Review of Building a Java Web Application with Netbeans Tutorial

I deployed for the first time a Grails app into a production Tomcat server last week.  Great experience, very straightforward – the technology has been wonderful.  I have switched back and forth between IntelliJ (my favorite for Grails, but probably won’t spend the ~$250 for it), Eclipse (through Springsource Tool Suite), and Netbeans.   I’m not really looking for the IDE to do a great deal outside of perhaps some debugging tools, intellisense, and ‘goto declaration’ type functionality I’ve been accustom to with Resharper.  Which is by the way why I think I liked IntelliJ was mostly because I’ve been a Resharper user for quite some time and I found it closer to my normal IDE experience.

But I digress.  The main reason I bring it up is because I’ve diverged into several different paths at the same time – exploring Ruby on Rails, Grails, PHP, and then Java Web applications (each has been a ‘taste of the weekend’ experience where I dedicated any development time over the weekend to a new technology).  I will say, Netbeans has build in support for all those technologies and I found it easy to use.  (ie. In the Grails project, we use Subversion, and that was very straightward to setup in Netbeans).  The guys I work with are Eclipse fans, and I understand when you have used an IDE for many years, you tend to find it to be the ‘best’.  So certainly I’m not going to start an IDE war conversation.  To each their own.   Actually, I bring up Netbeans because I’ve found their tutorials to be quite good.  For reference, I’m running this on MacBook Pro version of Netbeans 6.8.

The tutorial I’m working through is called “The Netbeans e-commerce tutorial” found here: http://netbeans.org/kb/docs/javaee/ecommerce/intro.html What I have really enjoyed with this tutorial is it takes a very holistic approach to building a Java web application.  And the tutorial isn’t really Netbeans specific, although the screenshots show ‘netbeans ide’ (in other words, you could do this in Eclipse without too much of a difference).  There aren’t too many shortcuts taken in the tutorial, including just building the database using MySQL Workbench – which I must say, the tutorial goes quite in depth in showing how to use the Workbench IDE to create a model first approach that forward engineers the creation of the tables in MySQL.  Very nicely done.

One other item to note is the attention to detail to not just ‘java’ elements, but the setup of a very well designed ‘css’ oriented html web site.  Obviously they want to show off their IDE capability with html and css, and quite honesty I was extremely impressed with the IDE capabilities especially with the CSS intellisense – which was more than just ‘intellisense’ it has great help context build in, as well as a nicely done preview pane to show you what the css class will look like ahead of time!

I’ve worked my way through the first half  of the tutorial – and will provide more feedback as I get past the modeling and html aspects.  I wanted to share that so far the experience has been very positive – and I hope as I continue through the meatier java parts of the tutorial that I can have more good things to say  🙂

Until next time, if you get a chance, check out the link provided to the tutorial and give it a whirl and let me know what you thought of the experience.

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