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From PHP to NetBeans Platform?

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From PHP to NetBeans Platform?

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After publishing End-to-End Healthcare System on NetBeans, I was asked two questions about the healthcare system we're working on, which employs a client-server model where Java EE is used on the server, with the NetBeans Platform on the client.

Why are you migrating the client from PHP browser-based to Java desktop with the NetBeans Platform?

With the browser-based client we had, we were finding deficiencies in terms of performance and ergonomics. To give some examples:

  • Support for users with multi-monitors. Our web-based client did not have an elegant way for users to fully utilize the monitors they have.

  • Utilization of computing resources on the user's machine. For example, using storage on the user's machine to reduce traffic to the server.

  • Modular design. Pieces of our web-based client had become so interconnected with each other over the years that it's hard to swap in/out these pieces.

We knew that for our usage, where our users are not the general public, but rather corporate staff, the benefits of desktop clients outweigh the portability of web-based clients. Then we narrowed our search down to either the NetBeans Platform or OSGi based solutions. We tried both, and overall the NetBeans Platform was much easier for us to get off the ground with. The NetBeans Platform's Window System and the plugin infrastructure were exactly what we were looking for.

I think HTML5 solves some of the problems we had. But I still feel desktop applications give us a lot more control and performance benefits, to the extent that we are not going to go back to web-based client in the short term.

Do you use NetBeans IDE for your Java EE work and what do you think of its tools?

For Java EE work, we write our code in NetBeans IDE. We configure the build/deployment/test parts through Maven and we just trigger the Maven builds through NetBeans IDE.
I would say we rarely have to leave NetBeans IDE to do our work, and when we do, we have become pretty comfortable with the command-line interface that we don't feel it's a burden. We have just recently started experimenting with native GlassFish support in NetBeans IDE, but I'm not sure at this point if we will get away from the command-line interface.
Here's a screenshot of our NetBeans Platform client, with more here:

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