Series: Meet the Dream Team Members(In January 2007, we announced the 11 charter members of the NetBeans Dream Team, a community-oriented group of highly skilled NetBeans users devoted to promoting NetBeans and working on the NetBeans Project. In these interviews discover who they are, why they are passionate about NetBeans and what goals they have for the NetBeans project.)
Vinicius SengerDream Team member Vinicius Senger got his start in the tech world at the age of eight toying around with Basic and Z80 computers. By 13, he was exploring software development and using tools such as Clipper and Dbase.
After years of working professionally with C, C++, Perl, VB, VC++, he discovered Java nine years ago and today is a Java Enterprise Architect and develops web solutions. He is also the founder of Globalcode, the largest Java Training Company in Brazil.
What was your introduction to NetBeans?I began with NetBeans 3.x. At that time, I used the Swing Editor a lot, but the Enterprise features were not as good as they are now today. When NetBeans 4.0 was released I was impressed with the Enterprise features and NetBeans became my only IDE.
How long have you been teaching Java?For the last seven years. Most of my students are developers who are migrating from other programming languages, such as VB, Delphi, Cobol, and a minority are developers looking for specific training to become Sun certified. We use NetBeans to teach user interface design and all the amazing features centered around Web resources such as tags, filters, listeners, etc.
What makes the NetBeans IDE an ideal tool for teaching Java?NetBeans is the most complete IDE—it has servlets, JSP, custom Tag, Swing, JavaME, WebServices, EJB, etc. With all these features, the students are able to generate code using the wizard and are able to study the generated code. This makes the Java learning curve softer.
When I began teaching EJB, we used Eclipse without plugins, and students would take more than three hours to creat a simple EJB Hello World. Today, the same exercise using the NetBeans IDE takes no more than 15 minutes with the EJB wizard feature. Now students only need to check the xml file instead of creating it themselves. They click “run” to compile, build and deploy.
Why should new developers work with the NetBeans IDE?Java teachers generally believe that student developers should be able to make components with and without IDEs. Compile, build jar, environment/classpath, deployment and debug—all these can be done with and without the tool. It is important to teach both ways because sometimes all you might on hand is a terminal. That said, an IDE is a good tool, and NetBeans is perfect for students. It is customizable. It has a simple download, the best project type abstraction, easy debugging code, and users can discover new types of components using the wizards. Plus, it is a beautiful example of community development.
How has NetBeans IDE 6.0 changed the way you teach?It is the “Eclipse killer” because now we have the ability to generate hashcode, equals, constructor and it has a powerful refactor tool. We are very excited about NetBeans 6.0 at Globalcode, and we should finish upgrading all our computers with this new version by the next month.
What are your students developing with the NetBeans IDE?They are currently using NetBeans for different things: most of them to make Swing interface and for developing web applications. They using different frameworks and architectures: Hibernate, Spring, Faces, Struts. They are very happy and we are seeing a lot of companies adopting NetBeans thanks to our students' influence.
As a developer, how do you use the IDE?I am currently using NetBeans to develop a new Globalcode web site, along with JSF, Facelets, JPA/Hibernate, Jboss Seam, EJBs, WebService and a lot of AJAX components like Richfaces. Our customers will be able to create online estimates, there will be a discussion forum for students, video-classes and many other features. I'm happy with NetBeans because I can mix a couple of frameworks without any difficult and I can custom build .xml processes using incremental deployment.
Are you working on any projects?I'm completing a training book about design patterns: “33 Design Patterns with Java Samples”. I wrote about 23 GoF and 10 popular/commercial patterns like BluePrint. (What is GoF?) All the images within my book came from NetBeans's UML tool. I love the “Apply Design Pattern” feature inside the class diagram editor. It's very COOL!
How do you contribute to the NetBeans community as a Dream Team-er?My main contribution is evangelizing. And I do this by talking about NetBeans and demonstrating its amazing features to people in Globalcode classes. It's safe to say that each month I introduce NetBeans to more than 400 developers! I hope to use a lot of NetBeans 6.0 for my projects and also inside Globalcode environment; to give a lot of feed-back; to ask for more features (always!); and convince more companies to adopt.
Back to teaching, how would you introduce Java to a novice?Easy. The first class should focus on how much money you can make with Java!!! That's always an attention grabber. But beside money, I would recommend BlueJ with NetBeans because using Web or Swing interface it is more intuitive for understanding object oriented concepts.
What is the strangest teaching experience you've had?I once had a student fall asleep in a training that I was giving on dealing with exception in Java EE Web applications. As I finished my lecture and instructed the class to start an exercise the sleeping student suddenly woke up and said aloud: “We need to catch the exception! We need to catch the exception!” Amazingly he fell right back asleep again. I guess even in his sleep he was learning to program!
More Dream Team ProfilesAdam Bien