Make it possible to open/import ANY web app in NetBeans. If the users cannot even open a project they are done with using NetBeans to develope it.

Surveys from Java One, NB day and JBoss world all consistently show that more then 50% of users do not create projects from scratch but import either sources or sources w/build script (each of these approaches are used about equally often). There are many cases when import of projects is failing: unsupported project structures, broken build script, etc.

The UI for project import is also confusing (input from usability study TODO find and link details). Wizards require too much information and it is hard to know which wizard to pick (existing src, existing ant script).

Import of larger projects (multiple modules, ear with modules) w/existing sources or ant script requires manual steps (setup dependencies) which could be covered by one wizard. Users also cannot setup project with existing ant script that contains multiple modules, which seems to be a common scenario accoring to feedback. (See also IZ 66807). There is not free-form project for J2EE app.

We need to make sure that projects following blueprints conventions are extremely easy to import (goal: "one click"). The same should be goal for some widely used examples (e.g. jboss or jakarta examples).

A few examples of problems:

  • seam samples - impossible to import (config files separate)
  • caucho samples -- have to put project in a different location bcs there is web-inf in it; it would not open a project w/o web.xml even though it runs just fine on caucho (I had to create an empty web.xml externally)


  • Unify project wizards -- do not ask the users if they have a build script, just detect it, maybe unify w/ new project too.
  • Ideally let the user just open the sources w/o asking any questions (very important for examples). Assume everything is default or unknown. For things that are unknown ask for them when needed and then ask about project file location only when some settings need to be saved (or just use the location with sources)
  • Open a nb project w/dependencies correctly when moved to a different location!! (this is a usability bug)
  • Replace the restriction with warnings, some things may not be perfect but it is better then if NetBeans cannot be used at all; but make sure we do not regress in providing guidance for typical cases.

Improve import wizards: provide a wizard that can import multiple modules with one ant script (one project), also a wizard for multiple modules with existing sources (multiple projects, set project dependencies).



Effort estimation

Hard to estimate, we need to analyze as many different projects as possible and decide how each of them can be supported. After that this can be implemented incrementally.










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