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Community

Today we kicked off this year's Sun Tech Days developer conferences in Seattle. I plan to write up a more substantial conference report when I get the chance, but wanted to at least share the presentation bits themselves while we're in progress, so that everyone can check them out. I'd love any and all feedback, especially on my three presentations, of course. :-) And if you're in the area,...
on Sep 4, 2003
The Java Community Process (or JCP) is the main responsible for Java being open and "democratic". Everything that is incorporated to the Java platform - from specific APIs to full J2SE versions - is created through Java Specification Requests (or JSRs), and everyone can propose a new JSR or participate in existing ones. The current version of JCP is 2.5, but a new version (2.6) is being forged...
on Sep 2, 2003
Twenty-five hundred years ago Aristotle came up with an explanation for the common observations that rocks fall and smoke rises. His idea was simple and elegant. His formulation was clever, and his arguments were convincing. He was dead wrong. Aristotle's idea was that there were five elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Aether in that order. These four elements formed five spherical...
on Sep 2, 2003
It was interesting at LinuxWorld (back near the start of August) to see how many people from Microsoft were attending. Indeed, at both my session and the one with Sterling Ball, a show of hands revealed a row or more of Microsoft employees (sticking together for mutual protection?). Josh Ledgard was there, and while I must have been speaking a bit fast (I've never worked for MSFT, I was just an...
on Aug 30, 2003
I recently attended a presentation on a study corelating the mode of interactions (face to face, phone, email) between participants with the distance between them. The study used geographic distance and reported that people geographically close to each other would use face to face communication and that they would start using phone and email as people got farther away . This may be correct for...
on Aug 25, 2003

Open Source

So far, so good. First of all, traffic on the Geronimo-dev list has been incredible. Literally hundreds of developers have launched themselves into the Geronimo-dev mailing lists. Each week there are nearly five hundred posts to the dev list. Andy Oliver stirred up some trouble for us by calling up HONOR, an American Indian advocacy group located right here in Minneapolis. I'm currently...
on Sep 4, 2003
Several years ago I was working on a system for modelling and simulating social pressure. The idea was that actions have repercussions and that I could build dynamic ecosystems staffed with characters of differing social power. The pressure system would stimulate social interaction between criminals, the wealthy corporate elite, impoverished citizens and various authorities in a cyberpunk RPG...
on Aug 20, 2003

Business

What do you think about when you write Java? I recently came across this blog entry, Java vs. .Net developers, in which the blogger, Steve Noel says: "Mickeys [developers who use Microsoft technology] in general are very happy with the latest new tools thrown at them from Redmond, and very generalized also look slightly happier. Java developers on the other hand have a slightly more weary...
on Sep 3, 2003
Could Microsoft co-opt Linux? I have read a number of articles and blog entries speculating about whether or not .NET will catch hold on Linux and on what it would mean if it did. Much of the speculation centers around whether Microsoft will put out its own version of .NET for Linux, but there is also a lot of discussion of Mono, Ximian’s version of .NET on Linux, which has been released...
on Sep 2, 2003
"Java is indeed very powerful, flexible and scalable, but it is pretty hard to do simple things with it!" " is far more practical to this job than Java" "We should only use Java to more complex tasks" "There is no point in using Java if your product is going to be small" Have you ever heard any of these sentences before? You probably have. And I have to agree some things are just too hard to do...
on Aug 26, 2003
Java takes a language-specific approach to solving problems, .NET takes a platform-specific one One of the striking differences between Java and .NET is that Java is, fundamentally, a programming language and .NET is not. .NET is a framework that supports many languages. There has been a lot of identification of C# with .NET, but C# does not equal .NET, and you don’t need to use C# in order...
on Aug 22, 2003
Standards, and corresponding monopolies, can occur naturally Believe it or not, there are times when I feel some empathy for Microsoft. After all, I myself was once a small-time monopolist. My first company, Astrogamma, had a product called FENICS that provided foreign exchange (FX) options pricing and risk management functions for traders. FX options are a particular kind of financial...
on Aug 21, 2003
I just got a phone call from a perfectly nice woman who proceeded to ask me about my company’s IT needs. While on the surface this could have been any number of solicitation calls that I get on a regular basis; this one really struck a nerve from the get-go. The gist of her pitch was to tell me how the company she works for reduces the costs of software development for many Fortune 500...
on Aug 19, 2003
Single points of failure can be entire systems. Prevention may lie in "fencing in". For those of you on the West Coast, I can assure you that it was pretty dark here in New York last Thursday evening. A little after 4pm, suddenly all our lights, air-conditioners, phones, etc., in our office shut down. The UPS alarms started ringing, letting us know we were operating on battery power. We...
on Aug 19, 2003

Tools

One irritating thing I used to find in my early years of programming was the amount of time I spent on handcrafting details. Over the years, slowly but steadily, I have learned the art of meta-programming and I would say it is now the best tool in my programming arsenal. So what is meta-programming? It is programming using metadata. And what is metadata? It is data about data. For example,...
on Sep 3, 2003
After a few weeks of working on a project in our offices, a new environment is in the final stages of being set up and we've made the move over to the client site. The work that we've been doing so far has been more like prototyping/proof of concept development. As far as tools go, we've had an almost free reign on what we've been using. Me? I've been using J2SE 1.4, Ant, IntelliJ and some other...
on Sep 2, 2003

Deployment

Once in a while I work in a Java project where I need to run a simple Ant task many times in a short period of time. Like web projects where the JSP files are located in a directory under source control and are deployed in another directory by an Ant task. If I change a JSP file, I need to run Ant again, and it takes an eternity (about 5-6 seconds), due to the overhead of running the JVM,...
on Sep 2, 2003

J2SE

While crusing through the AWT/Swing documentation for another project I ran across a method I never knew existed: Toolkit.setLockingKeyState(int keyCode, boolean on). It's been there since 1.3 (which is what, 3 years old now) but I never noticed it before. Hmm, I thought. What could I use that for. Well, lately I've been doing database apps that sometimes have long access times, so why not create...
on Aug 28, 2003
While working on another project I came up with a silly idea. How could I force windows to remain completely on screen and to snap to the screen edges? A simple form of window snapping. Since you can receive an event every time the window is moved it's easy to create a Component Listener to do it. import java.awt.*;import java.awt.event.*;public class WindowSnapper extends ComponentAdapter {...
on Aug 22, 2003

Performance

The August issue of the Java Performance Newsletter was published, here is the content list All the latest Java performance related news and articles Kirk Pepperdine's roundup of performance discussions over the last month. This month Kirk covers micro-benchmarks, adaptive JVM advantages, McCabe Complexity, the shelf-life of tips, obfuscation, and more. Javva The Hutt rambles through...
on Aug 27, 2003