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That trick never works

Posted by daniel on October 27, 2003 at 7:49 AM PST

Hey Rocky, I know a great way to teach this difficult concept - watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

What do students take away from games and stunts? If you aren't careful, they remember the rabbit trick and not the concept being demonstrated. Advertisers cringe when the public remembers a tag line from a carefully crafted commercial and can't identify the product being sold.

In Projects and Communities , the java.net Education and Research community features Bill Wake's first entry Greetings, and NASAGA. Bill reports back from the North American Simulation and Games Association on this year's conference that features games and simulations that do teach a concept in an effective way. Bill writes "The attendees are a mix of teachers, game designers, instructional designers, and others. Not everyone teaches, but there's a lot of interest in creating experiential learning opportunities."

Bill reports on using pre-defined learning structures to shorten the learning curve for new activities in what are called "framegames". He learned techniques from improv comedy of saying "Yes, and" to "validate the situation someone is offering, and then build upon it." This technique applies equally well to teaching and to the actual process of software development.

Today the Java Patterns community points to an article on Advanced DAO programming in which Sean "Sullivan discusses three often overlooked aspects of DAO programming: transaction demarcation, exception handling, and logging."


In today's featured Weblogs , David Walend is Reviewing the Java Community Process v 2.6. His complaint is less with what JSR 215 brings than in the process that is currently in place. David notes that you often don't get to see a JSR for final comments until it's too late. He writes

My experience with commenting on JSRs lines up with that of many other people. We squeezed a review of a public draft into the thirty day window, wrote up and sent in our comments, then... nothing. We received no feedback, and saw no changes in final draft. Reviewing a JSR is a significant investment. Reading a specification may take several days of concentrated effort. Writing up useful comments takes several hours, especially if those comments include cross references and code examples.

In other weblog entries, James Todd updates his post on the upcoming JXTA TownHall agenda . Also, N. Alex Rupp has an extended look back at what he's done to redefine himself since The Death of a Titan . He recalls that

I quit my studies of computer science and begun studying literature and literary theory in school. You think Josh Bloch knows about languages? Try reading Jacques Derrida sometime. You want to learn about architecting or codifying a concept in an information system? Deconstructive analysis can teach you more about systems architecture than the Java Language Specification, or any book on java certification can. Ever seen that "code poet" shirt? There's more truth in that phrase than in most books on programming.


In Also in Java Today there is an XML flavor to today's articles. Check out Mark Pilgrim's article on The Atom API where he discusses this "up-and-coming format for editing, syndicating, and archiving weblogs and other episodic web sites." Atom is proposed as the next in a series of blogging APIs that has included LiveJournal, Blogger, and MetaWeblog. Pilgrim writes

The Atom API was designed because the MetaWeblog API proved that RPC-based APIs were simply the wrong solution for this problem. The Blogger API was about as complicated as you could reasonably get before things went completely off the rails. "Shove everything into a struct" was an idea that sounded like it might solve some problems; but, as you can see, it caused more problems than it solved.

We also link to the devX article XML Made Easy with XMLBeans. When I saw this demonstrated in March at the BEA developer conference it was a compelling solution for data binding. Now that the technology has been opensourced you can follow along with Laurence Moroney's article that shows you how to create and read XML Beans generated from a schema.


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