Getting your feet wet
Everything covered in the two links above, apart from the use of the NetBeans Platform (which Elan refers to as the Rich Client Platform), is also covered in NetBeans Modules for Dummies (Part 1) below. I intend to cover the NetBeans Platform soon.
And here is my wish list of things I would like NetBeans to be able to provide for NetBeans Module development:
NBM project template. I'd like this template to provide the following: layer.xml with default code, basic Action class with some default content, module entries in manifest.mf, Ant scripts for building the JAR's XML file and the NBM file, together with as few related properties as possible, so that as little customization as possible is necessary.
NBM project wizard. I'd like to be able to specify menus, toolbar buttons, and actions in the wizard (as well as anything else that can be defined in the layer.xml file). And the wizard should generate test code for the menus, toolbar buttons, and actions so that I can build and test the NBM as soon as I've exited the wizard. This is why the wizard should also generate an Action class with default code. The default main class should be something like org.netbeans.modules.app-name so that the structure is NetBeans-friendly from the start.
layer.xml. Code completion, editor (like for web.xml in 4.1), availability as file template with default content as in Mevenide.
Wrapper. I'd like to be able to select a Java application and wrap it in a module. I'd also like to be able to open an NBM file and inspect its sources.
Samples. Simple and complex samples in New Project wizard.
Documentation. "NBM Quick Start Guide"; "Complete Reference Guide for Layer.xml File"; "NBM Development Code Conventions Document"; "Introduction to NetBeans Sources"; FAQ; Helpfiles.