Interview with NetBeans Community Award 2006 Winner Ramón Ramos
Ramón, you just won the community award 2006 for your contributions, what was your first reaction?
I read about my nomination in Roman's web log. That was good news. Then I thought, wow, can I win? To be honest, I really wanted to be among the winners. And when I later saw luminaries like Wade Chandler and Tom Wheeler being nominated, too, I thought, uh-oh, this is going to be tough...
When I heard my fellow community members had elected me one of the winners, that really made my day. Thank you!
How long have you been using the NetBeans IDE? What got you hooked?
I used NetBeans for the first time at a student job. I think it was about 2001, there was a Forte 1.0 Release Candidate and I think there also was a NetBeans release at the same time, I'm not sure anymore. Later I got a new job where I worked from home a lot. During that time, I didn't use NetBeans, until late in 2005, when I finally bought myself a new PC and I chose to base one of my student projects on the NetBeans platform. This way I gained experience und got hooked.
Tell us about the plug-ins you wrote!
I have written a couple of small plug-ins: My first module was Web Search, a plug-in for searching a word or phrase selected in the Editor in a web search engine. I also wrote a Jode/Jad Decompiler integration module, and a simple local history module, and some more.
Apart from that, I updated the old AspectJ module for NetBeans 5.0. AspectJ is an aspect-oriented extension to the Java programming language. You can expect the now renamed AspectJ open-source project on sourceforge (http://aspectj-netbeans.sourceforge.net/) to become active again soon. This will give all the other interested community members the opportunity to contribute again to this project and improve AspectJ support in NetBeans.
All of these modules can be installed from my update center: http://people.freenet.de/ramon.ramos/nb/updates.xml
Where do you get ideas for new plug-ins?
NetBeans gave me the opportunity to develop something that is useful for people. Since I learned Java some years ago, I wanted to program something useful in Java — but I couldn't think of anything that had not been done before.
So when I came back to NetBeans, I also began to read related web sites, mailing list posts, etc. This is how I found out some things that NetBeans was lacking but which seemed pretty easy to implement. Those things were useful and I really wondered why they weren’t already there. So over the holidays, I just went and implemented them. I was glad to see there were some features I could contribute to NetBeans.
Then, there are some (now old) feature wishlists for NetBeans that I used as additional source of inspiration. I also took a look at the features in other IDEs to see what they have that can be ported. I am also keeping track of feature requests in mailing lists, and so on.
What are your resources?
At first, I went through the tutorials. They are really nice. Other resources are the Developers FAQ, the API documentation and javadocs, and then of course the mailing lists with their incredibly helpful communities. Now and then, I also take a look at the NetBeans sources themselves.
Which IDE features help you most?
Easy answer: The module development wizards. They are very well done and I'm looking forward to seeing more of that. Way to go!
If you could improve one thing about NetBeans, what would that be?
I'd like to see more tutorials that focus on letting people enhance NetBeans itself.
Which tutorial would you like to read next?
I would like to read a very fat book about platform development.
Ramón, thanks for the interview!