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Netbeans Day (South Africa) Part 1

Posted by evanx on May 5, 2006 at 10:26 AM PDT

Health warning: the italic text is just me rambling and so should probably be skipped.

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Today was a lovely sunny day in johannesburg, as usual! i'm in "joburg" visiting family (for a month or two), which is perfect timing, with Netbeans Day being today in joburg!

As agreed with my mother (the one with the car), i was up at 7am so as to be ready to leave at 730. (My mother was up at 5am for gym - mentil!) So I dropped mom at her office and kept on trucking through to the "Sandton Convention Centre" in her car. Traffic wasn't as bad as i had feared (being a provincial boy from quieter south african coastal towns like Durban and Cape Town), and the venue and its parking were perfect.

After registration i enjoyed the coffee and muffins on offer, especially seeing as I didn't recognise anyone, like former colleagues - i felt like i knew no one, probably because i didn't.

I was really looking forward to the "opening keynote" by James Gosling. I hadn't noticed it was just a 15 minute "intro" (I had missed the preceding two "Sun Tech Days" where he gave his main keynote and talks i guess) but still it was great to see and hear the father of Java, even if only for a short while.

The speakers were Geertjan Wielenga (from the Netbean's Prague office i presume), Chuk Munn Lee, and Sang Shin, a Java evangelist from Sun.

Geertjan Wielenga's first talk was entitled "What makes Netbeans Best?" The salient points (for me) were:

  • Ant-based build system - you can add your targets (of your build.xml) into the Netbeans menu and toolbar.
  • Collaboration - you can chat with colleagues from within Netbeans, and drag projects and classes for them to view, and they can even build and run and debug your projects for you, remotely from their side.
  • Profiler. (I've been hearing on JavaPosse that Netbeans Profiler is something very special.)
  • Matisse. (Ditto, we've heard from the posse that Matisse redefines Swing builders.)
  • Abbreviations, eg. Psf for public static void) et al (configured in Tools/Editor). I learnt that psvm is public static void main - learn something new every netbeans day, innit!
  • Suggestion. Enough about Netbeans day, let's talk about me! I was a vi user for years, then IntelliJ for six months, then Eclipse for 6 months. That was last year. After playing with Netbeans 4.1, i decided i wanted to move to Netbeans because i preferred its look and feel (probably because it gave me happy memories of IntelliJ). And for philosophical reasons (being a Swing developer). But I had to put off my move to Netbeans for two months to wait for Suggestion (in 4.2dev), because that was my show-stopper. Now i'm hitting my 6 month mark with Netbeans, and loving it! There are a few things for me that Eclipse did better, and i will mention them in a follow-up posting, or not, because i don't doubt they'll be improved in due course - the pace of Netbeans development is astounding!
  • Control K and L for words in the buffer.
  • F2 for Bookmarks.
  • "Camel Case Completion" eg. WL for WindowListener - i will be using this everyday!
  • Alt Shift W to enclose with try/catch.
  • 9 new refactorings - with Jackpot to come. Jackpot is advanced refactorings being developed by Sun, and to be included in Netbeans. (The posse have chatted about Jackpot, innit.)

Geertjan Wielenga's second talk was entitled "Plug-in Development and Rich Client Platform" - read Part 2 for that.

In Part 3, I'll cover Sang Shin's talk "What makes Netbeans the best IDE for Java EE Development?" - the last installment in this series on Netbeans Day (South Africa).

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