NetBeans – An Idiot’s Development Environment (IDE)

Curmudgeon that I am, I have always eschewed fancy, graphical software development tools. A Unix shell and vi was good enough for me twenty years ago, so why would I want all this modern rubbish? For most purposes, I still do work with a Unix Shell (bash) and vi (vim).

Yesterday, I was asked about an offline version of my RainCalc utility. As I appreciate that some people are afflicted by the
Spawn of Redmond, Perl Tk probably wasn’t what was being looked for. Whilst I do have a Windows C/C++ development kit, this would a) entail having to boot into Windows and b) produce something that would not run on Linux.

For quite some time, I have been looking for a practical application around which I could learn Java. Well, here is a perfect reason/excuse. Re-write my RainCalc as a Java application, using the Swing GUI classes.

My only experiences of building applications with GUIs (rather than command line applications and those lurking behind a Web browser) has been with Perl Tk, and not very pleasant. I had read that NetBeans had a really neat GUI builder (formerly called Matisse) so, now that I have a fairly powerful laptop, I downloaded last night NetBeans and innumerable plugins.

I am now about two thirds of the way through writing my Java version of RainCalc, and really am impressed. Whilst IDE is normally taken to mean Integrated Development Environment, it might as well mean Idiots’ Development Environment – the code almost writes itself. Having done it the hard way for so long, I keep finding myself thinking that I am cheating, but then nobody said that programming had to be arduous.

For those who are interested, the Java version of RainCalc will be free to worth, charitable bodies (of which I will be the judge of worthiness), and available for a small sum to others.