Geertjan's Blog

  • May 8, 2007

NetBeans Day 2007

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
NetBeans Day 2007 was memorable for its large variety of short, powerful demos. That's what I really liked about the day. In particular, the many improvements to the Matisse GUI Builder, demonstrated by Tomas Pavek, were really powerful. My favorite was the one where he selected a bunch of JLabels and JTextFields, then right-clicked and chose "Enclose", which revealed a long list of submenus, each representing a Swing container. So, he chose JPanel and then a JPanel was created and everything he'd selected was added to the JPanel. Then he did the same thing with a JTabbedPane and everything selected was then added to a brand new JTabbedPane. But there were many other things he demonstrated in Matisse, such as the ability to select stuff and then copy them below, above, to the left, or to the right of the selection, with the container automatically resizing, that I thought were really cool.

The day began with Jeet Kaul introducing Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green, who bantered a bit on stage. I found the hint that open source developers might/should get paid quite interesting. Somewhere during the start of it all, some guys from Sprint showed the Sprint IDE they had developed on top of the NetBeans Platform. The JavaPosse session during lunch was kind of fun and laid back and I later queried and had confirmed that each of the presenters wears a particular colored hat each time. So it wasn't random. Like, Tor wears the blue hat every time, for example. After that there was a meaty session on many mainly editor improvements in NetBeans IDE 6.0. Jan Lahoda and Arseniy showed those, I presented Schliemann, and Jirka and Gregg demonstrated the many improvements to the Profiler. I'm really glad I managed to use Ubuntu for my presentations, despite not having figured out how to display my screen on the wall and my laptop at the same time. (But someone kindly sent me a copy of his Xorg file afterwards, showing what I need to do next time.)

Here's a pic of me in action, with my new friend Ubuntu 7.04 just visible in the background, taken by NetBeans Director Honza Chalupa (he has many other high-quality pics of the last few days here):

Then followed the Swing Application Framework talk. It was interesting to see what the status of that project, and also beans binding, is. Like I indicated at the start, it was especially cool seeing Tomas Pavek's demos on the various enhancements to the Matisse GUI Builder. A lot of applause and cheers of happiness at various points of his story. The JRuby story was great too. In particular, I liked how the session showed the power of tooling in adding usability and productivity to a language. So, the JRuby guys presented the JRuby language and talked about its many parts, then Tor and Martin showed all the tooling that they had built around this language. It was pretty clear that the JRuby guys were pretty impressed by the tooling that was shown, focusing on editor and debugger extensions.

And then the day came to a close. James Gosling led the closing session, which featured Henry Story and Tim Boudreau about the semantic web, me about the NetBeans Movie Player, and a guy called Bob about his dog and how he feeds her remotely via Sun SPOTs and the Visual Web Pack. The latter story was met with much laughter. It was really great, how much he'd achieved on 7 months programming knowledge. The pictures of the contraption he's assembled (with a red marker pen being "the piston", for example) for feeding his dog were hilarious. Along the way, we also were shown the extremely cool new NetBeans magazine and the start of the very promising http://netbeans.tv/. I'm looking forward to us getting the next magazine available as a hard copy, because it is truly excellent. Leonardo, the guy behind it, is doing just about the greatest work imaginable on that magazine and I know what I'm talking about since I contributed an article to it. The results are awesome and getting better each time. This time round, for the first time, each article is unique, i.e., not reused from anywhere. Also, 400 copies of Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform were given out at the end of the day. (Jarda, Jens, Tim, and I had a mini ad-hoc book signing with Tom Wheeler's development team, which was kind of funny.)

So, NetBeans Day was cool, with 1000 to 1100 attendees at peak times, which meant a very full room. I met an amazingly large number of people throughout the day, including Juergen Schmidt and other developers from Germany, who work on the OpenOfffice.org integration with NetBeans, Erwin, the OpenOffice.org blogger, prominent Sun blogger Jim Grisanzio, as well as filthy rich clients Chet Haase and Romain Guy, several old(er) acquaintances, such as Jens Trapp, Kirk Pepperdine, and Klaasjan Tukker, and a few new ones, such as Dave Bristor from the OpenJDK team. I also met NetBeans guru Tom Wheeler with his team of NetBeans Platform developers, as well as several Sun colleagues who I seldom see, such as Octavian, Sandip, Charles Ditzel, and Ashwin. In addition, Mark Harman, who develops on top of the JFugue API, Dave Koelle, the creator of that API (and my co-speaker in TS-1130 JFugue: Making Music with Java MIDI and Illustrating API Usability on Thursday at 10:55), Bob (the guy with the Sadie feeder automater, or D.O.R.K., which stands for something like "Dog Oral Reward Kit"), plus the JasperReport Visual Designer creator Toni Epple, and Vadiraj Deshpande, who works in Sun's Bangalore office and has kickstarted a project to create an open sourced MultiView Editor Generator for NetBeans IDE. There were several embarrassing moments when someone came, smiled, and expected me to know them, and I basically didn't because their face had slipped my mind or I'd actually only met them once before, briefly, in a completely different context, and therefore should not be expected to remember them for the rest of my lifetime on the basis of that one encounter, I reckon. :-)

I really met too many people to mention them all and my brain is fuzzy from alcohol consumption that occurred in various locations throughout the later hours of the day. There was a NetBeans party aftewards, with good food that I had too little of because of long engrossing discussions with various people. In a way, I ended up with more food for thought than food for stomach, especially from NetBeans architect Pavel Buzek. The day ended in the Sports Bar near Union Square, which (based on last year and various stories I've picked up) is where most NetBeans people tend to end the day. Slightly seedy place but apparently there's Czech beer. But there wasn't and so I had to settle for yet another disappointing American beer. That's one of the only real disappointments of the day... being told you're going to get Czech beer and then finding yourself holding American beer. For the rest, it was a great day with a lot of information being passed and gained. Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Funniest moment of the day. James Gosling saying: "This is going in a dangerous direction", as it became clear that Bob was about to end his presentation by giving him a plastic bone on behalf of his dog Sadie, in gratitude for indirectly enabling his Dog Oral Reward Kit to be created.

In other news. Many parts of the JDK have been open sourced today, such as the sources of Hotspot and Swing. What's the main URL with info? Here: http://openjdk.java.net. How to get the sources and work with them? See: Getting Started with OpenJDK in NetBeans IDE.

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