NetBeans Community Docs User Survey

Take the NetBeans Community Docs User Survey

The NetBeans Community Docs program is a great source of community-authored content about using the NetBeans IDE. Now the team behind the program wants your feedback to help make the program even better. What type of content do you like? Do you want more tech tips or prefer multimedia material? Take the survey and let the team know!

Well, this is an important news item for the NetBeans Community, thus it was necessary to let the community know about it on large scale. Kristian Rink, NBCD Coordinator and its Evangelist setup the survey that contains almost every question, our team wants the community to answer.

Thanking you..

taT | Hacking Modules..

Ever wondered, apart from extending the NetBeans IDE, or some application based on NetBeans Platform. What else can be done with the module?

Brief Overview

Well, NetBeans IDE provides Module Development Support by providing 4 kinds of Project Templates;

  1. Module
  2. Module Suite
  3. Library Wrapper Module
  4. NetBeans Platform Application

I have some knowledge of the first two, so we will stick to them for the rest of this post. So, lets have a look at the simplistic module structure;

Module Structure

This is what you see when you expand the Project node in Files View. We will focus on platform.properties, project.xml. If you switch to the Project View, you would see the files with following names, visible under Important Files node.

NetBeans Platform Config

So, that’s basically the logical view of the file platform.properties. In the past, I have written some pretty useful tips and Tricks (contributed to NetBeans Community Docs) based on this file;

  1. Configure Clusters and Modules
  2. Managing NetBeans Platforms

Project Metadata

This is the logical view of the file project.xml. There’s one more useful tips and Tricks (contributed), that’s based on this file, which lets you add your module as friends to those modules, if you want your module to depend on the specification version of the same.

NetBeans IDE 6.7 (Click to enlarge)

Playing Tricks..

I will be making use of NetBeans 6.7 IDE. Although, these tricks should work well with NetBeans 6.x IDE. So, lets answer the question I asked in the beginning.. Generally, when you create Module project, you get an option to either create it as Standalone Module or Add to Module Suite.

Standalone Module

When you choose this option, you also get an option to select NetBeans Platform of your choice, along with Manage.. button. If you want to know more about that, refer this contribution.

Suppose, I choose NetBeans 6.5 Build (added with name as 65 in Platform Manager) as Platform and move ahead. I would be able to use 6.7 IDE to create module, targeted for NetBeans 6.5 IDE. The module’s platform.properties looks like this;

nbplatform.active=65

This would enable the running IDE to achieve the desired result, as mentioned above. Now, running the module will ofcourse launch NetBeans 6.5 IDE as Target Instance to see how your module works. This process might be slow, as you’re running full-fledged 6.5 IDE.

NetBeans 6.5 boots with a b'day stamp on splash screen!

If your module doesn’t depend on clusters other than platform (which is by default). Then, you can tweak the file as follows;

enabled.clusters=\
 platform
nbplatform.active=65

These clusters are bare-minimum essentials, that are enabled by default when you create the NetBeans Platform Application project using 6.5/6.7 IDE. The property enabled.clusters helps to enable only those clusters which are necessary to run this module.

Splash Screen for empty NetBeans Platform Application

Now, run your module and it will look like you’re running a NetBeans Platform Application having a single user-defined module. Here’s how module’s project.xml looks like;

<project xmlns="http://www.netbeans.org/ns/project/1">
   <type>org.netbeans.modules.apisupport.project</type>
   <configuration>
      <data xmlns="http://www.netbeans.org/ns/nb-module-project/3">
          <code-name-base>code.name.base.of.your.module</code-name-base>
          <standalone/>
          <module-dependencies>
           <!-- Here are your module dependencies.. -->
          </module-dependencies>
          <public-packages/>
      </data>
   </configuration>
</project>

Note the bold-faced tag <standalone />, this tells the NetBeans IDE that your module is not part of any module suite. Its a standalone module, as you created.

Add to Module Suite

If you decide to go with this option, you would then browse the filesystem to find the appropriate Module Suite project and then, move ahead.

In case of Module Suite projects, the enabled.clusters property automatically occurs/disappears, when you check/uncheck the modules and/or clusters from its Project Properties Wizard.

Note that the module, that becomes part of the suite, would use only those clusters which the suite has enabled. Along with that, suite-private.properties file is added under /nbproject/private. Also, take a look at the module’s project.xml;

<project xmlns="http://www.netbeans.org/ns/project/1">
   <type>org.netbeans.modules.apisupport.project</type>
   <configuration>
      <data xmlns="http://www.netbeans.org/ns/nb-module-project/3">
          <code-name-base>code.name.base.of.your.module</code-name-base>
          <suite-component/>
          <module-dependencies>
           <!-- Here are your module dependencies.. -->
          </module-dependencies>
          <public-packages/>
      </data>
   </configuration>
</project>

Note the bold-faced tag <suite-component/>, this tells that NetBeans IDE that this module is part of a Module Suite project.

Tips to Remember

You may convert your standalone module to become part of suite, or vice-versa. Just add/remove suite-private.properties (Per Suite Locator) file and tweak your Module’s project.xml and Module Suite’s project.properties.

Also, note that some changes have taken place in NetBeans 6.7 IDE, you may find out more over the web. One more thing, NetBeans 6.5 IDE added suite.properties file under /nbproject and had same tag as <suite-component/>. I think NetBeans 6.0 and 6.1 might do the same. Please try it yourself and let me know.

Stay tuned..

Community Docs and NetBeans

This is the first time, I thought of filing an issue for NetBeans Community Docs Program as I have never ever thought there would be a need for it, in the past 2 years. Generally, no one has ever done that, AFAIK.

I have been an active contributor to NetBeans Community Docs Program and managed it as coordinator for the duration of 11 months (May ’08 – Mar ’09). However, I feel there’s lack of coverage of the resources, that are gathered and arranged in the form of several wikis interrelated with each other in a systematic way.

Through this issue, I would like to see increased presence of NetBeans Community Docs in the NetBeans Community. I have some ideas which I would like to put forward, but first I want to see interest from your side (Community Members and NetBeans Team).

You’re welcome to add your comments/suggestions or even vote for this issue. See the following for latest updates.

Jul 14, 2009

Kristian Rink has setup a user survey. Please go and fill up the forms. We need your feedback, so that we can be in better position to decide the future of this program.

Jul 08, 2009

Kristian Rink has written a post discussing the future of the program and what does the community think about it? I feel you must go through it once.

Jul 03, 2009

Since VOC Captains have CC’ed themselves on issue report and I got reply from Michel. Here are I am sharing my ideas and related details;

Brief History

There are over 300 docs, right? When we reached 250 docs, I realized that there was findability issue. If I need a tutorial on how to make use of some feature, which is documented only by a community member and not by Sun writers. Then, user has to put some effort to locate that. Even I had that problem.

So, through mutual agreement, we created several category-specific wikis that would archive docs belonging to those categories. You may read more about that here;

http://nb-community-docs.blogspot.com/2008/11/netbeans-community-docs-reloaded.html

This way we were able to fix the findability issue, temporarily. Yes, temporarily! I thought, we were still missing a page which can provide pointers to all the sections of these category-specific wikis. So, I decided to setup a wiki;

http://wiki.netbeans.org/NBCDMatrix

that will do the needful. Now, if anyone wants (community contributed) tutorials on GUI Builder, just need to bookmark this link;

http://wiki.netbeans.org/NBCDMatrix#section-NBCDMatrix-SwingGUIBuilder

This contains a matrix which has necessary pointers to tackle the issue.

Ideas

Now, coming to the point of concern, i.e. the NetBeans Community Website doesn’t feature pointers to these wikis. As you might know that currently there’s only one pointer to the Community Docs Contributions list from relevant Learning Trails.

Instead, I would love to see a separate “Community Contributed Docs” Learning Trails, where one can have relevant information on how to access these wikis. Also, I would request the NB Team remove the following webpage;

http://www.netbeans.org/community/commdocs.html

Its better to have single Learning Trails page to focus on the above issue, rather than maintaining small sections on every Learning Trail and maintaining the above webpage. It will also ease the work spent by NB Team on such maintenance. Also, the proposed Learning Trail can also be pointed from User FAQs, Developer FAQs, etc.

If someone is unable to findĀ  necessary info in these FAQs, then he/she may navigate to the trail to learn how to find out community contributed docs for their requirement. This should be good enough to make our presence felt in the community, as this Learning Trails would feature in Docs & Support page.

Thanks!

Long Time, No See :|

Hello all,

I have been on and off this blog in the first quarter of this year. However, I think I will have more time in one month’s time as I would get more time to spend on NetBeans and share with you my learning’s. I was shocked to see a company like Sun getting acquired. You all know by now that Oracle is buying Sun and everybody is curious to know about the future of NetBeans and I am no different. Looking forward to see, how this “amazing product of the community” evolves.

Anyways, just to keep you updated, I had posted a blog on my other blog about some changes taking place in the past few weeks. There’s a surprise coming your way this summer. Stay tuned to my blog :)

Lets congrats James, Tom and Fabrizio!

Firstly, its good to be back at blogging. It certainly became an important part of my life and I really missed it for the past 1.5 months. Anyways, time to cheer up and congratulate my friends :)

NetBeans Governance Board Elections

Well, it is actually the first time that I knew each and every nominee, because they are in the NetBeans Dream Team since July 2008.

March 09, 2009

I was eagerly waiting for the results to come and when the results were out. It was indeed a pleasant surprise. I saw it first on Planet NetBeans and saw JamesBranam’s Blog announcing the results. I was indeed deceived momentarily, but then I was glad to see James Branam being appointed as the representative from Sun Microsystems. As per the latest news item , Tom Wheeler scored a hat-trick , Fabrizio Giudici got elected for the first time . I am honored to have got special blog entries from James and Fabrizio in the past.

Congratulations to James, Tom and Fabrizio!