Wednesday Jun 18, 2008

Sun Tech Days, Day 2, Manila, 2008

I spent the day at the NetBeans booth and learned the following things:

  1. MySQL VP Kaj Arnö likes NetBeans. A lot. I met Leonid, who is Vladimir Voskresensky's manager at Sun in St. Peterburg. Vladimir is known in the NetBeans community as the main engineer behind the C/C++ support for NetBeans IDE. He learned Java from scratch while writing the plugin for C/C++ in NetBeans and he was interviewed some years ago here. Anyway, Leonid told me that yesterday Vladimir demoed how MySQL can be developed within NetBeans to Kaj Arnö. As a result, Kaj Arnö has a new favourite answer to the request "so tell me an example of technical advantages resulting from Sun’s acquisition of MySQL". Read all about his rave review of Vladimir's demo yesterday here in his blog. By the way, Vladimir's also in the final stages of having a completed Russian translation of "Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform". Is he a rock star or what.

  2. Today I saw more teachers in one room than I've seen since leaving high school. Seriously, every other person I spoke to handed me a business card from a university. Several of them were introduced to and will start participating in it soon—contributing Java lesson plans and downloading those provided by others. That's great news and completely unexpected. Several of them will be in the NetBeans Platform Certified Engineering course tomorrow and seemed to be really looking forward to it. Plus, a few random people who Tim and I met will also be joining the course, so it sounds like there should be around 25 people there in total, tomorrow and Saturday from 9.00 to 14.00.

  3. Ruth's Tips & Tricks book is the hottest thing in town. I feel sorry for Ruth—I must have sent her something like 15 different e-mails today with the names of people who want to beg, borrow, or steal the 100 NetBeans Tips & Tricks book. And that was only those who asked about it after I decided to write to her every time someone came to ask the question, rather than write it down in my notebook and postpone forever the actual sending of the emails in question. I hope the book will be publicly available soon, with its own site and so on, but I believe that that hasn't quite happened yet.

  4. JFugue and FreeTTS are great for demos. I did a fun demo (described elsewhere in this blog some years ago), consisting of a web service client that integrates with a Shakespeare text retrieval web service, with the results recited by "kevin16", once of the voices provided by FreeTTS, who then recites the returned Shakespeare text. Similarly, I did a demo where the user types some letters into a text field (from A to G) which is then played back as notes by means of the JFugue JAR. These are fun demos to do, highlighting the fun aspect of Java programming while enabling you to promote open source and showing how a variety of different technologies and tools can be mashed up together to create relatively useful results.

  5. Groovy is hot in the Philippines, Wicket is hot in Singapore. At some point I thought I should count the number of people who asked me about Groovy and NetBeans. Apart from the questions "can I have a NetBeans t-shirt" and "can I have a tips and tricks book", one of the next most common questions must have been about Groovy. And get this—I met two Wicket enthusiasts from Singapore who work there for Sun. So I demoed the Wicket plugin to them. They said that they can see a clear increase in interest in Wicket, not just in Singapore but more generally too. It's lightweight and clean and you avoid the intricacies of JavaScript when doing Ajax. So, they were very favorably impressed about it and have been discussing it with their customers.

I'm hoping to be able to publish several photos taken at the booth, during the coming days. Inevitably, my camera's battery died at the moment I tried to take my first pic of the day, but several of the booth's visitors took pictures and should be sending them to me soon. It was really cool to meet them all.

Finally, I demoed two hidden NetBeans features, both of which are very impressive. I learned about both of them in the last two days and, no, neither of them are keyboard shortcuts. They're extremely substantial features that have been part of NetBeans for a while... and I'll discuss them here (or on NetBeans Zone) soon.

Sun Tech Days, Day 1, Manila, 2008

It was a funny day where many things happened, i.e., day 1 of Sun Tech Days 2008 in Manila, Philippines. Most of the day I was at the NetBeans booth in this sumptious hotel where we're all staying and where the conference is being held. The cool thing about that was that I was able to prepare my presentation for 17.30 this afternoon, named "Using NetBeans for Your Existing Projects", while sitting at the booth. (I also did quite a bit of work for Javalobby while there.) The problem statement is that it's easy for NetBeans enthusiasts to say "just download NetBeans and start it up, then you'll be able to use it right away". However, in the real world, you have existing projects, rather than new ones. How can you bring those existing projects into NetBeans (or use them from within NetBeans)? That's what my presentation was about and here it is:


About 500 attended (the photo would have been almost the same as yesterday's, so I didn't make one) and I gave away several of Ruth's "100 NetBeans IDE Tips & Tricks" books (which were in great demand), as well as some t-shirts, to those who answered my obscure questions correctly. Two t-shirts were given away to people who got the anagram in the Anagram Game correct (one of the answers was "unabstentious", which is a bizarre word in every sense). I showed how the NetBeans Ant-based project system works, how to work with JUnit sources in Eclipse and NetBeans, via the Eclipse importer, how to work with Spring (or any web application) in Eclipse and NetBeans, how to import an application (JEdit) that already has a build.xml file, as well as how to work with a Maven project in Eclipse and NetBeans. The argument wasn't so much that "you should move from Eclipse to NetBeans", but "both Eclipse and NetBeans are great tools, and this is how you can benefit from the best of both of them".

Wen Huang, from the Sun marketing area, was also at the booth. He told Tim and I about the fact that Eclipse's latest release comes with "breadcrumbs" for opened documents. That I remembered seeing (and liking) in IntelliJ:

Tim immediately set about creating the same functionality for NetBeans IDE. His version consists of JLabels, but I've been playing with JCheckBoxes instead:

And here's the two of us in a mock pose, i.e., the pose that one typically finds in brochures that include computers:

We met lots of nice people, some of whom wanted to be in a photo with us or get our autographs, which was always fun:

I talked to Chuk Munn Lee for the first time in forever. He's one of my favorite Sun speakers. I attended part of his Groovy/Grails session (the only session other than my own that I attended today). He said he knew about the new NetBeans support for Groovy/Grails but that he hasn't had the time to play with it yet. I'm hoping that his next Groovy/Grails session will include NetBeans tooling. By the way, Chuk doesn't think that Holland has much of a chance in the Eurocup. Seems like he thinks the first two MASSIVE victories were flukes or something. He does fancy Portugal, though. His prediction is Portugal-Holland in the final, after I spent some minutes persuading him of Holland's newly found brilliance. I mean, come on, 3-0 against Italy followed by 4-1 against France. How can you argue about that?

The evening ended with Tim and me at the hotel bar, listening to a skimpily dressed trio of girls (backed by three guys on drums and guitar) singing selected items from the genre that includes "smooth operator" and "as soon as forever is through, I'll be over you". I made a picture but it ended up looking a bit dubious so I decided not to post it here. :-)


Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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