I've now read through most of the recently released "NetBeans Platform for Beginners" (subtitled "Modular Application Development for the Java Desktop"), parts of it several times, and here are what I believe are its greatest benefits:
- It provides a very comprehensive overview. Of all the key NetBeans APIs, all in one place, as opposed to scattered all over the Web. The benefit is that it gives you everything you need, all in one place.
- It combines theory and practice. Each chapter is split between a theoretical understanding of a particular topic and a series of step by step instructions for applying the concepts. The benefit is that you're given the opportunity of learning about the "why", followed and supported by the "how". By the end of each chapter, you have a thorough understanding of the concept, together with a lot of code samples that you can apply to your own scenarios.
- It provides many samples. There isn't a single sample that is built throughout the book, but many smaller samples built within each chapter. The benefit is that you can jump into a particular chapter, such as on "Lookup" or "Nodes" and then learn everything you need to learn on that topic, with several samples built from scratch within that chapter.
- It is a "living book". That means that the authors will provide updates over time. I.e., several comments have already been received on the Feedback Page for the book and these will be incorporated into revisions of the book which will be made available for free to everyone who has bought it. If you have feedback on the book, make sure to provide it on the Feedback Page or in e-mails to the authors.
- It is not for beginners only.
Many obscure corners of the NetBeans APIs are covered, as well as many topics that anyone with an advanced background will find useful. E.g., do you know how to do reordering of Nodes? How to create layer generating annotations? How to make context-sensitive Actions based on property values? And how to put all these pieces together into a single application? Many of the chapters are divided into "Basic" and "Advanced", which helps in understanding which pieces you will need a lot and which parts are corner cases.
Moreover, it is hopefully the start of many more books on NetBeans by these authors! Therefore, whether the book applies to you directly or not, take this opportunity to support the authors while learning about modular application development... and buy NetBeans Platform for Beginners today!