Geertjan's Blog

  • March 11, 2007

When JFrames are not enough...

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Some of the people working on the Rich Client Programming book had an interesting discussion a few days ago: "In terms of Java experience, who exactly is the book intended for?" We were discussing the text to be displayed on the back cover, and the words "advanced Java developers and architects" were suggested as a description of the audience of the book.

However, there was some disagreement about this, because advanced Java knowledge is not really needed at all. One does need to be familiar with basic Java programming concepts, such as Java I/O, threading, and Swing development. However, more than a very basic knowledge of these is not needed. In fact, Tim Boudreau pointed out that some people even learn Java from scratch, through the NetBeans Platform. For a while we considered the word "experienced" rather than "advanced". But, we felt, this might again scare a large part of the book´s logical audience away...

So, finally, Jarda Tulach suggested this wording: The book is "for people who find that Swing´s JFrame is not enough". I think that sums up our target very closely. We make no absolute assumptions about the target audience in terms of experience. We do assume that the reader of the book has the kind of application that is limited by what Swing´s basic packages currently provide. And that, in turn, implies some experience, because only once you know something can you know that it doesn´t meet your requirements...

However, the following quote by Martin Heidegger on Nietzsche´s "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", in "What is Called Thinking", is equally true for our treatise on the NetBeans Platform: the book is NOT intended for those "who merely intoxicate themselves with isolated fragments and passages from the book and then blindly stumble about in its language, instead of getting underway in its thinking, and thus becoming first of all questionable to themselves".

As readers of Heidegger know, the concept of being "unterwegs" (underway) is central to his thinking. And in the process one questions onseself and reforms who one is. That humble aim is that of the NetBeans Platform book. It will serve as a stepping stone for a longer journey and is aimed at anyone who wants to be on their way in that sense.

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Comments ( 5 )
  • shamsul maruf Sunday, March 11, 2007
    i m not understanding total topic.i think u supply some more advance tools. i can handle some using basic programming knowledge. now i m suffering long detutchment.
  • Wilfred Springer Monday, March 12, 2007
    Whow, tripping...
    It seems you have some sort of zen thing going here. ;-)
    ... but I like it! Do I get it right that this book is going to facilitate both 'das Sein' and 'das Sollen'?
  • Geertjan Monday, March 12, 2007
    Hi Shamsul. I don't completely understand your question. What would you like me to do exactly?

    Hi Wilfred! Yes. And also 'das Wunschen'. :-)

  • Douglas Atique Monday, March 12, 2007
    Highly philosophical, but aren't you putting the GUI aspects too much emphasis? I mean, the NetBeans definitive guide, my current source of info on it, talks about FileObjects, DataObjects, DataLoaders, Nodes, Actions, Lookup, and also Window components. However, it gave me the impression that NetBeans is much much more than just a new way to do GUI. It is a new way to structure your application in terms of Beans and having them very losely coupled from one another and from your GUI. So I hope you write something about all these other very important aspects on the back cover too.
    BTW, already preordered the book at Amazon. Can't wait to read it!
    -- Doug
  • Geertjan Monday, March 12, 2007
    Hi Douglas. Sure, it is much more than GUI. FileObjects, DataObjects, DataLoaders, Nodes, Actions, Lookup, and also Window components are all discussed in the book.

    You are right, the NetBeans APIs are not just about GUI. They are about modular programming. But, normally, a user's first issue is: "Standard Java desktop applications don't offer the complexity I need. I need more than a JFrame!" They don't just need a window component here, but a different way of programming. That's where the NetBeans APIs come in very useful.

    Cool to hear you already preordered the book from Amazon. You can also get a "rough cut" draft, which you can buy by going to the relevant link from www.netbeans.org/books/rcp.html.

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