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Heard about the NetBeans Platform and curious about what actual customers say about it? Read on!

Dale Thoma, from Saab Grintek Systems, contracted to the South African National Defence Force

Of the competing products, the NetBeans Platform proved to be the most straightforward for implementation. The fact that the NetBeans Platform relies only on Ant scripts to build contributed greatly to our choice. Also, the NetBeans Platform's use of pure Swing (as opposed to Eclipse’s use of SWT) means that integration with other products is seamless. The NetBeans Platform does not force the design architecture to adhere to any constraints such as the OSGi framework - Eclipse and (optionally Spring RCP) make use of OSGi.

Ease of implementation in the NetBeans Platform allows intermediate level programmers to partake in the development process with less training. The NetBeans Platform was more pure in using vanilla Java as opposed to Eclipse; this allows us to migrate to other future technology frameworks should there be a need. The use of Swing and vanilla Java makes the NetBeans Platform the best-suited product for OS independence i.e. running on both Windows and Linux platforms.

More about Dale Thoma.

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Tom Wheeler, from Object Computing, while contracted to Boeing, in the US

When I started working on my desktop project, I came up with a list of more than twenty specific features that the framework would need to support. I then examined the available frameworks to see how well they matched these criteria and a colleague suggested that I add the NetBeans Platform to my candidate list. I'm glad I did because it had more of the features we needed than any of the others.

More about Tom Wheeler.

More about Boeing on the NetBeans Platform.

Emilian Bold, from Alcatel Timisoara, in Romania

I enjoy the fact that everything is already made: menu items that enable/disable, toolbar buttons, modules that can be updated from the web. For me, once a desktop application gets an (auto)update feature, it's in a whole other segment. There is so much useful code there that it would have taken ages to write it yourself.

More about Emilian Bold.

Daoud AbdelMonem Faleh, Independent Contractor, in Tunisia

Recently, I released my first ever commercial desktop project based on the NetBeans Platform. For this application, I embedded JavaDB into the NetBeans Platform, while reporting was done with JasperReports. The window system the NetBeans Platform provides, together with the wizard-oriented operations, are great and my client is really happy with what they've ended up with.

They also appreciate the modular architecture, enabling the agile methodology that drove the implementation. I've been able to add functionality, withdraw others, and update according to customer needs, without breaking any of the working parts! And that is just "Wow."

Overall, it was a great experience and, as I said, this is my first ever desktop application, opening up a whole new horizon with new opportunities.

More about Daoud AbdelMonem Faleh.

David Beer, Independent Contractor, in England

I first started using the NetBeans Platform when my requirements for the my application changed. I was writing the standard window layout every time, and I had started created a new application which would also take a long time to finish, so I decided to look for a framework to use as a starting point.

I was already using the the NetBeans IDE which is built on the NetBeans Platform, so I looked at the NetBeans Platform and the Eclipse RCP. I wanted a cross-platform application and the UI needed to be the same on all operating systems. This ruled Eclipse RCP out as it isn't Swing-based, but the NetBeans Platform is.

My other big requirement was to have a modular application so that anyone can add functionality or extend the application easily and with the update center in NetBeans this worked well.

I will be continuing to use the NetBeans Platform and to push its use where I can.

More about David Beer.

Ibon Urrutia, from MTEC, in Marbella, Spain

From my point of view the benefit of the NetBeans Platform isn't a specific module, but its modular architecture: Goodbye JAR Hell! You can safely change some of the platform modules (as we did with the XML editor) to create your own personal platform. Updates and dependencies are managed by the platform. Communication mechanism between modules is really decoupled; unit tests are easily performed; functional testing is like writing a simple script. These are benefits you discover when developing a complex application and you realize that in the NetBeans Platform you have the holy grail of great development: modularity.

But if I have to mention some modules, I do appreciate the Project API, which is so comprehensive that our TagsMe project didn't need one nor an ant build.xml in order to have an active Java module. The FileSystem API, a wonderful abstraction that allows you to access xml tags as folders and files in a file system. And also as I said, it's wonderful that a programmer with so little experience in Swing can develop an IDE (one of the hardest desktop applications you can think of) in a few months.

More about Ibon Urrutia.

More about MDTEC.

Jeremy Moore, from ThinkingRock, in Australia

We first just built ThinkingRock without using any platform at all, but soon realized that we were re-inventing the wheel in many aspects. For example, there was no need for us to implement our own drag-and-drop when that problem had been solved already. We then looked at various platforms, with the main contenders at the time being Eclipse and NetBeans.

We first looked at using Eclipse, but found it lacking. Our main reason for discarding it was their poor implementation of the Standard Widget Toolkit. Basically, it worked great on Windows, but not so great on the Mac. And, support for SWT was either buggy or non-existent on some platforms. (In fairness, the situation is probably a bit better today).

We wanted our application to work on as many platforms as possible, therefore we felt we needed a 100% Java solution. We also evaluated other platforms, but most were just getting started. They either lacked some functionality we really wanted, such as a plug-in architecture. Either that, or they were not mature enough.

The NetBeans Platform is 100% Java, and has the plug-in architecture that we needed, for starters. Also, it's now a mature IDE. I like the fact that it's open source and it's continually improving. Also, the NetBeans community spirit is a real plus.

More about Jeremy Moore.

More about ThinkingRock.

Anton Epple, from Eppleton, in Munich, Germany

I like the NetBeans Platform in general. When I started working with it, I discovered much more functionality to reuse than I would ever have expected. About four years ago I had to write my own rich-client platform with an application launcher, splash screen, update and download managers, preferences, proxy handling and so on. With the NetBeans Platform all that stuff is there for free. And there is so much more like the Window system, the Lookup API, Projects, the FileSystems API, Wizards, you name it. Working with the NetBeans Platform really speeds up development for rich-client platform applications.

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More about Eppleton.

Marek Kliś, from MCD Electronics, in Zywiec, Poland

Thanks to the NetBeans Platform, I was able to concentrate mainly on the application logic, since the NetBeans Platform made the various GUI mechanisms available to me. For example, I found the Visual Library very helpful for my purposes. The Visual Library provides widgets that helps me illustrate the connections between system elements in a very simple way. For this reason, the system configuration has now become very easy and fast.

More about Marek Kliś.

More about MCD Electronics.

Tonny Kohar, from Sketsa, in Surabaya, Indonesia

When the buzzword "RCP" came out, we started evaluating the available RCPs. At that time, we didn't know that the NetBeans Platform was available, because to us there was only NetBeans IDE, so naturally we looked at Eclipse RCP. During the evaluation period, we found that Eclipse RCP was too tightly integrated with SWT. In order to fully utilize or derive benefits from Eclipse RCP, we would have had to use SWT to create a Workspace manager, with menus and dialogs, preferences, options, etc. Although we found that we could choose to not use SWT, we found that doing so meant losing the benefits of RCP. It would only have left us with the OSGi modular framework, since the rest of the RCP features, such as the integrated Workspace or Window manager, requires the use of SWT.

What we needed was the whole application framework, including menus, preferences, workspace system, windows and dialogs system, etc, and it had to be Swing because our application is Swing-based. Luckily, not long after that, NetBeans folks started to publicize more heavily the spinning of NetBeans Platform from the IDE.

More about Tonny Kohar.

More about Sketsa.

Tanja Drüke, from Genomatix, in Munich, Germany

What I like about the NetBeans Platform is that it provides your basic framework so that you can concentrate on the actual core of your application. The wizards make it simple to add menu items, toolbar buttons, windows, option panels, to set up an update center and so forth.

And with "Matisse", the Swing GUI builder, you can visually design your components, which facilitates layout management. Also, the integrated preview is very nice to test the resize behavior on the fly.

The NetBeans Platform has many useful APIs to create wizards (Dialogs API), projects (Project API, Project UI API), custom file types (File System API, Datasystems API, Nodes API), and graphical representations (Visual Library), just to name a few...

So all in all, you don't have to reinvent the wheel for the development of basic application functionality.

More about Genomatix.

Tim Dudgeon & Petr Hamernik, from Instant JChem, in Budapest, Hungary

We use the NetBeans Platform because it is an extensible modular application built on Java. The window management side of things: the way you can put together parts of the application and get all the benefits of the windowing system; the APIs and building wizards with them; these were all very important to us. Eclipse has its own native widgets, UI and visual components, which were difficult to manipulate. NetBeans is Java-based and has a straight-forward framework that was very helpful in creating a Swing-heavy application like Instant JChem.

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Oliver Rettig, from ORAT, in Karlsruhe, Germany

I have developed desktop applications for scientific research for more than ten years. Mostly I've been interested in algorithms. At the start, I tried to create plain Swing-based GUIs, but with less and less success since I was not able to establish a GUI-framework of the kind of quality needed for it to be successfully maintained over time.

That's when I switched to an Ant-based user interface. My algorithms were encapsulated in Ant tasks and with Ant build scripts I controlled the data processing. Via NetBeans IDE, I had access to these scripts.

Some years ago I discovered the existence of the NetBeans Platform. I recalled all the problems and the lack of features involved in my old plain Swing experiments. It didn't take me long to get enthusiastic about the NetBeans Platform. It turned out to have been created to fit my needs exactly.

Currently I am doing my PhD in in the field of medical motion (gait) analysis. I am developing a very large modeling application, called Nimue, based on the NetBeans Platform. I hope to finish this work this year by publishing an open source community version of this software.

More about Nimue.

Fabrizio Giudici, from Tidalwave, in Italy

The added value is that it's Swing. Before the NetBeans experience, I had looked quickly at Eclipse RCP; at the time it was probably the only viable framework for developing desktop applications. But I hated the idea of learning a new set of APIs: Eclipse is based on its own SWT... and throwing away my knowledge, even though limited at the time, of the Swing APIs.

Furthermore, I felt that if you deal with photography you need to provide a pleasant user interface beyond mere effectiveness. Swing had a good foundation in this area, even though developing a new Look-and-Feel was a pain initially. Today Swing provides a huge set of Look-and-Feel choices (Substance, Synthetica, Nimrod, to mention a few) and when Jasper Potts finishes his new Nimbus Look-and-Feel and the related design tools we'll go another leap forward. And with the tremendous evangelizing effort of people such as Romain Guy, people tdday should have no doubt about Swing's ability to realize rich clients. As far as I know, there's nothing of the sort in the SWT world.

More about Fabrizio Giudici.

More about Tidalwave.

Aljoscha Rittner, from Sepix, in Germany

Well, I've used the NetBeans IDE since the end of the '90's and have been, since that time, closely following the open sourcing of the related APIs into its current form as a fully-fledged Swing framework. With the 6.0 release I saw the time had come to migrate my current Swing projects to a new level of technology. The old plain Swing CRM system could function better if it were based on a modern desktop platform.

Many components, which I had already programmed, were no longer modern and were increasingly difficult to maintain. I simply didn't have the time to redo all the basic things all over again. With a framework, such as that offered by the NetBeans Platform, I wanted to save a large portion of my development time and energy.

More about Aljoscha Rittner.

More about Sepix.

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Platform was started in November 2009, is owned by Antonin Nebuzelsky, and has 152 members.
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