Interview with Author of "Pro NetBeans"
By Geertjan on Jan 21, 2007
I interviewed Adam, about his NetBeans background, his experiences writing about it, and the opinions he formed while working on it.
- Hi Adam, tell us something about yourself in general. Who are you and so on?
- You've recently written a book about NetBeans. Wow. Great. Why and how did that come about?
- How did you get to be a writer anyway? And say I am an expert in some technology area and want to write a book about it. What would you advise me to do?
- So what's the book "Pro NetBeans IDE 5.5 Enterprise Edition" about, generally?
- Had you read the NetBeans IDE Field Guide at the time of writing your book (or since)? How does your book compare? What are its differences? Should I get it if I already have the NetBeans IDE Field Guide?
- Who is your target audience?
- What were your biggest surprises about NetBeans IDE while writing about it?
- What do you think of NetBeans, compared to other IDEs you've worked with?
- What could be improved? What is missing, in your opinion? Try complete this sentence: "NetBeans would be even better if..."
- How was it to write the book? What were the highlights and "lowlights"?
- If you were to start again from scratch, what would you do differently?
- What are the main things you've learned about writing while writing about NetBeans?
- When is the book coming out? Where can I get it from?
I'm your typical technology enthusiast. I love everything about technology, particularly programming and software tools. I work as the Principal Technologist of Software Development at General Electric's Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York. It's an amazing place to work and it helps me constantly improve my technical skills - especially Java.
I was originally introduced to Java at college and have been with it ever since. I got my Computer Science degree from the State University of New York at Potsdam. It's a great small-town school and a phenomenal Computer Science department. At college I realized I not only loved technology, but also teaching others about it. To this day I continue with that passion as I'm always going off on rants about the newest open-source project or cool API, sponsoring college interns at work, or writing articles and books to educate others!
One of my favorite things to play with are Java IDEs. I'm constantly amazed at how advanced they are, the powerful features, the variety of plug-ins they offer, the productivity improvements, and so on. I was a fan of Eclipse for quite a while, but continued to have numerous frustrations with it. As of version 5.0 I decided that NetBeans was ready to migrate to and made the switch. I haven't regretted it since.
The book itself came about as I was already speaking with the wonderful folks from Apress about a few possible book projects. Eventually, the subject of NetBeans came up. After some discussion on the best approach we decided to move forward on Pro NetBeans IDE 5.5 Enterprise Edition.
I grew up writing short stories, but never had anything published. I always wanted to write a book, but never had a good enough topic or any contacts to actually make it happen. Once I entered the technology field I discovered that there were plenty of topics you could learn well enough to write about. You just have to make up your mind to do it. As for finding a publisher, there are many book publishers such as Apress that have a "Write For Us" section on their web page. Just draft a few paragraphs about your idea and send it in. If they like it there's a good chance you'll hear back from them. If you don't, be persistent and keep generating new ideas.
As the name suggests, it is really centered on the Java Enterprise technologies. It primarily focuses on Java Web Applications & Struts, the Visual Web Pack + JSF + AJAX, UML modeling features, EJBs and Java Persistence, and the general area of web services, SOA, and BPEL. There are also chapters on features like refactoring, the Ant project structure, JUnit integration, code coverage, database tools, and collaboration.
I actually got a copy of it at NetBeans Day 2006 in San Francisco before JavaOne. I read parts of it on the long plane ride home. Good book; it mostly focuses on NetBeans 5.0. My book targets the newer NetBeans 5.5 features such as the Visual Web Pack, JSF and AJAX components, UML modeling, EJB 3.0, Java Persistence, XML tools, SOA, BPEL, etc.
Java developers who are seeking an IDE that is intuitive to use and has an amazing feature set. Whether you're a Java amateur, professional, or student - this book (and NetBeans) are for you.
I'd have to say how well everything worked together. The stability of the platform is impressive. I was particularly surprised at how well the Visual Web Pack worked, even though it was only recently ported into NetBeans. I'm also impressed with how easy NetBeans makes it to work with the myriad of Java EE technologies.
For Java developers, absolutely the best. Hats off to Sun's NetBeans team. The competing tools are good, but not nearly as easy to use as NetBeans. I'm not just saying this because I wrote a book about it. I've held the same positive opinion as of day one of using NetBeans. The usefulness and stability of the system exceed my expectations.
...it had support for and was tightly coupled with several continuous integration servers. I'd also love to see new features in the Collaboration tools and have them better integrated with the rest of the NetBeans features. It would also be great to see the Visual Web Pack's JSF Page Navigation tool able to be used for Struts.
To be honest, it was a lot of work. It takes a lot of personal time at night and on weekends to put it all together. This past year was quite busy for me in that I took on a new time-consuming role at work, bought a house, got a rambunctious cat, went through several home renovation projects, and wrote the book. It didn't leave a lot of time for sleep. However, it was great when all the chapters started to come together and I saw final layouts for them. I also enjoyed testing out all the little nooks and crannies of NetBeans. I thought I was well-versed with it previously, but quickly realized I had only used a portion of what NetBeans has to offer.
I would love to have written more content on the Visual Web Pack and JSF. The book contains a reasonably lengthy chapter on it, but there are so many great parts to the Visual Web pack. I would love to have written an entire book on it.
First and foremost, probably how to prioritize my time better and not multi-task as much! A lot of people are guilty of taking on too much at once and I'm no exception. I also learned how difficult it is to communicate written concepts in a meaningful way. You don't realize how hard it is sometimes to do that. It's easy to talk about a technology and explain it to someone in person, but a whole different story when you try to write about it. The book writing process definitely helps you organize your thoughts about a subject. It's a lot of work, but amazingly rewarding to see your name on a book.
Apress is releasing the book around March 26, 2007. I know it's on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble's site (bn.com), and a host of other online book sites. I'm hoping you'll soon be able to walk into your local Borders or Barnes&Noble to find it!
Here's Adam with Duke at JavaOne:
(Duke is the one with the big red nose and pointy head. Adam is the one next to him, smaller nose and less pointy head.)