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Programming

As I drove to work one particularly foggy morning, I listened to a National Public Radio report about research done on fruit flies. A scientist believes he had isolated the gene that not only affects whether the flies are better adapted to cold or hot weather, but also their mating compatibility. The cold weather flies mate with each other, while the same warm whether flies stick together....
on Dec 8, 2003
I have to admit that I only use a debugger if someone wants to show me a problem he discovered within his debugger. Other than that I never used a debugger since I started to code in Java even thought I used debuggers before in C and C++. But when I started with Java there were no debuggers and so I have to rely on debugging statements and stack traces. When the first useful debuggers became...
on Dec 2, 2003
Most people believe they are a better driver than the rest of the motorists on the road. Of course, that can't possibly true; there has to be at least a handful of below average drivers. And you know who they are. The jerks to your left, right, front, and rear on the highway. Do we as developers feel the same way, that we are a better programmer than the average Joe in our profession? I'll...
on Nov 25, 2003

Community

Check out Dating Design Patterns for a refreshing take on just how powerful and useful patterns can be.
on Dec 5, 2003
A Microsoft wonk asked me an interesting question yesterday: Will IBM and BEA make the Java Community Process obsolete? The impetus for this question was the recent release of three J2EE "specifications" by IBM and BEA, which you can review here. Rather than develop these specifications from scratch within the JCP process, as is done in many cases, IBM and BEA decided to propose three new JSRs (...
on Dec 2, 2003
I have just finished writing up my interview with the well known Java celebrity Richard Monson-Haefel. It was a fun piece to do and I asked him many Java questions including his recent appointment to the JCP Executive Commitee. One of the refreshing things I discovered was that Richard wasn't scared to point out Java's weak areas and wasn't one of the gung-ho bridgade that thought everything...
on Dec 2, 2003
I've spent the past week reaquainting myself with JMeter to do some quick-and-dirty load testing for one of our web-based applications. Since I want to simulate many simultaneous users, I want to parameterize my test script to provide different login values for each user. One way of doing this with JMeter is to add a “User Parameters” element to my “Thread Group” and use the ”_StringFromFile...
on Dec 1, 2003
In Sue Spielman's Practical JSTL article, she writes: The JSTL includes a number of actions that provide a mechanism for interacting with databases. The previous sentence should, at a very minimum, send up a red flag in your architectural visions. One might ask, "Do I really want to be able to perform SQL actions such as queries, updates, and transactions from my JSP? Isn't that business logic...
on Nov 28, 2003
The TechnoTourette blogger writes I don't want to hear about it Mr. dotnet and that got me thinking about how Sun and so many Java folks react to the dreded "Evil Empire" that is MS. Is the incessant chatter about Microsoft and it's products by various Java "celebrities" just a sign of an inferiority complex or is it a manifestation of a completely rational fear?
on Nov 25, 2003

Extreme Programming

The Xp Agile Universe 2004 Call for Contributions reminds me of Xp Universe 2003. During one of the lunches, Microsoft mentioned they had 8K developers for 50M lines of code (LOC) for Windows (6250 lines/man). Brad Jensen, from Sabre's product group, told the table he had 250 developers for 14MLOC (56000 lines/man). Someone else was quick to point out "THATS NOT 10 TIMES!" I also jotted...
on Dec 5, 2003
Bob Martin starts a raucous discussion when he states that Debuggers are wasteful Timesinks. To paraphrase a character from the last Matrix movie... Debuggers are just a tool. It is how the tool is used that is good or bad.
on Nov 30, 2003

Business

Dan Steinberg mentions: Vincent's post about the dependence of Sun tools on NetBeans seems to imply why Sun is not prepared to fold or merge NetBeans into Eclipse. when talking about Vincent Brabant's blog entry about "Project Rave" and my blog entry about NetBeans staying separate from Eclipse. Indeed, Sun's own Rich Green has talked about Sun's concerns of that they not "abandon the...
on Dec 5, 2003
It seems that Sun has chosen to discontinue discussions about coalescing NetBeans with Eclipse. From the perspective of Java developers, does this really make any difference? The competition seems to be helping make both platforms improve faster than they otherwise might. However, from the perspective of trying to grow the Java developer market, especially w.r.t. the Microsoft juggernaut, the...
on Dec 4, 2003
The mornings trawl through my news items I discover this little gem from WIRED, regarding a quote from Dick Brass, VP of the automotive business unit at Microsoft.  They want a Microsoft OS in every car on Earth!  WOW, now that sort of ambition even outstrips the number of desktop PCs.  Looking at Microsofts site we can see they are talking up the use of .net...
on Dec 1, 2003
"Grid computing" - though it was quite an unknown concept till a few years ago, now everyone is talking about it. Some are saying it is everything we were missing, the next big thing. Others, as some java.net bloggers, are simply skeptical and uncertain about its practical use. But the fact is many huge companies, such as Oracle and IBM, are investing a lot of money on that - and that's a good...
on Nov 26, 2003

Web Services and XML

Last night I was plumbing in access to an XML-RPC server from a Java application. I was using the excellent XML-RPC package from Apache for the client. It is a beautifully crafted piece of software, just for the sheer ease of use alone. However, I came a little unstuck when hitting one particular server. I know the default value for XML-RPC is to assume the <string> type, but this...
on Dec 4, 2003

J2SE

Once again (actually it seems like an age since the last one), a new incarnation of the J2SE is nearing release. This time there seems to be a lot of completely new language features (that is not to say that previous releases have been insignificant). Below is a list of major features: Generics Enhanced for loop Autoboxing/unboxing Typesafe enums Static import Metadata As you can see these...
on Dec 3, 2003

Performance

The November issue of the Java Performance Newsletter was published, contents are: We list all the latest Java performance related news and articles "Free profiler number 19 and number 20 are listed in the tools this month" The roundup of performance discussions over the last month "For a posting to collect so many responses that are all tightly focused on the original question, you know...
on Nov 28, 2003

J2EE

Previously, I have promoted JSTL as an easier way to code the web tier. While I haven't changed my mind about it, I have just come accross one of its pitfalls yesterday, a few minutes after writing a blog entry about grid computing. Have you ever been in a situation code that looked impossible to be incorrect actually was incorrect? Well, it happens in many occasions, generally in the most...
on Nov 27, 2003
I’ve been playing around with the various implementations of the security features in Servlet 2.3 compatible web containers. If you’ve ever built secure web applications, you’ll know that there are a handful of fairly useful methods on the HttpServletRequest interface. For example, the getUserPrincipal() method allows you to get access to the authenticated principal, as described by the...
on Nov 27, 2003