NetBeans Day, Johannesburg, 2008
By Geertjan on Mar 11, 2008
Brian then had two others sessions. One on "Using NetBeans for Your Existing Projects", where he showed all the Ant support that the IDE has. He also started up Eclipse and showed how to convert Eclipse projects to NetBeans projects. And they weren't all simple projects; also one with a few dependencies. Next, he did a session called "Introduction to (J) Ruby on Rails". Some parts were a bit above my head, but it was good to see how cool the tooling is in the IDE. Also cool to see how easy it is to update an application with new fields. He ended with a FreeTTS integration, which ended up reciting the description of the entries he added to the web application he'd developed via Rails.
Then it was me for two hours! The first hour was on the Beans Binding Framework and the Swing Application Framework. That went much better than I had expected. The Flickr demonstration is really good, it is excellent in that it lets you explain each and every aspect of the Swing Application Framework. Both with the Beans Binding Framework and the Swing Application Framework, I used slides to explain the code and then used the Java editor in the IDE to do some coding. Only once I had shown some simple bindings, handcoded, did I move to the part where the IDE generates the bindings for you. Then I showed them the generated bindings and pointed out that the bindings were the same as the ones we had handcoded. I did a similar thing with the SimpleApplication class in the Swing Application Framework, versus the JFrame class in standard Swing. This very slow and step by step process allowed the audience to slowly atune themselves to the framework under discussion. I think most of it came across very clearly. We even ended up with a Napkin look and feel for our Flickr application at the end of it all. The application also made use of a background task and was deployed via Java Web Start. Afterwards, a couple of enthusiastic people came up to me and said they'd try out the Beans Binding Framework right away and there were some interesting questions about the Swing Application Framework.
The break followed, after which was me again on the NetBeans Platform. That was a perfect continuation from the previous session. I didn't touch on anything too complex or unexpected. Basically, I discussed the NetBeans Platform under 5 headings: "Generic Application Framework", "Infrastructural Plumbing", "Collection of Libraries", "Swing Extensions", and "NetBeans Platform Toolkit". Then I ported the Anagram Game to the NetBeans Platform and pointed the audience to the NetBeans Platform Porting Tutorial for further details.
Sang was next, the final session, on BPEL and SOA. Orchestration of web services was the main topic. I liked how he presented it and he got some engaging questions, which showed his audience was obviously very attentive.
I stupidly didn't take any pictures, even though I had a camera with me. (OK, I did take one pic, of the room before it was filled, so it just shows empty chairs, which is not that useful I guess.) It was a good day, somewhere between 200 and 250 showed up, the questions were good and there were a lot of discussions afterwards. My top three questions, i.e., those I found most interesting were: "how does the Swing Application Framework do that magical persistence handling?", "if I create a circular beans binding, what will happen?", "wouldn't it be cool if the DropDownButtonFactory were available in the palette, so I can drag and drop it?"
But, this is day one of Sun Tech Days. Tomorrow is another day and so is the next. And a lot more is set to happen during that time, I am sure.