Last week i attended a 2 1/2 days NetBeans Plattform Beginners Course in Nordhorn (next to the border to the Netherlands) to get the basics of developing using the NB Plattform API. The trainer was the well-known Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) .
First we tried the java-bindings of the Tinkerforge  devices (like light sensors, distance sensors). First there was an introduction to NetBeans module system, lookups, window system, nodes and property editors. Of course using the annotations to register services… Then we integrated all this into a NetBeans Plattform Application in a hands-on workshop.
It was pretty cool, how fast you can develop stuff with the right toolset in your hand. I have some self-educated knowledge from reading the tutorials and standard books, but practicing it together with others and a trainer was good for deeper understanding and practical usage. Now i understand lookups, explorermanager and instancecontent much better. You could ask Geertjan or the other experienced course attendees every time. Even outside of the course in a bar.
Later we integrated drag&drop and actions into the toolbar/menu. Very impressive for me was the visual library, where you can have nodes and edges connected with each other. Zooming, selecting, moving and more is supported out of the box – with only little of coding. Even satellite views. I read about this in the book “NetBeans Plattform 7”, but now i used the API and saw the results live. This inspired me to try to visualize the Spring Beans from a Spring-XML-configuration. The parsing was already done by the NetBeans Spring Beans library, so i only had to create the scene and add the widgets for the beans. The prototype was done in 3 nightly hours and it worked. Much more can be done with it, for example you could also visualize a domain model defined in a DSL.
Further agenda points were branding, i18n, deployment and the integration of thirdparty widgets like JavaFX2 charts. In the end i even got a certificate.
It was very cool and the organization of the event was well prepared. Thanks to Henning for hotel recommendations, drinks and the good lunches. I will spread the word.
Geertjan also blogged about the workshop