Notes on NetBeans Day Atlanta

by Robert Cooper

So, Sun Tech Days is blowing through the dirty south. Today was "NetBeans Day" (with a parallel Open Solaris event).

Boy it was unimpressive. The opening was actually kind of funny. The speakers were pretty obviously preaching to a hall of the converted already, so the kind of "Yay us!" marketing opening seemed almost funny. Things really got hilarious when people started asking Tim Cramer and co. actual technical questions at the end of a "look at our market growth!" speech. Honestly, I felt the questioners' pain. Given the nature of the people in the room, I think there was much more of a desire for a heads down technical session than it turned out to be.

All in all, the content seemed dry. It was the identical pitches given at the last NetBeans World Tour and at J1 last year, which kind of stunned me. Given the cool stuff we have seen coming from Tor and Charles on JRuby, the whole Groovy 1.0 events and the revamped editor framework, I was really hoping to see a lot of "Look at the awesomeness that will be 6." In stead we got a rehash of stuff that is kind of old news. Yeah, the JEE support is cool. Yes, the UML tool is free and round trips (in spite of the fact that graphically it is ugly and it is impossible to get the lifeline titles lined up right in a state diagram). This all would have led to a somewhat disappointing day... then came the last few presenters.

Here's a tip: get an engineer to do these. They might not be the most charismatic speakers, but at least they will likely know how to use the product. Watching people with less knowledge of NetBeans than I have fumble through a presentation was almost painful.

OH, and Note to Sun: Making a JSF page that submits a form to another page that renders a prepopulated Google Maps component is *not* making an AJAX application. Please stop giving this demo as an example of "AJAX" development. I have seen it three times now and it makes me want to womp someone on the head every time I see it.

Tomorrow is the "big" event day. They have another Pimp my Swing session, I assume it will be the same one as J1. There is something else on Tango scheduled. I was really hoping NB Day would be a place where I could get some real questions answered, and I would love to pound someone from Sun with questions about Tango and JAX-WS. At this point, I am actually thinking about going into the Solaris sessions though. I figure I might actually walk away with new knowledge that way.


2007-01-17 05:08:34
I was afraid this is how the presentation would turn out. I would have preferred a normal AJUG meeting to the Sun Tech Days.
Alexis MP
2007-01-18 03:18:06
Hi Robert, maybe you're not the typical developer and you are spending more time in conferences than the average person. I believe NetBeans 5.5 is the current focus @ Sun and most developers haven't heard or seen it yet. Unfortunately, the JRuby stuff isn't available yet and I can already hear developers screaming to get the bits if there's presented with a demo. A sneak peek at the NB 6.0 editor would be welcome IMHO and I hate sluggish demos too.

Hope the rest of the conference was good.

2007-01-19 14:45:58
Well, I would say if anything separates me from the average developer, it is the fact that I tend to walk pretty far on the edge. Actually, a great example is my work desktop is still running an old daily build of NB 5.5 because the bugs are not enough to make me want to go through the hassle of ugrading to the GA release.

All that said, though. The demos were identical to what was at JavaOne last year, and the fact that the people in the room were pretty much all already using the product made it seem less than useful as a format.