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Crayons, pencils, and glue sticks

Posted by daniel on August 27, 2003 at 5:06 AM PDT

Today my eldest daughter begins second grade. Last week we received a supply list of what she would need this year: a box of number two pencils, a pink eraser, a glue stick, scissors, and so on.

Take a minute and think of what you will need to do your job in the next nine months. We can both guarantee two things. First, your list will be incomplete. Second, in order to grow as a developer you will need to interact with others and encourage them to add to your list.

Many of my daughter's best friends from first grade are in other classes this year. She will be forced to meet new people and break out of comfortable patterns. She can hang out with her old friends during lunch and recess but she'll also bring along some of her new friends.

As you plan for what you need this next year, books, tools, an understanding of new technology, also add time to the list. This isn't the time you need to complete a project. This is the time you need to hang out with new people and exchange ideas. This is the time you need at "recess" to catch up with old friends you don't see anymore. This is the time you need at lunch to bring your old and new friends together.

In today's featured Weblogs, Michael Nascimento Santos asks Are you using JSTL as you should? Michael counters the arguments in favor of using a scripting language to knock off a small easy task by suggesting you consider JSTL (the JavaServer pages Standard Tag Library). He writes, "Accessing complex bean structures, handling logical expressions, looping through arrays, collections etc., processing XML, executing SQL instructions in transactions and more - all those things are made easy by JSTL."

In the Also Today section, we highlight the Java Web Services and XML communities. Later this year it will host the open source repositories for JAXB, JAX-RPC, and SAAJ. We also link to Jack Shirazi and Kirk Pepperdines' latest developerWorks article on performance: Referencing objects. The duo looks at unintentional object retention and present several examples of objects that are correctly and incorrectly scoped. The address the issue of explicitly nulling variables to make sure they are available to the garbage collector. If a variable is properly scoped, there is no benefit in doing so. If a variable is not properly scoped then you can improve performance. However, they conclude,

it is worth emphasizing that the best practice is to correctly
scope variables, and to not explicitly null them. Although
explicitly nulling variables should normally have no effect,
there are also pathological examples where it could have a
significant negative effect on performance. For example,
iteratively or recursively nulling elements of a collection where
the collection object would otherwise be eligible for garbage
collection actually adds overhead to a program rather than
helping the garbage collector.

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