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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.)

Edgar Silva

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I work for Red Hat in Brazil as a Solutions Architect in the Sales Engineers Department. I am responsible for many areas related to JBoss products in Brazil, such as helping customers to use JEE, SOA and Middleware technologies properly.

Additionally, I have been actively helping the Java Community in Brazil (SouJava) since. Before that, I was the founder of the Belém Java User Group (BelJug). Belém is my native city, and located in the Amazon region. Nowadays, BelJug is now known as SouJava Belém.
Can you describe your introduction to NetBeans?
I tried NetBeans 3.x for the first time in when I was a Java training instructor. At that time, teaching Java Web Development with NetBeans was great because even resources to create new TagLibraries was available in the IDE. So it was really easy for students to focus on relevant issues and not spend as much time configuring XMLs and descriptors. Working in NetBeans even helped people who were studying for Sun's Java Web certification.

But I became an official NetBeans user in after working with my friend Cláudio Miranda at Caixa Economica Federal's Project, and after meeting Charlie Hunt and Tim Boudreau; all three are NetBeans evangelists.

What stands out for you in the evolution of NetBeans?
It is really impossible for anyone not to agree on NetBeans's evolution, or what I call the “NetBeans Revolution”. Before the improvements, IntelliJ was the leader when we talked about innovation; now this is changing, and you can see it in the incredible new features available in NetBeans, such as the Matisse GUI builder which is revolutionary when you're talking about GUI design in Java Swing. I can't forget the integrations with the Application Servers, and interesting plugins such as the JBoss Seam NetBeans Plugin.

I am also impressed with the NetBeans Platform. If people read the new Rich Client Programming book by Tim Boudreau, Jaroslav Tulach and Geertjan Wielenga, I'm sure they'll understand the true power of the NetBeans Platform. It is really awesome that it gives you a chance to control your applications and do whatever you want.

How do you work in the NetBeans environment?
 I often create plugins that I call my toys. But I am not the kind of user who knows all the short-cuts and hidden tricks. I've not bothered with that since I did a Jbuilder certification. Why do you need to know ALL of them if you have a good and comfortable mouse?!

What does it mean for you to be a member of the Dream Team, and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?
First of all, to be a "Dreamer" for me is a big pleasure because I get to talk with many other talented people from different areas of life and the world. It's a good way to keep informed about NetBeans and many Java-related technologies. The NetBeans Dream Team, in my opinion, might be the strongest link between the Community and NetBeans's Development team. My hope is that by listening to our ideas and those of the community the NetBeans Team will turn NetBeans into a true community-driven project.

Have you started to communicate with the development team?
Yes, we've talked a lot about platform development and internal issues. One particular thread was about the Diff Module in NetBeans IDE.

Before the Dream Team, how were you involved in the NetBeans Community?
I blogged frequently on my Java blog, created screencasts, and gave many talks in Brazil. In the past, I also evangelized frequently about NetBeans to SouJava, and tried to show how valuable NetBeans was for any development team. I still do all of these things. One of my plans now is to spend some of my free time creating integrations between JBoss projects and NetBeans, mainly JBoss Seam and JBoss Rules.

You maintain two blogs.
Yes, I do. One in Portuguese, in which I talk about various things, from my family to new Classloaders issues; and the second in English at Java that I've already mentioned. It's more serious because I talk about Java technologies and NetBeans.

Is the NetBeans IDE popular  among Brazilian developers?
When we talk about IDEs in Brazil, NetBeans is a real choice. This is a result of the excellent evangelizing done since by people such as Tim Boudreau and Charlie Hunt. They're not Brazilians but these guys almost speak Portuguese well because of their many, many trips all over Brazil, presenting and talking about NetBeans, and carefully teaching from the basic to the deep details. I think they've had a great time in the process: Charlie, for example, was in Belém, and tried Açaí, an amazing fruit from the North, while Tim, in Porto Alegre, enjoyed the very best barbecues from the Southern region of Brazil.

But I can't forget about one other person, who for me is the most important NetBeans evangelist from/in Brazil: Claudio Miranda. He does awesome work promoting NetBeans in Brazil: testing, reporting bugs and working hard at being the NetBeans Guy around here. He not only speaks about NetBeans at important Java events in Brazil, but he also blogs about it in English and in Portuguese. In the past, we promoted the NetBeans Plugins Contest, which motivated many teams to create very creative and valuable plugins for NetBeans users not only in Brazil but all over the world.

You and three members of the Dream Team made an appearance at JavaOne. What was that event like for you?
I enjoyed it. I talked to many people at JavaOne about NetBeans and EJB 3.0, the subject of my Technical Session there, because developing EJB 3 Applications using NetBeans is really easy nowadays. I believe that the community needs to know more about Dream Team, and interviews like these are good. The community needs to know that we are real people and than they can trust in our visions and our work together with NetBeans Development team.

How would you rate the current progress of the Dream Team?
Personally, I've been “hibernating” in the last two months because I've been really busy, but there are some Dream Teamers who NEVER STOP! I read many of their e-mails, and respond to important ones. Overall, I'll echo Bruno Souza who said, “I think we are 'walking'”, which is better than standing still.

Are you working on any projects that involve NetBeans?
I have many projects, but my special one is called Greenbox, which I founded. Greenbox is a code-generator framework based on the principles of MOF – Metamodel Object Facility. I created the project in due to the need to prove to customers that Java could be as productive as environment as Delphi or MS Visual Basic. In, I created the NetBeans Greenbox plugin, which generates Web Applications on top of technologies like JSF, Hibernate and Spring.

The Greenbox System

As part of this work, I presented a BOF at JavaOne with Alexandre Gomes, about how we created this plugin, which used many NetBeans resources, such as MBR, which is the MOF implementation inside the NetBeans platform before NetBeans 6.0. MBR in NetBeans 6.0, as far as I know, is gone or almost gone! So the people from Greenbox might change something to be able to generate codes using NetBeans plugins. They can do that easily using Java standard resources.

I'm very proud of Greenbox even though I am no longer the main developer and there are many other people involved in it. A while ago, I asked another Greenbox developer about how to solve an issue, and he said to me: "But you are the creator! How don't you know anything about it?" My answer was: "Greenbox does not belong to me. There have been so many improvements that I'm like a newbie developer.” This is the magic and one of the best things about open-source. Those who are interested can find more information on the Greenbox website and can reach many developers working on it there.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love martial arts and study their philosophies. I've been training in Jiu-Jitsu since 1990. I am planning a social project involving Jiu-Jitsu and children in Brazil. My plan is to teach two hours of Jiu-Jitsu and the philosophies of martial-arts, such as discipline, respecting others, respecting the limits, respecting the hierarchies and so on. And after the Jiu-Jitsu training, I can help the kids with their school work, such as Math, Portuguese, History and so on. I am saving a bit of money to start it because a Kimono is not as easy as to buy as a soccer ball, and a Tatame—a training room—is not as easy to find as an empty area to play soccer. I hope to start it soon. Furthermore, as I am a Brazilian, I love to play soccer! Unfortunately in São Paulo, my circle of friends don't like to play, but when I return to Belém, I try to play with my friends there.

At a time you considered becoming a Jiu-Jitsu instructor, why did you go into the technical field?
In Brazil, working as a Jiu-Jitsu instructor is really challenging because we have really good professionals here, and to work in the sport, you must be really dedicated and skilled. When I broke my hands and developed problems in my knees, I said to myself: “I don't want to be an 'almost good' professor”, because to be a GOOD instructor or a great one, you must stay in the competition all time. So I decided on an engineering career, not because it was easier, but because I loved it as well. This made my dad happy.

Are there philosophies from your martial arts training that you apply to your work as a developer? Do the two complement each other at all?
Absolutely! They are similar in that in both you must respect others and your own limits. As I mentioned before: you must respect the hierarchies; know that there are winning days, but also know how to manage the days that you lose and try to identify your mistakes.

This is the first time that I'm talking about this passion of my life—martial arts—and how it relates to my professional life. Many of my IT friends are not interested in hearing about it. So, thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Which is harder to master: Jiu-Jitsu or Java?
Well, both are changing and getting better all time, so it's really hard to answer. Personally, I am better at Java than at Jiu-Jitsu, maybe because I spend 10 hours a day on Java, and only two hours on Jiu-Jitsu. But both are really similar because you need to study, create and innovate!
Edgar, thank you for this interview. Good luck with your projects and the Dream Team.

More Dream Team Profiles:

Vincent Brabant

Wade Chandler

Fabrizio Giudici

Joerg Plewe