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NetBeans  IDE Field Guide: Developing Desktop, Web, Enterprise, and Mobile Applications

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NetBeans IDE Field Guide: Developing Desktop, Web, Enterprise, and Mobile Applications


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  • Copyright 2005
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-187620-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-187620-0

The Only Complete Guide and Reference for NetBeans IDE 4.1!

The award-winning NetBeans integrated development environment is today's state-of-the-art Java IDE. NetBeans is the first free, open source IDE to support Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) 5.0, and it's a leader in providing advanced support for Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME), and other technologies. NetBeans IDE eases all aspects of Java application development, incorporating a wide range of powerful features into one well-designed package.

NetBeans™ IDE Field Guide is a comprehensive introductory guide and task reference--it's the fast-answers NetBeans "cookbook" for every Java developer. The authors show you how to use NetBeans to build applications for the desktop, web, enterprise, and handset. Coverage includes

  • Navigating NetBeans IDE, and creating, opening, and configuring projects
  • Using NetBeans' special Ant integration to work with complex existing projects
  • Maximizing productivity in everyday coding, debugging, and refactoring
  • Developing web applications with NetBeans' built-in Apache Tomcat Web server
  • Creating and consuming web services
  • Using enterprise beans to extend web applications with business logic
  • Constructing, assembling, and verifying large-scale J2EE applications
  • Managing the Sun Java System Application Server through NetBeans IDE
  • Developing J2ME handheld applications with the NetBeans Mobility Pack

If you're new to NetBeans, this book will help you quickly leverage its power throughout the entire edit-compile-test-debug-deploy cycle. If you've worked with older versions, you'll learn how to make the most of its dramatic improvements. Whatever you're building with Java, NetBeans™ IDE Field Guide will help you build it faster, better, and more efficiently.


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Table of Contents

Foreword by James Gosling.

Foreword by Bill Shannon.


About the Authors.


1. Download, Installation, and First Project.

    Downloading the IDE

    Installing the IDE

    Setting a Proxy

    First NetBeans IDE Project

2. NetBeans IDE Fundamentals.

    Creating a Project

    Configuring the Classpath

    Creating a Subproject

    Creating and Editing Files

    Setting Up and Modifying Java Packages

    Compiling and Building

    Viewing Project Metadata and Build Results

    Navigating to the Source of Compilation Errors


    Creating and Running Tests

    Debugging the Application

    Integrating Version Control Commands

    Managing IDE Windows

3. IDE Project Fundamentals.

    Introduction to IDE Projects

    Choosing the Right Project Template

    Creating a Project from Scratch

    Importing a Project Developed in a Different Environment

    Navigating Your Projects

    Working with Files Not in the Project

    Creating Packages and Files in the Project

    Configuring the Project's Classpath

    Changing the Version of the JDK That Your Project Is Based On

    Changing the Target JDK for a Standard Project

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This book is designed both as an introduction to NetBeans IDE and as a task reference, something that you can pick up from time to time to get an answer to a question or to find new ways to take advantage of the IDE's possibilities. Whether NetBeans is your first IDE or your fifth, this book can help you make the most of the IDE.

What Is NetBeans IDE?

NetBeans IDE is a free-of-charge integrated development environment (IDE) primarily focused on making it easier to develop Java applications. It provides support for all types of Java applications, from rich desktop clients to multitier enterprise applications to applications for Java-enabled handheld devices.

NetBeans IDE has a modular architecture that allows for plug-ins. However, the range of features in the basic installation is so rich that you can probably can start using the IDE for your work without worrying about plug-ins at all.

The IDE itself is written in Java, so you can run it on any operating system for which there is a Java 2 Standard Edition JDK (Version 1.4.2, Version 5.0, or later) available. Click-through installers are generally available for Microsoft Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS, and OpenVMS systems. You can also download the IDE as a .zip or .tar file if you want to install it on an operating system other than the ones listed above.

The IDE's basic job is to make the edit-compile-debug cycle much smoother by integrating the tools for these activities. For example, the IDE:

  • Identifies coding errors almost immediately and marks them in the Source Editor.
  • Helps you code faster with code completion, word matching, abbreviation expansion, and fix import features.
  • Provides visual navigation aids, such as the Navigator window and "'code folding,"' as well as numerous keyboard navigation shortcuts designed especially for Java programmers.
  • Can display documentation for a class as you are typing in the Source Editor.
  • Hot-links compilation errors in the Output window, so you can jump straight to the source by double-clicking the line or pressing F12.
  • Manages package names and references to other classes. When you rename or move classes around, the IDE identifies places in the code that are affected by these changes and enables you to have the IDE generate the appropriate changes to those files.
  • Has many debugging features that provide a comprehensive view of the way your code is working as it runs. You can set breakpoints, which persist from session to session and keep your code free of clutter, such as println statements.
  • Helps you integrate other parts of your workflow, such as checking sources into and out from a version control system.

You can also download the NetBeans Profiler to augment the traditional edit-compile-debug cycle with performance testing.What Makes NetBeans IDE SpecialWhen you use NetBeans IDE, you get the benefits of a top-shelf IDE without the negatives that you might associate with moving your development to a single environment.

Like other integrated development environments, NetBeans IDE provides a graphical user interface for command line tools that handle the compiling, debugging, and packaging of applications.

Unlike other IDEs, NetBeans IDE does not force a build structure on you with project metadata that you need to reverse engineer if you are to use build the project outside of the IDE. NetBeans IDE builds on existing open standards to help you automate your development process without locking you in.

NetBeans IDE bases its whole project system on Ant, which is the de facto standard build tool for Java applications. The project metadata that NetBeans IDE produces is in the form of XML and properties files that can be used by Ant outside of the IDE. Thus developing a project in NetBeans IDE does not lock you or co-developers into NetBeans IDE.

You can use NetBeans IDE to create large projects with sophisticated build parameters. Where you already have such projects in place, you can adapt NetBeans IDE to work with them without necessarily changing the project's structure. If you are generally more comfortable with command line tools because of their transparency and the level of control they allow you over your projects, NetBeans IDE could become the first IDE that you love.

NetBeans IDE is also consistently ahead of the curve in providing support for new and evolving standards, such as the new language features that were introduced in the J2SE 5 JDK and new specifications in all areas of Java technology.

NetBeans IDE provides an astonishing array of features right out of the box. NetBeans has a fully featured J2EE development environment built in. All the editor, debugger and project support that is available for Java application development is also available for J2EE development. In addition, NetBeans IDE provides access to the Java BluePrints Solutions Catalog and the ability to install them as NetBeans projects.

The Mobility Pack, available as a free download, enables J2ME developer's to design, develop and debug J2ME MIDlets from within NetBeans IDE. Providing one of the most powerful sets of mobile development tools, the Mobility Pack includes a flow designer to visually layout the application logic, a screen designer to create the user interface, an integrated device fragmentation solution, and tools for building client server applications.

What Comes with NetBeans IDE

Besides providing support for coding, NetBeans IDE comes bundled with other tools and libraries that you might already use in your production environment. The IDE integrates these tools into the IDE workflow, but you can also use them at the command line.

Out of the box with NetBeans IDE 4.1, you get:

  • Apache Ant 1.6.2
  • Tomcat 5.5.7
  • JUnit 3.8.1
  • Java BluePrints Solutions Catalog

If you download the Mobility Modules pack, you also get the Wireless Toolkit.You can also get NetBeans IDE in a bundle with the J2SE JDK or the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition.

If you download the NetBeans Profiler, you also get a full-featured, nonintrusive Java profiler that is based on the JFluid profiling technology.

What This Book Will Do for You

This book was written with both new and existing NetBeans IDE users in mind.If you are new to NetBeans IDE (or IDEs in general), this book will quickly guide you through the basics and advantages of using NetBeans IDE. Learn how to take advantage of the IDE's layout and feature integration to tighten up the basic edit-compile-debug cycle. Learn how to take advantage of the IDE's support for increasingly popular advanced technologies such as Web services and J2EE technology to add new capabilities to your applications.

If you are already familiar with NetBeans IDE, this book will provide a new perspective on what you already know and possibly point you to useful features that you have not yet discovered. Learn how you can customize the IDE to work with complex build structures. If you are looking to move from client-server Web applications to multitier transactional enterprise applications, this book will help you make that jump.

This book does not teach the Java programming language. Much of the material in this book is meaningful only if you have some experience with programming Java applications. However, this book could be a useful companion if you are expanding your Java technology palette into J2EE technology and other advanced areas.

How to Use This Book

There is a lot to write about NetBeans IDE, which is overflowing with features. NetBeans IDE Field Guide sorts out the essentials so that you can get productive quickly and then adds a generous selection of tips and advanced information.This book is primarily designed as a task-reference with short topics on accomplishing specific tasks. If you wish, you can read the book from cover to cover, but most likely you will want to keep it near your computer to ask pressing questions or simply to read up on ways to get more out of your work with the IDE. The topics are written in a way that allows you to skip all over the book to get answers to the specific questions you have without having to follow long end-to-end examples.

Chapter 1 provides the information you need to get NetBeans IDE and to open your first project.

Chapter 2 provides an overview of the IDE environment and the basic tasks for developing general Java projects. If you have never used NetBeans IDE, you will probably want to read this chapter from end to end.

Chapter 3 provides in-depth information on setting up and configuring projects. Though this chapter is mostly geared toward general Java applications, a working knowledge of the information in this chapter will be useful for developing J2EE and J2ME applications as well.

Chapter 4 (editing) and Chapter 5 (debugging) provide useful tips and tricks for making your day-to-day coding and troubleshooting more productive.

Chapter 6 covers development of Web applications, with a focus on developing with the Tomcat Web server.

Several chapters are devoted to J2EE topics. You should begin with Chapter 7, Introduction to J2EE Development in NetBeans IDE, to get information on setting up your environment and learning how to leverage the Java BluePrints Solutions catalog in J2EE development.

If you are familiar with Web application development and would like to learn how to extend it into using J2EE Enterprise JavaBeans components, you should read Chapter 8, Extending Web Applications with Business Logic: Introducing Enterprise Beans.

If you are interested in learning how to extend your J2EE applications to include Web services, you should read Chapter 9, Extending J2EE Applications with Web Services.

Chapter 10, Developing Full Scale J2EE Applications, contains in-depth information on developing entity beans, assembling applications, verifying J2EE compliance, and other topics.

Chapter 11 covers special IDE features for using the NetBeans Mobility Pack to develop J2ME applications for handheld devices.

Chapter 12 provides information for taking advantage of NetBeans IDE's unique Ant integration to use the IDE with existing intricate build environments.

NetBeans As Platform and Open-Source Project

Besides being an IDE, NetBeans is also a 100% pure Java open-source platform. You can develop plug-in modules for NetBeans IDE or create an entirely different application built on top of a small core of the modules that make up the IDE. Because NetBeans is 100% pure Java, any platform that supports a Java Virtual Machine will run NetBeans. Hence, any plug-in module or application that extends NetBeans and that is 100% pure Java will also execute on any platform for which there is a Java Virtual Machine. However, you should note that this book covers use of the IDE only to develop Java applications.

See http://www.netbeans.org/community/kb/index.html for information on creating plug-in modules for NetBeans IDE and http://www.netbeans.org/community/kb/platform.html for information on using the platform as an application framework.


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