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JavaOne 2006: NetBeans Day Wrap-Up

Tons of interesting stuff came from today's NetBeans event - another reason to be glad for Eclipse

NetBeans Day Wrap-Up

A lot of interesting stuff was presented at today's NetBeans shindig. I am impressed with the progress they have made in just a year. The tool set is a lot better and seems to be making significant progress in becoming a first class player - yet another reason to be glad for Eclipse. The Eclipse team has really forced the issue to make NetBeans better. One of my favorite quotes last year from a NetBeans/Swing rep was that they didn't realize how important native look and feel was to developers (and ultimately users). They have a much better story for that now and particularly on the performance side of things. It runs fast (especially on my shiny new 17" MacBook Pro:).

Okay, so back to today's content.

It started with some history and information and a big thank you to the folks who stuck with the NB platform through some lean years, as well as a little chest thumping too about their success. From the sounds of it they have something to be happy about too: a sixfold increase in the number of active users, which is a great growth curve. It's hard to know what it was last year but, still, that's a good curve. They were also very keen on thanking the folks who are new to NB and willing to try it out.

Next up was the Subversion demo. It looks like very good support  and all the typical stuff worked as expected (checkout, checkin, changed files, diff, etc.). But there was some really cool stuff too. You can cut a branch or tag from inside the GUI, which I thought was great, but hands down the best thing was the branch and merge view. The person doing the demo made a branch and performed a change on the branch, then merged it back into the main line. The subversion integration showed  the branch history and the current trunk history in a graphical tree view and offered the ability to choose to merge down and more. It looked really cool indeed.

Next up was Jonathan Schwartz (BTW, is that a big announcement he is foreshadowing?). He talked about his love for developer tools, which stems not from actually doing development but trying to lead a group of developers at his previous company. They were grumpy with bad tools and happy with good tools (this is a simplification of what he said, of course, but not that far off). So he likes good tools. He convinced Rich Green to come back and take over software and tools. He then did a bit of a mock Q & A; first question was, "So, are you going to open source Java?" Which, I guess, is a question that's on many folks' minds. His basic answer was still the "maybe" that we have been hearing for the past couple of years, but there was still a lot of "we don't want the platform to fracture." We'll have to see what comes out this week. I wouldn't expect an open source Java announcment. There was a bit more talk about how cool NB is and how much they will be adding to the platform over the next little bit. Sounds very interesting to me for sure; I'll have to start watching more closely. His speech ended with "you will be asked to deliver more: join the JCP and help define the standards; join the community and help define it, etc."

Next up was the Sprint people with a really cool demo: they built a MIDP app in about 9 minutes that played a commercial for Sprint phones. It was very cool and easy to do. Though there was a bit of code that the demo guy had to copy and paste, I'll have to stop by their booth and see what the scoop was with that.

Next up was Google. Josh and Neal were great; the content was good and they did a great job of presenting. Basically it was a bit of info from their book and a bit of a plug for what you can do with NB and their new Jackpot integration. Finally Ben Brewin (one of the Sun NB guys) gave a quick history of where things are with NB and where they are going. Basically a lot of new and cool stuff will be added to the community over the next 12 months or so as Sun puts all its dev tools essentially into the NB community.

That was basically it. I tried to get into the GUI builder talk but it was very crowded. I went to part of the JavaEE 5 talk but had to bail, so I missed the rest of the sessions. Overall it very interesting indeed.

I finished up the NetBeans day about half way through because I had to meet up with Chris, so I didn't stay to try to win the iPod raffle... Ah well, seems that a video iPod is the thing to give away this year at the conference so I'm sure I'll have another chance...

More Stories By Bill Dudney

Bill Dudney is Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Developer's Journal and serves too as JDJ's Eclipse editor. He is a Practice Leader with Virtuas Solutions and has been doing Java development since late 1996 after he downloaded his first copy of the JDK. Prior to Virtuas, Bill worked for InLine Software on the UML bridge that tied UML Models in Rational Rose and later XMI to the InLine suite of tools. Prior to getting hooked on Java he built software on NeXTStep (precursor to Apple's OSX). He has roughly 15 years of distributed software development experience starting at NASA building software to manage the mass properties of the Space Shuttle.

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