Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Swiss JUG and What We Forgot to Mention

By: Geertjan Wielenga | Product Manager
As Toni reported here, we were in Zurich end of last week, where we gave a 1 hour introduction to the NetBeans Platform to the Swiss JUG. There were just under 30 people in attendance, some with a NetBeans Platform background, some with an Eclipse RCP background, some with a JSR-296 background, and some without foreknowledge of these frameworks.

Here's a pic of me and the group, taken by Toni:

Above, you see me discussing the NetBeans Platform screenshots page. More pics in Toni's album here.

Toni went through the main features and APIs of the NetBeans Platform in some detail and I did a small demo. We started with a small application:

...which I ported to the NetBeans Platform:

I then added one module, which I had simply downloaded off the web here:

And then... without any tweaking or configuration of any kind whatsoever (literally, nothing at all), I was able to run the application again, resulting in a completely new look and feel for the application:

The whole demo probably took 10 minutes. Agile desktop development with the NetBeans Platform?

That's the advantage of programming with Swing, i.e., the look and feel support, as well as the advantage of the modularity offered by the NetBeans Platform, which enables you to bundle your look and feel support into a separate module and make it available as a single unit that can simply be included with the rest of your application.

Some things we forgot to mention during the session, but which we'll remember next time:

  • The integration with Kenai lets you right-click the application and upload it to kenai.com, where you can store the application for free in Subversion, CVS, or Mercurial, and where you also have the Hudson continuous build system at your disposal.

  • You can right-click the application and choose "Build ZIP Distribution", which creates a ZIP file, containing your application, as well as binaries for Unix and Windows. Choose "Build Mac OS X Application" and you'll have a Mac distro as well.

  • In addition to the books and tutorials we mentioned, we should also have mentioned the NetBeans Platform Certified Training that you can take (more details here).

It was a great time, thanks to Edwin and everyone else for organizing and attending the evening. Especially great to meet Florian Brunner (who should somehow have at least one new NetBeans Platform screenshot to share!) at last. :-) We already received some very positive feedback: Alex Hanselmann, one of the attendees, wrote to say that he'd successfully completed the NetBeans Platform Paint Tutorial. Another attendee, Steve Winnall, is in the process of converting an application to a Maven-based NetBeans Platform application. This document by Emilian Bold should certainly help him get started!

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