Geertjan's Blog

  • July 9, 2010

Outline of NetBeans Platform 6.9 Developer's Guide

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Here's a list of the chapters in the upcoming translation of Jurgen Petri's NetBeans RCP book, which will be released by Packt as "NetBeans Platform 6.9 Developer's Guide":

  1. Introduction. Introduces the book, providing a general overview of what is to come.

  2. Modules. Presents the application that you will create throughout the book, after introducing the concept of modularity, why modularity makes sense, and what its main features are.

  3. Forms. Starts the creation of the application's forms, via usage of the NetBeans Matisse GUI Builder, which is used to design the JPanels you will need throughout the book. (Of course, there' no rule saying you have to use Matisse, i.e., you could take the instructions and use a different form builder or no form builder at all.)

  4. Window System. Presents the NetBeans Platform's docking framework and instructs you how to integrate the JPanels created in the previous chapter into it.

  5. Lookup. Dives into the most complex part of the NetBeans Platform, i.e., how modules can be loosely coupled from each other via the event bus mechanism provided by the NetBeans Lookup infrastructure.

  6. Actions. Introduces you to the mechanism for registering your Actions into a NetBeans Platform application, focusing on global Actions, since context-sensitive Actions are addressed in the next chapter.

  7. Nodes & Explorer Views. Argues the case for loosely coupled views via Nodes, explorer views, modules, and Lookup, including an introduction to context-sensitive actions, progress bar, and the integration of Visual Library's widgets.

  8. File System. Recaps the usage of the central registry (i.e., the System FileSystem) that you've made use of throughout the book, as well as the FileSystem API, extending the application further in the process.

  9. Data System. Guides you through the resource system found above the File System, that is, the system providing access to file content, while you create a new file type for the application, together with context-sensitive capabilities.

  10. Dialogs. Presents the built-in dialog classes provided by the NetBeans Platform, with the majority of the chapter focusing on using the Wizard API to create a multi-step dialog for creating new tasks in the application.

  11. Settings. Shows you how to extend the Options Window with new tabs enabling the user to customize the application and code contributors to centrally register their settings panels.

  12. Help. Instructs you how to add JavaHelp to the application and how to bind TopComponents and Nodes to context-sensitive help topics.

  13. Branding. Shows you how to customize the icons, strings, and other brandable parts of the NetBeans Platform, teaching you how to avoid changing the NetBeans Platform sources during the branding stages of the application.

  14. Distribution. Focuses on how to get the application, in various forms (web start, installer-based, ZIP distribution) to the end user, as well as on how to distribute features and patches that the user can install at runtime into their installed application.

The entire book shows you how to create a very specific application, that is, a Task Manager. At the end of the book, you will not know everything there is to know about the NetBeans Platform (Heiko Boeck's Definitive Guide to the NetBeans Platform is better for that purpose), but you will know how to create a feature-complete application on the NetBeans Platform, for which a book has been mising, until now. So, the book is really targeted at newbies (as is the free Essential NetBeans Platform Refcard), i.e., advanced users are unlikely to find much that they don't know already, though would still gain from seeing all the NetBeans Platform topics presented in a single consecutive argument, as is done in this book.

Some 'limitations' of the book are that it is Ant-based (not Maven-based) and uses the NetBeans module system, rather than OSGi, but then, on the other hand, those aspects (i.e., choosing a module system and choosing a build system) play a relatively minor role in the book, since 90% of it deals with how to use NetBeans APIs, rather than how to configure your environment and ancillary matters of that kind. So, a book focusing on Maven and OSGi in relation to the NetBeans Platform is still to be written, though plenty tutorials exist on those points, so there's nothing stopping you from gaining knowledge in those areas. Also an 'Architect's Guide to the NetBeans Platform' would be a good book to have too, though that hasn't been written yet either. Another 'limitation' is that you have to use NetBeans IDE to follow the book, but until someone creates wizards and templates for creating NetBeans Platform applications in IntelliJ and Eclipse, using NetBeans IDE is the most obvious choice, especially when writing a book of this kind for newbies.

Expect the book to be coming out soon, we're working on the final editing and code checking details at the moment.

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Comments ( 6 )
  • Eduardo Friday, July 9, 2010

    I already have the two Netbeans books: "Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform" and "Definitive Guide to the NetBeans Platform". Do you think I should buy this one too? There anything on this book that is not covered on the other two? I don't consider myself as a newbie anymore... :)

  • Kenneth Friday, July 9, 2010

    I've pre-order this book but unfortunately it didn't came out in July as publisher stated. Tried contact editor and publisher but no luck at all.

    Tried "Definitive Guide to the NetBeans Platform" (for 2 week) and it is definitely a good source but still find hard on how to put all things together so I've ordered this book.

  • Geertjan Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Kenneth, did you read the blog entry above? It very clearly states the following words: "Expect the book to be coming out soon, we're working on the final editing and code checking details at the moment."

  • Geertjan Wielenga Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Also, if it's "hard to put all things together", why not follow some tutorials, such as this one:


  • Ewan Heming Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Hi Geertjan,

    You mention that the book doesn't focus on "Maven and OSGi". I'm curious about what direction the platform is going to take in the future. Will it be moving away from Ant and the Netbeans Module system?



  • adam Sunday, July 11, 2010

    I pre-ordered this book and can't wait until it is released. I am also waiting for "Definitive Guide to the NetBeans Platform" to be updated to the 6.9 platform before purchasing.

    @Eduardo: At packtpub it states that it will be released on the 19 of July (ship date anyways).

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