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Geertjan's Blog

  • January 30, 2006

Another Useless NetBeans IDE Tutorial

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Imagine you're me. You spend quite a bit of time writing tutorials for plug-in module development in NetBeans IDE 5.0. For example, you write the NetBeans Help System Plug-in Tutorial. Step by step, the reader is shown how to create all the twiddly little files that are needed before you can start writing help files for your helpsystem. (And, at the end, the reader has fallen into a cunning trap—ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not including a helpsystem with their plug-in module.) But, then, you look in the latest builds, that are available from the download page on http://www.netbeans.org. What do you see in the New File wizard!? Well, take look at this picture:

Now, if you're me (and probably, only if you're me), you're thinking: "Doh! Now my &%$#@$%$# tutorial is obsolete!" However, if you're the rest of the world, it's great news—setting up a helpsystem is as simple as selecting a template from the New File wizard. And then you get all the basic files you need, including a sample HTML file (which has a small tribute to the tutorial—the sample text you'll find in this template is "This is the greatest plug-in in the world!"). All you then need to do is create a property called "jhall.jar" in the nbproject/private.properties file (so that you can compile the helpsystem) and then you can just start adding HTML files and linking them together (don't forget to register each topic in the map file, table of contents file, and index file).

By the way, if you look at the screenshot above, you'll see two additional brand new templates: "Module Installer" and "Update Center". Now, I'm not sure what that Module Installer template is all about, but that Update Center template looks pretty interesting, hmmm... let's take it for a spin...

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Comments ( 5 )
  • Rich Unger Monday, January 30, 2006
    Just a guess, but probably "Module Installer" makes a ModuleInstall subclass, which contains hooks for managing the module's lifecycle. For example, my JDIC browser module uses the restored() hook to set heavyweight popup menus so that netbeans menus can render over top of the (natively rendered) browser.
  • Martin Krauskopf Tuesday, January 31, 2006
    Rich is right about "Module Installer". Its formal specification may be seen here (search for Module Installer)
  • vm Tuesday, January 31, 2006
    Why are all screenshots @sun on 'doze ?
    What happened to the plan to 'move' people to sun's version of linux/solaris ? Even all the developers seem to be using windows !
    Occasionally, I see a $hitty one on linux, with extremely bad fonts and graphics, reminding one of linux 7 years ago. That must be sun's version of linux and one can see WHY no one else wants to use it.
    For heaven's sake, at least switch to OS-X, if unix/linux is too much for the nancies at sun.
  • Geertjan Wednesday, February 1, 2006
    That's a fair comment, VM. On the other hand, many users out there use Windows, hence, since we, as doc writers write for a broad range of users, our using Windows makes sense. However, I should really move to Linux soon. Secondly, though, I looked up your word "nancies" (and I assumed the singular is "nancy"), and found this definition (here): "Used as a disparaging term for an effeminate man, especially a homosexual man." Which is interesting.
  • fire Wednesday, February 1, 2006
    when is the release day of netbeans 5 final?? cannot wait any more
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