Monday Nov 30, 2009

Swiss JUG and What We Forgot to Mention

As Toni reported here, we were in Zurich end of last week, where we gave a 1 hour introduction to the NetBeans Platform to the Swiss JUG. There were just under 30 people in attendance, some with a NetBeans Platform background, some with an Eclipse RCP background, some with a JSR-296 background, and some without foreknowledge of these frameworks.

Here's a pic of me and the group, taken by Toni:

Above, you see me discussing the NetBeans Platform screenshots page. More pics in Toni's album here.

Toni went through the main features and APIs of the NetBeans Platform in some detail and I did a small demo. We started with a small application:

...which I ported to the NetBeans Platform:

I then added one module, which I had simply downloaded off the web here:

And then... without any tweaking or configuration of any kind whatsoever (literally, nothing at all), I was able to run the application again, resulting in a completely new look and feel for the application:

The whole demo probably took 10 minutes. Agile desktop development with the NetBeans Platform?

That's the advantage of programming with Swing, i.e., the look and feel support, as well as the advantage of the modularity offered by the NetBeans Platform, which enables you to bundle your look and feel support into a separate module and make it available as a single unit that can simply be included with the rest of your application.

Some things we forgot to mention during the session, but which we'll remember next time:

  • The integration with Kenai lets you right-click the application and upload it to, where you can store the application for free in Subversion, CVS, or Mercurial, and where you also have the Hudson continuous build system at your disposal.

  • You can right-click the application and choose "Build ZIP Distribution", which creates a ZIP file, containing your application, as well as binaries for Unix and Windows. Choose "Build Mac OS X Application" and you'll have a Mac distro as well.

  • In addition to the books and tutorials we mentioned, we should also have mentioned the NetBeans Platform Certified Training that you can take (more details here).

It was a great time, thanks to Edwin and everyone else for organizing and attending the evening. Especially great to meet Florian Brunner (who should somehow have at least one new NetBeans Platform screenshot to share!) at last. :-) We already received some very positive feedback: Alex Hanselmann, one of the attendees, wrote to say that he'd successfully completed the NetBeans Platform Paint Tutorial. Another attendee, Steve Winnall, is in the process of converting an application to a Maven-based NetBeans Platform application. This document by Emilian Bold should certainly help him get started!

Book Statistics for the NetBeans Platform

Time for some statistics on book sales relating to the NetBeans Platform:
  • "Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform", published in 2007. "We've shipped 3,097 copies in the US and 1,005 internationally. Total shipments--4,102," writes Greg Doench, from Prentice Hall, the publisher. Pretty impressive numbers, one can assume at least several 100 NetBeans Platform applications coming out of a statistic like that. Greg Doench ends his e-mail with the words: "Sales slowed down dramatically this year. Should we be thinking about a revision?" I believe the reason for the slow down is... the fact that a new book was published beginning of this year, below.

  • "The Definitive Guide to the NetBeans Platform", published May 2009. In October 2009, 500 books and 70 e-books had been sold. The original German book sold 1,500 books, which is extremely good, I reckon, considering that it would only have made sense to German readers.

The above statistics come from Heiko Boeck, the author of the latter two, and Greg Doench, the publisher of the first. Meantime, another book is in the process of being translated and updated to NetBeans Platform 6.8. Watch this space for info about when it will be published and by who!

Friday Nov 27, 2009

Get Paid to Port Task Juggler to the NetBeans Platform!

I found a very interesting job for someone (you, humble reader of this blog?)... port Task Juggler to the NetBeans Platform.

Some screenshots:

Read about it here:

It appears you have until December 9 2009 to make a bid on this offer! Go here for all the details.

Wednesday Nov 25, 2009

Sneak Preview: 5 Satellite Applications on the NetBeans Platform

I'm working on an article for NetBeans Zone about how the satellite software provider Amphinicy Technologies is working with SES-Astra TechCom (who own the applications) in creating applications on the NetBeans Platform.

They have around 10 applications built on the NetBeans Platform, but the story discusses 5 of these (since the others are confidential for various reasons).

Here's a quick sneak preview on each of these (detailed descriptions and more [and larger] screenshots in the upcoming article):

Station Simulator GUI

Satellite Test Cockpit

Satellite Performance Measurement System

Ka-Band Reference Station

TLMCore Remote Configuration

So, there's more than "just" Duke Award winner ND SatCom that bases its satellite software on the NetBeans Platform. Keep an eye on NetBeans Zone in the coming days to find out a lot more about the above.

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

Swing Development on

Found this today by Fabrizio:

It provides pointers for Java rich client development by someone who spends part of his time as a Swing developer and is the creator of blueMarine, an open source application for digital photo workflows. Lots of interesting topics covered, including NetBeans Lookup class and the update functionality that your application can have too for free, as well as the standard NetBeans objects such as FileObjects, DataObjects, Nodes, Explorer Views, etc.

Sunday Nov 22, 2009

Are you a Java programmer in/near Zurich?

This week Thursday I'll be at this JUGS event with Toni Epple in Zurich:

To join us, register here!

Saturday Nov 21, 2009

Experian on the NetBeans Platform

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2009 was $3.9 billion.

In Financial Applications on the NetBeans Platform I mentioned that Experian develops applications on the NetBeans Platform. (Their codebase consists of "over 100 NetBeans modules".) An interview done with them, about their work on the NetBeans Platform, some time ago, is being updated and should be ready for publication soon, now that permission has been received to publish it.

Here are two screenshots recently received from Experian, showing yet another NetBeans Platform application that doesn't look like an IDE at all, i.e., the NetBeans Platform is a generic framework for any kind of desktop application:

I especially like how the company-specific icons (within panels) have been integrated into the various components shown above.

In other news. Here's the interview referred to above: Enterprise Financial Management on the NetBeans Platform.

Friday Nov 20, 2009

Lookup as OSGi Service Registry at Devoxx 2009

Picture of Toni and me at Devoxx, talking about Lookup as an OSGi service registry, which is available from Kenai (here):

More pics here:

In other news. Watch a movie I made at the conference about interesting things learned at Devoxx:

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

PBR of NetBeans Wicket Plugin

Tim Boudreau did a pub-based review (PBR) of the Wicket plugin last night and here are the (somewhat cryptic) notes I took of the session:
  • use treebuilder class
  • enable wicket error annotations
  • suggest next wicket id, based on what is closest
  • import statements should be filled in by template
  • talk to jlahoda about super class call problem
  • HTML editor weird annotation, talk to marek fukala

Told you they were cryptic. But at least I know what it all means. Need to do the above before 6.8 so that the Wicket plugin can be released around the same time.

Automotive Engineering on the NetBeans Platform

IAV in Berlin, Germany, "is one of the leading providers of engineering services to the automotive industry." Their core competencies include powertrain, electronics and vehicle development.

The NetBeans team gave a development group from IAV a NetBeans Platform Certified Training, in Prague, a few years ago. We contacted them about the progress of their work and today we got a very cool reply from them:

"Things are going very well so far! Our tool EasyDoE Toolsuite (PDF) has become a real big guy ;-). It provides a workflow for calibration engines (or, better, for its control unit) by using a method called Design of Experiments. The workflow guides the user through the whole process, starting at defining the task, making a test plan, importing data, making a mathematical model from the data, using the model in optimizations and calibrate maps that are directly exported to the engine control units."

They also sent some very cool screenshots (click to enlarge them):

Thanks to Berthold Barzantny and the rest of the IAV development team who created the above really professional looking application!

Wednesday Nov 11, 2009

Where is the "Top 10 NetBeans APIs" Screencast Series?

NetBeans screencasts can be found here, which is where you end up when you type "" in your browser:

Once you are there, click "NetBeans". If you click the small scrolling arrow below the thumbnails (look at the mouse pointer in the screenshot below) you can also get to the "Top 10 NetBeans APIs" screencast series.

Or, do it the easy way and simply go to the related page on, where the entire series is collected in one place:

Tuesday Nov 10, 2009 is the new e-mail address for questions/answers relating to development on the NetBeans Platform. That means, is dead.

Why? Because NetBeans went through a massive migration process during the past week, during which many obsolete projects have been removed from the site and a lot of restructuring of everything has taken place. The good news is that the whole site is now under the control of the NetBeans team, rather than a third party. The so-so news is that several things still need to be tweaked to get everything working correctly now that the migration itself has come to an end. For example, currently, it's not possible to log into the Plugin Portal yet, though that should change within the next few hours.

New passwords and other info has been sent around to mailing lists as well as individual subscribers.

The complete story with all its ramifications can be found here:

If you encounter any problems, please report them to:

There'll be several loose ends in the next few days, so please be patient as things are being ironed out. And, remember, from now onwards, use (instead of

Monday Nov 09, 2009

More Vaadin Support in NetBeans IDE

I mentioned a few days ago the start of a plugin for the Vaadin framework in NetBeans IDE. The sources are found here, with the binary here.

I've added a few small additions to the sources (i.e., not in the binary yet):

First, there are new file templates specifically for Vaadin:

For example, simply by adding "SimpleAddressBook" (which adds one Java file to your source structure), you end up with an address book that includes a search feature in your web application:

Secondly, when you press Alt-Insert, you have a new code generator, named "Vaadin Button":

Press the "Vaadin Button" menu item and you have a new button, together with the implementing class added to the class signature, with a hint in the left sidebar for generating the abstract method that is invoked when the button is pushed:

Most importantly, now that these features have been added to the sources, someone else (e.g., from the Vaadin team) can take those sources and add MORE file templates and code generators to the plugin.

Saturday Nov 07, 2009

Griffon 0.2 and NetBeans IDE 6.8 Beta

I downloaded and unzipped Griffon 0.2 today. Because I set GRIFFON_HOME and added its bin to PATH, I could immediately begin using it in NetBeans IDE (to which end I recompiled the NetBeans Griffon plugin so that it now works in 6.8 Beta).

I didn't need to configure anything in NetBeans IDE at all. And, as always, my favorite feature of Griffon support in NetBeans IDE continues to be the fact that I can use "Open Project" and then simply open any Griffon project (i.e., without any kind of import procedure at all, simply open your Griffon project, since the Griffon plugin understands that the presence of a "griffon-app" folder indicates it is dealing with a Griffon application):

You then have a logical view for working with your Griffon applications, as well as menu items on top of the standard Griffon commands:

Best of all, no NetBeans metadata of any kind is added to your application. So, when you close NetBeans IDE you will have the same files as before you opened the project in the IDE. Nothing new is added, no small XML files or property files have been added to your project, or (even worse) proprietary files of any shape or form, either.

Plus, there are many other useful features, such as a dialog for browsing & installing plugins into your application:

Updated plugin for Griffon in NetBeans IDE 6.8 Beta is in the usual place:

ZIPs containing binary distributions of this and previous releases are available here on Kenai.

Friday Nov 06, 2009

"Meeting in a Mongolian Tent"

September 2009: Hermine Deurloo (harmonica) and Han Bennink (drums), with Ernst Glerum (bass) and Maarten van der Grinten (guitar).

Thursday Nov 05, 2009

Financial Applications on the NetBeans Platform

Experian and Société Générale both have invested in the NetBeans Platform, by using it as the basis of one or more of their applications. And these two are not exactly small organizations. Experian is a global leader in consumer and business credit reporting and marketing services and a constituent of the United Kingdom's FTSE 100 index, with revenues in excess of US$4 billion, while Société Générale is France's second-largest bank by market value.

How do I know that these organizations are using the NetBeans Platform? By looking in the mailing list:

However, getting screenshots, interviews, etc, out of financial organizations is understandably difficult, since (in the best case) long approval processes need to be completed, while in the worst case no information of any kind can be shared with the outside world, because of the confidential nature of the applications in question, in particular the confidential nature of the related customer data.

Nevertheless, in addition to the public statements around Brazilian financial auditing being done on the NetBeans Platform, there are a few smaller, more personal, applications relating to financing that could be mentioned in this context:

  • CashForward is just not your ordinary, cookie-cutter household budget software. Born from frustration with existing household financial tools, CashForward provides intuitive ways to track household cash flow and to create and compare spending plans:

  • GrisbiGraphs is a free reporting application for a personal accounting application called Grisbi. GrisbiGraphs imports Grisbi files (\*.gsb) into an embedded database and then generates graphs and statistics to help the users keeping track of their finances:

Are there other financial applications out there that make use of the NetBeans Platform? Please let me know!

Wednesday Nov 04, 2009

Microsoft Office Look for NetBeans Platform Applications

On NetBeans Zone I mentioned the OfficeLAF that developers at Exie in Norway worked on, so that they could end up with a NetBeans Platform application that looks like a member of the Microsoft Office package.

Yesterday I received a set of screenshots from the abovementioned developers, showing their Exie Builder, which I discussed recently, to illustrate the result of the Microsoft Office look in the context of their NetBeans Platform application. Here they are, click to enlarge them.

Thanks Exie developers. Now there's more than 'just' blueMarine as proof that building applications on top of the NetBeans Platform doesn't mean that the result necessarily ends up resembling NetBeans IDE.

Tuesday Nov 03, 2009

Possibly Another NetBeans Platform Application? (Part 2)

In part 1, it turned out I was right. Let's see about this one:

It comes from here, but that's all that I know about it:

I believe it is a NetBeans Platform application... can anyone tell me whether I am right or not?

Monday Nov 02, 2009

Performance Management Analysis on the NetBeans Platform

Yet another NetBeans Platform application is a commercial application offered by Exie, in Norway. "Exie provides People-Driven Performance Management solutions architected for widespread adoption by companies serving dynamic markets. Exie drives financial outcomes and accountability across the company and thus effectively involve the entire organisation in the overall strategy. By making performance management available to everyone across the organisation, you create an organisational culture continuously striving to improve performance."

Here's a screenshot:

Reading the documents on the Exie site, it seems to me that Exie 2.0 is a pretty serious application, used amongst others by Norway's largest newspaper, VG: "With Exie we are able to change things quickly, and we could not have a rigid system. The service level Exie has shown is great."

However, on the face of it looking at the screenshot above, that doesn't really look like a NetBeans Platform application. However, firstly, it's architecture is clearly based on the NetBeans Platform:

A second reason why the NetBeans Platform is clearly being used at Exie is that two recent presentations at Jazoon were about some pretty advanced NetBeans Platform topics, both delivered by Exie employees:

Here's the intriguing abstract for the latter presentation:


Engineer tools like the familiar IDEs (Eclipse/IDEA/NetBeans etc.) have user interfaces increasingly different from office tools like Microsoft Office. When creating applications for end users it is important to aim for the look and feel this group is comfortable with rather than what would be intuitive for the engineer. At Exie AS we have developed an open source Swing look and feel component that dramatically simplifies this task.

Just as it is important to utilize frameworks to improve productivity when developing web-based solution, so is the case with rich clients/desktop applications. A significant part of a desktop application consists of UI and IO plumbing. When should various menus, buttons and tool bars be enabled? Flexible docking frameworks, user preferences etc. There are various RCP frameworks available, however for a Swing based client the NetBeans RCP is perhaps the most complete.

How to create an NetBeans RCP client and make it look like a member of the Microsoft Office package? It is quite easy, and I am going to show you how.

And it would be great to get more screenshots, also one for the NetBeans Platform Showcase of this clearly very interesting application!


Sunday Nov 01, 2009

Unknown NetBeans Platform Application

I don't know what "Fenix" is or what a "Fenix Client" should do, but here's clearly a NetBeans Platform application that is a "Fenix client".

Click to enlarge the (very cool!) pics:

I found the pics above in Rich Unger's blog, although he doesn't know anything about it either:

Can anyone let me know what this apparently very cool application is for, what it does, and who is behind it?


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.


« November 2009 »