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Series: Meet the Dream Team Members

(In January, we announced the 11 charter members of the NetBeans Dream Team, a community-oriented group of highly skilled NetBeans users devoted to promoting NetBeans and working on the NetBeans project. In the coming weeks, we will publish profile articles about each Dream Team member. Discover who they are, why they are passionate about NetBeans and what goals they have for the NetBeans project.)

Vincent Brabant

Congratulations on becoming a member of the Dream Team.

It's a dream that became reality. :-)

Do you have any immediate projects you want to tackle as a Dream Team member?

1. Do a NetBeans presentation in French at Sun Tech Days in Paris.
2. Translate the NetBeans book into French, if possible.
3. Provide more Flash demos.

You've been an active NetBeans community member for over four years, what aspects of NetBeans's evolution have stood out for you?

What I like in NetBeans is the out-of-the-box experience. Once this installation is done, I am instantly productive. It is not necessary to install a lot of other modules to be able to work. And when I want to go further I can install a Pack that works nicely together with the IDE. But If I want to extend it, it's also possible thanks to nbextras. But there are some things that are missing in NetBeans, like the ability to import a EAR or a War or a JAR and transform it into a project, and run it. It's very useful when you want to test some open-source project.

Also, I really have no idea how many people are working for NetBeans, but it seems like it's an army. When you look at the work done last year it's just incredible how productive they have been.

The fact that NetBeans projects are driven by Ant (or by Maven, if you use the mevenide) is also really nice stuff. You have a lot of power in your hands thanks to this approach. For example, if you want to run some code like PMD/CheckStyle each time you compile your project, it's possible. If you want to add CodeCoverage each time you are testing your application, it's possible.

As a result of your localization efforts, have more French-speaking developers switched to NetBeans or expressed more interest in the IDE?

Yes, certainly. I received a lot of mail saying “Thank You” for  translating NetBeans IDE Field Guide draft chapters, and also for French-only tutorials and demos. But I was more happy when I saw people starting to contribute tutorials in French. The only problem was that French-speaking users were not going to fr.netbeans. So, I decided to also go where French-speaking Java developers were: developpez. The traffic there is much larger.

What I would like to see is a history of people that decided to switch to Netbeans after looking at my demos. Someone I met at Javapolis told me he was using Eclipse, but when he saw my demos, he decided to try them and finally he switched to NetBeans.

Why aren't French-speaking developers going to fr.netbeans?

I really don't know. Once, I asked the question on the nbdiscuss_fr mailing list; in general, people prefer to look at the official NetBeans website. But the link to fr.netbeans is too hidden. When people see that a "Choose Page Language" option exists at the top of netbeans they are taken to the French index and not to fr.netbeans

In an old interview, you said NetBeans needed to appeal to non-English developers; do you still feel the same?

Yes, I said that, and I continue to think it's true. The Multilingual releases are really nice stuff. The Brazilian guys did a very good job. And Maxym Mykhalchuk, who translated NetBeans into Russian, did a huge job. He was nearly alone in that translation effort.

What advise can you offer others who want to promote NetBeans in their own language?

1. Start a blog and ask to add it on Planet NetBeans.
2. Write Flash demos. (Start with Wink; you can later move to another demo tool like Macromedia Captivate.)
3. Visit the Translation Project pages.
4. Join a Java user group or site in your language, and be active there as a NetBeans evangelist.

How can the various language communities work closer together?

We are already working closer via the Translation Project pages. Maybe we could also share other resources and translate them, if needed.

How often do you still contribute to the NetBeans site?

Not a lot in fact. Sometimes, I push Wink demos on the NetBeans website. But I  concentrate mainly on the French NetBeans community through developpez, which is NetBeans oriented. There are more advantages to this group: First, the website is very active and the audience is larger than the one I could expect on NetBeans itself. Second, there is a team of French-speaking writers, so I am not alone anymore. I have support for announcements, blogging, technical reviews, and more.  

NetBeans 6.0 will be released by the end of this year. How do you think it’ll be received by developers and the IDE market?

The focus of NetBeans 6.0 is mainly with the editor: tips, code completion, code generator, inline refactoring, enhanced visual editor, refactoring with Jackpot, etc. And thanks to that, the gap between NetBeans's editor and those of other IDEs will be reduced. A lot of people like Matisse, and they switched to NetBeans as a result. But they continue to use another editor to edit their source code. With NetBeans 6.0, I am pretty sure they will use the NetBeans editor, and stop using other editors. And I think a lot of people will join the NetBeans community when NetBeans 6.0 is released.
But I would like to say the following to the NetBeans team: Oh please, oh please, do something for the edition of guarded block code. For example, adding context around the text area instead of seeing an empty text area. And also be sure that code completion will work correctly in the guarded block code.

Something else I see is the fact that a new book about development of NetBeans modules will be published this year. I am pretty sure we will see an explosure of NetBeans modules once the book will be available. We are already seeing more and more modules since the release of NetBeans 5.0. But I expect more modules after the publishing of the book.

Which is the sexier language: French or Java?

French. Because it's not a computer language; it's a human language. And I prefer speaking to people than to computers.

More Dream Team Profiles:

Wade Chandler

Fabrizio Giudici

Joerg Plewe

Edgar Silva