Thursday, June 12, 2003

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: What with all the hoopla surrounding the JavaOne conference this year and a sudden burst of creative energy on my part, I've decided to re-immerse myself in Java development. I'm particularly interested in GUI development, which led me to reexamine the NetBeans Java IDE. My stated reasons for this line of work is that my users are clamoring for better printing options than the otherwise excellent (IMHO) Sun Calendar server provides out of the box. My feature incomplete and buggy PrintCal program, which was designed to fill this functional gap, pretty much needs a total rewrite at this time. PrintCal anyways was only a proof of concept to see if I could create a Java WebStart "applet" that could read calendar XML data (obtained over the wire via the WCAP protocol) and generate and dispatch an Acrobat calendar representation to a local printer. The concept works -stunningly, I might add- and the program needs to be truly rewritten. But I digress. So I've been re-examining NetBeans since my conclusion about a year ago that the product was slow and not as well suited to my current tasks as its main (free) competitor Eclipse. Eclipse has a truly excellent coding environment, but lacks a visual GUI form builder. I actually built PrintCal by designing the form in NetBeans and doing the rest of the coding in Eclipse. Now NetBeans has a new release that is significantly faster. It's still slow on my measly 700mHz laptop with 256mB RAM (the maximum RAM this particular machine can handle) and it's a visual real estate hog -again, a problem on my 12' screen. Still, it is at least workable and I've been giving it the most thorough workout I've ever devoted to NetBeans to date. So far, so good, and I may be able to stay in NetBeans for quite awhile before switching over to Eclipse for the detail work. I'll be posting the ten most vexing things I needed to poke around for answers to about NetBeans in the near future. Stay tuned, live long and prosper.

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