Transcript of NetCAT 6.5 chat #1

Topic: Web Language Editing Support in NetBeans 7.0
Date: Friday, October 24th - 2008
Time: 4:00 p.m. CET (2:00 p.m. UTC)
Duration: 1 hour
Conversation: netcat
Chat Client: NetBeans Developer Collaboration module

Total number of participants: 6
Average post rate: 1 message in 19.36 seconds



3:48:13 mfukala joined the conversation
4:00:34 Cesilko: I think we will wait one more minute and then let's kick this chat off...
4:01:34 ahagopian joined the conversation
4:02:26 Cesilko: Hi Aaron.
4:02:31 ahagopian: hi
4:02:39 Cesilko: Hello everybody, I am Jiri Kovalsky and I am really glad that you decided to join us today at NetCAT 6.5 chat dedicated to Web Language Editing Support.
4:02:56 Cesilko: I am happy to introduce you to Marek Fukala - our NetBeans Developer - expert in web languages editor support. Marek can you tell us one or two sentences about you?
4:04:07 mfukala: as you said I work on web languages support including html, css, jsp and formerly xml. Currently I plan new features for the 7.0 version so trying to gather some user input.
4:04:55 Cesilko: Thanks Marek.
4:04:58 Cesilko: Let me say something about logistics. The length is 1 hour. Communication rules are stated in my chat_rules.java file - I hope you like it.
4:05:08 Cesilko: Can everyone see it?
4:05:31 javajuneau: I see it...
4:05:31 ahagopian: yep
4:05:36 Cesilko: OK, fine.
4:05:45 ahagopian: nothing like programming humor
4:06:07 Cesilko: OK, so what's objective of our chat?
4:06:43 Cesilko: To get your feedback on already existing support of web languages editors so that we know better what to focus on in NetBeans 7.0
4:07:09 Cesilko: In the end we would like to hear what would be nice to have new features. Am I right Marek?
4:07:41 mfukala: Sure
4:08:36 Cesilko: Great, so let's start with finding out who you are in terms of what apps you write, latest projects you worked on etc. Can you please give us some background?
4:09:12 Cesilko: Yes, let's start with Allan.
4:10:11 allanlykkechristensen: I mainly write web-based applications using JSF, backed by EJB3 and JPA.  I work on a whole bunch of projects at the moment. At the moment I'm mostly involved with an electronic case and document management system, and an editorial content management application.
4:10:42 Cesilko: Great intro Allan, thanks. Joshua?
4:11:00 javajuneau: I work web apps for the majority of the time.  Basically I use Enterprise Java (JPA, EJB3, JSF) along with the Jboss Seam framework for most of my web development.  I also use Grails for smaller web apps.  I am actively using Groovy and Jython for scripting and some web apps.  Just starting to use Django for Jython as well...
4:11:14 Cesilko: Thanks Josh. Next is David.
4:11:31 thompsonwd40: I am straight Visual JSF, drag-n-drop etc., and would like to expand my programming options.  I am working on automating the processes for a Human Resources division supporing 900 employees.
4:11:54 ahagopian: I am still using struts 1.x with a lot of JSP.  New projects we have been integrating google's web toolkit for a nice ajaxy feel.  We're also in the midst of integrating jasper reports (which has a nice netbeans plugin now) into our web applications.
4:12:07 Cesilko: Thanks both David and Aaron!
4:13:11 Cesilko: OK, so now let's focus on the current state. Can you share with us what are typical usecases, most used features, % time etc. in the NetBeans 6.5 you need and use right now?
4:15:36 javajuneau: I have been using lots of Grails development tools in 6.5.  I have also used Enterprise Java projects along with creating and modifying "Entities from database" and Entity Beans, interfaces, etc.  I do not use the visual JSF designer because I am using Facelets for my projects (unless I use Grails or another framework).
4:16:28 thompsonwd40: Typical varies at which stage of the project I am in.  Currently, most of my time is spent in database design, translating into UI design to display and update the database.  My biggest challenge is how to simply present options for my users to sort, filter, and display a fairly large amount of data.
4:16:51 ahagopian: For JSPs I use the code completion for tags constantly.  I really rely on netbeans to tell me what are valid attributes for my jsp tags.  Same goes for xml configs like my struts-config.xml, love the code completion. I do not use the drag and drop from the palettes much at all.  Also most my CSS work is tweaked outside of netbeans directly in firefox using the web developer toolbar
4:16:55 mfukala: Ok, do you also work on the presentation layer of the applications? using x/html + css, some visual tools etc?
4:17:47 allanlykkechristensen: I spend a lot of time across all tiers of my application. Since I'm using vanilla JSF, coupled with RichFaces and Facelets, I don't get much out of Visual JSF and therefore end up spending a lot of time in the standard JSF editor.  I usually implement features layer by layer, going from the web-tier to the data-tier. I spend most of this time in the basic Java/JSP/HTML/CSS editors.  I enjoy the code completion provided by all the editors, and unfortunately I think my NetBeans usage is limited to that.   Debugging is solely done through the webbrowser and through the use of Firebugs and YSlow.
4:18:17 thompsonwd40: Except for database design, I would say the majority of my time is in the presentation layer.
4:18:24 javajuneau: I use the CSS editor within netbeans as well as editing XHTML.  No visual tools other than the CSS editor.  All of my work is done within Netbeans unless I am using Django.  Like Allan, I am using Richfaces along with Facelets.
4:18:29 mfukala: One of the features I am considering is to create something like firebug does into netbeans
4:18:59 ahagopian: firebug is great, love the profiling for javascript among things.  That would be helpful
4:19:14 mfukala: did you see dreamwaver?
4:19:17 javajuneau: I agree...Firebug is top of the line right now.
4:19:34 allanlykkechristensen: Marek, I think that would be a great idea - but will it be realistic to get that Firebugs/YSlow feedback during design-time, or would be be during runtime?
4:19:42 javajuneau: I have dreamweaver installed on my machine, but I prefer Netbeans.
4:20:25 Cesilko: Wow, Marek do you hear it? Joshua prefers our editors to DreamWeaver!
4:20:43 ahagopian: I'm not that creative on the web design side so I try to write well formatted xhtml with CSS and let someone else make it look really awesome
4:20:55 mfukala: We already have some firefox plugin for javascript debugger so I am thinking of extending it so it provides the information about the page to netbeans and vice versa. Idea is that you can edit the styles and sources and the changes will be reflected on save in the browser
4:21:10 javajuneau: Dreamweaver is clunky to me...Netbeans is straight forward and gets the job done.
4:21:18 Cesilko: Aaron, does that other person finetune the stylesheer in NetBeans?
4:21:43 ahagopian: no, the other person uses firebug I think
4:22:02 Cesilko: I see, thanks.
4:22:11 ahagopian: He does have netbeans but I think the editing might just be a text editor
4:22:31 allanlykkechristensen: talking about finetuning, it would be nice to have a feature that could compress and uncompress JavaScripts and CSS.
4:22:39 mfukala: What particular features of FB do you use?
4:23:12 javajuneau: Firebug step-by-step debugging is nice.  Setting breakpoints in the code and stepping through, etc.
4:23:27 ahagopian: like I mentioned before we use it to profile the javascript of our apps.  Since GWT ends up with a ton of javascript we use it to find what RPC call is causing bottlenecks etc.
4:23:53 allanlykkechristensen: I use Firebugs for identifying component ids, and determine the styles rendered for each of the components. Also, the console has been very helpful for Ajax debugging.
4:23:58 mfukala: have you tried nb js debugger?
4:24:13 ahagopian: i have not, I noticed that as an option in 6.5 but haven't tried to play with it yet
4:24:50 mfukala: identifying components - do you mean the feature when a red rectangle is shown if you hover over the rendered page?
4:25:01 mfukala: and then you can navigate to the source (html and css)?
4:25:07 javajuneau: I did try netbeans debugger.  The only thing I did not like about it was jumping back and forth between the browser and netbeans.  Firebug is right there within the browser.  Netbeans did work quite nicely though.
4:25:24 allanlykkechristensen: Marek> Exactly
4:25:43 mfukala: hmmm, there are some plans for "embedded browser" in 7.0 though not sure whethere it will be done
4:26:09 mfukala: yep, the page>source and source>page navigation is something I consider to be usefull
4:26:29 mfukala: just for curiosity - have any of you ever tried to use the visual css editor in nb?
4:26:42 javajuneau: Are there any plans to support Facelets directly within Netbeans (without plugin)
4:27:16 mfukala: Sorry I am not sure abut facelets plans :-|
4:27:25 allanlykkechristensen: Marek> Do you mean the dialog where you can configure each style when you place the cursor on the class/selector?
4:27:45 mfukala: there is a lot of web frameworks supports in nb mosty done by other people
4:27:54 mfukala: allan > yes
4:28:10 mfukala: technically it is not a dialog, it is a window docked below the editor
4:28:10 javajuneau: The CSS editor works nicely.  If you mean that when I select a particular div style then it shows up in the preview box then yes.
4:28:53 javajuneau: I only ask about Facelets because it will be integrated with JSF 2.0.  It will be a part of the standard JavaEE distribution.
4:29:22 thompsonwd40: Marek > My CSS skills are novice, but I did like the CSS editor
4:29:39 allanlykkechristensen: I found that there are certain styles that are not supported by the style builder, so normally I just go straight to the source
4:31:20 mfukala: yes, that is true. In general I consider the UI as ugly - it was taken from another sun's product and adjusted slightly. For this release I would like to create similar editor like FB has - a collumn on left side with list of current style rule properties, involved rules (for html) and inherited styles
4:31:57 javajuneau: That sounds like it would be nicely laid out.
4:31:59 mfukala: btw what css editor features you miss most in nb?
4:32:15 allanlykkechristensen: Marek: For example, there is no option for setting the text-transform style through the style builder. I'm not sure which CSS level it follows? Maybe that would be an enhancement. To set the compatibility level and then only show attributes relevant to that level?
4:33:00 mfukala: this a current biggest pain - we just support css 2.1 and not the rest of spec versions nor the browser extensions
4:33:02 javajuneau: Is there a color chooser in the CSS editor?  If so, I haven't found it.
4:33:09 mfukala: if you looked at the plan, it is P1 for 7.0
4:33:14 mfukala: yes, there is
4:33:23 ahagopian: yeah i just found it
4:33:44 mfukala: in the visual editor there is a color property editor
4:33:50 allanlykkechristensen: Marek: I'd love to be able to get a "rendered" view of a style class or selector.   Since a single style class can be modified through a css file, you'd only know the real output in the end of the file. If, I could somehow see how a given style would be rendered, taking the whole file into consideration, then that would be very helpful
4:34:15 mfukala: hmm
4:34:18 javajuneau: I will have to take a look at that feature.  Thanks
4:35:13 mfukala: I want to also reimplement the "css preview" - currently it uses a flying saucer xhtml renderer which cannot be used for rendering of 90% of existing files
4:35:35 mfukala: it works just for xhtml and moreover does fail on any super small problem
4:35:44 ahagopian: on that color chooser, just sure if java has access to the user's screen but with KDE color chooser I can use the eye dropper to get the color from anything on my screen which is useful if your trying to set style colors based on a logo or something like that
4:36:05 mfukala: hmm, we do not have this
4:36:21 javajuneau: Thanks, that is good to know.
4:36:24 mfukala: Even not sure whather java allows this
4:36:34 Cesilko: I am sorry for disturbing your lovely brainstorming about new features guys but this was meant for the very end. Shouldn't we better focus on the current annoyances first?
4:36:35 ahagopian: right that's what i meant to say
4:37:30 Cesilko: I mean the core part - to identify main obstacles, what does not work now and needs to be fixed in 7.0...
4:37:49 mfukala: sorry. So what (in CSS, HTML and JSP) annoys you in 6.5 and what you miss the most? Is that correct question Jirko?
4:38:00 Cesilko: Let's Marek decide though. If he is satisfied with the feedback let's go on ...
4:38:19 Cesilko: Yep. Former first ...
4:38:58 mfukala: I appreciate any feedback, so just ask/write what you consider as important.
4:39:22 javajuneau: As far as current features go, I think everything is working well for XHTML right now.  There are some things I'd like added, but what is there seems to work well.
4:39:23 mfukala: I do not want to upset you by beeing to formal
4:39:44 mfukala: ok, so you would you like to add?
4:39:51 ahagopian: well an annoyance for me right now which might really be a bug is that sometimes I open a JSP and it reports a ton of errors.  THen I add like a space anywhere and it seems to recompile and all the errors go away
4:39:54 javajuneau: Visual editor?
4:39:55 Cesilko: I think nobody feels like that Marek!
4:39:55 allanlykkechristensen: The main annonyance for me is that the tools are not design tools.  Not even sure if that is an annoyance. If I'd like to design something, it is difficult to do just based on code. I feel that there is a need for WYSIWYG, similar to Visual JSF, but something that works on a generic basis, whether you are using RichFaces, plain HTML, or what ever XML based presentation technology.
4:40:23 javajuneau: allan hits it on the nose!
4:40:45 mfukala: ahagopian> did you file a bug ?
4:40:51 Cesilko: And how are you satisfied with performance of XML code completion?
4:40:57 javajuneau: I wish I could visually edit the text on my page (like in a Word document) no matter which format I am using.
4:41:02 mfukala: there has been tons of fixes in this area in 6.5?
4:41:05 ahagopian: not yet since I haven't really been able to explain it but will soon if I can
4:41:09 mfukala: do you use latest 6.5 build?
4:41:17 ahagopian: i'm on RC1 at the moment
4:41:32 allanlykkechristensen: The XML code completion has improved alot during NetCAT 6.5. I'm happy with it.
4:41:34 ahagopian: but that might have been in a daily build I was using
4:41:38 javajuneau: XML code completion seems to work fairly well.  Sometimes it is slow, but that may be because I have too much happening on my machine at the time.
4:41:38 mfukala: visual editor would be great but it is a task for one man for one or two releases.
4:42:06 Cesilko: Thanks Allan & Josh.
4:42:13 mfukala left the conversation
4:42:28 Cesilko: Oh, looks like we lost Marek.
4:42:37 Cesilko: Please hold on guys until he joins us.
4:42:56 allanlykkechristensen: maybe we are being to rough on him
4:43:18 Cesilko: No, he is very strong kind of person. I know him very well.
4:43:48 mfukala joined the conversation
4:43:58 javajuneau: Does Marek deal with any visual database editing support features?
4:44:08 Cesilko: Hi Marek, we have been waiting for you.
4:44:20 Cesilko: I don't think so.
4:44:22 mfukala: Sorry guys by VM crashed - can you pls resend the latest conversation?
4:44:47 Cesilko: Nothing happened Marek. We held our horses...
4:45:01 javajuneau: I hope you are not using Java 6 U 10....that would be a shame if it crashed!
4:45:22 mfukala: 1.5.0_b16
4:45:41 mfukala: on Mac it crashes occasionally
4:45:58 mfukala: can you pls put here the end of the conversation?
4:46:05 javajuneau: I use latest Java update on Mac...works well and looks good.  Sorry to get off topic.
4:46:15 Cesilko: OK, we are going a bit off-topic now and have 14 minutes left.
4:47:04 allanlykkechristensen: Something I really miss when coding JSF/HTML/CSS is refactoring tools.
4:47:06 Cesilko: Marek, I will send you full transcript later. Nothing important was discussed while you were off the chat.
4:47:24 javajuneau: I agree...refactoring would be great.
4:47:28 mfukala: css and html refactoring is planned for 7.0
4:47:34 allanlykkechristensen: Sweet
4:47:38 ahagopian: nice, I hope it makes it
4:47:47 mfukala: including css completion for html's id and class attrs
4:48:00 mfukala: +hyperlinking
4:48:10 javajuneau: Are there plans for including the visual CSS designer for CSS embedded in pages?
4:48:19 mfukala: yes
4:48:35 mfukala: it will be available for html
4:48:48 mfukala: so you can inspect and modify styles for html tags
4:48:50 thompsonwd40: And will everything integrate well with Visual JSF editor?
4:48:56 javajuneau: Nice.  Can we undock that visual window?  That would be  a nice feature.
4:49:07 mfukala: you can undock it, sure
4:49:17 mfukala: visual jsp editor - what is that?
4:49:25 mfukala: sorry, jsf
4:49:41 mfukala: I am affraid this will not be related
4:49:52 allanlykkechristensen: When it comes to JSF, would it be possible to somehow bind the backingbeans to the JSP pages.   I often get lost when I'm working on a page, not being able to locate the backing bean.  I know that a mechanism is required for relating the page and the bean together, but it seems to be doable when using Visual JSF
4:50:00 mfukala: but plans are not finalized yet, I'll talk to the visual jsf editor team
4:50:52 javajuneau: That would be nice if you could CTRL + Click on the JSF EL and be directed to a backing bean.
4:50:56 mfukala: as for the html - idea is that the visual css/html inspector-editor will be enabled for all filetypes embedding html - jsp,php, rhtml etc.
4:51:16 allanlykkechristensen: actually you can do CTRL+Click on JSF EL and go to the backing bean now...
4:51:31 javajuneau: How about GSP...will there be any plans for similar support with CSS visual integration?
4:51:58 mfukala: then if you deploy the page you will be able to select elements in the browser, the IDE will *TRY* to find the original source, point you to it and allow you to modify it by the css inspector
4:52:10 javajuneau: allan, I guess you are right.  I haven't used it but now I can see it.  New features found every day...Netbeans is packed full!
4:52:20 mfukala: I am affraid there are not plans for GSP
4:52:21 allanlykkechristensen:
4:52:55 mfukala: GSP has very poor support, it is like a nigh project of one of the team members
4:53:02 javajuneau: That's too bad.  I think GSP should be included as it is the only means of really displaying dynamic content for Grails.
4:53:23 mfukala: "included" in what terms?
4:53:57 javajuneau: I mean that it should be supported with features just like XHTML
4:53:59 allanlykkechristensen: any plans for editor hints for missing I18N support, lack of accessibility support (WAI), and those kind of things?
4:55:18 mfukala: that should work, the same css/html/javascript features are supposed to work in GSF as in JSP, PHP etc. I ment that the GSP support itself is poor (IMHO).
4:55:30 mfukala: I18N of what?
4:56:09 allanlykkechristensen: content -  say you are doing JSF, and you write <h:outputText value="my text" />Then it could give a warning about not using a message bundle instead.
4:57:42 mfukala: yes, there is an enhancement for I18N of JSPs for a long time. I am not sure whether this has a bigger priority. Currently I didn't think of implementing this for 7.0. Doing just the check is easy, full I18N support would be harder
4:58:38 allanlykkechristensen: it would be nifty if warnings about this could be enabled in the task list.
4:58:43 javajuneau: What is the support for remote CSS files going to do?  I'd be interested in learning more about that.
4:58:50 Cesilko: BTW, have you read the plan [1] guys? [1] http://wiki.netbeans.org/WebLanguagesDevelopmentPlanNB7
4:59:54 ahagopian: i have not
4:59:55 javajuneau: Yes, I am looking at it now.
4:59:56 ahagopian: reading now
5:00:01 mfukala: enabling/disabling particullar error checks is planned for 7. But we need to implement the check as well. Again - do you think this is important if you compare it with other issues?
5:00:19 mfukala: It would be nice if you look at the draft of the plan
5:00:26 Cesilko: Great! Our time is up. In spite of that I think we covered everything that was planned. Am I right Marek?
5:01:01 mfukala: I would appreciate more time if possible...
5:01:24 mfukala: but it is up to guys to decide, I need their feedback
5:01:27 Cesilko: You can of course stay here but I have to go now.
5:01:30 ahagopian: i can stick around but you'll only get about 50% of my attention
5:01:34 javajuneau: I can stick around if needed.
5:01:45 Cesilko: So, it was nice talking to you guys and believe me that we do appreciate your feedback! I for one consider this chat very productive while still very informal.
5:01:51 allanlykkechristensen: I'm not going anywhere
5:02:12 javajuneau: This is a nice collaboration feature...I agree that it is productive.
5:02:17 mfukala: Thanks Jirko and have a nice weekend
5:02:24 allanlykkechristensen: Thanks for organising Jirka
5:02:28 Cesilko: Excellent, thank you very much and have a nice rest of your day. Bye!
5:02:54 javajuneau: Enjoy, take care Jirka
5:03:11 mfukala: So if you have some comments to the plan pls let me know. Sooner is better


$Date: 2009/10/29 16:51:07 $ GMT [Back]

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