The last session is over and, in total, John and I have now retrained 47 Java instructors from all over the world. In the first session, in Munich, we retrained 4 instructors, 14 in a virtual session from Munich, 9 in the live session near London yesterday, and 20 today in the on-line session. The 20 instructors that we dealt with today logged in from Germany, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Scotland, England, and South Africa. Not bad. It was actually pretty cool.
The following is a list of questions that I wasn't able to answer or suggestions that I think would be good improvements for NetBeans:
- Local history. There were two instructors today who were quite well versed in IntelliJ. They asked whether it is possible to see the "local history" of a file. For example, they wanted to see what a file looked like two hours ago, without using CVS. Sounds like a useful feature to me. I think I'd think it would be cool if we had it in NetBeans.
- Database support issues. When I demonstrated the "View Table" menu item, which shows the data of the selected table inside the IDE, someone asked: "What happens if I have millions of records in my database? How does the IDE deal with that? Are they all displayed? If so, does that not eat up a lot of resources?" There was also a question about whether it is a good idea to have the Embedded Derby driver and the Net Derby Driver on the same port, as it is now.
- Resource bundles and Russian. One instructor that we had in our course today is based in St. Petersburg. He shared his IDE installation with the class, so that everyone could see it, and then showed us the contents of his Russian resource bundle. It was garbage. It was not Russian at all. What needs to be changed, and where, in order to see the contents of a resource bundle in the IDE in Russian?
- Is there integration for... XDoclet, Axis, Maven, Portlets? These were the 4 "integration" questions that came up today. I gave them the answer that Milos gave in the comments from a recent blog entry (thanks Milos) and at the end of the day I showed them Rudolf Balada's photos of the release party (and now they also all know what Jarda looks like and also who he is).
I haven't yet listed the issues that came up in yesterday's live session, but will do so in the coming days. I will also create issues in Issuezilla where necessary. And I'll send an e-mail to everyone we've met over the past few days, with further links for information and so on. One thing I mentioned today is that I realize that NetBeans is being "foisted" on them, i.e., they have no choice about using NetBeans in their Java courses for Sun Microsystems (and they also had no choice when it came to attending the courses). However, by the end of the one-day course, it was more than abundantly clear that NetBeans is not some kind of "corporate" product (after they saw pictures of the NetBeans team getting drunk in a dingy pub in one of the darker corner's of Prague, their entire impression of NetBeans changed radically). I said, in my final words somewhere, that if you're going to be forced to use something, you might as well be forced to use something as good as NetBeans. And, I referred them to yesterday's entry in my blog, which describes in some detail how helpful an IDE can be when teaching Java.
It's been a good and tiring week, but I've had a chance to do a few non-work things too (for example, I went to London on Wednesday, saw a friend from my university days, and then saw "Measure for Measure" by Shakespeare in the Royal National Theater, which was an unforgettable experience). I genuinely hope I'll get more chances to teach and instruct, though. Presenting NetBeans was fun: the best part of it is that NetBeans presents itself, so long as you don't get in the way, it quickly becomes clear to anyone honestly listening to your presentation that this is indeed a very good product, in terms of quality, as well as in terms of the enthusiasm and responsiveness of the people behind it.