Firstly, Liang, please tell us who you are and what you do!
My name is Liang Ye, from Sun's ISVe China team. I am Chinese, of course. My work is to support ISVs (independent software vendors), to help them develop applications using Sun's technologies, such as NetBeans and Java; and help them migrate their products to Sun's platforms, such as GlassFish, MySQL and Solaris. Writing technical articles and publications is my work and interest also. I write a column in a famous magazine named "Programmer" in China, to introduce open source and Sun's projects to Chinese programmers every month.
Before joining the ISVe team, I worked for the SDN China team. I built up the SDN China website (developers.sun.com.cn), and the NetBeans Chinese site (zh-cn.netbeans.org).
Have you been a NetBeans user for a long time? How has your experience been?
Originally, I used NetBeans in 2002, but only casually. However, in 2006, I found NetBeans 5 to be very outstanding, much better than its predecessors. Since version 5.5, it has become my major editor for everyday work. I wrote an article named "The Power of Tools", published in the local magazine, to compare the differences between JBuilder, Eclipse and NetBeans. I was glad to find that NetBeans has so many excellent features, such as the Profiler, Mattise, and so on. I've believed that NetBeans is better than the alternatives since then.
Have you used both NetBeans IDE and the NetBeans Platform? What kind of things have you developed?
I use NetBeans IDE for almost every type of coding work, including web, Java ME and Ruby/RoR development. I built & maintain a special version of NetBeans IDE for the National Computer Rank Examination (NCRE). The goal for this project is to make NetBeans the chosen IDE for the Java exam in the NCRE. The environment of this exam has special requirements for tools, such as limited memory, a special folder structure, and security requirements. What I did is to exclude unused plugins to make sure that NetBeans can run smoothly with a 256MB memory, then I developed an additional plugin to fulfil the security requirements. I even drew a special splash screen for it. The China National Education Examinations Authority chose this special version of NetBeans as the authorized IDE for NCRE. So now thousands of people in China will (and must) use it.
Besides that, I developed some small plugins, such as a lucky draw program, etc. I'm very interested in evangelization events, such as teacher trainings and NetBeans Day (Beijing, Shanghai), to show people how to use the NetBeans Platform and how powerful it is.
What do you like most and least about NetBeans IDE?
Actually, I love NetBeans totally. Especially the beautiful features other IDEs do not have, such as the awesome editor, Profiler, GUI Builder, visual web, and visual mobile tools. I must say that the ability to develop Ruby, Rails and Python applications really makes NetBeans very unique and popular.
However, when I was showing demos at some events, some users complained they must feed lots of memory to let NetBeans run smoothly. I explained to them that one can disable some unused plugins and not install the functions that one never uses. But I've encountered this aspect as being somewhat of a problem.
And what do you like most and least about the NetBeans Platform?
I think the modular architecture is its most remarkable feature. That's why applications based on the NetBeans Platform are so flexible and powerful. I also like the Lookup and System Filesytem concepts. By using Lookup, people do not need to have classes implement additional interfaces when expressing an object's capabilities. And they can easily gain dependency injection, decoupling and dynamic service discovery. Being a powerful read-write virtual filesystem, the System Filesystem can store any kind of configuration data, especially data that may change at runtime. To add or delete menus or MIME types, one just needs to modify files and folders in this virual filesystem. Every time I demo this, people say: "That's really awesome!"
You live in China. Can you tell us something about NetBeans in China? Are people using it? Mainly students or also other categories? What have you heard them say?
I think NetBeans has become HOT in China since 2006, when NetBeans 5 was released. Many people have been showing an interest in it since then, especially the Profiler and visual tools. I guess almost 1/3 Java developers have been using or have been seriously considering using NetBeans since then. After the release of version 5.5, people realized they had a great "new" and free choice. More developers and projects began to migrate to NetBeans.
Soon afterward, lots of new plugins sprung up. NetBeans could do everything that JBuilder or Eclipse can do, and even better too. And local NetBeans communities showed up. Lots of Chinese articles could be found through Google. Both students and engineers were willing to use it.
Now, you've translated "Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform". Congratulations! How did you get started with this project?
Thanks. I found that we were lacking localized documents about the NetBeans Platform. We needed to do something. Thanks John Jiang from SDN China team, who introduced me to Tsinghua University Press -- an authorized co-publisher of this book that owns the copyright of the Chinese version. So I signed a contract with them and began to translate.
How long has it taken you? How has the experience been? Fun? Boring?
Six months. I did it in spare time and all by myself, so it took somewhat of a long time. But not boring at all. For me, it was a good chance to learn about NetBeans rich client programming. Thanks John Jiang, Gang Deng, Gary Wang, for their great support. Thanks Wynne Wang, Yu Wang, Jason Huang, Eric Gu, Kai Li, Hiro Zhu and Shifeng Zhang, for their effort to help me reviewing this Chinese version.
What have you learned about translating that you'd like to share with others?
This book is wonderful material for the NetBeans Platform, really a great book, and of course, easy to understand. If you have the interest and time, just start translating it. But I suggest 3-4 people should translate it together, each one covering several chapters. Then the translation process will be done much faster!
Finally, please tell us where/how/when readers can get the book!
This Chinese version will be published by Tsinghua University Press. People can find it in bookstore or Internet in a month's time. I will send an update about this when it's available!