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Showing posts from June, 2007

Maven and NetBeans (Platform)

As most of you know, the build system in the NetBeans IDE is entirely ANT-centric. That is, every project has a generated build.xml behind the scenes and every action (compile, run) is an ant target actually.

But, of course, you can't please everyone. Using ANT as a backend means that, of course, you need some custom ant targets to make the IDE-integration better. Thus, you're not 100% independent of NetBeans, you still need those custom tasks (some JARs basically) and the core ant scripts.

Using ANT also means some overhead for each action.

But the most nasty stuff in my projects are the 3rd party JARs. Most projects use some outside blobs. Normally, you can have the JARs in SVN and NetBeans will take care of this quite nicely (using relative paths).

But what happens if you decide not to include those JARs in the SVN ? Well, you enter a world of tweaking of .properties files and custom ant tasks to re-populate those properties files. It's not pretty and error-prone in a distr…

Gnome Typing Break

As I've said in an older post, I wasn't that impressed with the latest Ubuntu but I also couldn't install OpenSolaris on a laptop. So I installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, which seems to work quite nicely. I even has suspend to RAM working (though it breaks the sound afterwards).

One nice feature Gnome has that I didn't know of it is Typing Break, found in System -> Preferences -> Keyboard.

It basically forces you to take a break after a period of time. Gets useful after you start getting some hand-aches. During the break you see something like this:

It takes a bit of discipline to actually respect the breaks (especially when something is urgent and you have the "Postpone" button -- which should be renamed to Snooze). Then again, even if I disable the postpone button I might be tempted to Ctrl+Alt+Backspace or Ctrl+Alt+F1, login then kill process.

I'm also looking at some exotic and ergo- keyboards lately. Anyone has something to recommend ?

I would really like s…

Pro NetBeans IDE 5.5 Enterprise Edition Review

Adam Myatt's "Pro NetBeans IDE 5.5 Enterprise Edition" could be quite well an introductory course to Enterprise programming in general and especially a good book for NetBeans IDE (future) users in particular.

It's quite decent for a novice programmer because it consists of small tutorials and introductions in all the different technologies that the NetBeans IDE supports. It gives you the starting point in your endeavor. It's most needed for an introductory course in any Enterprise since it touches a lot of important points like unit-test, good javadoc, version control, build system (ant-centric, like the IDE) and more.

Since it covers that many topics there isn't actually enough space to go too deep into any of the subjects. The spotlight is after all on the NetBeans IDE and the features it has. This is quite a shame since there were some unique things that could have been discussed more upon: Jackpot refactorings made me really curious...

It's also nice to …

There is truth

There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.
Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

OpenOffice and Java take 2

Hm, I just got this morning the weekly NetBeans newsletter and it had this part:

Netbeans Plugin for Development Sun's engineering team has developed a plug-in for building extensions. It is an easy to use set of wizards to create extensions that can be used to integrate new functionality, adopt existing functionality, and create Java applications that can remotely control Everything is ready for you to start implementing extensions, including a Java code skeleton. So, SUN is still supporting this. Maybe I'll take a look at this new plugin and see how it feels.

Is OpenOffice too late with the Java-bindings ?

I remember my first "important" job at my previous employer was to maintain some in-house Office-based application. Nothing like Excel and VBA to ruin your day ! Well, I was a rookie so I couldn't refuse but it was a depressing experience.

For some time now (I remember I was running some samples last year), OpenOffice has some nice Java bindings (or API). Now, this is all great, but the actual code looks quite arcane.

What troubles me is this: why was OpenOffice so late with this move ? I mean, most programmers don't want to live inside Excel and Visual Basic so if you have a choice, you move a simple dedicated "application" from Excel + VBA to OpenOffice + Java.

I guess it's obvious Java is a better choice (than VB) for most programmers (it would have been for me) and the final product would have been better in so many ways:
More happy programmers that they don't have to use VB or (oh, the horror), maintain VBA.A decent codebase for your initial small…