Brand New Tutorial: Extend the NetBeans IDE Source Editor

There's a new addition to the growing list of tutorials dealing with the NetBeans APIs:

NetBeans Tag Handler Plug-in Tutorial

When you work through this tutorial, you'll find out how easy it is to extend the functionality offered by the NetBeans IDE's Source Editor. Do you see the "Show XML Structure" item in the screenshot below? That's not part of the standard NetBeans IDE. It can be part of your NetBeans IDE, though, and the tutorial shows you how!

"And what does that menu item do when I select it?" you ask. Well, that's a secret. You'll have to read the tutorial!

Note, though, that this tutorial -- like all the other NetBeans API Tutorials -- is incomplete. A lot of work has to be done still on the explanatory parts of the document. However, especially if you're new to writing NetBeans plug-ins, why not download the NetBeans IDE Dev build and give the tutorial a spin?

(Milan Kuchtiak, a NetBeans developer based in Prague, contributed the code for this tutorial. Is there anyone else out there who has some code for a smallish module that they think would be interesting for a NetBeans plug-in tutorial?)


Hi Geertjan,
for me your blog has been a great source for learning new things about the latest releases of Netbeans. They even made me go ahead, download 4.2 qbuild and dev releases and try to create a NetBeans module myself. This was quite easily achieved either using the code from the tutorials or using the module wizards in 4.2. <p/> But now that I started to try to write a module of my own I also noticed that still a substantial amount of what I need to learn is missing (although I worked myself through all your tutorials). Let it put me like that: your tutorials and other material I found (API list, usecases) teach me the words, but not the grammar. <p/> I guess what I would need is a concepts and best practices document (or more simply, for instance, which APIs are modern, which are outdated, which are high-level ones, which are low-level and so on) on how all these APIs should be used. The only tutorial I found so far that moves into this direction is the POVray tutorial (from Tim B.). <p/> Looking at the todo list for this tutorial I found that you are already aware of this to some degree. In particular I am looking forward to "explain what a cookie is". <p/>The intention behing this post is therefore to motivate you to fill in those gaps before moving on to new tutorials. <p/> (In fact, my wish list is growing all the time at lightning speed, but that's it for now). <p/> No, I cannot resist:
  • More stable 4.2 daily builds (the last one I installed really messed things up, docking is broken etc.),
  • Plugins for stuff I (and probably other corporate developers) need: charting (e.g. JFreeChart), databases (what about integrating DbVisualizer,, reporting (Jasper), visual editing (JGraph)
<p/> Cheers

Posted by Georg on July 13, 2005 at 06:14 PM PDT #

Hi Georg,

Thanks v. much for your detailed comments. I can completely understand your need for a 'grammar' of plug-ins -- without them the 'words' do not make much sense. You can only copy the 'words', but not make your own, until you understand the 'grammar'.

However, to some extent, you should be able to pick up quite a lot of the 'grammar' by copying the 'words' and trying to understand them. In addition, though, please realize that a 'Glossary' and an 'Introduction to NetBeans APIs is being worked on. Both these documents are taking some time -- it needs to be really 'solid' before it can be made available. In the meantime, there's a lot of JavaDoc available which, I know, is not enough, but will have to do for now. As soon as the glossary and the API introduction are in a good enough state, they'll be made available on the plug-in tutorial site.

At the same time, though, drafts of other tutorials will continue to be made available, because feedback on them is really very valuable and is not something that can be postponed until after the glossary and API introduction have been completed.

I hope you understand and I thank you for your comments. Please continue commenting and sending feedback -- it is all really valuable.


Posted by Geertjan on July 16, 2005 at 11:51 PM PDT #

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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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