NetBeans Software Day 2006 -- Empowering Developers Worldwide

It's like hitting the switch in a power station. The 12-city NetBeans IDE World Tour is spreading like wildfire from Toronto to Brasilia, from Tokyo to Johannesburg, and back to San Francisco. Millions of Java technology developers already plug into NetBeans IDE 5.0, and NetBeans IDE 5.5 is on its way to empower even more. Registration numbers for NetBeans Software Day rose to new heights: On Monday, May 15, 2006, about 1000 developers squeezed into one of the bigger halls in San Francisco's Argent Hotel -- almost twice as many as last year. What an electrifying year for the NetBeans community.

Picture of the crowd at NetBeans Software Day 2006

NetBeans Software day at the JavaOne(SM) 2006 conference began with Tim Cramer's opening keynote. Now senior director of Java Tools at Sun, Cramer announced the Subversion support module that will be included in the final release of the highly anticipated NetBeans IDE 5.5 release. The latest beta is already a popular download among developers, with improved versioning control and many more extended Java enterprise, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Unified Modeling Language (UML) features-- all right out of the box and free.

Cramer revealed that the successful launches of NetBeans IDE 5.0 and 5.5 beta have attracted over 100 commercial and community partners this year, and more are joining each week. Among them are Sprint, a global provider of communication services; InsiTech, a contributor of ultra-thin rich-client Java interfaces; Lattix Inc., the source of the Lightweight Dependency Models plug-in; Ricoh Company Ltd., one of the leading global manufacturers of office automation equipment; Apache Maven, with its project management and comprehension tool; and SavaJe, the developer of the most advanced Java technology-based mobile operating platform. And just today, JBoss and AMD have joined, too.

Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006 Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006

Cramer then handed the microphone to Jonathan Schwartz, the new president and chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, succeeding the current chairman of the board of directors, Scott McNealy. Schwartz himself introduced Rich Green, who recently returned to Sun as chief of the software group and consequently had to bear some of Schwartz's jokes. On a more serious note, Schwartz then pointed out the importance of good tools, because his experience showed that working with good tools increases the engineers' working morale significantly. One pretty clear example for such a tool, Sprint's NetBeans IDE-based Mobility IDE, was demonstrated live.

Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006

But when Click and Hack, the Type-It Brothers, also known as Joshua Bloch and Neal Gafter, showed up onstage with a bunch of optical illusions, the audience was a little puzzled. Bloch is the chief Java architect at Google and author of the Jolt Award-winning book, Effective Java. He is co-author of JavaPuzzlers: Traps, Pitfalls, and Corner Cases, together with his fellow Google employee Neal Gafter, a software engineer and Java evangelist.

Their presentation's connection to NetBeans Software Day soon became clear when they proceeded to show code illusions: pieces of code that seemed straightforward enough but that did not behave as expected. What if the IDE could not only detect these common and hard-to-notice errors for you but also fix them? Enter Tom Ball with Jackpot, NetBeans IDE's new secret weapon. The audience broke into applause at his presentation of Jackpot, which can be described as a very advanced FindBugs plus Refactoring on steroids. The Jackpot module is available for testing on the beta update center.

Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006

Before the in-depth sessions started, Bob Brewin quickly talked about Sun's tools strategy and the future of the four free IDEs -- Sun Java Studio Creator (JSC), Sun Java Studio Enterprise (JSE), NetBeans IDE, and Sun Studio.

Do you mainly create rich web applications? Let JSC help you. Do you specialize in SOA and enterprise applications? Try JSE. Do you live on the leading edge? Try NetBeans IDE daily builds. Or are you focusing on C/C++ development on the Solaris Operating Environment and Linux operating system? Go with Sun Studio. These features will become available over the course of this year in one standard distribution of the NetBeans IDE. This process is starting now with version 5.5 and the Enterprise Pack, and it will continue with the release of the new native C/C++ support.

Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006

Apart from development for the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 5, the sessions that followed addressed the next generation of GUI building, for example, Project Matisse; the advantages of building rich client applications on the NetBeans platform; as well as state-of-the-art mobile application development with NetBeans Mobility Pack and the new SavaJe CDC pack. For each of these topics, NetBeans software engineers and technology evangelists had prepared live feature demonstrations for the attendees.

The sessions were divided in two tracks: Track A gave an exhaustive overview of SOA, enterprise, and mobile application development, as well as interoperability of enterprise features (Project Tango). Track B zoomed in on building user interfaces and client applications, covering development tools for Java EE and Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE), as well as for the NetBeans platform and the new Realtime Java Plug-in. The speakers also answered burning questions from the audience.

Picture of James Gosling awarding Tom Wheeler the NetBeans Community award

In the afternoon, the attendees reassembled for the closing keynote by "the father of Java," James Gosling. Gosling has initiated the Jackpot project and has worked on the Real-Time Specification for Java (RTSJ). The current chief technology officer of Sun's Developer Products group had the honor of awarding four members of the NetBeans community with a certificate and a Sun Ultra 20 workstation, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the ongoing project. Congratulations to Wade Chandler, Ramon Ramos, David Strupl, and Tom Wheeler!

Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006 Picture: Developers at NetBeans Software Day 2006

This day went by much too soon. But attendees took home more than just the impressions of the energetic music clip featuring shots of developers from all the world tour locations. NetBeans Software Day was an excellent opportunity for everyone to tap into the collective brainpower of Java technology luminaries and fellow developers. And award winners weren't the only ones to go home with a little something extra in their conference backpacks: The first 400 attendees through the door received a free copy of the new NetBeans IDE Field Guide (second edition) and a 256 MB USB drive.

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