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Interview: Vaadin's Sami Ekblad on Great NetBeans Tools for Vaadin

12.23.2013
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Sami Ekblad is one of the developers behind the Vaadin framework. Vaadin is based in Turku, Finland, where the framework is developed and also where applications are being built on it. More recently, most of the Vaadin team was in San Francisco to participate in the GWT.create 2013 conference.

Hi Sami, what's the 'sweet spot' for Vaadin, i.e., where is it especially well suited?

Vaadin is a web user interface framework for Java applications.

It is special in that you can build rich HTML5 applications using only server-side Java (or any other JVM languages).

Another key feature is the object-oriented component model that allows you to create reusable add-on components and widgets for the framework. We list open-source add-ons at vaadin.com/directory and there are already over 400 of them available.

Recently the Vaadin team started noticing that the NetBeans Vaadin plugin has been getting quite a bit of traction. Can you comment on that?

We have had basic NetBeans IDE integration for a few years now, but it has not been officially supported until recently.  That came about because we became aware that more and more users were asking for NetBeans IDE support and people at Vaadin had also begun using it as their main IDE. As a result, we rewrote Vaadin NetBeans plugin completely and we now finally have official support for NetBeans.

It is easy to install, via Tools | Plugins in NetBeans IDE:

What does the NetBeans Vaadin plugin provide exactly?

NetBeans IDE supports Maven very well and our integration plugin leverages that. 

For example, you can create new Vaadin application projects, run and debug them, and build new widgets using the SuperDevMode. So, you have all the things the Vaadin Maven plugin provides directly in context menus shortcuts. This really simplifies the development process.

Do you have comments from developers who have used the Vaadin NetBeans plugin?

This version of the plugin is still quite young, but it has got very positive feedback already.

We have been able to react to bug reports quickly and that is important and keeps things going forward. The "SuperDevMode" is useful tool for widget (GWT) development. Now it is much easier to use.

A new release came out very recently, what does it provide?

In the new version, currently available in experimental form on vaadin.com/tooling, some really cool things are coming up. The 1.1 version will add search and installation support for Vaadin add-ons. It even includes code completion for the add-on classes, so you virtually have access to the online Vaadin add-on directory while writing your application.

This is really handy and something we don't have for any other IDE.

What are the future plans for the plugin?

The add-on integration will be the next big thing and there are more ideas on how to make it even more impressive.

After that, we will focus on the visual designer. This will enable us to provide drag-and-drop tools for quickly building web applications. The visual designer is independent from any IDE and it will be possible to have it also as part of NetBeans IDE. 

Thanks for the interview, Sami. Sound like there's great synergy between Vaadin and NetBeans IDE!

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Geertjan Wielenga.