NetBeans File Template Module Tutorial

This tutorial demonstrates how to create a module containing file templates. Once you have installed the module in the IDE, the file templates are available in the New File wizard. Sharing file templates is easy once you have a module that contains them—the IDE lets you create a binary that you can make available to others, who can then install it through the Update Center.

A file template consists of a template file, an HTML description file, and an icon. The HTML description file displays information about the template in the New File wizard. The icon identifies the template and distinguishes it from other templates in the New File wizard. In this tutorial, you create a new file template by copying the content of an existing file template into an empty file. Then, once you have set up a description file for the New File wizard and a distinguishing icon, you register the template, the HTML description file, and the icon in the NetBeans configuration file, the layer.xml file.

Note: If you use the New File Type wizard, a file template is automatically created for you. The manual steps described in this tutorial are not necessary when the New File Type wizard is used. The New File Type wizard also lets you select an icon and it creates an HTML description file. The New File Type wizard automatically registers the file template, the HTML description file, and the icon in the layer.xml file. Therefore, if the file template that you want to create relates to a new file type, it is better to use the New File Type wizard. For details, see NetBeans DataLoader Module Tutorial.

Contents

Content on this page applies to NetBeans IDE 6.0

For more information on working with NetBeans modules, see the NetBeans Development Project home on the NetBeans website. If you have questions, visit the NetBeans Developer FAQ or use the feedback link at the top of this page.


Installing the Software

Before you begin, you need to install the following software on your computer:


Creating the Module Project

We begin by going through the New Module Project wizard, which will create a source structure, with all the minimum requirements, for our new module.

  1. Choose File > New Project (Ctrl-Shift-N). Under Categories, select NetBeans Plug-in Modules. Under projects, select Module Project and click Next.
  2. In the Name and Location panel, type AdditionalFileTemplates in Project Name. Change the Project Location to any directory on your computer. Leave the Standalone Module radiobutton and the Set as Main Project checkbox selected. Click Next.

  3. In the Basic Module Configuration panel, replace yourorghere in Code Name Base with myorg, so that the whole code name base is org.myorg.additionalfiletemplates. Add spaces to the default Module Display Name, so that it is changed to Additional File Templates. Leave the location of the localizing bundle and XML layer, so that they will be stored in a package with the name org/myorg/additionalfiletemplates. Click Finish.

The IDE creates the Additional File Templates project. The project contains all of your sources and project metadata, such as the project's Ant build script. The project opens in the IDE. You can view its logical structure in the Projects window (Ctrl-1) and its file structure in the Files window (Ctrl-2). For example, the Projects window should now look as follows:

Initial Projects window.

For basic information on each of the files above, see the Introduction to NetBeans Module Development.


Creating the File Template

A file template consists of a template file, an HTML description file, and an icon. An easy way to create a new file template is to copy the content of an existing file template into an empty file. Then, once you have set up a description file for the New File wizard and a distinguishing icon, you are ready to register the template in the layer.xml file.

Creating the Template File

  1. Right-click the Additional File Templates node and choose New > File/Folder. In the New File wizard, under Categories, choose Other and under File Types, choose HTML. Click Next.

  2. Type HTML in File Name. Click Browse and browse to src/org/myorg/additionalfiletemplates. Click Select Folder. Click Finish.

    A new HTML file, called HTML.html, opens in the Source Editor, containing the standard HTML file's content shown below:

    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
    
    <html>
      <head>
        <title></title>
      </head>
      <body>
      
      </body>
    </html>

  3. Change the HTML file according to your needs.

Creating the Description File

  1. Right-click the org.myorg.additionalfiletemplates node and choose New > File/Folder. Under Categories, choose Other. Under File Types, choose HTML File. Click Next. Type HTML in File Name. Click Browse and browse to src/org/myorg/additionalfiletemplates. Click Select Folder. Click Finish.

    An empty HTML file opens in the Source Editor and its node appears in the Projects window.

  2. Type "Creates new HTML file" (without the quotation marks) between the <body> tags, so that the file looks as follows:
    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
    <html>
       <head>
          <title></title>
       </head>
       <body>
          Creates new HTML file.
       </body>
    </html>

Getting an Icon

The icon accompanies the file template in the New File wizard. It identifies it and distinguishes it from other file templates. The icon must have a dimension of 16x16 pixels.

Name the icon icon.png and add it to the org.myorg.additionalfiletemplates package.

The Projects window should now look as follows:

Final Projects window.


Registering the File Template

Once you have created the file template, you must register it in the NetBeans System Filesystem. The layer.xml file is made for this purpose.

  1. Add the following entry between the <filesystem> tags in the layer.xml file:
    <folder name="Templates">
            
            <folder name="Other">
                
                <attr name="SystemFileSystem.localizingBundle" stringvalue="org.myorg.additionalfiletemplates.Bundle"/>
                <file name="MyHTML.html" url="HTML.html">
                    <attr name="template" boolvalue="true"/>
                    <attr name="SystemFileSystem.localizingBundle" stringvalue="org.myorg.additionalfiletemplates.Bundle"/>
                    <attr name="SystemFileSystem.icon" urlvalue="nbresloc:/org/myorg/additionalfiletemplates/icon.png"/>
                    <attr name="templateWizardURL" urlvalue="nbresloc:/org/myorg/additionalfiletemplates/Description.html"/>
                </file>
                
            </folder>
            
    </folder>

  2. Add the display name to the Bundle.properties file:

    Templates/Other/MyHTML.html=My HTML File

Building and Installing the Module

The IDE uses an Ant build script to build and install your module. The build script is created for you when you create the module project.

Installing the NetBeans Module

In the Projects window, right-click the Additional File Templates project and choose Install/Reload in Target Platform.

The module is built and installed in the target IDE or Platform. The target IDE or Platform opens so that you can try out your new module. The default target IDE or Platform is the installation used by the current instance of the development IDE. Note that when you run your module, you will be using a temporary test user directory, not the development IDE's user directory.

Using the NetBeans Module

  1. Choose File > New Project (Ctrl-Shift-N) and create a new project.

  2. Right-click the project and choose New > File/Folder. The New File wizard opens and displays the new category with its new file type. It should look something like this, although your icon will probably be different:

    New File wizard.

  3. Select the new file type, click Next, and create a new file. When you click Finish, the Source Editor should display the newly created template.

Creating a Shareable Module Binary

  1. In the Projects window, right-click the Additional File Templates project and choose Create NBM.

    The NBM file is created and you can view it in the Files window (Ctrl-2):

    Shareable NBM.

  2. Make it available to others via, for example, e-mail.

Send Us Your Feedback

Next Steps

For more information about creating and developing NetBeans Module, see the following resources:


Versioning

Version
Date
Changes
1 26 June 2005 Initial version
2 28 June 2005
  • Added bold tags to descriptor file to show that Description box displays HTML tags
  • Ordering attributes added
  • Display names moved to Bundle.properties
  • Screenshot in "Using the NetBeans Plug-in" changed
  • Added ".template" as extension to the "BrandedJavaClass" file, because the layer.xml looks for a file called "BrandedJavaClass.template". Also changed the screenshot of the Projects window at the end of the "Creating the File Template" section to reflect the ".template" extension.
3 2 October 2005
  • Went through the whole tutorial with the latest build. Made several changes, mainly because the Templates replaces the Options window for templates.
  • Added new 2nd and 3rd paragraphs to the introduction, to explain that this tutorial isn't necessary if you're creating a new file type.
4 3 October 2005
  • Changed templateWizard[Iterator|URL] in layer.xml to instantiating[Iterator|WizardURL] because templateWizard[Iterator|URL] is going to be deprecated.
5 16 March 2006
  • Went through whole tutorial and tweaked line spacing a little bit, everything works fine still.
  • Need to replace screenshots because icons are a bit different.
  • Need to add icon to the doc, not just refer to the location.
  • Need to show how multiple file templates can be created simultaneously from the New File wizard.
6 12 September 2006
  • Went through whole tutorial in NetBeans IDE 5.5 Beta 2.
  • No problems, worked exactly as described.
  • Updated some screenshots.
  • Fixed indentations in code.
7 9 June 2007 Started updating to NetBeans 6.
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