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A New Class Visualization Module for NetBeans


Last week I wrote a little module that uses the NetBeans Visual Library and the Javac Tree API to create a graph of the contents of a Java file, showing dependencies between class members. It's now available on the NetBeans daily build update center - if you're running a daily build of NetBeans, just go to Tools | Plugins and download Graphical Class Viewer.

My question is, would anybody actually find this useful? It was mostly an experiment to get more fluent with a couple of APIs I need to know well - but it seems like it could be handy if you're going to edit a class you didn't write and want to see where the action is - or if you've got a bunch of encapsulated fields and want to quickly see if anything is not using the getters and setters.

What it does:
  • Shows a graph (see screenshot below)
  • If you hover the mouse over, say, a method, then the path to things that method calls/uses will be shown in red, and things that call that method are shown in blue
  • You can click the arrow button on the widget for any class member and see its source code

Feel free to try it out and let me know if you think it's something worth putting more work into.

Also, if anyone knows of any speedy and good hub-and-spoke or other layout algorithms for the case where you have n nodes each of which can have up to n-1 connections to other nodes, feel free to let me know - what it does now is less than optimal. At some point I may think through the geometry to do it nicely, but I'm not sure when.


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