Friday Aug 15, 2008

Moving on...

Today is my last day at Sun. I am leaving Sun and will no longer be blogging here. I plan to continue to support my NetBeans modules as an open source contributor.

I will continue blogging on my personal blog at:

See you there...

Friday May 30, 2008

Readonly Editors Mode Module

I just uploaded the Readonly Editors Mode module to the NetBeans Plugin Portal.

This module controls the editable property of the text editors. The initial state of the editable property of text editor is controlled by the Tools:Options:Miscellaneous:Read Only Editors Mode:Open editors in read-only mode option. The user can toggle the read-only mode using the editor toolbar action (button with open/closed lock icon). The default key binding for the toggle action is CTRL+R.




Toggle Readonly mode button on editor toolbar:

editor toolbar

The sources can be found in main/contrib repository.

DISCLAIMER: This module is experimental. So no guarantees. Use the module at your own risk.

Friday May 23, 2008

Trunk NetBeans cluster dependency graph generated using dot

Here is a cluster dependency graph for the NetBeans trunk (post-6.1 aka 6.5) build. The graph was generated using the dot program from graphviz package on my Ubuntu laptop.


To produce the necessary input file for the dot program I hacked the following method:

    private void generateGroupDependencies (File output, boolean implementationOnly) throws BuildException, IOException {
PrintWriter w = new PrintWriter (new FileWriter (output));

Map<Dependency,Set<ModuleInfo>> referrers = new HashMap<Dependency,Set<ModuleInfo>>();

TreeMap<String, Set<Dependency>> groups = new TreeMap<String, Set<Dependency>>();
for (ModuleInfo m : modules) {
if (regexp != null && !regexp.matcher( {
Set<Dependency> l = groups.get(;
if (l == null) {
l = new TreeSet<Dependency>();
groups.put(, l);
for (Dependency d : m.depends) {
Set<ModuleInfo> r = referrers.get(d);
if (r == null) {
r = new HashSet<ModuleInfo>();
referrers.put(d, r);

w.println("digraph G {");
w.println(" ratio=auto;");
w.println(" concentrate=true;");
w.println(" node[shape=box,tailport=s];");
for (Map.Entry<String,Set<Dependency>> e : groups.entrySet()) {
String groupName = e.getKey();
Set<Dependency> depends = e.getValue();
Set<String> seenGroup = new HashSet<String>();
boolean first = true;
for (Dependency d : depends) {
String print = " REQUIRES ";
if (d.exact && != null) {
// ok, impl deps
} else {
if (implementationOnly) {

// special dependencies are ignored
if (d.isSpecial ()) {
// dependencies within one group are not important
Set<ModuleInfo> r = referrers.get(d);
ModuleInfo ref = findModuleInfo(d, r.size() == 1 ? r.iterator().next() : null);
if (groupName.equals ( {
// Have we seen this group already - group == cluster
if(seenGroup.contains( {
// skip

w.print (" ");
w.print (groupName);
w.print (" -> ");
w.print (;
w.print (";");
w.println ();
w.close ();

in nbbuild/antsrc/org/netbeans/nbbuild/ file. Then I built and ran the ant task like this:

>  cd nbbuild
>  ant bootstrap generate-golden-files

to generate the dependency files in nbbuild/build/generated. This produced the following contents: 

digraph G {
apisupport -> ide;
apisupport -> java;
apisupport -> platform;
apisupport -> harness;
cnd -> platform;
cnd -> ide;
gsf -> platform;
gsf -> ide;
harness -> platform;
ide -> platform;
identity -> java;
identity -> platform;
identity -> j2ee;
identity -> ide;
j2ee -> java;
j2ee -> ide;
j2ee -> platform;
j2ee -> gsf;
java -> platform;
java -> ide;
mobility -> java;
mobility -> platform;
mobility -> ide;
mobility -> j2ee;
nb -> platform;
nb -> ide;
profiler -> java;
profiler -> platform;
profiler -> ide;
profiler -> j2ee;
ruby -> platform;
ruby -> ide;
ruby -> gsf;
soa -> java;
soa -> ide;
soa -> platform;
soa -> j2ee;
soa -> xml;
uml -> platform;
uml -> java;
uml -> ide;
visualweb -> java;
visualweb -> platform;
visualweb -> j2ee;
visualweb -> ide;
visualweb -> nb;
xml -> platform;
xml -> ide;

in nbbuild/build/generated/cluster-deps.txt and then I ran the following command on the file:

>  cd build/generated
>  dot -Tpng cluster-deps.txt -o cluster-deps.png

and we have the graph in cluster-deps.png file.

Similar technique could be applied to generate dependency graphs for modules dependencies etc. I will look into making it part of the build which could be invoked on demand to produce the dependency graphs.

Friday May 16, 2008

DOM Inspector in Firefox Sidebar

In this entry I talked about how to show Google Talk in Firefox Sidebar. Using the same technique you can show the DOM Inspector in the Firefox Sidebar. That way you can get the DOM Inspector in the same window as the page you are inspecting.

UPDATE: You can simply install this add-on in the Firefox browser. It will add a new menu item Tools:DOM Inspector in sidebar .

SidebarDomInspector Menu Item 

Selecting this menu item will show the DOM Inspector in the Firefox sidebar. It also makes the sidebar resizable.

Here is the NetBeans 6.1 project to build the extension.

Here is how. Just create a bookmark like this:

DOMInspectorInSideBar Bookmark

and then invoke the bookmark. Then use the File:Inspect Window > menu item to select the window you are browsing in. You will see something like this


Unfortunately the Sidebar is not resizable. However this could be tweaked using the property overlay incantation overrding the flex attribute of the sidebar box. Also the popup dialogs to search for  nodes does not work. Once again some XUL overlay gimmickry could come handy here.

Useful? You decide.

Sunday May 11, 2008

E4X assignment gotcha

Obscure TIP Warning

E4X allows direct embedding of XML literals inside JavaScript which make it very easy to work with XML inside JavaScript. Recently while working on a Firefox extension I got bit by some unexpected behavior of an XML variable assignment operator (=). Basically it clones the XML document fragment on the right hand side of assignment operator. The following program demonstrates the behavior.

function e4x() {
var languages = <languages></languages>;
alert("initial value of variable 'languages'=:\\n" + languages.toXMLString());
var javascript = <scripting>JavaScript</scripting>
alert("initial value of variable 'javascript':\\n" + javascript.toXMLString());
languages.scripting = javascript;
alert("after adding 'javascript' variable as a child node - value of variable 'languages':\\n" + languages.toXMLString());
javascript.version = <version>1.2</version>
alert("after adding version node - value of variable 'javascript':\\n" + javascript.toXMLString());
alert("after adding version node to variable 'javascript' - value of variable 'languages':\\n" +
languages.toXMLString() +
"\\nvalue of variable 'languages' does not reflect the changes made to the value of variable 'javascript'.");
<body onload="e4x();">

You can try this program (if you are using Firefox) by clicking here


Thursday May 08, 2008

NetBeans 6.1 and trunk compatible Code Template Tools NBMs

NetBeans 6.1 is out!

I have updated the Code Template Tools module to work with NetBeans 6.1 FCS and trunk. Here are the NBMs"

NetBeans 6.1 FCS compatible Code Templates Tools NBM

post 6.1 main compatible Code Templates Tools NBM

I need to figure out how to publish multiple NBMs on Plugin Portal. In the mean time you will have to use these.

Saturday Apr 26, 2008

YouTube Viewer add-on project


In this blog entry I talked about the YouTube Viewer add-on for Firefox. In the last blog I talked about how to use a freeform Web NetBeans 6.1 Project to build the iPhone mode add-on for Firefox. Download a similar freeform Web NetBeans 6.1 Project for YouTube Viewer.


Using NetBeans 6.1 freeform project to build iPhone mode add-on for Firefox project.


In the last entry I talked about an iPhone mode add-on for Firefox. I used a free form Web Project of NetBeans 6.1 IDE to build the iPhone mode add-on. The NetBeans 6.1 IDE has a great JavaScript editor. That was a big plus. Here is a visual tour of the Web Project setup.

The Build Script

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project name="iPhoneEmulator" default="all" basedir=".">
<description>iPhone Emulator for Firefox.</description>
<property name="build.dir" value="build"/>
<!-- build iphone -->
<target name="-create-iphone-jar">
<echo message="Build iphone.jar"/>
<mkdir dir="${build.dir}"/>
<zip destfile="${build.dir}/iphone.jar">
<zipfileset dir="." includes="content/\*\*" />
<zipfileset dir="." includes="locale/\*\*" />
<zipfileset dir="." includes="skin/\*\*" />
<target name="-gen-manifest">
<echo message="Configuring chrome-manifest"/>
<mkdir dir="${build.dir}"/>
<copy file="chrome.manifest" tofile="${build.dir}/chrome.manifest" overwrite="true"/>
<replaceregexp file="${build.dir}/chrome.manifest"
flags="g" byline="true"/>
<replaceregexp file="${build.dir}/chrome.manifest"
flags="g" byline="true"/>
<target name="-create-iphone-xpi" depends="-create-iphone-jar,-gen-manifest">
<echo message="Build iphone.xpi"/>
<mkdir dir="${build.dir}"/>
<zip destfile="${build.dir}/iphone.xpi">
<zipfileset dir="${build.dir}" includes="iphone.jar" prefix="chrome" />
<zipfileset dir="${build.dir}" includes="chrome.manifest" />
<zipfileset dir="." includes="install.rdf" />
<target name="all" depends="-create-iphone-xpi"/>

<target name="run" depends="clean,all">
<exec executable="firefox" osfamily="unix">
<arg file="${build.dir}/iphone.xpi"/>
<exec executable="/usr/bin/open" osfamily="mac">
<arg value="-b"/>
<arg value="org.mozilla.firefox"/>
<arg file="${build.dir}/iphone.xpi"/>
<exec executable="C:/Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe" osfamily="windows">
<arg file="${build.dir}/iphone.xpi"/>

<target name="-clean-iphone">
<echo message="Clean iphone"/>
<delete file="${build.dir}/iphone.jar" failonerror="false"/>
<delete file="${build.dir}/chrome.manifest" failonerror="false"/>
<delete file="${build.dir}/iphone.xpi" failonerror="false"/>
<target name="clean" depends="-clean-iphone"/>

Here is the rest:




Projects and Files window showing the layout: 




The NetBeans IDE is slowly starting to take shape as a premium AJAX, Web 2.0 and Mobile development IDE. 


Sunday Apr 20, 2008

Open Location in iPhone Mode in Firefox

I have been hacking Firefox. Here is a simple iPhone mode add-on. This is very basic mode. You can type an address in the address field and hit ENTER. You can use the Reload button to reload the page. You can use Go Back and Go Forward buttons to navigate the history. You can use Add Bookmark button to add a bookmark to the current page. You can use the Show Bookmarks button to show the Bookmarks window. Just lkie the iPhone - the address bar is hidden when the document loads. You can reshow the address bar by clicking on the battery indicator bar.

Any URL can be invoked in the iPhone mode from command line by using the -iphone command line argument.

> firefox -iphone URL

Use the File:OpenLocation in iPhone Mode... menu item to launch the iPhone mode.

Open Location in iPhone Mode

iPhone ModeiPhone mode collapsed address bar

Talk about recursive :)

Download the add-on.

Download the NetBeans 6.1 project.

DISCLAIMER: This add-on is experimental. So no guarantees. Use the add-on at your own risk.

Friday Apr 18, 2008

Nested JavaScript functions and Non-static Inner Classes in Java


I am a Java programmer and understand the Java language concepts such as inner classes and scoping rules well. I have been learning JavaScript and trying to understand the scoping rules in JavaScript. Here are some of my observations about the similarities and differences between some aspects of nested JavaScript functions and Non-static inner classes.

var global = 0;
function outerFunction() {
var outerLocal = 1;
function innerFunction() {
var innerLocal = 2;
// Can access outerLocal here
// Can access global here

return innerFunction;




outerFunction.staticVar = 10; 
// elsewhere
function callingFunction() {
// Get a reference to innerFunction()
var refToOuterDotInner = outerFunction();


public class Outer() {
public static int staticField = 10;
private int outerLocal = 1;
public class Inner() {
private int innerLocal = 2;

private void innerMethod() {

int methodLocal = 4;
// Can access innerLocal here
// Can access outerLocal here

public Inner getInner() {
return new Inner();

// elsewhere
public void callingMethod() {
Outer outer = new Outer();
Inner innerInstance = outer.getInner();
// Invoke method of inner class

innerFunction() is analogous to --------->

The scope of innerFunction() maps to two concepts in Java world - the scopes of innerMethod() and the instance of Inner class.

The execution call stack of innerFunction() maps to the innerMethod() though.

 innerMethod() and instance of Inner class

I think this is the source of confusion for Java programmer. At least it was to me.

Three scopes when the innerFunction is executing:

  • Global
  • scope of outerFunction
  • scope of innerFunction - maps to last two scopes on Java side

Three scopes when innerMethod() is executing.

  • No equivalent in Java
  • Outer instance scope
  • Inner instance scope
  • innerMethod() local scope

outerLocal in outerFunction is analogous to --------->

outerLocal is private to outerLocal but can be accessed from innerFunction() .

outerLocal field of an instance of Outer class.

outerLocal is private to the instance of Outer class but can be accessed from innertMethod() .

In terms of scope level innerLocal is analogous to --------->methodLocal and innerLocal
no analogue
the Outer class instance can be accessed using Outer.this

call stack involves:


call stack:


outerFunciton.staticVar is analogous to --------->

Note the absence of  () after outerFunction.

static access to Outer.staticField


The scoping and access level rules of the inner functions allow for closures (a powerful concept) in JavaScript.

Do you have any insights to share?

Sunday Apr 13, 2008

TIP: Making JOptionPane dialog resizable

It is a well known issue that the dialogs shown by the javax.swing.JOptionPane are not resizable. In the last blog entry there was a tip in the code about just how to make the dialogs shown by javax.swing.JOptionPane resizable. Here is the relevant snippet of code:

        // TIP: Make the JOptionPane resizable using the HierarchyListener
editorPane.addHierarchyListener(new HierarchyListener() {
public void hierarchyChanged(HierarchyEvent e) {
Window window = SwingUtilities.getWindowAncestor(editorPane);
if (window instanceof Dialog) {
Dialog dialog = (Dialog)window;
if (!dialog.isResizable()) {

The tip works if you are using any java.awt.Component subclass as the message in javax.swing.JOptionPane. The tip works by listening to the hierarchy event on the message component, finding the java.awt.Dialog component and setting it's resizable property to true.

Saturday Apr 12, 2008

TIP: Displaying rich messages using JOptionPane and JEditorPane

In this and this blog entry I discussed technics to show images and multiline text in tooltips. The same technics can be applied to show rich messages using JEditorPane. Here is an example:

import java.awt.Cursor;
import java.awt.Desktop;
import java.awt.Dialog;
import java.awt.Dimension;
import java.awt.EventQueue;
import java.awt.Window;
import java.awt.event.HierarchyEvent;
import java.awt.event.HierarchyListener;
import java.util.logging.Level;
import java.util.logging.Logger;
import javax.swing.JEditorPane;
import javax.swing.JOptionPane;
import javax.swing.JScrollPane;
import javax.swing.SwingUtilities;
import javax.swing.event.HyperlinkEvent;
import javax.swing.event.HyperlinkListener;

public class NetBeansDay2008 {
public static void main(String[] args) {
// Turn anti-aliasing on
System.setProperty("awt.useSystemAAFontSettings", "on");
final JEditorPane editorPane = new JEditorPane();

// Enable use of custom set fonts
editorPane.putClientProperty(JEditorPane.HONOR_DISPLAY_PROPERTIES, Boolean.TRUE);
editorPane.setFont(new Font("Arial", Font.BOLD, 13));

editorPane.setPreferredSize(new Dimension(520,180));
+ "<body>"
+ "<table border='0px' cxellpadding='10px' height='100%'>"
+ "<tr>"
+ "<td valign='center'>"
+ "<img src='"
+ ""
// Alternatively an image stored next to the NetBeansDay2008
// class can be used like this.
//+ NetBeansDay2008.class.getResource("nbday08_logo.gif").toExternalForm()
+ "'>"
+ "</td>"
+ "<td>"
+ "<a href=''><b>NetBeans Day</b></a><br>"
+ "San Francisco May 5th, 2008<br>"
+ "<br>"
+ "NetBeans - The only IDE you need!<br>"
+ "</td>"
+ "</tr>"
+ "</table>"
+ "</body>"
+ "</html>"

// TIP: Make the JOptionPane resizable using the HierarchyListener
editorPane.addHierarchyListener(new HierarchyListener() {
public void hierarchyChanged(HierarchyEvent e) {
Window window = SwingUtilities.getWindowAncestor(editorPane);
if (window instanceof Dialog) {
Dialog dialog = (Dialog)window;
if (!dialog.isResizable()) {

// TIP: Add Hyperlink listener to process hyperlinks
editorPane.addHyperlinkListener(new HyperlinkListener() {
public void hyperlinkUpdate(final HyperlinkEvent e) {
if (e.getEventType() == HyperlinkEvent.EventType.ENTERED) {
EventQueue.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
public void run() {
// TIP: Show hand cursor
// TIP: Show URL as the tooltip
} else if (e.getEventType() == HyperlinkEvent.EventType.EXITED) {
EventQueue.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
public void run() {
// Show default cursor

// Reset tooltip
} else if (e.getEventType() == HyperlinkEvent.EventType.ACTIVATED) {
// TIP: Starting with JDK6 you can show the URL in desktop browser
if (Desktop.isDesktopSupported()) {
try {
} catch (Exception ex) {
Logger.getLogger(NetBeansDay2008.class.getName()).log(Level.SEVERE, ex.getMessage(), ex);
//System.out.println("Go to URL: " + e.getURL());
new JScrollPane(editorPane),
"NetBeans Day 2008",

Based on a tip from a reader I have added the code to turn on anti-aliasing and use of custom set fonts in JEditorPane. This shows the following visually pleasing dialog:

NetBeans Day 2008, San Francisco May 5th 2008

See you there!

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008

Mac OS Leopard: /usr/bin/open -b org.mozilla.firefox 'file:///tmp/test.html/?a=b&c=d' does not work


I just ran into a bug where by a command like this:

> /usr/bin/open -b org.mozilla.firefox 'file:///tmp/test.html/?a=b&c=d'

does not work correctly. It turns out the query string such as '?a=b&c=d' does not get passed to the Firefox as evident in the address bar. The http:// protocol based URLs work correctly.

I suspect the #reference to go to a specific anchor will also not work. I have not tried it though.

This is a bug (regression) on Mac OS Leopard (10.5). It use to work on Mac OS Tiger (10.4). I have already filed a bug with Apple for this.

BTW I have to use the /usr/bin/open command to reliably and repeatedly open a URL in Firefox (i.e. when Firefox is already running or not). That is because if I use the command such as:

> /Application/ 'file:///tmp/test.html/?a=b&c=d'

when Firefox is already running it give me an error along the lines of "There is already an instance of Firefox running. You can only run one instance of Firefox.".

I thought this information may be useful to some folks who are struggling with the same issue.


Monday Mar 31, 2008

TIP: Using Object.prototype.toString.apply(...);

You can use Object.prototype.toString.apply(<any JavaScript object>); displays the value returned by primordial toString() function even if the object's constructor function overrides the toString() function.

 For example (Array overrides the toString() function) :

alert([1,2,3].toString());                         => '1,2,3'
alert(Object.prototype.toString.apply([1,2,3]));   => '[object Array]' // better info than the next line
alert(typeof [1,2,3]); => 'object' // does not tell it is an Array


TIP: You can evaluate expressions like the above in the Firefox's Tools:Error Console's Evaluate text field.

Saturday Mar 29, 2008

Notes on JavaScript functions and objects


static (or definition) context

  • All functions have a property named prototype.1 The value of prototype is an object2 with a property named constructor.3 The value of constructor is the function itself.4
  • All functions have a property called length which specifies the expected number of parameters as declared in function signature.5
  • The value of constructor property of a function is the function Function6. That is because, the hidden super instance of a function is the value of the prototype property of the function Function.7

execution context

  • While a function executes there is a special variable arguments that holds the actual arguments that were passed in when the function was invoked.
  • While a function executes there is a special variable arguments which is of type Arguments which is an array-like object with a property length which gives the number of actual parameters passed in during invocation.
  • The formal parameter names are really aliases of arguments object's indexed properties indexed by the ordinal number of the formal parameter.
  • While a  function executes there is a special variable arguments.callee holds a reference to the function object itself. Thus  arguments.callee.length gives us the number of expected parameters.
  • For example:
function f(p1, p2) {
// p1 is alias of arguments[0]
// p2 is alias of arguments[1]
// you can access rest of the parameters using arguments[3] thru arguments[n]
// if f was invoked like this f(10, 20, 30, 40):
// the value of p1 and arguments[0] is 10
// the value of p2 and arguments[1] is 20
// the value of arguments[2] is 30
// the value of arguments[3] is 40
// the value of arguments.length is 4 i.e. four parameters were passed in
// the value f.length is 2 - two parameters p1 and p2 declared in function declaration
// the value arguments.callee is the function f itself. This works for anonymous functions also.
// This allows writing recursive functions even in case of anonymous functions.

Function function

static (or definition) context

  • Function being a function has a property named prototype. The value of prototype is an anonymous function function(){} with a property named constructor. The value of constructor is the function Function.
  • The value of constructor property of function Function is function Function. That is because the hidden super instance of a function is the value of the prototype property of function Function.

objects such as {} or new Object()

  • The constructor of an object such as {} or new Object{} of course is function Object.8
  • All objects inherit properties from a hidden super instance - the prototype object. The prototype object is the same as the value of the prototype property of function which was used to create the object using the new operator. Note: objects do not have a property named prototype.
  • The inherited properties behave in a copy-on-set manner.
  • All objects inherit a property named constructor from their hidden super instance - the prototype object.9

Object function

static (or definition) context

  • Object being a function has a property named prototype. The value of prototype is an anonymous object {} with a property named constructor.10 The value of constructor is the function Object.11
  • The value of constructor property of function Object is function Function. That is because the hidden super instance of a function is the value of the prototype property of function Function.
Let us say we have code like this:
function Rectangle(width, height) { 
this.width = width;
this.height = height;

var twoByFourRectangle = new Rectabgle(2, 4);

inherits | +---------constructor property ----+ | +----------------------------------+
from | | | | inherits | |
| v | v from v |
function Function --- prototype property---> function(){} <----- function Object --- prototype property---> {constructor: Object}
\^ \^
inherits | +---------------------------------------+ |
from | | | | inherits
| v | | from(?)
function Rectangle --- prototype property ----> {constructor: Rectangle}--+
inherits |
from |
object twoByFourRectangle --- width property ----> 2
+--- height property --> 4

1  alert("prototype" in Rectangle);                   => 'true'
2  alert(Rectangle.prototype);                        => '[object Object]'

3 alert("constructor" in Rectangle.prototype); => 'true'
4  alert(Rectangle.prototype.constructor);            => '[function Rectangle]'
5 alert(Rectangle.length);                           => '2'

6 alert(Rectangle.constructor) => 'function Function() {[native code]}'

7  alert(Rectangle.constructor.prototype)             => 'function(){}'

8 alert({}.constructor); => 'function Object() {[native code]}'

9 alert("constructor" in {}); => 'true'

10 alert(Object.prototype); => '[object Object]'

11 alert(Object.prototype.constructor);               => 'function Object() {[native code]}'
TIP: You can evaluate expressions like the above in the Firefox's Tools:Error Console's Evaluate text field.

Tricky huh? It was for me.




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