Back home in Amsterdam again after a wild and crazy week at JavaOne 2014 in San Francisco. Off the top of my head, without too much thinking, here's what I consider to be, in no particular order, the top 10 of the cool things happening over the past week in the context of NetBeans IDE.
- EPIK (Encouraging Programming in Kids). I'd never heard of EPIK, a UK-based community-driven programming group, until a few weeks ago and now they're an indelible part of the NetBeans community. I attended one of their community sessions on Saturday and it was brilliant to help little kids install NetBeans IDE! And then to see them hack the Java code of Minecraft. Looking forward to a lot of activity around the Minecraft/NetBeans combination, since the most logical choice for an IDE to use with Minecraft is NetBeans, since it is so easy to get started with, i.e., just download it, install it, and start it up, no hassles and configurations required, get hold of the EPIK Minecraft ModKit, open it in NetBeans, and then run Minecraft. Excellent work by Luke Mayell from EPIK for making this all possible and by Dorine Flies for being an amazing and inspiring organizer.
- Full Rooms Throughout NetBeans Day. Each session was full, or almost full, which created a really satisfying experience for speakers, as well as attendees. The panel discussion format worked even better than last year, with even more speakers than last year, and more topics addressed. It was jam packed, the whole day, in terms of everything, as well as the NetBeans party the day before. A key highlight for me was having Martijn Verburg and Ben Evans involved for the first time, as well as several other new, as well as returning, speakers, such as performance super-guru Kirk Pepperdine, Java EE and Maven rockstar Adam Bien, key community leader Markus Eisele from Red Hat, the amazing Josh Juneau, as well as Stephen Reinert from Microchip. To name just a few. We definitely need a bigger location for the NetBeans party, as well as for NetBeans Day itself.
- James Gosling. He's simply awesome and likes NetBeans even more than I do, which is saying something. He hosted two panel sessions, one during NetBeans Day and one later during the main JavaOne conference, on IoT and NetBeans (where IoT deployment, debugging, and profiling is supported out of the box for free), while also praising NetBeans during the community keynote on Thursday morning. (And on Facebook, his review of NetBeans includes the words: "I live in NetBeans. I use it more than email.") Do you want to debug and profile robots out at sea, in the same tool as where you're doing JavaFX development and Java EE development, while integrating with Maven natively, and all for free? No IDE other than NetBeans offers this combination of breadth of technology with shallowness of wallet. If you're interested in the technology/wallet continuum, NetBeans IDE is simply the best. And having James, as founder of Java, as the unofficial chief ambassador of this proposition is awesome!
- NetBeans Teachers. The newly formed "NetBeans Teachers" Google+ Group is great and it was especially cool to meet Ken Fogel, a super enthusiastic NetBeans teacher (i.e., he uses NetBeans to teach Java) from Canada, as part of a great NetBeans Day panel, which included Zoran Sevarac, the Andersons, Johannes Weigend, and Andreas Stefik. If you're a teacher using NetBeand IDE in one way or another, join the NetBeans Teachers community and share lesson plans, tips, insights, etc!
- IDR Solutions. Mark Stephens and his JavaFX PDF crew from IDR Solutions are turning out to be truly brilliant NetBeans partners. With the EPIK group, they've been working on the next NetBeans podcast together, i.e., we're now moving towards community-driven NetBeans podcasts (watch for a podcast driven by Codename One and others with NetBeans Dream Team members too), which will renergize and communetize the NetBeans podcast, which is something I'm really looking forward to. They've recorded several short clips already during JavaOne, so watch this space for an announcement around the release of the first community-driven NetBeans podcast!
- Duke's Choice Award Winners. Several of the Duke's Choice Award winners are NetBeans users. Aside from DukeScript, run by NetBeans Dream Team member Toni Epple, there was also the Field Book project from Mexico, represented at JavaOne by Tito Sanchez, as well as the PiDome project, represented by Marcel Wiebenga. In addition, there's also Mohamed Taman, who won a Duke's Choice Award for a Java EE project created in NetBeans IDE. The IoT Challenge, the awards for which were also announced during JavaOne, also featured interesting projects using NetBeans IDE, one of which was ePot Smart Gardening, which I'd like to find out a lot more about.
- Oracle Partners. Several key Oracle partners were part of NetBeans Day, as well as being heavily involved in sessions dealing with NetBeans throughout JavaOne. In particular, engineers working for Boeing, NATO, and NASA played leading roles and inspired everyone by the significance of the research work they're able to do thanks to NetBeans IDE and the NetBeans Platform. For example, Sean Phillips turned up together with three of his colleagues and, together, they presented an incredible sessions on a range of NASA space missions that are being powered by NetBeans technology. If we ever figure out whether there's life on Titan, it'll probably be at least partly thanks to Java and NetBeans, how cool is that.
- Reuniting With 'Old' Friends. I really enjoy the community-aspect of working in the Java community at large and the NetBeans community in particular. So many friends made over the years were there again, too many to name, David Heffelfinger, Johannes Weigend, and at least about 50 others, probably closer to 100, where do I begin. Not to mention the heaps of new friends, especially those that I've been mailing with, in some cases for years, such as Bernd Ruelicke and Rajmahendra Hegde, and others such as Jens Deters (with his brilliant YouTube clips on Raspberry Pi development with NetBeans). Really, too many to mention. Looking forward to seeing everyone again, plus more, next year!
If you want to experience 20 seconds of the NetBeans party, start by turning your audio down low, since it is very loud, as you'll find out, when you go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLfDw11MXUs
- "JavaFX Programming on the NetBeans Platform". It was so great to see the physical book (more info on it here) and hold it in my hands and page through it! Gail and Paul have done an amazing job. They started with no knowledge of the NetBeans Platform, two years ago, and have built up so much knowledge between themselves, and shared it all over the world, literally, they did presentations not only in San Francisco this year and last, but also in Shanghai and Moscow! I know. I was there. Their book will stand the test of time and remain meaningful for many years to come, as long as users need reliable software, in every imaginable domain, from science to military war game planning to logistics to programming tools to whatever you can think of in the business software domain.
- The Many Cool Ideas For Next Year! Based on the success of the NetBeans community over the past week, there's a heap of ideas to make it even more interesting next year. Off the top of my head (as well as the heads of a few others, especially Zoran Sevarac and Sven Reimers), it would be great to -- have a bigger room for the NetBeans party, for NetBeans Day itself, have a NetBeans plugin development hands on lab, record all the NetBeans Day sessions in small clips and post them on-line, have attendees Tweet questions during all the NetBeans Day sessions just like in the community keynote, think of ways of actively integrating attendees into the sessions even more, have a "100 NetBeans Tips" session with 5 speakers from the community each doing 20 tips on specific areas of NetBeans, have a "NetBeans Platform BOF" and prepare for it by making one YouTube movie that combines about 20 different NetBeans Platform apps together and then discuss those at the BOF, make a list of demos available at the NetBeans booth in a list and let anyone who stops by request a specific demo to be done for them, integrate a simple NetBeans plugin development session with the Hackergarden, place more focus on cool community plugins, such as Gradle, WildFly, and the JPA Modeler...
And the list goes on and on. Anyway. It was awesome! Onwards to more awesomeness.