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Geertjan's Blog

  • September 28, 2006

Thoughts on Source Talk Tage 2006

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
So Roumen and I returned in one piece from Source Talk Tage 2006. Apart from early panic about lack of fuel upon leaving Gottingen and some later confusions about highways, we got back without a problem. We stayed the night in a small hotel (more like an inn) in a forest just across the border in the Czech Republic, because Roumen wanted to know why that area of the Czech Republic is called "Cesky Svicarska", (which means "Czech Switzerland"). Of course, we only remembered our original question the next day after driving away from the hotel, so it was too late to ask the inn keeper (straight from a fairy tale, paunchy and jolly, badly shaven and welcoming), who would have been the ideal person to ask. Then Roumen thought the world had come to an end, because the streets in Prague were pretty empty when we returned... and then I remembered that it is a Czech national holiday, which means everyone leaves Prague or stays in bed or whatever, which is what we could have done, back in the Swiss Czech forest, had we remembered that we didn't need to hurry back to work...

Oh well. My impression of our presentations at the Source Talk Tage is very positive. I've just sent off the PDF versions of my slides, so they should be available on their site sometime soon. (I'd rather have people go to that site to pick up the PDFs than have them get them here, so you can see how cool their site is. Once they're there, I'll leave a message here so you know when/where to go.) I'm especially gratified by this blog entry by someone who was actually there (called Josh)—because he really got the point of the final presentation, by me, on the WebFrameworkProvider class. As he says in his blog, the point of the presentation was to show "wie schnell man WebFrameworks in NetBeans integrieren kann" (how quickly one can integrate support for a web framework in NetBeans). That's the first time I did a presentation on a specific class (not just a specific API). I talked about frameworks in general, the work that has been done to integrate tooling support for JSF, Struts, Facelets, and Wicket, and how easily one can get started with any other framework of one's choosing.

I was really happy to see that the one picture that Roumen took of me was taken exactly at the point where I was showing the new wizard I've been working on... for the WebFrameworkProvider class. The picture is in Roumen's blog, but I've cropped it a bit. If you look at the slide in the picture, you'll see the panel that I've blogged about here (if you go there, you'll also be able to download the module that installs the wizard):

And the wizard doesn't do anything amazing. Doesn't add entries in the layer.xml and doesn't add dependencies in project.xml (and only because I don't know how to do that yet). It just gives you a class that extends WebFrameworkProvider, with some stubs for the methods. But that's all you need to get started anyway. At least it's a start. And often that's all a developer needs—an entry point. Doesn't need to be the world's most sophisticated entry point. An entry point, so long as it is the correct entry point, and that's definitely what this wizard gives you.

But, we'll be hearing more from Josh in the coming time because... he ported a Swing application to the NetBeans Platform, which is something I will be interviewing him about soon (in the same way as Emilian Bold and several others have been interviewed about their module development experiences). If we hadn't gone to Gottingen, we might never have met Josh, so that was a very big bonus.

My other presentation was an introduction to the NetBeans Platform. I did exactly the same story as at Siemens in Munich some months ago. Except, this time I used the Matisse Update Pack (which means I used NetBeans IDE 5.0 because the update pack isn't available in 5.5 yet). I did this so that... I could show the "Preview Design" functionality, which lets you see, during development, what a Swing application will look like in the look and feel of your choice. You can register a look and feel, and then it is available as a menu item. When you select the menu item, the currently selected container is displayed (i.e., prior to deployment) in the chosen look and feel. And any reader of this blog should know which look and feel I used in the demo! Napkin, of course. Whenever you use Napkin and explain that it was made for demonstrating Swing applications to stupid managers (who might otherwise think the application works as good as it looks), you see a lot of laughing faces (and even applause, sometimes). The demo worked great, at the end we had a little music application. They were also encouraged to join the open source project at https://nbjfuguesupport.dev.java.net/. (Then Roumen, at the start of his next presentation, demonstrated his open source NBPlayer and tried to get people to join his project instead of nbjfuguesupport. Competitive guy, isn't he?)

Also, the conversations with Jens Trapp (more on that in future blogs) and Hartmut Kaiser were great. I missed part of Roumen's first presentation because of some planning I did with Jens. I came back in time to see him demonstrate... the Visual Web Pack, which is the JSF Visual Designer from Creator, which will soon be available as a pack that can be installed in NetBeans. That was actually the first time I'd seen it. Again, Josh, in his blog entry, hits the nail on the head: "Dann wird es möglich sein, HTML Seiten mit einem WYSIWYG Editor zu designen. Fast so einfach wie mit Matisse." (Go here to see his blog entry.) (Except, note that the Visual Web pack is focused on JSP pages that make use of the JSF framework.)

All in all, our trip was great and I think we were lucky to meet some great people. Looking forward to the next Source Talk Tage!

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