Monday, October 14, 2013

Netbeans IDE: Is It Any Good? [OPINION]

 In 2009, CBSE, the Indian board of secondary education changed the IP or Informatics Practices (Informatics Practices is an additional subject) text books of Class XI and Class XII. A new syllabus, Java Swing under Netbeans was introduced. This is a welcome change from the earlier, Visual Basic 6. I'm guessing the choice was because CBSE wanted to make programming fun by letting students develop GUI applications by drag and drop method. Visual Basic fulfilled that role as it had drag and drop features to create GUIs and it was easy to learn. But visual basic is outdated and the interface looks primitive. Microsoft stopped releasing any new updates since 1998, and it Officially ended support for Visual Basic 6 in 2008. That means the last stable version, VB6 was released in 1998. With VB 6 out of the picture, I guess the intelligent choice was Java Swing under Netbeans IDE.


When I was in Class XI, we were the first batch of CBSE students to start using the Netbeans IDE. For all those years, our teachers were used to VB6, and the sudden change meant they also had to adapt to the new language and environment. It took them some time to get used to it, but they eventually got used to it since they already knew java core. The new syllabus for Informatics Practices was actually a combination of Netbeans, MySQL and a bit of web technologies like HTML and XML.

So, all over India, students started learning Java Swing programming without any prior programming knowledge or experience. I think learning swing programming without learning core java first is not a very good idea. The only consolation is that GUI programming is relatively fun compared to the usual  command line interface. This is good for getting students to like programming.  


Since Netbeans was relatively new for all these students (me included), a lot of questions were raised on whether it  can be used to develop "real life" applications or  what programs can be developed in it. Well the answer is, simply put, there is no limit to the applications you can develop using Netbeans. In fact, Netbeans is a popular IDE for developing a huge number of high end enterprise applications and programs. Here is a huge list of extremely sophisticated projects developed using the Netbeans IDE. Also, here is an interesting project on home automation called Jarvis. It was developed using Netbeans IDE. You can create your college projects, socket programs, database driven programs, enterprise applications etc. The sky is the limit. And the best part? You program will run in every operating system as Java is platform Independent. 

A java program running on Linux and Windows

The programs that are taught in class is not enough to develop real life applications. So how does one go about learning Netbeans? There are excellent tutorials on YouTube. Check out ProgrammingKnowledge and VertexDigitalArts. Have a look at this blog for Netbeans related stuff. You can get help about Netbeans from the official Netbeans forum or on stackoverflow. You can also download the NCERT text books for Class 11 and Class 12.
In my third year of college we learnt Java core but I wasn't able to develop any GUI applications using it. The only GUI we learnt was Java applets, and in  that, everything  had  to be hand coded. So, I had to switch back to Swing whenever I needed to develop GUI applications. . I wish Netbeans IDE was a part of our curriculum.

Common Netbeans Questions:

How to run Netbeans programs from the desktop?
So, you want to run an application with a double click from the desktop? Goto your project tree in Netbeans and right click on it. Click on the option Clean and Build.  Once that is done, navigate to the Netbeans folder where your project is stored. You will see a folder called dist. Inside that folder, you will find the JAR executable. Double click on that to run your program. You can create a shortcut to your program in the desktop.

How to convert Netbeans jar files to .exe
You can convert your JAR file into exe in different ways. You can use JSmooth Exe wrapper. You can also use JarToExe. Once you download these programs, the process is pretty straightforward.

How to create an installer to distribute your Netbeans application.
So, you created your first project using Netbeans and want to distribute it to your friends? Sending the jar file is hardly professional, so you need to create an installer. Excelsior Installer is an excellent tool which lets you do just that. Here is a video tutorial on how to create an exe installer using Excelsior.

How to distribute a Netbeans application with MySQL database?
If you want to distribute your database application, it is best to use single file databases such as SQLite or JavaDB instead of MySQL or Oracle. If you need the program to function in a client server environment, then you have no choice but to use MySQL, but then you will have to manually install the database server or create scripts to create the tables.

If you have any queries, you can ask in the comment section and I will try my best to answer them.


3 comments:

  1. nyc article sir.
    keep posting....

    ReplyDelete
  2. awful piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend vimal, mumbai,i have read atleast 13 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a million once again, Regards, cbse 10th result 2014

    ReplyDelete
  3. excellent piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend sasi, pune,i have read atleast nine posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again, Regards,TNPSC vao exam result 2014 , TNPSC vao exam results 2014 , TNPSC vao result 2014.

    ReplyDelete