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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.)

Wade Chandler

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I've been a software engineer since. Currently, I work for Decision Dynamics, Inc., a Lexington, South Carolina-based software company, but I work remotely from Knoxville, Tennessee.

I was previously employed by Red-e Set Grow, of Winston Salem, North Carolina, where I developed multiple Java and C++ applications. One of my tasks there was to develop a custom Java API to tie into the Palm synchronization process and APIs. This was different than the Palm Java Sync libraries because it allowed developers to use any JRE they wanted on the desktop, and it used SuperWaba on Palm handhelds. The API worked directly with Palm databases and allowed the sharing of data objects on the desktop, back-end server, and hand held.

How are you involved with the NetBeans Community?
I use NetBeans daily, and participate actively in the NetBeans community. I am a member of the form, beans, and core modules. I contribute by answering questions on the NetBeans nbusers mailing list, , and other mailing lists and in the #netbeans channel

When was your introduction to NetBeans?
I started using NetBeans when it was Forte for Java 1.0. I think at that time everyone was trying to get a feel for Java IDEs. There were different offerings out there, but none of them were really just awesome, and Forte was free. I used it on and off for years depending on the project, and around 3.5, I made it my IDE of choice, and got involved on the mailing lists answering questions. Around 4.0 or 4.1, I started really digging into the source code and contributing more.

What stands out for you in the evolution of NetBeans?
I believe one of the best evolutions was adding Module/Plug-in development support and project types to the IDE. From an overall perspective, the constant growth of the support for different technologies has been something which has kept my attention. NetBeans keeps evolving and incrementally getting better while supporting the core Java technologies. Now of course, in 6.0 it will support other languages, but I use it mostly for its Java support. Though I believe NetBeans's support of technologies outside of Java fits the project's natural tendency to keep supporting new features and technologies. One thing I find really interesting is the new languages and technologies supported, at least many of them, can be blended with Java. JRuby and PHP are two examples of such things.

What does it mean for you to be a member of the Dream Team, and what do you hope to accomplish as a member?
For me, being a Dream Team member is yet another avenue for me to participate in the project. It gives me a closer relationship with the project engineers, support, and general Sun Microsystems staff. As I have actively contributed to the project for some time, this seemed like the next progressive step for me. I was happy when I was contacted about it.

I would like to accomplish a number of things, such as, working to publicize NetBeans in magazines, web sites, and competitions (maybe module competitions); getting more third party developers to contribute to NetBeans. Collectively, I'd like the Dream Team to be involved in projects such as taking stock of 6.0—what needs to be improved or worked out before adding new feature sets. There is a saying that one can be a Jack of all trades and a master of none. I think NetBeans is good at a lot of things, but some things could be better.

One thing I have noted recently on the nbusers mailing list: discussions of performance and memory issues. I think it would be beneficial for NetBeans to put together a team much like Visual Web project's “Performance Tiger Team” to look into these. Some of the performance issues make NetBeans appear slow, and in some cases, it is. But in some cases, speed is not the issue, but that the order of operations makes it appear slow. Error correction in the editor is an example.

The file is parsed and then error annotations are removed if they are fixed. In the instance of code editor hints and fixes, the error annotation could be removed as soon as the editor hint action adds the logic to the file before another parse of the file ever occurs. The fixed issue is then removed from the error list. Actually, it's not necessary for another parse of the file to occur since the user cannot do two things at once. Therefore, no other sources in the file should be changed, and the hint fixes should not produce more errors, thus saving memory and CPU cycles. And the user doesn't experience delay parsing the entire document for errors. I created an issuezilla report for this based on input from nbusers.

This is just one issue. The point is that I'd like to see a team, even possibly some Dream Team members, work with the community at large to figure out where the issues are, analyze them, create Issuezilla reports, and provide updates.

How would you rate the progress of the Dream Team?
We have many good ideas, but we could do more.  One year is not enough time to get a program such as this completely running at full speed, and we have limited time because of other required activities, mainly our jobs. Still, I think we will get there if we can keep our passion and momentum.

I don't mean to suggest that we haven't done anything useful. Some of us have been writing articles and tutorials about NetBeans. Others have been contributing to projects, such as translations and IDE and Platform development. Others have been involved with NetBeans Software Days. Most of us are involved with the mailing lists. We have come up with a few governing rules, and just elected our newest member, Tom Wheeler, whom many may know from the mailing lists and his recent interview on the NetBeans site.

As we grow we will be able to do more than just evangelize; we will be able to tackle different community issues. We are community members first, so we should be poised to talk directly with other community members and new users and come up with information to make the project better, make the processes more transparent, and help developers.

People have described you as a highly active NetBeans advocate, even prior to the Dream Team. Why have you been so passionate about NetBeans?
Short answer: I just like it. If I had to explain, there are a few key reasons: I use it every day for my job, it is an IDE that I can write software with, it uses Swing, it is open-sourced, and many of the NetBeans developers that I wrote to when I started contributing to the project were really nice and willing to help me learn their code.

I think its association with Sun plays a role as well. Sun has had a tremendous impact on my life, and I'll explain why.

I have been into software, computers, and electronics for as long as I can remember. I had a monochrome Apple IIe (if I remember the model correctly) when I was a young boy. A bank had given it to my dad for free when he opened a commercial bank account for his business. I started writing software with BASIC and simple languages on that computer. (I took a short BASIC class in middle school.) My parents divorced when I was 10 and I lived with my mom.  When I was a bit older I bought my own computer and my father let me get a screen name on his AOL account. I soon became hooked on the Internet. As I grew, I discovered Sun tools, tutorials and projects online. In college, I was able to study with Java tools because they were free, which was very important since I put myself through college and had little money. In a way, I am a developer today because of Sun.

Will you be attending any upcoming NetBeans events, such as a NetBeans Day in the U.S.?
I have been thinking about going to NetBeans Day in Atlanta. Boston is too far for me to travel at the moment because of time and funds. I would like to see a NetBeans Day Nashville someday. :-)

What are your thoughts on NetBeans's possible adoption of dual licensing?
I think as long as we still have the CDDL then I'm happy. I don't want to use the GPL for anything I base on NetBeans. I don't really care for things that claim to be about freedom when in many ways they are not. This is my opinion.

Some of the reaction from the GPL-or-nothing crowd to me is contradictory—you're telling a person that he/she is not open-minded about an issue, yet you are close-minded yourself because you want to impose your opinions on others. It is sort of a GNU.

As long as dual licensing doesn't have any real impact on me I don't care. If this is just to get NetBeans in Linux distributions...  I don't really like having every package in the world in my Linux distributions. You get things like GCJ linked as Java and a GCJ-compiled Tomcat and have to remove them and put your own on the system anyways. I figure the same thing will be happening with NetBeans. I will probably get an older version and end up using the dailys or the latest release.

What projects are you working on individually?
The main project I'm currently working on is the implementation of Exchange Network for the state of South Carolina. It's a site for exchanging data with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other information trading partners. I used NetBeans to develop the software. It is a set of web services developed with Apache AXIS and other free libraries. The back-end database and application server are Oracle 9i and 10g.

I would also like to get a project started: having a "good" open source mobile JVM for Palm and Windows Mobile that can support either the full JRE (memory and CPU speed has greatly increased on these devices) or to support the full CDC profile. In the higher end hand-held sector, we need a good runtime similar to what we have on desktop. This is seriously lacking because the commercial products are too expensive to be able to distribute with our applications. This is why my previous employer, Red-e Set Glow used SuperWaba.

In NetBeans, I am helping to add refactoring support to the form project. I am also helping with adding the beans module back to NetBeans 6.0+. It was removed but it is integral to JavaBeans development.

You are an admitted computer-centric person, even in your spare time.
Yes, I'm definitely a computer-centric person. I'm even working on a couple of personal applications to use in my spare time. To me, anything involving the computer is fun.

Does this mean you deal with NetBeans even in your spare time?
Yes. I am working on an IRC module for NetBeans which isn't finished yet. I answer emails on the mailing lists if the questions are not too long, in the hopes that when I need help someday it will be there for me as well.

What other activities engage you?
Away from the computer, I enjoy going down to a bar every now and then with friends or my brothers to take a break. I like the mountains. I live near the Great Smokey Mountain National Forest, so there's plenty to do there. I like to go fishing or to the beach with my family and friends. Pretty much doing anything outdoors when I have the time is enjoyable.

Is it fair to call you a NetBeans addict?
I think I am beyond being an addict. I'm a full fledged junky. I'm on NetBeans Crack. Hopefully, employers won't be testing for that.

More Dream Team Profiles:

Vincent Brabant

Fabrizio Giudici

Joerg Plewe

Edgar Silva