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NetBeans: The Definitive Guide [Paperback]

Tim Boudreau , Jesse Glick , Simeon Greene , Jack Woehr , Vaughn Spurlin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 29, 2002 0596002807 978-0596002800 1

As the Java programming language has increased in both functionality and complexity, developers have demanded more of their program editors. Gone are the days when a simple visual editor is sufficient for even small programming projects. While there are numerous IDEs available today for use by Java developers, one stands above the rest, not only for its functionality, but for its extensibility: NetBeans.

In NetBeans: The Definitive Guide, you'll find out how to use this IDE to its fullest, making your Java programming more efficient and productive than ever before. You'll understand the basics of the IDE, and quickly be utilizing the various editor and explorer windows. You'll also master many of NetBeans advanced features, and be working with XML documents, CVS repositories, Javadoc trees, and web applications, all within the NetBeans framework.

In addition to teaching you how to use the existing features of NetBeans, this work goes on to cover developing additional modules for NetBeans. Through this instructional portion of the book, you will master the NetBeans APIs, and learn how to enhance NetBeans for your own specific needs. Whether you need to add customized behavior to handle your proprietary file formats, or want to redistribute NetBeans as a proprietary product, NetBeans: The Definitive Guide will allow you to master this open source IDE and all of its advanced features. Whether you are an enterprise developer looking for an IDE that can handle your complex program tasks, an open source developer looking to integrate NetBeans into your own visual projects, or a manager trying to maximize your team's development potential,NetBeans: The Definitive Guide is the book for you.

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is not just the definitive guide, it's the only book on the subject that I know of... The conclusion is that if you are planning to use NetBeans in one of its many forms then investing in a copy of this book is common sense." - Ian Elliot, VSJ, July/August 2003 This book is really an end-to-end tutorial and reference book for using and expanding NetBeans. If like me you only use NetBeans this book is still a bargain.I struggled for a while with creating a Bean, two nights of reading the Beans tutorial and I'd cracked it. There is so much that NetBeans does for you, wizards that make jobs easier and maintenance easy. I've missed most of them and have only found them and NetBeans real power by reading sections of this book. If you've got NetBeans then get this book" - James Gordon, NetBeans: The Definitive Guide - Cvu, August 2003

About the Author

is a native of Massachusetts who has worked in the IT industry as a developer, writer, graphic artist on and off since the age of twelve. Following a hiatus as a literary theory major and musician, he returned to the world of computers at the age of 23 in response to the marvelous career opportunities for a student of literature during a recession, and the clamour of the IT world for his return. In the spring of 1999, he moved to the Czech Republic to work for a small company called NetBeans, which was soon to be acquired by Sun Microsystems, where he still lives and works. Tim can be found at most times perched with an underpowered laptop, deep in ascetic concentration in his monastic quarters high in the towers of Sun Microsystems in Prague. He is occasionally led outside, blinking in the twilight, to belt out blues tunes in smoky bars, on the advice of his physicians and Sun Microsystems' "Great Place to Work" program.

has worked on NetBeans since January 1999 in several capacities, including developing NetBeans core software, editing API documentation, and providing assistance for integrators. He joined Sun with the acquisition of NetBeans in the fall of 1999. He has spoken twice at JavaOne on NetBeans module development.

currently lives with his wife Nikki in Philadelphia PA, but is originally from the sunny island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In the pursuit of money, education and all else that corrupts, he left his island paradise and currently works as a developer for Hewlett-Packard. Although he misses tropical breezes and an idyllic lifestyle, he enjoys being a software developer and the opportunity to work with interesting technical people like those on the NetBeans project. Besides technology, Simeon also enjoys poetry, classical literature, travel and underground hip-hop - of course.

began his programming career in 1967 on the physically largest computer ever built, the SAGE system's house-sized AN/FSQ-7. A freelance consultant since 1975, he worked with a wide range of computer hardware and languages, including several early personal computers before they were known as such. Vaughn currently writes technical articles about Sun ONE Studio and develops training materials for Sun.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002800
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enough! or Too much May 14, 2003
I agree with the other reviewers: this is an outstanding book and a must-have for anyone who is serious about programming in Java using the NetBeans IDE. However, it is not a book that will teach you the Java programming language, nor is it a book that will in any way extend your Java programming abilities into such areas as Java Beans, Servlets, or JSPs. The first ten chapters are really the core how-to. These cover 1) Installation, 2) Basic Concepts, 3) The Source Editor, 4) Debugging, 5) Compiling, 6) Customizing the IDE, 7) Using CVS, 8) GUI Building, 9) JavaBeans, 10) JavaDoc. Beyond that, there are two other chapters devoted to working with XML, JSPs, and Servlets. These chapters are meant to show programmers already comfortable with these technologies how to utilize NetBeans for implementing them; they are NOT for learning the technologies themselves. The rest of the book is quite advanced, and I'll admit that as an intermediate-level programmer I haven't been able to benefit from it. It consists of detailed analyses of how to create custom NetBeans modules, how to tune the existing modules for performance, etc.
For those of us who are still grappling with the enormous amount of study necessary in order to build a functional Java program, this book represents a good investment. But you will probably only use the first 200 pages, about 1/3 of the total book. So you must ask yourself, "Does the cost of this book justify the 200 pages I will probably only ever use?" The answer to that question is Yes, if you are truly serious about programming in Java. This NetBeans IDE is truly awesome, and it is a godsend for those of us who have struggled to code in Notepad or something equally as [bad]. For those of us who are not really serious but merely casual programmers, I would say, No -- there are much better ways to invest your time and money.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware: Sample Source Code Obsolete November 16, 2005
Overall, this book is a very good reference but there are currently only two books written dedicated to the use of the NetBeans IDE and platform.

I am currently working with the 5.0 Beta release of NetBeans and it has some very nice new features and excellent forums and tutorials at However, having progressed through the O'Reilly book tutorials one thing is very clear - the API's are continually changing.

The majority of code samples in this book cannot be compiled and run in the current and beta releases of NetBeans. This makes this book less useful than need be. It would be wise of O'Reilly to make an effort to release an second edition or at least to provide updates to the sample code which overcome the deprecation of classes used in the examples.

Perhaps even could update and post retooled examples as the ones presented appear to be very useful indeed.

Bottom Line: Very disappointed with examples being outdated and unusable.

Otherwise, the book is informative and well written as I have found all of my references from O'Reilly.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Netbeans September 28, 2003
By A Customer
Netbeans is a free full-featured IDE for Java. The original code was developed by Sun and donated to the Netbeans open source community.
This book will not teach any Java programming, but will teach you how to use Netbeans to program in Java. The book is divided into two parts. The first part is about using the IDE to write Java code for your application. The second part is about writing modules to plug into Netbeans to extend its functionality. The opening chapters cover features available to most IDEs, including debugging and using the GUI building functionality of Netbeans. The chapter on CVS was helpful in setting a CVS client with Netbeans, but it only gives a high-level overview of CVS, not enough to learn CVS with this book alone. The GUI building chapter is a very good tutorial on how to build GUI forms inside of Netbeans. The sections on the code generation properties and adding event handlers are well written and easy to follow and should be easy to incorporate into your own projects.
The second part of the book covers consists of how to create custom modules using the Netbeans API. The examples are well written and comprehensive. If a programmer were going to write a custom module, these chapters would be very helpful, but most users of Netbeans are not going to write custom modules, so he or she could skip the last part of the book.
This book is really two books in one, one is about using Netbeans and the other is about extending Netbeans using the Netbeans API. The book has excellent examples and is a good tutorial, but the second part is probably excessive for most users.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complete and worthwhile reference May 21, 2004
This is mostly a well-written, dense, book about a very complex subject. I learn something new each time I pick up the book meaning this is a book that you will want to keep nearby.
Many of the reviewers lamented the second half of the book about creating your own plug-in. Since that was the sole purpose for me to obtain the book, I welcomed the wealth of information. I was also impressed that it covered branding, which is precisely the information I was looking for. In a the short time it took for me to read a few chapters, I had written, branded, and packaged the initial skeleton of the application I'm building on top of the NetBeans platform.
The organization of the opening Concepts and Paradigms chapter baffled me. It's also a tutorial and user guide and overview. The section didn't flow together very well unlike the more focused chapters that came later.
The only major complaint I would have is that many of the examples and code didn't work in my version (3.6). But that can't be blamed on the book which was based upon version 3.3. The solution was usually easily found. The O'Reilly errata pages also provided some fixes. I expect everything else will be cleared up by the NetBeans community on their fairly active mailing lists.
I also found the chapter on creating beans to be a bit light on motivation. Why would I want to create a bean? What is a bean and how do the steps presented create a bean? How would the bean be used?
I would have also liked to have seen how to make the editor use Emacs keybindings. While that capability does not exist in the product at present, I'm sure there are enough people who want that capability that it would have been useful to describe a workaround in the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Completely out of date!
Written for version 3.3 or so. While Netbeans v7.4 is current I believe. It should really be made more clear in the summary of this product.
Published 6 months ago by tim97402
3.0 out of 5 stars The book was like new
The book was pretty good. It was like new. Unfortunately, there were no enough illustrations on the GUI stuff. In other words, It was so limited.
Published 10 months ago by Ahmed
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Old To Be Too Good
I should have looked at the published date more closely, this book was so old that it was written before the invention of the computer! That will teach me.
Published 21 months ago by Fabienne Christenson
4.0 out of 5 stars NetBeans - book review
Seller was great.

This book is good, not as wordy as a lot of OReilly books tend to be. I just don't like NetBeans. Read more
Published on November 30, 2008 by John Najarian
4.0 out of 5 stars Sofar, O'Reilly books never disappointed me.
Sometimes I wish, I had all of the O'Reilly books on my shelf. "NetBeans The Definitive Guide" is a real asset to your bookshelf. IDE's are not that simple anymore. Read more
Published on March 18, 2006 by P. M. Roos
4.0 out of 5 stars lalin
Excellent book, even though there is only one :| Unfortunately, since it's release in 2002 netbeans have grown so much. Read more
Published on April 19, 2005 by Lalin
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a good book, but Eclipse is a better open-source IDE
At first, I thought that this book was a good book. It covered a free open-source IDE for Java and I wanted to learn to program in Java. Read more
Published on August 3, 2004 by K. Leavitt
3.0 out of 5 stars Paradigms, metaphors, nodes and objects
I have always maintained that everything after getting "hello world" to run is merely hacking. I sat down with this book to get a jumpstart on using NetBeans. Read more
Published on February 14, 2004 by Koeeaddi
4.0 out of 5 stars clear explanations and examples
NetBeans, a free IDE available ..., is based on donated code developed by Sun. The NetBeans architecture is an open architecture that supports plug-ins for each function of the... Read more
Published on April 7, 2003 by Thomas Paul
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