Getting Started With the Hiking Log Application

by John Zukowski

Since we began demonstrating the Abook application in the Java Fundamentals newsletter and blog, NetBeans IDE 6.0 has come out. So before getting into the details of the database design of the new Hiking Log application, let's make sure that your setup is up-to-date and includes the necessary plugins.

Before getting started, make sure you have JDK 6 installed on your system. After you have set up the JDK on your local system, follow the Download link from the NetBeans IDE 6.0 home page to get the newest version of the IDE.

Get at least the Java SE version. You initially won't need the Web & Java EE version, though a later blog entry in this series will cover web deployment of the developed application. You can also get the All packaging if you plan to work with C, C++, or Ruby. If you download only the Java SE version now, you can add the extra feature packs later by using the NetBeans Plugin Manager.

After downloading, go through the IDE Installer, making sure to read the updated licensing agreement. The 21 MB Java SE download will expand to just under 100 MB once installed, so be sure to have enough free disk space. The other releases require even more space.

Once it is installed, start NetBeans IDE 6.0. If you previously had version 5.5 installed, the startup process will ask whether you wish to import the prior settings. Keep them if you like, or delete them and start over. If you click on the What's New link under Getting Started, this takes you to a web page with information on editor improvements, as well as more complete installation instructions.

In addition to the basic IDE installation, make sure you have all the necessary plugins, or at least those you initially think you will need. Under the Tools menu, select the Plugins option. This will bring up the Plugins window, from which you should select the Available Plugins tab. The number after Available Plugins on the tab represents the number of plugins available.

Be sure to download at least the jMaki Ajax Support Plugin, which will enable you to connect the Hiking Log application to Google Maps. If you did not download the Web & Java EE version, you can install various packages for that setup here. If you did download that version, this is also where you can uninstall any elements you are not interested in. At least select the checkbox next to jMaki and then press the Install button to go through the NetBeans IDE Plugin Installer. You'll need to press Next a few times, then read and agree to some other licensing terms before you can work with the plugin. Once you have installed the plugins, restart the IDE. If you'd like to look at jMaki sooner rather than later, visit the jMaki home page to find documentation and demos.

That's really it for installation and getting started, assuming you'll be using Sun's JDK 6. If not, you'll need to get the Derby libraries from Apache, which is what will be used here. If you prefer, you can use MySQL, though this blog will not offer instructions for use of that open-source database.

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