The Divas are Joining the NetBeans World

We have been very silent in this blog lately because we (along with Cindy and Joe) have been busy writing a new set of tutorials for the upcoming Visual Web Pack for NetBeans 5.5. For those of you who have been building web apps using the NetBeans IDE, I think you will find the Creator-like WYSIWYG Visual Designer a nice enhancement. The Visual Web Pack also comes with a cool set of JSF components, including some Ajax enabled components. To build a web page, you drag components from a Palette and drop them on the page. You can then configure the components using the Properties sheet, and you can bind the components to data sources and managed bean properties. The IDE synchronizes the visual work with the JSP, page beans, and web.xml.

For those of you who are using the Sun Java Sudio Creator IDE, there are many similarities, but the Visual Web Pack is not Creator-on-top-of-NetBeans. One advantage of using the NetBeans Visual Web Pack instead of Creator is that it supports:

  • JavaServer Faces 1.2 and JavaServer pages 2.1
  • Java SE 5 and Java EE 5
  • Sun Java System Application Server 9 (also know as GlassFish) and Tomcat 5.5

Another advantage is that NetBeans provides support for building web services and EJBs, so you can build and consume them in the same IDE. You will also find better support for building your Java classes and packages. A trade off is that there is less automation and synchronization. You have to manually implement some of the stuff that Sun Java Studio Creator does for you.

The date that the technology preview for the Visual Web Pack will be available is approaching. Because it is a technology preview, I wouldn't recommending using it for any production work, but you do want to check it out.

So far, we have been focusing on how to make our tutorials work with the Visual Web Pack. Soon, we hope to explore how to use the NetBeans features to facilitate the web development process and how to use the JavaServer Pages 2.1, JavaServer Faces 1.2, and J2EE 5 enhancements. Some of the JSF and JSP features that I look forward to checking out are:

  • Unified EL language and support for the forEach tag with JSF components.
  • Easier to interweave JSP with JSF tags.
  • Ability to add custom required, converter, and validator messages for a component and to include the name of the component in error messages.
  • Improved state-saving makes it easier to have multi-window web apps and provides better support for the back button (hurray!).
  • Resource injection instead of deployment descriptor entries making it easier to inject container-managed objects such as data sources and web services.

Hello: How does this affect Creator....should I switch to Net Beans 5.5....I think you should address this. Thanks for all the help. Mark

Posted by Mark Downer on October 20, 2006 at 01:41 AM PDT #

If you really need or want to use Java EE 5 or JSF 1.2/JSP 2.1 then you might want to use NetBeans Visual Web Pack until there is a Creator release that supports this new technology. But if you are not anxious for the new technology, then you have to weigh the pros and cons. I don't feel comfortable making such recommendations, but if I was in the middle of a project, I personally wouldn't switch unless I really needed to - but again, that is my own personal opinion based on past experiences of changing technologies in the middle of a project. Another reason to switch is if you are developing EJBs or web services and you would really like to do all your work in one IDE. The idea of the Visual Web Pack is to bring the visual development experience to NetBeans users.

Posted by guest on October 20, 2006 at 01:58 AM PDT #

Thanks....I will stick with Creator for now....I will start to check out NetBeans. Mark

Posted by Mark Downer on October 20, 2006 at 02:35 AM PDT #

We'r developing property valuation system using Creator and Netbeans. I have installed the Visual Web Pack and tried. It looks very nice. I have read in the forums saying that if I convert the Creator project to Netbeans VWP creator will not be able to open the project. Is there any plans to release next version of Creator with new technolgy like JSF 1.2, J2EE 5 or VWP will be Sun's recomened tool? Sri Thuraisamy

Posted by Sri Thuraisamy on November 05, 2006 at 08:00 PM PST #

Before I answer your first question about developing in VWP and then opening in the Sun Java Studio Creator IDE, I think I will try it myself and report back. Lots of variables there (See For info on porting from the IDE to NetBeans, watch Jame's blog ( About future Sun Java Studio Creator plans, check out Hope this helps.

Posted by Diva#2 on November 07, 2006 at 06:40 AM PST #

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