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Web Crawling

Posted by daniel on October 11, 2004 at 7:29 AM PDT

A low bandwidth weekend

I spent the weekend in a hotel where the connection to the web was
telephone dial-up. This is a good exercise for many reasons. First,
this is how many people experience the web and it's good for me to
take a look at our site through their eyes. Second, it reminded me of
how much I take for granted when I use broadband to connect. See a
project that looks interesting, go ahead and download it. When the
download time is less than a minute or so, that's an easy decision to
make. When it might be hours, that's another matter. I remember the
early days of ftp'ing the TeX files off of the archive sites hoping
that the connection would hold long enough form me to get the big
files. I could (and did) go back and get the smaller ones in separate
sessions.

More than a nostalgia session, it is important to test your
applications using the various technologies that your targeted
end-users will use. Some use Java aphorism of "write once, test
everywhere" to claim that the WORA promise was never
fulfilled. Testing everywhere can help you identify user problems that
you may not notice on your development machine.

Brett Simmons writes about trying to replicate a user problem in
The opposite of Murphy's
Law
. He writes "In software development, what's worse than
Murphy's Law is its opposite: that whatever can go wrong, will not go
wrong. Today I'm working on an intermittent crash a few people have
reported when marking all as read in a group. I have been completely
unable to reproduce it, even using the subscription list of one of the
people who reported the crash. In other words, the thing that should
go wrong - the crash - just positively refuses to go wrong."


In today's Weblogs
Tom Ball sees parallels between circus trapeze artists and software
developers in href="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/tball/archive/2004/10/the_problem_wit_1.html">
The Problem with Unit Testing he writes, "As a development
engineer, all I want from unit testing is a safety net, not a huge,
QA-approved test monster (for awhile, JavaSoft only had the JCK to do
automated testing, which required a very large disk partition and took
hours to run). So over the years, I've built several safety nets,
keeping them hidden and avoiding names with words like "test",
"quality", "verification", etc. The problem with a single tool as a
safety net is that like all software it grows over time and becomes
its own maintenance headache (to my horror, management learned of one
of my test tools and shipped it!)."

Calvin Austin href="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/calvinaustin/archive/2004/10/j2se_50_the_tig.html">
thanks the Tiger umbrella expert group and also solicits you to
submit any bugs you may come across. Stuart Simms considers why kids
are hooked on games and not Calculus in href="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/simstu/archive/2004/10/gaming_in_anoth.html">
Gaming in another world .


More Mustang suggestions in today's

Forums
. BJB writes that href="http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=1119&tstart=0#1119">
IP Sockets "is really a missing technology. href="http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/net/socketOpt.html">http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/net/socketOpt.html
[..] It is not a security nightmare. Permission for using RAW
socket will be not granted by default by the VM policy. You
have to update the policy file to get it. Once updated, you
will still rely on the OS policy to get this working. For
instance on XP, you have to be Administrator to get access to
the RAW socket API, AFAIK."

Armhold writes that " href="http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=1111&tstart=0#1111">
The single thread model for Swing really places a burden on
developers, and even when we manage to figure out how to make it
work we end up with some very messy code. You can't block the event
dispatch thread, so you fork a new thread to deal with a slow
task... but then your slow task needs to update the UI occasionally,
so you have to deal with SwingUtilities.invokeLater(), or in some
cases invokeAndWait."

Luggypm writes "Here's href="http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=1077&tstart=0#1077">
what I'd like to see in Mustang: 1. MUCH finer grained security
permissions in WebStart. [..] 2. Bring JDOM into the core API.3. A
copy method on the file object."


In
Also in Java Today
, in his article on href="http://developers.sun.com/techtopics/mobility/midp/ttips/alerts20/index.html">Alerts
in MIDP 2.0, Eric Giguere describes the recent additions to
the alert mechanism. He explains "During a lengthy operation, it's
good to report the operation's progress. Reassurance that the
application hasn't stopped reduces the user's uncertainty and
impatience. You can add a gauge component to any alert, which will
act as an activity or progress indicator [..] Alerts now also
support user-defined commands. In MIDP 1.0, a single implicit
command was used to dismiss an alert. In MIDP 2.0, you can
explicitly add commands to the alert, as you do to other
screens."

You don't have to jump to 5.0 to start working with annotations.
In fact, it might not be a good idea, since "application server
vendors don't always fully support dot-zero releases right away; IDE,
profiler, and other tool support can lag; many new bugs have to be
fixed; and businesses are leery of building on anything so new." In

Bridging the Gap: J2SE 5.0 Annotations
, Kyle Downey shows how to
use metadata/metaprogramming both in J2SE 5.0 and in several
frameworks that are compatible with earlier versions of Java, such as
XDoclet, JBoss annotations, and his own P.Anno.


In Projects and
Communities
, The href="http://community.java.net/mac">Mac Java Community has a
tip about converting old, OSX-incapable Macs to Linux boxes,
allowing them to run Java 2 by way of href="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/java/jdk/linux140/">IBM's
Java developer kits for Linux.

Daniel Brookshier reports on the new href="http://community.java.net/edu-jelc/"> JELC projects
including href="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/turbogeek/archive/2004/10/new_projects_in_3.html">the
girls' Java Cafe, "a female-only community for high school
students learning Java."


In today's java.net
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Current and upcoming
Java Events
:

  • October 15-17, 2004 href="http://www.nofluffjuststuff.com/2004-10-atlanta/">Atlanta Java
    Software Symposium
  • October 19-22, 2004 href="http://www.educause.edu/conference/annual/2004/"> Educause
    2004
  • October 19, 2004 href="http://www.jxta.org/servlets/ReadMsg?msgId=109045&listName=discuss">
    JXTA Developer Kitchen

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A low bandwidth weekend