NetBeans…Commentary…

Posted: December 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

So… I like to fiddle – I’ve been playing around with Aptana, some Eclipse, some Flex (Flex Builder is a ‘plug-in’ to Eclipse), and then most recently NetBeans.

Now, I don’t know if it’s just my Visual Studio background (probably), but NetBeans ‘feels’ the best to me so far.  Intuitive, easy to get around, etc…  I’m really impressed by the scope of NetBeans.

ie.  I had installed Aptana primarily to work some Ruby on Rails.  Well, NetBeans also has Rails support.  So in comparision, NetBeans included a sample Rails app, and then plenty of step by step ‘how to run it’.  The environment is all self-contained – so no worries if I have ‘this’ or ‘that’ installed.  The only item I did setup (from previously Aptana) was an instance of MySQL.  That was straight forward enough.

NetBeans has samples in several categories, as mentioned Ruby on Rails with good ‘generate’ capabilities – very intuitive, a Groovy sample app (which gave me a chance to see what it is), Java, PHP, JSF, Java Servlet sample,   Java EE, Java ME, NetBean Modules, SOA, Web Services, etc… and plenty of online tutorials : one in particular I like is the Hibernate one – as I’m ‘back assward’ and started from NHibernate, I found myself saying ‘that is just like NHibernate…’ with a mental correction of ‘… now I know where NHibernate got that from…lol.  Speaking of, it’s nice to see NHibernate attempt in many ways to stay true to the original, which to me makes it fairly easy to transition to Hibernate.

It comes with Glass Fish, ie.

GlassFish v3 Prelude, an open-source, lighweight Web 2.0 development and deployment platform. Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude is ideal for deploying rich Internet applications backed by Java or dynamic languages such as JRuby

and much much more.

Obviously I’m just scraping the surface here, but I wanted to say – I like it so far – I appreciate IDE’s that assist in creating the underlying environment for development.  ie. I don’t really want to dig through ‘how to run WebBrick’, ‘setting up Apache’ , etc… yes, I have setup Apache – but I typically want to be able to concentrate on checking out the language, it’s offerings, what the community has provided, etc…

I will probably dump Aptana now.

On a side note: I did somewhat of a start on the Flex Builder…

1. Why can’t Microsoft learn from Adobe Flex Builder – it creates a visual component application – simple to organize a layout, add panels, controls, etc… which – look professional – ie. There is something ‘cartoonish’ about the default Silverlight stuff.  Flex Builder makes ‘Blend’ look like a garbled mess – not intuitive at all. 

that being said…

2. I wish Flex Builder underlying ‘code’ was C# (or even Java), just something not like ActionScript.  I know it tries, but it falls on it’s face imo.  ie. Generics, etc… are just a daily part of my thinking.  I want to create a simple IList<T> and bind it to a control.  The control part in Flex Builder is easy and intuitive (see above), the code part isn’t (for me).  I’m sure if I spent a few days digging in, it would help.

I guess I think that Microsoft, a company that wants to market it’s outward face, could come up with something as intuitive as Flex Builder.

Ok, so I looked at MS ‘dynamic data’ briefly.  First thought:  why does Microsoft continue to try to ‘re-brand’ everything like that do.  ie. The rest of the world knows and calls this ‘scaffolding’.  MS calls it ‘dynamic data’.  I don’t know why they do this – either they want to act like they created the concept (Al Gore created the Internet right…)  – but sometimes it makes me think ‘do they know what is out there, it makes them seem a bit ‘out of it’ to be rebranding common language that the developer community recognizes’.   Let me just say  – I sure hope the Asp.NET MVC first try at scaffolding works as well as what I have seen NetBeans do with it’s Ruby on Rails.

A few more comments on Asp.NET MVC – since it’s really obvious how much they are digging into RoR concepts – with routing, etc… and seeing more of what RoR does first hand:

Why not go ahead and try to follow RoR’s lead a bit more – instead of ‘half-way’.  (this is somewhat minor…but to be consistent) – ie. rather than putting a ‘master page’ in ‘Views/Shared’ – how about putting them in a folder called ‘layouts’. 

Add in ‘flash’ – which I assume in Asp.NET MVC as ‘TempData’

flash[:notice] = “some notice”

then <%= flash[:notice] %>

Also, I know this is more ‘view engine’ related – as ‘Brail’ (Boo and .net) has a layouts folder, and you can see the different syntax of NVelocity, Sparkle, Brail, etc… however, it sure would be nice to see a IronRuby Asp.NET MVC – or better yet, a IronRuby RoR  :)

ie. I like the Ruby syntax for rendering a partial:

<%= render(:partial => "cart", :object => @cart) %>

That is just ‘how it should be’

So, maybe someone can create a ViewEngine for ASP.NET Mvc that uses Ruby on Rails syntax right  :)  We have lambda expressions now, so I think the above syntax would be quite doable.

That being said, again, I’d like to see IronRuby on Rails…cut right to the chase and use the Ruby language – I appreciate it’s syntax:

class Cart
  attr_reader :items
  def initialize
    @items = []
  end

  def add_product(product)
    current_item = @items.find {|item| item.product == product}
    if current_item
      current_item.increment_quantity
    else
      current_item = CartItem.new(product)
      @items << current_item
    end
    current_item
  end

  def total_items
    @items.sum { |item| item.quantity }
  end
 

  def total_price
    @items.sum { |item| item.price }
  end
end

With IronRuby it would be nice to see Generics  :)  (I think)

I should mention John Lam : IronRuby and Rails

(I started to type up a ‘why IronRuby, why not just RoR’  – which I I still question, but at least John brings up several potentials with IronRuby:

IronRuby doesn’t just let you run Rails; it lets you interact with the rich set of libraries provided by .NET. You’ll be able to use IronRuby to build server-based applications that run on top of ASP.NET or ASP.NET MVC. You’ll be able to use IronRuby to build client applications that run on top of WPF or Silverlight. You’ll be able to use IronRuby to test, build and deploy your .NET applications. You’ll be able to run Ruby code in your web browser and have it talk to your Ruby code on your web server. That’s a feature that we feel that many folks will enjoy.

So I can see it will provide extension to .NET…).  Of course, I wish it was moving along faster  ;)

While we’re still rambling about RoR – I sure like the whole Rake part – that is just fantastic  :)  Rake tasks are … awesome!

I was reading some post by the Swiss MSDN team on ‘WPF vs. Silverlight for Intranet Line of Business apps’

To be honest, I’m really only see one reason to go with Silverlight instead of WPF – and that is the installation and size of the full .net 3.5 framework vs. the 4 meg Silverlight one.  That isn’t much compelling reasoning though imo.

Some observations:

Currently developing with ASP.NET: Silverlight is probably a good choice

Why?   actually, I think the answer would be ‘have you worked with WPF ?’.  I don’t see much of what knowing asp.net has to do with Silverlight outside of dragging and dropping a asp.net silverlight control on the page and configuring it’s settings.  Everything else is ‘wpf’ oriented.

If you are an ASP.NET developer have head hicks with AJAX you should really evaluate Silverlight.

More like, why not just go full WPF with clickOnce, SmartApp capability ?

Still confused on the real value of Silverlight on the intranet line of business app – outside of plugging in a silverlight control on a page that would benefit from a rich UI.  I’d have to say that it’s much more compelling to go with WPF – (on a side note, there is a ton you can get from javascript libraries – especially with ajax.  For every new ‘RIA’ I see come out, I see a javascript equivalent surface – lol)

Speaking of… I wonder what JavaFX is going to bring* ?  It’s the java competition I assume to Silverlight.  I wonder what it’s tooling will bring – hopefully more like Flex and less like Blend… (haha)

* from the link:

Everything that you’ll need to get started is freely available at javafx.com, so please go there and download the JavaFX SDK 1.0, bundled with NetBeans 6.5.  You can download it without Netbeans, but there are a boatload of examples that you can easily build and run with Netbeans.

Did I mention that NetBean rocks yet?  ;)

Lastly… virtualization… anyone try VirtualBox yet ?  I saw this one linked off of the NetBeans site…

Want to run Linux side-by-side a Windows installation, but not using virtualization… check out ‘Wubi’.  Easy to install, doesn’t mess up your installation – it uses a file as it’s ‘partion’, etc… pretty cool…

Final thought : ‘fiddling’ is good – it lets you see other technologies, evaluate, compare, and learn something outside the daily project your/I’m on.  ie. Working on ASP.NET MVC then seeing RoR is enlightening…

So… probably my last 2008 post – looking forward to a new year – and what will come next… 

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