Last week we had our first NetBeans Demo Camp in Munich, actually the first NetBeans Demo Camp ever. I was really looking forward to this. NetBeans Days are great, but typically they need to cover the IDE with all the programming language support, Mobile Development, Web Development, and maybe a bit platform. With Demo Camps, as I see them, we can also choose to cover only one specific area in much more detail. We wanted this one to be about NetBeans RCP Platform only, and we wanted to gather up people who are really working with the platform, be it in their pet projects or in their job.
When I started planning this event I was hoping for about 25 people to attend. We had planned to setup a round table in the room at Sun Microsystems, to simplify the discussion and mabe have the attendants hook up their notebooks for a hand-on session. But as the date approached we had to change this, since more and more people registered and we would only have been able to seat up to 30 people this way. I was rather surprised, since the talks were only about the Platform, and the topics were rather technical, e.g. mine was about fixing classloader problems. Finally we had more than 60 registrations of which around 50 people actually attended.
Sven, Tanja and Josch preparing for their presentations
We had visitors from everywhere in germany and even from Switzerland who came to munich for this event. In the beginnig I asked who was actually using the platform in commercial applications, and most of them raised there hands. It’s great to see that the adoption of the platform is growing in such a way. And there are way to few events like this. During the break and after the camp I had the chance to talk to some of them, and invite them for presentations on our next Camp. Some of the people came hundreds of kilometers and stayed in hotels in munich overnight to attend.
The first presentation “Demosession: ChipInspector – NetBeans APIs im Einsatz” was by Tanja Drüke from Genomatix Software GmbH showing a commercial application for microarray analysis that has been ported to the NB platform. She also did a quick introduction to the platform and IDE APIs used in this project which also layed the foundation for the following presentations. The talk was really perfect for a Demo Camp: an analysis of the platform from a developers perspective showing the benefits as well as the pain points.
Afterwards I did a session on “RCP Entwicklung in der Praxis: Third-party libraries und ClassLoader” showing some common classloader problems in NetBeans Platform applications and how to solve them. I used some movies as analogies for the problems. More about this soon in this blog. We had a break after this talk and some coffee and snacks.
Next on stage was Aljoscha “Josch” Rittner from Sepix GmbH showing his Sales System application. He really is a long time user of NB and even had an original mail from Forte with his license key from 2000. To be honest, I also tried Forte for a project back then, but finally decided to stick with vi and Ant . His talk was about “Portierung von Swing Applikationen auf die NetBeans Platform“, porting a swing application to NB RCP. He covered the problems involved in using native windows and getting lightweight and heavyweight components to work together. He was recently interviewed about this on NetBeans Zone, where he also shows some tips about global selection.
As you can see from the pictures it got quite late during the talks and we were running out of time (not the last time this evening ).
Then we had the chance to see the first public presentation of one of the largest applications based on the NetBeans platform. My fellow Dream Team Member Sven Reimers from NDSatCom showed his 1100+ modules monster app. He brought some of his colleagues and they are really a nice bunch of very knowledable RCP developers. Seems they are doing a great job while having a lot of fun at the same time. His talk was titled “Grosseinsatz – NetBeans RCP im Grossprojekt“. He went through the slides at high speed since we were already way behind the schedule. Have a look at the slides of their demo to get an impression of what they achieved ( and especially have a look at the one showing facts 6 figures about their project ).
The last talk of this evening was by NetBeans Guru Geertjan Wielenga, who came all the way from prague to give a presentation about “New Features in NetBeans Platform 6.5“. His talk referred back to the first one and summed up the platform very nicely. Then he showed us a glimpse of the very near future, since NB 6.5 was going to be released the day after that. The most important change to me is the enhanced possibilities to adjust the Window System. I also haven’t tried out the new ExplorerViews yet, but today I started a new project where I can make good use of them. Stay tuned for more about this… After the talks we went to a nearby pub in order to celebrate NetBeans 10th birthday, the first ever Demo Camp, & the new release. So as a result we ran out of time the second time this evening and missed the last train to munich, and we had to go back by Taxi.
Thanks a lot to all the attendees and especially to the speakers who made this a really great event and thanks to Sun Heimstetten for letting us use their conference room. I’m really looking forward to our next event. We’ll probably do hands-on sessions, so be sure to register early, places will be limited…