Monday, January 29, 2007

Necessity is the mother of all inventions

Who ever said it, couldn't have been more right. I find myself building utilities and applications everytime I don't find the right one :) .. During the past few days, I built a similar utility plugin and I thought I might as well share it with the rest of the world.

A little background... I work on a myriad set of applications and technologies, and this requires me to keep doing a lot of activities on different applications parallely. So off-late I have been working on providing a JSF component that pulls in a user's presence information from a backend RTC server. In this case the backend happens to be Microsoft's Live Communication Server. As you might have guessed, I have a .NET component that is doing all the talking with the LCS instance and this component exposes its features as a set of WebServices which are then consumed by the Java layer and published to the application via a JSF component. No points for anyone guessing that this can be a mess to handle all alone :-p

Everytime I need to perform some quick and dirty work, Netbeans is the IDE of choice. One day I was trying out something on similar lines, I needed to import only a subset of the Java classes into a project. And I knew that the IDE did not present me a feature where I could pick and choose. The only option I had was to copy the files over manually outside the IDE and then delete those that I didn't require. That can be quite painful at times! I dearly wished I had an option where I could look at the files being imported in a tree structure, where I could just (un)select the files I wanted.... So I built myself one of those things :-D ... Here is a screenshot of the module in action..

As a part of my work, I ran into a hard-to-trace, intermittent bug that would cause the .NET layer to crash once in a while. One rather good thing that I did do was use Log4Net's logger within the entire .NET code. So I whipped out my IDE of choice, built the test-bed and began the debugging. Everything was fine and going smooth, except that I had to switch between two applications to keep monitoring the output. That is when I though... "How I wish I had a module that could tail this file and show me the data within the IDE itself!". I took a measure of the expected effort, realized it wasn't much, went ahead and built myself exactly what I wanted. Check it out in action....

Like what you see? Get it here.

Thats all for now, later!
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