila. You have your IDE set up for Arduino development. It is useful because it helps you restructure your code and have a lot of header files in folders and subfolders, that Arduino doesn’t support otherwise.
It is still a tedious method as you have to enter COM ports manually in the Makefile in order to upload. The output files are generated nevertheless, which can be converted into hex files for manual upload. But as I said, if you want to do it, yep you know now.