Here, the prolific author--he has published six technical books about Java EE, JasperReports, and NetBeans--talks about the reasons for producing a video course, what viewers will learn, and why NetBeans is the way to go for an efficient and productive Java EE experience.
Heffelfinger will be at JavaOne 2013 and speaking about Java EE development and his experience becoming a published technical author.
You've written books about NetBeans and Java EE; why a video course this time around?
Some things are easier to explain by demonstrating them rather than talking about them or showing static screenshots. A video course allows me to demonstrate these new features in a way that is not suitable with a book.
What will viewers get from the course?
The first couple of videos explain some NetBeans features that are not specific to Java EE, but nevertheless very useful, such as code completion, code generation, refactoring capabilities, as well as debugging. Even though these features are not specific to Java EE, mastering these NetBeans capabilities have the effect of turbocharging programmer productivity. The rest of the videos cover the most widely used Java EE APIs, such as JSF, JPA and EJB. NetBeans-specific features such as wizards, the awesome NetBeans JPQL editor and more are also covered.
How do you recommend watching the videos--sequentially or topically?
The videos do not need to be watched in sequence. The examples are simple and self contained, and focus on specific Java EE features. For example, a viewer who needs to quickly learn about JPA does not have to sit through all of the JSF videos. My recommendation would be for everyone to watch the initial videos that explain the NetBeans features first, since even viewers with NetBeans familiarity may learn a few tricks; and then watch the other videos in any order.
What aspect of Java EE support in NetBeans IDE stands out for you?
NetBeans has outstanding code navigation; it even works from Facelets XHTML pages using the Unified Expression Language. This is a great feature that saves a lot of time. Another big time saver is the JPQL editor, which allows us to test JPQL queries and features code completion. NetBeans lets enterprise application developers be super productive. It's hard to explain in words. You really have to experience it to understand it. As one of the reviewers for my Java EE Development with NetBeans book put it: "NetBeans 7 and Java EE 6 make a lethal combination." I couldn't have said it better myself.
How was creating the course different from writing a book?
Developing a video course came with a different set of challenges than authoring a book. For example, with a book, if you make a typo you just fix the typo and move along. When recording a video, if you mispronounce a word, stutter, etc., you have to record the whole video from the beginning. Another challenge was to make the videos short so as not to lose the viewer's attention. Explaining a topic as complex as Java EE in a series of short videos was a big challenge. Even though the development of the video course was challenging, I'm very pleased with the end result and I think viewers will like it as well.
Will you create more video courses in the future or return to print?
I have no specific plans to develop any more videos at the moment, but I'm definitely not ruling it out. I am currently working on another book to be published later this year, so you will definitely see a return to print in the not so distant future.