Sunday, October 24, 2010
NetBeans Platform 6.9 Developer's Guide review
The first thing I would like to highlight is the foreword from Geertjan Wielenga, which makes clear this book has a target: introduce NetBeans Platform building a sample application from scratch and that "zero knowledge of the NetBeans Platform is assumed", but you should keep in mind that Java and Swing knowledge are required. If it is not what you are looking for, as suggested by Geertjan you could look for "The Definitive Guide to the NetBeans Platform" and "Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform" which continue to be the best detailed sources about NetBeans Platform APIs, together with the several NetBeans Platform tutorials, of course.
The 1st chapter introduces the reader to the modularization world, why it is necessary with simple explanation and of course many aspects of how NetBeans Platform try to solve this issues are explained with good theory and samples. The most interesting point in this chapter is not just the NetBeans module system but the OSGi support, the de facto module system.
The 2nd chapter summarize how to create and customize UIs using Matisse and chapter 3th how to use and organize your UI in a NetBeans Platform using the Window System. These chapter was well write with good examples to how create and organize the views for your application.
The 4th chapter probably is one of the most important chapter in this book which describes one of the most important NetBeans APIs: Lookup. In this chapter, you will learn how to communicate between modules in a loosely-coupled way.
The 5th chapter the author presents to us how to write global Actions and the 6th chapter, together with chapter 4th, we have the most important chapter in my opinion, presenting the Nodes API and the Explorer and Property Sheet API. Here you will learn how and when use nodes as well how to shows it in your application.
The next two chapters covers the FileSystem API and Datasystems API respectively. These APIs help you to work with the local file system, the NetBeans central registry and how to registry and work with your own file types.
The 9th chapter covers how to write dialogs and wizards and chapter 10th how to store settings and integrate your application with NetBeans Options dialog. The next chapter 11th we learn how to create help sets and integrate it to Help menu as well how to support context-sensitive help sets for each of our UIs.
For next you will learn how to set the branding of the application, defining a new name and title for the application as well how to change the splash screen and icons in the chapter 12th. The chapter 13th shows you how to distribute the application creating installers for several operating systems as well how to distribute it in a ZIP file and the last but not least how to write and support live updates for your application or modules.
The book was really well write, the language is really accessible and easy to understand, and the examples cover satisfactory the book target.
There are minor issues as every book but I recommend it mainly if you don't know the NetBeans Platform or just know it superficially. In my opinion the only complain about the digital version of the book is the images quality, most of them are hard to read and understand since it look distorted.
If you wish to see more details and buy the book, visit this page.