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Vaadin: Develop Pure Java Web Applications in NetBeans IDE

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What I've always found to be most interesting about Wicket is that it is great for Java developers: no XML configuration and no JavaScript for AJAX functionality. However, today, during TheServerSide Symposium in Prague, Czech Republic, things went a step further for me: I discovered a Java web framework without any HTML (or markup) whatsoever.

The framework is called Vaadin, it is from Finland, and (seriously) it is 100% Java.

It is a truly intriguing framework, one that I want to spend more time exploring. However, in a twist of fate as much in favor of the NetBeans APIs as the Vaadin framework, I met someone today with whom I managed to create a plugin for NetBeans IDE support of Vaadin... in the space of an hour.

I met Sami Ekblad, from the Vaadin Team and, thanks to his input and insights, it's now possible to get started very quickly with Vaadin development in NetBeans IDE:

Currently, the Vaadin Framework plugin is the latest plugin in the NetBeans Plugin Portal, here. And the sources are open sourced and publicly available here on Kenai.

After you install the Vaadin plugin in NetBeans IDE 6.8 Beta, you can choose the "Vaadin" checkbox in the Frameworks panel within the New Web Application wizard. Then, when you click Finish, your web.xml is correctly configured, the Vaadin JAR is on the application classpath, and you have a simple Vaadin Application class to get you started with this very interesting framework:

package com.example.vaadin;           

import com.vaadin.Application;
import com.vaadin.ui.Label;
import com.vaadin.ui.Window;

public class MyApplication extends Application {

public void init() {
Window mainWindow = new Window("MyApplication");
Label label = new Label("Hello Vaadin user");


Future plans for NetBeans IDE support for this plugin include:

  • provide code templates (we can then focus on quality of the code)
  • provide samples, focusing on the following things specifically: 
    • layouting 
    • navigation
    • Vaadin's UI components 
  • provide file templates 
  • provide component palette for Java editor, containing UI components 

So, watch this space... and try out the Vaadin framework here. And here, again, is the NetBeans plugin for working with Vaadin:

Farewell all HTML, XML, JSP, whatever. The only thing you need to know anything about is Java, when creating web applications in Vaadin. I will show some examples of this in future blog entries and screencasts.

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


Sami Ekblad replied on Wed, 2009/10/28 - 2:40pm

I think that this was a good example of the power of open source and pair programming (although Geertjan was the one having the keyboard here). Very good results in about two hours. Amazing work Geertjan!

Geertjan Wielenga replied on Thu, 2009/10/29 - 1:40am in response to: Sami Ekblad

Yes! It was a great example of many things. Great to meet you Sami and hope to meet again soon somehow.

James Jamesson replied on Thu, 2009/10/29 - 7:40am

100% Java? It says it is based on GWT on their site. How would that make 100% java?

Geertjan Wielenga replied on Thu, 2009/10/29 - 7:55am

You're right. What I meant is that you only CODE in Java. I.e., no XML configuring, no HTML templating, etc. Unless you want that, which is also possible.

Hantsy Bai replied on Thu, 2009/10/29 - 11:51pm

I think the html template is necessary ,  in the real scenario, I think the defalut template can not satisify everyone.

It seems like the MetaWidgets, NakedObjects. 

The vaadin book(the official book) does not notice this plugin, but introduce the Eclipse plugin in a whole chapter.

 The vaadin Eclipse plugin provides visual editor, how about the NetBeans plugin?

Geertjan Wielenga replied on Fri, 2009/10/30 - 4:09am in response to: Hantsy Bai

The vaadin book(the official book) does not notice this plugin, but introduce the Eclipse plugin in a whole chapter.


Well, the NetBeans plugin was created 2 days ago...

Sami Ekblad replied on Tue, 2010/02/02 - 6:55am

We are working to get the NetBeans integration to the same level as Eclipse, but there is no need to wait for us. Vaadin is simply a single jar file you can drop into your WEB-INF/lib, so basically you'll get working in any IDE.


Mohd Khairi Abd... replied on Fri, 2010/06/18 - 2:24am

Afternoon I'm trying to create a login page complete with the session (username) using vaadin...thus anyone have and experience in doing this. i've tried to search in the internet but unfortunately i cannot find it..

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