University of Sheffield-Hallam on NetBeans

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University of Sheffield-Hallam on NetBeans

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Recently, a group of students at the University of Sheffield-Hallam, in Sheffield, England, attended a 3-day NetBeans RCP course:


The course came about as a result of an assignment set by the group's lecturer, Chris Bates:

This first assignment examines your ability to use some well-established frameworks and design patterns to build reasonably complex software in Java. You will be assessed at walkthroughs during which you will be ex- pected to demonstrate and describe your code.

The aim of the assignment was to use a desktop framework to create a scheduler:

The user interface should be written using either the NetBeans Platform or Eclipse’s SWT. If you are unable to get to grips with these then you may use Swing without their additional infrastructure. Doing so will lose you 10% of your mark.

Though everyone in the class chose NetBeans Platform (because of the many tutorials available and because of the ease of integration with existing Swing components), it was still hard work. So, a 3-day NetBeans Platform training course was set up.

Course Structure

The first two days were spent covering the standard topics, from getting started with the NetBeans Platform, to an exploration of the modularity of the NetBeans Platform and the usefulness of loose coupling, followed by an introduction to the NetBeans Platform's own set of Swing components, via the universal Node model, to BeanTreeview, IconView, and OutlineView. Of course, the Visual Library also made an appearance, together with various miscellaneous parts of the NetBeans Platform.

On the first day, the students created a processing application with pluggable filters, while the second day was spent creating a POJO-based corporate application, with basic view/edit/visualize functionality.

Presentations by Developers in the Field

On the final day of the course, some visitors joined the class, in order to present actual projects being done with the NetBeans Platform in the UK. Not only that, but the students on the course might be able to work on the projects below, now that they have been introduced to them via the NetBeans Platform course, when next they have an assignment to work on during their software development courses at the university:

Peter Harman from DeltaTheta (left in pic) presented Vertex. Vertex is a modelling and simulation tool that bridges the gap between engineering design and simulation.

It was interesting to hear that Peter used to work in Formula 1, in the Honda team, where he modelled various race car scenarios, which is a background he is now putting to good use in creating a state of the art tool that would have made his work in Formula 1 a lot easier.

By integrating the power and flexibility of the Modelica modelling language with existing tools, including CAD, spreadsheets, and control system design software, Vertex enables you to simulate, test, explore, and optimize your designs from the outset, without the need for physical prototyping.


Chris Bates and Lukasz Jopek from the University of Sheffield-Hallam demonstrated an EU-funded project named Odyssey.

Odyssey is a prototype platform which would let police forces and other law enforcement agencies easily share data about incidents of ballistic crime. Such data might include the details of individual bullets, spent cartridge cases, or the location of a crime. 

The EU has necessarily strong legislation to protect the privacy of individuals, which means the platform lets users share only limited information about people, whether they be victims or suspects.

During the demonstration, Lukasz and Chris showed Odyssey's visual query builder. They dragged palette items representing potential incidents of crime onto a window and then showed the generated queries. These queries can then be sent to a database to return related information that could be relevant for polic investigations. 


Tim Dudgeon Instant JChem's (IJC) product manager, presented IJC as a desktop tool for managing, searching, and analyzing chemical structures and associated information.

In short, Instant JChem is a desktop application for end user scientists. With Instant JChem, you can create, explore and share chemical and non chemical data in local and remote databases without additional administration.

Instant JChem has a wide and growing range of functionality including customizable database views, integration of library enumeration and dynamic population of columns with singular and combined molecular property and descriptor predictions.




The course was really fun & interesting to those who attended it. Twitter provides evidence of that fact, such as this tweet:

A plan is for the students to contribute their course work to this site, which is where open source work related to NetBeans is collected from developers around the world:


And, from the above, anyone will be able to check out the project sources and give feedback to the students about the work they are doing with the NetBeans Platform.

Are there more universities out there interested in a NetBeans Platform training course? A free course can be arranged at your location. Leave a message here or write to users@edu.netbeans.org.



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