Thursday Jan 29, 2009

Another reason for switching to Mac is ...

.. the new Heavy Brushed Metal look and feel in NetBeans when running on Mac OS X:


Looking cool, right? You can compare the new look and feel with NetBeans 6.5 and Eclipse 3.4.1.
Coming soon to development builds on NetBeans download servers...

Monday Jun 16, 2008

How to Cripple the NetBeans Window System

Are you building an application using NetBeans platform? Then perhaps you may find the NetBeans window system too feature rich - why would you let users drag and drop windows to destroy your deeply thought-out window layout? Who would want to minimize the window you've spent so much work on? Floating windows? - that's just a plain silly idea...

Well, here's the good news: now in NetBeans 6.5M1 you can disable many window system feature very easily by branding org-netbeans-core-windows.jar module. The features you can turn off are:

  • Window drag and drop - it isn't possible to reorganize window layout by dragging windows to new position.
  • Floating windows - windows cannot 'float' in a standalone frames.
  • Sliding windows - it's not possible to minimize (slide out) a window.
  • Maximized windows - windows cannot be maximized by clicking their header.
  • Closing windows - users cannot close any document/non-document window.
  • Resizing windows - users cannot adjust the width and height of windows by dragging splitter bars.
  • Minimum size - user can resize internal windows to zero width/height using splitter bars.

So to customize the window system of your NetBeans platform application simply open Project Properties window, turn the features you don't need off and the API support will add necessary branding resources for you:

You can click here for more details.

Thursday May 15, 2008

Drag and Drop Text into Palette Window to Create Custom Code CLips

The Common Palette associated with HTML editor has been improved a bit - now it's possible to drag any text and drop it in the palette window to create a new custom code snippet:

Other editors will follow soon. Adding such support to your own palette is quite easy. Just override
and let it handle everything:

class MyDragAndDropHandler extends DragAndDropHandler {
    MyDragAndDropHandler() {
       super( true );
    public void customize(ExTransferable t, Lookup item) {


                             new MyPaletteActions(), 
                             new MyDragAndDropHandler());

Wednesday Mar 12, 2008

Window System News

There are a couple of new features in NetBeans' window system in the latest builds that you may find interesting.

Transparency during window drag'n'drop

When a view or editor window is being dragged in NetBeans, a small, scaled image of that window is shown. The image is also transparent so one can clearly see where the window will be dropped. If it's not allowed to drop window to the new location the image will darken.

Transparency of floating windows

Floating windows (Alt+Shift+D shortcut) are transparent when inactive. Should be useful for various palette and helper windows.

Floating window snapping

Floating windows snap to each other and to screen edges so it much easier to nicely arrange windows on your desktop. Unfortunately there's no way to detect if native window management provides snapping too so there may be some clashes unless you turn one or the other off...

These effects probably won't make you more productive in NetBeans IDE but I think they may be handy if you are building your own applications on NetBeans platform.

Note: The transparency effects were implemented using the excellent JNA library (Java Native Access). It should work straight out of the box on MS Windows and on Mac OS X. Composite window manager is needed on Linux

Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

A little bit of eye candy in development builds

The work on NetBeans 6.0 is mostly over so we've started working on features that will be available in version 6.1. Among other things we decided to make the windows system less boring by adding some visual eye candy. One example is balloon-like tooltip which pops up when new updates are available:

Another example are transparent sliding windows. Sometimes you may need a quick glance at your source files when examining the content of output window. So instead of sliding the output window out you may now make it transparent. You can use either scroll wheel with Alt+Shift modifiers or Ctrl+NumPad_0 shortcut:

Stay tuned, more visual effects are coming soon!

Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

OpenOffice Configuration Viewer

Recently I've been playing with OpenOffice plugin for NetBeans. Even though there are still some issues - for example it works in NetBeans 5.5 and OpenOffice only - it is pretty cool to manage e.g. spreadsheets from Java code.

Malte Timmermann from OpenOffice development team gave me this idea for a useful OpenOffice AddOn - it would be nice to have some sort of configuration viewer/editor showing all the possible settings in a similar manner like Mozilla's about:config.
So after a short fight with OpenOffice APIs and documentation I came up with a simple configuration viewer that can display all the settings in a spreadsheet table. It works pretty well so you can see all the default settings (even those that have no user interface for adjustments) and user's changes to those settings as well. The source files are available here.

Now I'm at the stage where I need some help from experienced OpenOffice developers:

  • The list of configuration root paths is hard-coded at the moment (i.e. /org.openoffice.Office.Writer, /org.openoffice.Office.Calc etc). I'm looking for some way to enumerate all the config roots depending on installed modules. Is there any?
  • The next step is adding editing capabilities. I was thinking of implementing a new cell formula that would update the configuration value in user settings. Is this feasible? If so, I'd appreciate some pointers how to best implement it.

Friday Aug 24, 2007

New Welcome Screen

NetBeans 6.0 is/will be a new release so a new welcome screen is needed. I committed the source files to CVS today so tomorrow's nightly build should welcome screen looking like this:

I really like the new design - the graphics are much more lightweight, there's lot more information. The content is also divided into two parts - for first time users with getting started, tutorials and sample projects. And for returning users with useful blogs, NetBeans news and recent projects.

Hopefully less users will tick the Show On Startup checkbox off in NetBeans 6.0 ...:)

Thursday Aug 23, 2007

Task List extensions Part II

The new Task List window in NetBeans 6.0 has a new API so the Checkstyle module that is available in earlier NetBeans releases isn't working in NB 6.0.

Since I'm responsible for the new Task List I tried to fix this deficiency by implementing a new Checkstyle integration module for NetBeans 6.0. You can find it here, source files are in NetBeans CVS in contrib/tasklist/checkstyle.

There is one known issue though - if there is another NetBeans plugin that adds ANTLR runtime jar to the classpath (e.g. UML, Struts, ...) the Checkstyle plugin won't work. I'll try to fix this problem.

Friday Aug 03, 2007

Task List extensions

One of the features I was working on for NetBeans 6.0 is the Task List window. It shows Java problems (errors, warnings), TODO items from comments in source files. Other task types will be added later on.

There are three default scopes in which the Task List scans for these tasks - currently edited file, the main project and projects that depend on the main one and all opened projects. I've create a plugin that adds extra scopes:

  • All opened files
  • All files from the same folder/package as the currently edited file.
  • Files from the main project without dependecies
The plugin is available here.


Stanislav Aubrecht


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