Pátek XII 14, 2007

New screencast: Matisse in NetBeans 6.0

I recorded a new screencast which demonstrates many of the new features of "Matisse" GUI Builder in NetBeans 6.0. I can't take much credit, because the demo script was prepared by Matisse developers, so all kudos go to them. All the steps are described in our wiki. You can also join the discussion on Javalobby.

Click on the image to play the screencast

Pondělí IX 03, 2007

Using JNI with NetBeans C/C++ Pack

I recorded a new screencast which shows how to use the Java Native Interface. You will learn how to call native C code from a Java application. The demo was created using NetBeans 5.5.1 and C/C++ Pack for NetBeans 5.5.1. Enjoy!


Click on the screenshot to play the screencast

Úterý VII 03, 2007

New Flash Demo: Extending OpenOffice.org With NetBeans IDE

NetBeans makes extending OpenOffice.org very easy. You can write various extensions to OpenOffice.org using Java - you can both add functionality to OpenOffice.org and create new applications which reuse OpenOffice.org APIs. In this 4-minute demo you can discover how to create a new function for the Calc spreadsheet software using NetBeans:

Click on the screenshot to play the demo

If you are developing your first OpenOffice extension, don't forget to install the OpenOffice SDK and configure it as described here.

Additional resources:

Čtvrtek VI 21, 2007

Recording High Quality Demos (Screencasts)

I get asked by various people about how to create fancy demos such as this one: Why NetBeans part 1Why NetBeans part 2. I am tired of replying by e-mails so I thought I'd share the experiences again using a blog entry (so that I can send a link to it when someone asks me - I am lazy :). So this entry is about how to create advanced demonstrations of software products using various tools. I do different kinds of demos but here I will explain how to create a complex presentation which involves menus, slides, audio and flash screencasts. I've been recording many demos for almost two years, so I think I got some experience with doing it which is worth sharing.

If you need a basic demo, there are great free tools such as Wink (for screen recording) or Audacity (for audio recording and post-processing). These tools are good especially if you don't have experience with screencasting and you don't want to spend time with figuring out all the little details. You can use them to create a screencast quickly but the quality might not be perfect. On the other hand it's a free solution which works well enough for basic flash demonstrations.

To create fancy presentations similar to the "Why NetBeans" referenced above, I use a combination of following tools:

Some of these tools are commercial - I use them because there are no open source equivalents providing some of the functionality.

The process of creating such a fancy flash demo is following:

  1. Conceptual phase - I gather ideas and create the concept of the presentation with high-level points. I often discuss the concept with other people to create a better story. Sometimes I do domain-specific presentations and then discussing the concept with an expert can help a lot to get it right.
  2. Creating of slides - I create all slides for the presentation in OpenOffice. I use a slide template to make them look nicer. I leave empty slides for parts of the presentations where I do demos.
  3. Demo conceptual phase - I discuss the demos with other people and pre-record a draft of the flash demos using Camtasia without voice. I share these videos to gather high-level feedback on these demos and re-record the drafts if necessary.
  4. Scripting - I write script for the whole presentation. I actually script every word that I say during the presentation, because the quality of the final speech is much better than if it's not scripted. This may not be necessary if you are a native English speaker, but in general a presentation without "uhmms" will be better received by the listeners.
  5. Voice recoding - I record the voice for the slide parts of the presentation. I read the script and use Audacity to record my voice. I edit pauses and re-record parts which don't sound right or if there is any background noise.
  6. Voice postprocessing - I use Audacity to postprocess my voice. I use the noise filtering feature to remove periodical background noise such as the fan from my computer. This makes the audio much cleaner. Then I use Sony Soundforge - as the first step I use the noise filter feature to remove various cracks, breathing and background noises. Then I use the normalize feature which increases the volume of the speech. It also makes the audio sound much better and professional thanks to RMS normalization.
  7. Demo recording - I record the flash demos using Camtasia. In ideal case I script all things which I do in the demo, but for simpler demos it is just enough to record what I do in the IDE.
  8. Demo postprocessing - I edit the demos using Camtasia. I remove "dull" parts (e.g. when I need to look into my script which causes a pause). Sometimes it is also necessary to cut some sections because of various problems (e.g. an exception if I use a daily build) or I do editing of startup of the application server. I don't want the user to watch the application server startup - they will understand if I edit the startup out that I edited it - I can also mention it using the voice.
  9. Audio scripts for demos - I write audio scripts for demos according to what I do in the demo. I again write all that I will say because the quality of the final demo is much better than if there are pauses or "uhmms". I try to write the script in a way that it fits to the video.
  10. Audio recording for demos - I record the audio for the flash demos using Audacity. As usual, I apply the noise filter and postprocess the audio using Sony Soundforge to eliminate other background noises and normalize the audio level. I use .wav files as storage format because by manipulation with wavs I don't lose quality like in case of mp3s.
  11. Synchronization of video and audio - I play the flash demo in Camtasia and audio in Audacity at once. Whenever there is a problem with the synchronization I have several options how to fix it: a) add silence b) remove silence c) cut video. By using these three techniques I synchronize the video and the audio. It is a lot of work and this step has a lot of impact on the quality of the flash demo.
  12. I import the created audio files using Camtasia and add the audio to each of the flash demos.
  13. I import the Openoffice slides into Articulate and save them as Powerpoint presentations (created during step 2).
  14. I import the audio files for each of the slides (created during steps 5 and 6).
  15. I import the flash demos into Articulate (created during steps 7-12).
  16. I generate the final presentation using Articulate and watch it to see if there are any problems.
  17. Usually I spot many different problems and I solve them by either editing the demos, editing the demo audio, changing slides & slide audio or sometimes even re-recording the demos.
  18. I send the presentation to the team (still marked as draft) and gather feedback.
  19. Based on the feedback I receive I change the video, audio, demos, slides, etc. Often this means re-doing some of the parts of the presentation which is very painful but some feedback can really increase the quality of the demo so mostly it's worth the effort. Then I recreate the presentation using Articulate.
  20. I publish the final presentation on a website, watch it to enjoy the fruits of my work and take some time off after this long and painful process. Sometimes I am thinking that I don't want to do this again, but mostly positive comments from people who find my presentation useful charge me for another round of such masochism :)

I didn't touch many topics such as flash demo resolution, which hardware I use, etc., so if you have any questions feel free to ask. I may write another blog entry about some of the technical issues involved with flash demo recording.

Pondělí III 05, 2007

Two Demos: JRuby on Rails and Advanced Ruby Editing in NetBeans!

I recorded two demos which show (J)Ruby on Rails in NetBeans and various advanced editing features for Ruby. You can discover how NetBeans 6 is going to help Ruby developers with many useful features, all available in one integrated environment. Powerful code completion is available, too!

(J)Ruby on Rails

Advanced Ruby editing features

See also Tor Norbye's blog entry about these demos and about new features he implemented while I was recording the demos.

Úterý I 23, 2007

New Demo: Using Matisse to Build CDC Mobile Applications

I recorded a 5-minute demo for the final release of Mobility Pack for CDC. It shows that you can use Swing or AWT to build rich applications on today's mobile phones. And you can take advantage of Matisse, the GUI Builder which brought lots of fame to NetBeans.

Click to play the demo

Sobota XI 18, 2006

Geertjan Complained to Me...

... that if he would have to watch all of my flash demos he would have nothing else to do for next couple of years. This is of course nonsense, but he is right that I am constatly adding new demos, so perhaps one day we can organize an event where we can play all these demos on a big screen for many many hours and learn lots of useful things about NetBeans :)

The whole point behind these demos is that I enjoy sharing my experiences with using NetBeans and help other people discover how to use new features. Based on the feedback I got so far this has been useful for NetBeans community, so here goes my newest demo... this time it is about using JAX-WS 2.0 web services together with Visual Web Pack, in other words building of web applications with a web service backing using newest EE standards. The length of the demo is 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Click on the image to play the demo

Pondělí XI 06, 2006

Flash Presentation: Rapid Development with NetBeans 5.5 and Java EE 5

If you want to learn about new features in NetBeans 5.5 for web and enterprise development, you can watch my newest flash preso. It contains 5 short flash demos of JAX-WS 2.0, Mobility Pack, SOA tools, Java Persistence API and Visual Web Pack. Enjoy!

Click to play my presentation published on javalobby.org about NetBeans 5.5

Pondělí X 23, 2006

Flash Preso: Why NetBeans, Part 2

Second part of my newest flash presentation is ready, it will be published on netbeans.org this week. If you missed the first part, here's a link. People sometimes ask me: Why should I try NetBeans? So this presentation tries to provide an answer to this question with top 10 reasons.

Click to play the presentation

Are you interested in NetBeans and would you like to know more about some particular feature? Let me know at roman dot strobl at sun dot com and I'll record a flash demo just for you ;) I plan to record a presentation for NetBeans 5.5 and a demo of the new editor features. But I am open to any other suggestions!

Středa X 04, 2006

Why NetBeans?

"Why NetBeans?" is the name of my newest flash presentation, which covers 10 reasons why I think NetBeans is a great IDE. The presentation is divided into two parts and in the first part I talk about following topics:

1. Matisse GUI Builder
2. Ant-based projects
3. NetBeans Profiler
4. NetBeans Platform
5. Localization

So if you are a member of NetBeans community you will probably know these features well (all 4 demos are about features included in NetBeans 5.0). I think this preso is really useful for newcomers to NetBeans - but perhaps you can learn a trick or two from the demos, too, even though you know NetBeans well.

The second part of the presentation is in the works and will cover following topics:

6. Java EE 5
7. Mobility Pack
8. SOA Tools
9. Visual Web Pack
10. Open Source Community

So except for number 10 these topics are 5.5-related and I'll talk about the new cool features... stay tuned for part 2. For now, you can play part 1:

Click to start the flash presentation

I am also preparing an overview of NetBeans 5.5 features which will be published short after the release at Javalobby.

Sobota IX 30, 2006

Wanna Take a Look Under the Hood?

I am preparing a bigger flash presentation which will showcase many of the reasons why I think NetBeans is a great IDE. I'll be demonstrating features which are currently available, except for one exception - the Visual Web Pack which is currently not available yet.

Since I got several requests for more information about the Visual Web Pack, I thought I could share with you the work-in-progress flash demo of this pack. This functionality is also available from Java Studio Creator, so if you want to use it today, you can download Creator 2 for free.

As you may now we'll be introducing together with the 5.5 release technology preview of the Visual Web Pack, which will be a new NetBeans pack and you will be able to use it to design JSF pages in a visual way (someone called it Matisse for web applications). The planned date for the technology preview is October 30 - of course quality is most important so if quality criteria is not met, we might slip the date.

So for those who can't wait till October 30, you can take a look under the hood by watching this flash demo (no sound yet):

Flash demo of the upcoming Visual Web Pack

The full demo called "Why NetBeans" which will have 8 more such chapters including voice will be available during next week. And remember - you can use the functionality already today with Creator 2 if you can't wait for Visual Web Pack.

Neděle VIII 20, 2006

Shortest Demo Ever: Floating Windows in M2

This is probably my shortest demo ever, but the beaty of this feature is it's simplicity. Imagine you could drag any of the windows from your IDE and place it outside the IDE - or even to your second monitor. That's exactly what the new floating windows feature does in M2 of NetBeans 6.

Click to play the short demo

Neděle VIII 13, 2006

Localizing with Matisse

I've been playing with the latest update of Matisse which was demoed first time at Java One. The improvements are very nice (the list of news is on the page). Localizing GUIs is now very easy - it required a bit of hacking before. You can get this update from the update center (note that it's on the beta update center which is not checked by default).

To discover how to internationalize a form with the latest update, you can watch this flash demo prepared by my colleagues. I also find the Java One Matisse session very informative, it's worth watching. All cool stuff, and there's more to look forward.

Úterý VII 18, 2006

New Flash Preso: Java EE 5 and NetBeans Platform

Before I left for my vacation I created a new flash presentation which showcases using NetBeans platform with Java EE 5 backend. My colleagues have published it while I was somewhere in the middle of Borneo's rain forest.

Click on the image to play the presentation

Now all my clothes are wet and smelly, my cell phone has died, but I'm back in civilization for a while and will leave again to explore local national parks and villages. I'll share some pictures when I'll arrive back to Europe... still have two more weeks to do Something Completely DifferentTM.

Čtvrtek VI 15, 2006

New Flash Demos

My colleague Lukas Hasik has created a very interesting demo of End-to-end Java ME Web Services (JSR-172). I heard from a couple of people that I have a funny European accent, so if you want to hear a funny European accent on steroids, check out Lukas' demo :) You can also learn a lot from this demo, it's quite comprehensive.

At the same time Ludo and Gregg Murray created a flash for the new jMaki plug-in for NetBeans. JMaki is a neat AJAX framework with prebuilt components, such as the Mac application chooser with zooming icons. Well, somebody should buy a good microphone to these guys... ;)

... and if you still don't have enough you can take a sneak peak on what I'm working on. NetBeans platform, JAX-WS, Java Persistence API and Matisse all in one demo... part 1, part 2 and part 3 (part 4 is TBD - that will be about platform and async WS). I'll make from this a narrated flash Real SoonTM (the draft is silent now), similar to the Javalobby platform presentation. The reason why I'm posting the silent draft here is so that NB enthusiasts can provide me with feedback to make this preso even better!

Pondělí VI 05, 2006

Flash Demo: 2-way UML Modelling

I'm on the road preparing a presentation and I thought I could share this short demo with everyone... I don't have a mic here, so this time it's quiet. Discover the UML modelling in NetBeans Enterprise Pack in less than 4 minutes:

2-way UML Modeller in Enterprise Pack 5.5 Beta

Středa V 24, 2006

Flash Demo: J2EE Has Never Been Easier!

Some people know me as a J2EE-sceptic. I have some very bad experiences with J2EE (and especially EJBs) from the ancients times of J2EE, when it took like half an hour to create a hello world application and deployment took a couple of minutes (and often failed). I was a developer and then a project manager of a project which was a big firedrill and we've spent lots of nights coding EJBs and deploying them to an unreliable app server (which wasn't from Sun). No, that was not fun.

The times are changing though. It is great to see how much persistence frameworks such as Hibernate and many of the new web frameworks helped J2EE (sorry Java EE) become simplier to use and more powerful. NetBeans together with Glassfish makes the development experience quite enjoyable - I can't imagine anyone using a command line to write EE apps, although I heard some people still do it.

I recorded a short flash demo to show how easy it is to get started with Java EE 5. The generation wizards do not solve all the problems of the world, but are a nice way how to get started with Java EE 5 - you will see how easy it is to customize the web application. I am very excited about annotations in EE 5 and the new Java persistence. All the EE 5 features are nicely supported in development builds of NetBeans 5.5 and the development is so much faster than with previous versions of EE. The amount of code you don't have to write anymore is quite amazing.

There is still time to provide feedback to NetBeans developers before NetBeans 5.5 is finalized (get the daily build, not the beta). So check out my demo and let us know what you think... and remember this is just one of the features which is available.

A CRUD web application in 5 minutes with NetBeans and Java EE 5

Úterý V 02, 2006

Which Flash Demos/Tutorials Would you Like to See?

I am thinking about which flash demos or flash tutorials to do next... as one of the biggest contributors :) The one which is on top of my list is the new Data Persistence demo, Geertjan has blogged about it recently and I think it's very cool. I certainly want to do more demos about the platform, similarly as I started it with the presentation on Javalobby.

What else would you like to see? I am open to suggestions, it can be both for beginners or for advanced users. I think we can build a nice knowledge base of how to use NetBeans effectively and help the less advanced developers learn to use features of the IDE.

Btw, to prove that we mean it seriously with multimedia content, we have been filming an interview with Patrick Keegan about the new revision of the NetBeans IDE Field Guide during last week. Ruth has some comments in her blog about it - she's part of our film crew.

Creating a short movie seems to be lots of fun for somebody who was never part of the process, but when we were actually doing it we found out that it's really a lot of work and we are a bit concerned what the results will look like - we'll see after all the editing is done. We're also trying to record some special short shots we'll play at the NetBeans day in San Francisco. Well, I never thought I would be doing such things when I came for the interview at Sun!

Sobota IV 01, 2006

Flash Demo of New Subversion Support in NetBeans

I created a flash demo of new Subversion support in NetBeans. It is being redesigned now similarly as the CVS support was redesigned. So while the old Subversion support is still available on the update center, the new one will be available soon. You can watch this demo to see how it works at this moment...

NetBeans will have excellent Subversion support soon

More information available on the Teepee project website (code name for new Subversion support).

Středa III 29, 2006

Multimedia Presentations About Java

You will probably agree with me that Java can be nowadays used in many ways and even in applications where the authors of the language wouldn't expect it - e.g. on Mars. It can be used on servers, desktops, mobile devices, but also in real-time devices (did you know that the very first JSR was actually implemented quite recently?). This is definitely a great property of Java, but it brings one disadvantage. Java as a platform is no longer as simple as it used to be, and thus it's quite hard to keep an overview of all new technologies, frameworks, libraries, etc. around Java.

One of the ways how to get an overview about these technologies is to watch multimedia presentations about Java. Well, you need to understand spoken English which can be an issue, in that case you can also watch these presentations with a second goal - to learn English :) I was searching for good sources of presentations recently and found the following ones - if you want to learn more about Java and have a good internet connection, visit these sites:

About Java:
JavaZone 2005
JavaPolis 2004
Java One 2005 a 2004
Tech Talks na TheServerSide
JavaPolis 2005

About IDE's:
Flash Demos of Eclipse
Flash Demos of IntelliJ IDEA

a of course...
Flash Demos of NetBeans

Pondělí II 27, 2006

How to Keep Track of New NetBeans Flash Demos

Lots of cool flash demos of NetBeans is being created these days. I am really glad that so many people started to produce them - several months ago it was almost only me and Vincent Brabant, but that has changed. The demos I am most happy for are those created outside Sun - and there's a couple of those (hint: we'll have new NetBeans 5.0 t-shirts this week so if you want one, you can get it for a flash demo).

John C. has a blog called Flog It! By subscribing to his RSS you can easily keep track of all the new NetBeans flash demos. He also adds his opinions and describes the flashes, so it's more than just a link blog.

Pátek II 24, 2006

New NetBeans Platform Flash Presentation Is Live

My NetBeans 5.0 platform presentation is live on www.javalobby.org:

Click to watch and listen to my latest presentation

It contains 3 flash demos (I blogged two of them before so there's 1 new), plus screenshots and links to documentation. I am thinking about additional demos which can help people learn to use NetBeans platform and develop plug-ins, I'll do that once I have more experiences (I am still on the learning curve).

Enjoy the demos!

Pátek II 17, 2006

The NetBeans Platform Demo Saga Continues...

Here is the second part of my NetBeans platform demo saga:

Improving the coolness factor
with a Google toolbar

This is an ongoing story... the first part is available right here. To be continued...

Úterý II 14, 2006

Fell in Love with NetBeans Platform

It's the Valentine's day... this is the day when you can fall in love with NetBeans platform:

Assemble your own application...
Fast and Furious

This is just the first part of the story... more flash demos of the NetBeans platform coming soon... on www.javalobby.org.

Pátek XII 30, 2005

Learning to Use NetBeans Effectively

I like flash demos and flash tutorials of NetBeans. Let me explain you why. When you read a tutorial on a web site, it takes quite a long time and you have to try everything yourself. And I'm mostly too lazy to do that (I guess I'm not the only person with this problem in this universe). If you watch a flash demo explaining the features of the IDE instead, it helps you learn it visually (and in case of some demos even acousticly). So it's a very natural way to learn to use the IDE.

Two members of NetBeans community, Claudio Miranda and Paris Apostolopoulos contributed 3 new demos into our growing list. I recommend to check them out:

Reusing custom GUI components using palette, by Claudio Miranda

Tips for GUI building, by Claudio Miranda.

Demo of Developer Collaboration in NetBeans 5.0 beta2, by Paris Apostolopoulos.

Středa X 05, 2005

Discover NetBeans 5.0 Beta Features

My new Javalobby expert presentation was just published:

It covers new features in the NetBeans 5.0 Beta. As usual, feedback is appreciated. I can also provide text version of the script for those who prefer reading over listening.

Sobota IX 17, 2005

Just a Short Notice...

I'm starting to work on a flash demo of NetBeans 5.0 beta features. I do not know how to compress everything into 20-25 minutes but I will try hard. It will be published on Javalobby as an expert presentation around 5.0's beta time... stay tuned.

Pátek VIII 26, 2005

New CVS Support - Flash Demo

Here's my newest flash demo...

What's inside: improved CVS support, including
  • integration with projects and refactoring
  • editor annotations (to find out who broke your code)
  • new colors and badges (for better overview)
  • easily accessible actions (e.g. commit all on project or show all diffs)
  • support for CVS over SSH
  • ...see yourself
Feedback much appreciated!

Středa VI 29, 2005

Petr Jiricka's Flash Demo of EJB 3.0 with Glassfish

Petr Jiricka from the J2EE team has created a nice flash demo of upcoming EJB 3.0 support for next release of NetBeans (it kind of works already).

Well, Java EE development will be really simplified with usage of annotations.

Neděle VI 19, 2005

Creating Good Flash Demos, Part 2

Last time I wrote about software which you can use for screencasting. No matter how good the software is, without proper preparation your demos will look crappy. I have for you some tips you could consider before creating the demo.

If you want your demo to be successfull, choose a set of features people are really interested in. From my experience these are mostly features a lot of people are using and are somehow an issue. For example, GUI building in Java has always been a challenge. When I've published the demo of our new GUI builder which makes building GUIs easier, the interest was enormous. Another example are features your product was known to be not so good in but it's changing recently. People using your product will be very interested in such features.

Keep it simple. It's better to show fewer code so that people can understand it easily. Sometimes less can be more. In my experience the ideal length for a demo is 3-5 minutes. While this seems to be a very short time, longer demos are not good, because your viewers loose their attention and eventually become bored.

Make it dynamic. There has to be something happening all the time and unless you want to give the viewer time to absorb what he just learned, don't waste the time. Whenever there are some dead moments, this may mean loosing your viewer's attention and eventually interest in the demo at all. You don't want the viewer to switch to the other window.

If possible, use voice. There can be many reasons why not to use voice, starting by your level or English, that's it's more difficult or just because the software you are using doesn't allow it. If you want to make something really cool, speak to your users. They will be happy they don't have to read the text and can just sit and enjoy the demo. By absorbing the information both visually and acousticly it's much easier to learn anything and it's much more enjoyable. Speech makes your demos more human, you will create a connection with the person on the other side, while text is still impersonal. There are many reasons why to use speech so use it if you can. If there's any tip for creating good demos I would like to emphasize, it's this one.

Create a script. Before actually recording the demo, it's a good idea to jot down what you will demonstrate. Launching the IDE and clicking to show something doesn't work. If you are including speech, it's a good idea to write the speaking points down. Ideally if you have time, write the whole speech down. Then record the demo in two steps - at first the video part and then the audio part. Both audio and video can be cut, so it's relatively easy to synchronize them.

Decide which recording method to choose. Most softwares offer two possibilities - either to make screenshots of individual screens and combine them into a stream or to capture the demo as avi video (this video is embedded in flash afterwards). Depending what you are demoing, choose when to use either of these methods. The first one is more space efficient, but will not capture every moment. So if you are doing a lot of drag & drop or the screen is changing a lot, the second method is better. However count with the fact that avi video cannot be cut easily.

Post-process the demo. You'll use this tip after the demo is recorded, but it's good to count with it from the beginning. Most screencasting softwares offer you the possibility to cut dead scenes or to speed up or slow down anything. You can also add text labels and bubbles explaining what is going on.

That's all for today, next time I'll write about how to actually create the demo and provide tips how to keep the demo size small, what to do during recording and what not to do, etc.

Roman Strobl


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