The Only Complete Guide and Reference for NetBeans™ IDE 5.0
The award-winning NetBeans™ IDE eases all aspects of Java application development, incorporating a wide range of powerful features into one well-designed package. NetBeans IDE is consistently first in supporting the latest Java technologies for developing desktop, web, enterprise, and mobile applications.NetBeans™ IDE Field Guide provides an introduction to the IDE and an extensive range of topics to help you with both everyday and advanced programming tasks, including
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Patrick Keegan is one of the technical writers for NetBeans IDE. He has been writing about the IDE since May 1999, when NetBeans was a small Czech company yet to be acquired by Sun Microsystems.
Ludovic Champenois is a senior architect at Sun Microsystems. He has been with Sun for more than a decade, and is currently the tech lead and architect for NetBeans J2EE support.
Gregory Crawley conceptualized and implemented the Mobility device fragmentation solution for NetBeans IDE 4.0. He continues to be an avid NetBeans IDE user and developer of J2ME games in association with Cotopia Wireless.
Charlie Hunt is a Java Performance Engineer at Sun Microsystems. He has been working with Java since 1997 and has held many other positions at Sun, including Java Architect and NetBeans Technology Evangelist.
Christopher Webster, a member of the NetBeans Enterprise Pack development team, focuses on service-oriented architecture (SOA) development tools. Before joining Sun, Chris was a computer scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Welcome to the second edition of the NetBeans™ IDE Field Guide!
This book is designed both as an introduction to NetBeans IDE and as a task reference, something that you can pick up from time to time to get an answer to a question or to find new ways to take advantage of the IDE's possibilities. Whether NetBeans is your first IDE or your fifth, this book can help you make the most of the IDE.
This edition is updated and expanded to cover the following features, some of which are brand new in NetBeans IDE 5.0:
What Is NetBeans IDE?
NetBeans IDE is a free-of-charge integrated development environment (IDE) primarily focused on making it easier to develop Java applications. It provides support for all types of Java applications, from rich desktop clients to multi-tier enterprise applications to applications for Java-enabled handheld devices.
NetBeans IDE has a modular architecture that allows for plug-ins. However, the range of features in the basic installation is so rich that you can probably can start using the IDE for your work without worrying about plug-ins at all.The IDE itself is written in Java, so you can run it on any operating system for which there is a Java 2 Standard Edition JDK (version 1.4.2, version 5.0, or later) available. Click-through installers are available for Microsoft Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS, and other systems. You can also download the IDE as a ZIP or TAR file if you want to install it on an operating system other than the ones listed here.
The IDE's basic job is to make the edit-compile-debug cycle much smoother by integrating the tools for these activities. For example, the IDE:
You can also download the NetBeans Profiler to augment the traditional edit-compile-debug cycle with performance profiling.
What Makes NetBeans IDE Special
When you use NetBeans IDE, you get the benefits of a top-shelf IDE without the negatives that you might associate with moving your development to a single environment.
Like other integrated development environments, NetBeans IDE provides a graphical user interface for command-line tools that handle the compiling, debugging, and packaging of applications.
Unlike other IDEs, NetBeans IDE does not force a build structure on you with project metadata that you need to reverse engineer if you are to build the project outside of the IDE. NetBeans IDE builds on existing open standards to help you automate your development process without locking you in.
NetBeans IDE (beginning with version 4.0) bases its whole project system on Ant, which is the de facto standard build tool for Java applications. The project metadata that NetBeans IDE produces is in the form of XML and properties files that can be used by Ant outside of the IDE. Thus, developing a project in NetBeans IDE does not lock you or co-developers into NetBeans IDE.
You can use NetBeans IDE to create large projects with sophisticated build parameters. Where you already have such projects in place, you can adapt NetBeans IDE to work with them without necessarily changing the project's structure. If you are generally more comfortable with command-line tools because of their transparency and the level of control they allow you over your projects, NetBeans IDE could become the first IDE that you love.
NetBeans IDE is also consistently ahead of the curve in providing support for new and evolving standards, such as the new language features that were introduced in the Java SE 5 JDK and new specifications in all areas of Java technology.
NetBeans IDE provides an astonishing array of features right out of the box. NetBeans has a fully featured Java EE platform development environment built in. All the editor, debugger, and project support that is available for Java application development is also available for Java EE development. In addition, NetBeans IDE provides access to the Java BluePrints Solutions Catalog and the ability to install them as NetBeans projects.
The Mobility Pack, available as a free add-on installer, enables Java ME developers to design, develop, and debug MIDlets from within NetBeans IDE. Providing one of the most powerful sets of mobile development tools, the Mobility Pack includes a flow designer to visually lay out the application logic, a screen designer to create the user interface, an integrated device fragmentation solution, and tools for building client server applications.
The NetBeans Profiler, also available as a free add-on installer, makes application performance profiling accessible to developers.
What Comes with NetBeans IDE
Besides providing support for coding, NetBeans IDE comes bundled with other tools and libraries that you might already use in your production environment. The IDE integrates these tools into the IDE workflow, but you can also use them at the command line.
Out of the box with NetBeans IDE 5.0, you get:
If you download the Mobility Modules pack, you also get the Wireless Toolkit.
You can also get NetBeans IDE in a bundle with the Java SE JDK or the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition.
If you download the NetBeans Profiler, you also get a full-featured, nonintrusive Java profiler that is based on profiling technology developed at Sun Labs.
What This Book Will Do for You
This book was written with both new and existing NetBeans IDE users in mind.
If you are new to NetBeans IDE (or IDEs in general), this book will quickly guide you through the basics and advantages of using NetBeans IDE. Learn how to take advantage of the IDE's layout and feature integration to tighten up the basic edit-compile-debug cycle. Learn how to take advantage of the IDE's support for increasingly popular advanced technologies such as web services and Java EE technology to add new capabilities to your applications.
If you are already familiar with NetBeans IDE, this book will provide a new perspective on what you already know and possibly point you to useful features that you have not yet discovered. Learn how you can customize the IDE to work with complex build structures. If you are looking to move from client-server web applications to multi-tier transactional enterprise applications, this book will help you make that jump.
This book does not teach the Java programming language. Much of the material in this book is meaningful only if you have some experience with programming Java applications. However, this book could be a useful companion if you are expanding your Java technology palette into Java EE technology and other advanced areas.
How to Use This Book
NetBeans IDE is overflowing with features, so quite a bit can be written about it. NetBeans™ IDE Field Guide sorts out the essentials so that you can get productive quickly and then adds a generous selection of tips and advanced information.
This book is primarily designed as a task-reference with short topics on accomplishing specific tasks. If you wish, you can read the book from cover to cover, but most likely you will want to keep it near your computer to get answers to pressing questions or simply to read up on ways to get more out of your work with the IDE. The topics are written in a way that allows you to skip all over the book to get answers to the specific questions you have without having to follow long end-to-end examples.
Chapter 1 provides the information you need to install NetBeans IDE and to set up your first project.
Chapter 2 provides an overview of the IDE environment and the basic tasks for developing general Java projects. If you have never used NetBeans IDE, you will probably want to read this chapter from beginning to end.
Chapter 3 provides in-depth information on setting up and configuring projects. Although this chapter is mostly geared toward general Java applications, a working knowledge of the information in this chapter will be useful for developing Java EE and Java ME applications as well.
Chapter 4 covers the IDE's unique and powerful client for the CVS version control system.
Chapter 5 provides useful tips and tricks for making your day-to-day coding more productive, such as using editor hints, code completion, code templates, and refactoring features.
Chapter 6 shows you how to use the IDE's powerful Project Matisse GUI builder to easily create visual desktop applications.
Chapter 7 provides an overview of the IDE's rich set of debugging features and displays practical techniques for finding problem areas in your code.
Chapter 8 covers development of web applications, with a focus on developing with the Tomcat web server.
Chapter 9 provides an overview of the IDE's support for the JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Struts web application frameworks.There are several chapters devoted to Java EE topics. You should begin with
Chapter 10, Introduction to Java EE Development in NetBeans IDE, to get information on setting up your environment and learning how to leverage the Java BluePrints Solutions catalog in Java EE development.
If you are familiar with web application development and would like to learn how to extend it into using Java EE Enterprise JavaBeans components, you should read Chapter 11, Extending Web Applications with Business Logic: Introducing EJB Components.
If you are interested in learning how to extend your Java EE applications to include web services, you should read Chapter 12, Extending Java EE Applications with Web Services.
Chapter 13, Developing Full-Scale Java EE Applications, contains in-depth information on developing entity beans, assembling applications, verifying Java EE compliance, and other topics.
Chapter 14 covers special IDE features for using the NetBeans Mobility Pack to develop Java ME applications for handheld devices.
Chapter 15 walks you through use of the NetBeans Profiler to detect memory leaks and find code that is slowing down your application.
Chapter 16 provides information for taking advantage of NetBeans IDE's unique Ant integration to use the IDE with existing intricate build environments.
Chapter 17 shows you the process of creating a plug-in module for NetBeans IDE and also provides information on using the NetBeans Platform as a framework for creating rich client applications.
Chapter 18 shows you how to use the IDE's unique Developer Collaboration modules to chat and share code with other developers in real time.
The appendices show you how to get and use project importers to simplify migration of projects from the Eclipse and JBuilder environments into NetBeans IDE.
NetBeans as Platform and Open-Source Project
Besides being an IDE, NetBeans is also a 100% pure Java open-source platform. You can develop plug-in modules for NetBeans IDE or create an entirely different application built on top of a small core of the modules that make up the IDE. Because NetBeans is 100% pure Java, any platform that supports a Java Virtual Machine will run NetBeans IDE. Hence, any plug-in module or application that extends NetBeans and that is 100% pure Java will also execute on any platform for which there is a Java Virtual Machine.
Chapter 17 of this book addresses developing modules for the IDE and using the NetBeans platform as an application framework.
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