Netbeans 4.1....

Just for the record here, I am a complete novice when if comes to Java, I've never written a java programm, I did hack a java scrolling applet once, but that was a long time ago... But it did let me see some java code.

I decided after 8 years of working in Sun, it was time to learn a little Java, after all where else better to learn Java than the place of it's invention.So I went to http://java.sun.com and clicked on the download icon for Netbeans 4.1, 4.2 is available as a beta, but as I am just starting off, stability was a pre-requisite. So I downloaded and installed on my JDS 3 Linux laptop, all very smooth indeed, launched it and excellent, the opening page gives you a nice pointer to a quick start tutorial on how to create a new java general application.

I thought yep, that's for me... gave a quick read, and created MyLib and MyApp and got it compiled and running in no time. But that was the real easy bit, realistically I should get a book and learn the language properly before diving in head first into an IDE, but I suppose I'm just impatient and I've heard so much talk that "it's ver C Like", and thought "hey, I know C pretty well, how hard can it be...".

It's actually very interesting, the java syntax is indeed very C/C++ like, but there are also believe it or not items very similar to VB, another language I am familiar with from previous life.

This is one of the reasons I was very interested in Netbeans as an IDE in particular and to see how it stands up against VB. That brings me to the next step, designing a form.

After a few teething problems getting to know the various layout engines and understanding what all (some) of the swing objects that can be added to a form are all about, containers and the likes, I did manage to create a form with loads of buttons,text fields etc, all great and easy to add. The GridBagLayout engine is really powerful, once you know how to use it.

I do have one gripe though, when added say loads of JTextFields to a container I could not see the facility to add these as an array !, which is very easy to do in VB, by adding them as an array I could then simply use the one listener method say for FocusIn rather than having to have separate listener methods for each instance of JTextField, I'm sure it can be done, it's just not intuative. Within VB if you Copy/Paste an object it prompts whether you want to create an object array or not, very handy.

I ended up creating my own text field class, which extends JTextField, adding some listener's in here, and then manually within code, replacing the individual JTextFields I had created with instances of my new MyTextField.

My next stage of learning is now adding some functionality to my form....

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Install engineer at Oracle who is passionate about Music, Sport and has a soft spot for Solaris

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