Zain Zain is a Java developer. His is a knowledge seeker who likes to try out and explore new things.

Key takeaways from NetBeans Day UK 2017

2 min read

NetBeans day speakersThe third NetBeans day UK took place yesterday and what a successful event it was. With over 50 people attending the talks and workshop sessions, there was a lot to take away from the event, including news, tips, new friends, free food and prizes. There is a lot to look forward to as NetBeans moves closer to its move to Apache as well as Java 9 around the corner. Let’s take a look at some of my key takeaways…

Overview and latest news
With NetBeans in the process of moving from Oracle to Apache, this was a hot topic for the day. This is a very thorough process so the transfer will take a little time to be completed. Currently, NetBeans is being moved out of Oracle and the team will need to go through each file in the NetBeans code base. This is a very important but time-consuming step.

Graal is a technology that can combine multiple languages together. For example, you would be able to code using JavaScript and Ruby together in the same file. This would allow you to use the strengths of multiple different languages together and give you a better solution.

What makes Graal stand out is that it provides MUCH faster performance than the languages would do on their own, especially when calling other languages. For example, Ruby on Graal would run faster than on its own. Graal has a JIT compiler built into its VM which makes the performance faster. Fast languages such as C/C++ and Java have JIT compilers, making them good languages in terms of performance, especially when compared to other languages such as Pearl, Ruby, and R.

NetBeans 101
NetBeans is fully loaded with features and is easy to setup. It is an all-in-one tool as you can use it for multiple purposes including Java programming, testing, web development, etc. It is easy to setup as NetBeans has wizards to guide you through the various settings. It is an out-of-the-box tool with all the main features that a developer would use generally.

NetBeans is very flexible as it has a lot of customisation and configurations available for us to change including keyboard shortcuts, themes, multiple views, toolbars, etc. You can export all these settings so that it can be shared between different devices too.

What you see isn’t all you get. There are additional plugins available on the NetBeans’ plugin portal which can extend and transform the IDE. With many tools and features available out-of-the-box, you can also choose to uninstall the plugins you do not use to de-clutter your IDE.

Geertjan, the product manager of NetBeans, also spoke about the multiple cursors/selection being his favourite feature in the NetBeans IDE. This enables you to edit multiple lines of code at the same time.

In the afternoon, there were 2 tracks so here are the details on the 2 workshops I attended. You could also learn about JavaScript, JET and Java8 EE.

NetBeans day speakers

Java 9 will be awesome

The workshop on Java 9 gave us an insight on some of the new Java 9 features including JShell and Jigsaw. Working through the exercises in this workshop gave me a much better understanding of what JShell and Jigsaw will bring to the platform.

JShell is a REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) tool for Java. This would allow you to write Java statements and test them out without having to set things such as projects or classes up. You do not need to setup a new class with a main method to test out one or 2 lines of code. JShell provides the environment to test them out.

Jigsaw is another big item on the feature list for Java 9. Jigsaw introduces modules. This will make it easier for java developers as code can be split in their own modules. This allows easier maintenance and collaboration. Code will sit inside its module and so users would need the module to access the code.

Extending NetBeans
This workshop gave us the fundamentals of adding/removing plugins on the NetBeans IDE. It showed us how NetBeans is modular and how easy it is to change.
Everyone built their own Hello World plugin. They also built their own NetBeans application which included the plugin they just built.

Prize draw and pub
At the end, there was a prize draw where random names of the attendees were picked out of a box. There were many prizes to choose from. All attendees also received a discount voucher for a Java EE book. Everyone was then invited to socialise at the pub to finish the day….

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Zain Zain is a Java developer. His is a knowledge seeker who likes to try out and explore new things.

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