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Business

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
Cory Doctorow has just published an essay titled Trademarks over on the O'Reilly Network that the executives at Sun should all read. Why should they read it? Because of the following analogy that Cory makes: Ask a lawyer for a 100 percent assurance of trademark protection and he'll give you plain advice: pay me to send a nasty letter to everyone who utters your name without due care and...
on Aug 15, 2003
Mr. Big Shot at AverageCorp has just given a four sentence vision statement of a new software project. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to understand what in the world he's talking about and make him happy with the resulting software. This blog entry will self destruct in 30 seconds.... This entry is a follow-up to my Fundamental Problem with Extreme Programming, the great comments...
on Aug 13, 2003
Software vendors are in a better position than enterprises to have the full-time user champions that Extreme Programming requires In his post, Fundamental Problem with Extreme Programming, Greg Vaughn argues that getting the level of business person involvement in software projects that XP demands is not realistic in practice. I have to agree with Greg's pessimistic view on how hard it is to...
on Aug 13, 2003
From MS to Apple: Don't hate me because my computer is beautiful. I now own an Apple. Its a nice 17" PowerBook. I still own an XP P IV 2GHz laptop and a few desktop PC's, but the Apple is used for 99% of my work. Why an Apple? Because it is as close to Linux as I can get without having to install it myself. Linux is cool, but I like something I can blame a real company for glitches. Imagine...
on Aug 12, 2003
Microsoft makes money from Windows desktops, not from browsers In response to the the latest installment of my Java vs. .Net series, a number of you responded with a focus on ASP.NET. ASP.NET is Microsoft's way of delivering browser-based DHTML applications. Yes, ASP.NET is an important part of .NET, but I actually do not think that Microsoft is interested in promoting browser-based DHTML...
on Aug 12, 2003
When an ISV tries to sell a new piece of software, they are likely to be asked whether the product is based on "standards". I'd like to explore what qualifies as a standard in a customer's mind. To do this, I'll answer the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of standards as concisely as possible (although, not in that order). While this is obviously an over-simplification, in the future I'll...
on Aug 12, 2003
Matt Stephens gives some strong arguments against Extreme Programming. It's a long article, but worth a read if there's just something about XP that doesn't feel right to you. Now, I think he does go off into rant mode in places (and he's also trying to sell you something), but the article was helpful to me to really put my finger on the fundamental problem with XP. XP requires too much of an...
on Aug 11, 2003
Two articles recently got me thinking about the fact that paradigm shifts can be born out of convenience or necessity. In his post, Another paradigm change is taking place right now..., Michael Nascimento Santos talks about the paradigm shift from Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) to Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP) that he sees unfolding. AOP has very interesting features that may well...
on Aug 8, 2003

Deployment

So, I've done the nice Java thing and deployed my applications as executable jars, with properly formatted manifests, and, um... well, I'm feeling a little underwhelmed. Let's face it, those don't look like applications. Nothing about them stands out in a folder and says hey, double-click me! Oh sure, I could use an application to create an "installer" for my application. That would wrap my...
on Aug 18, 2003

Community

I've seen lots of arguments on the merits of weak typing. It encourages flexiblity. It lets me write code faster. I don't worry about the details until later. I can do cool runtime tricks. I don't buy it. I use a strongly typed language because the code it produces is more robust. Typing solves a slew of common programming errors all at once. It ensures that my code will always do exactly what I...
on Aug 15, 2003

J2SE

Have you noticed that I do a lot of complaining? Today I am wondering why Java has no direct support for alpha levels on windows or non-rectangular shapes. Every windowing system in the world seems to support this. Sun has done a good job moving toward support of multiple monitors, unusable screen real estate, and so forth. Why not this feature that would allow Java apps to be a little more...
on Aug 12, 2003
There's been some interesting activity in the Bunkhouse Porch recently. Douglas Dunn has just released the 2nd volume of his Mastering The Fundamentals of the Java Programming Language ... for free! His first book, Java Rules was rated very highly and apparently this is even better. I said the same thing yesterday about Mac OS X for Java Geeks - this is not your normal Java book. Instead,...
on Aug 8, 2003
I've just reviewed this book for the JavaRanch Bunkhouse and thought that I would share it via my blog... I’ve had a PowerBook for about three months now and I thought that I had Java on Mac OS X figured out. How wrong could I be! First of all, it’s worth pointing out that Mac OS X for Java Geeks by Will Iverson is not your normal Java book. It doesn’t teach you how to use Java, and it doesn’t...
on Aug 7, 2003
Is there anything in the world Sun does not consider a "core" API? Just like everyone else in this Brave New World of broadband Internet and gigabyte hard drives, they figure nobody will mind downloading 14 Meg. Of course, they seem to be doing a fantastic job of compressing the JRE compared to the SDK as a whole (the whole 1.4.2 SDK is 44 MB, but expands to just a little over twice the size...
on Aug 7, 2003

J2EE

I have a webserver. It's a small box sharing a friend's static DSL line with a few other boxes. It does the job pretty well, hosting the websites for my family members. When the blogging revolution hit I wrote some journaling software for myself. It was written in Perl originally, later switching to a servlet with XSLTs. This was great for me but not so great for my sister when she wanted a...
on Aug 11, 2003

Open Source

Logic is the foundation of philosophy. It's also the foundation of Computer Science. I think it's interesting how some in the IT industry try to brand IT as a purely pragmatic field, in that charming American "we don't trust academics" sort of way. But in reality, pragmatics seems to play a minor role in developer's minds. I've seen some pretty wild ideas just looking for a practical use. Many...
on Aug 9, 2003

Web Services and XML

There are lots of articles and weblogs about standards-related issues recently. Simple news/weblog content syndication "standards" are in the midst of a power struggle, ... Web services management vendors may be squaring up for a standards fight ... Reliable SOAP messaging politics are bogged down or stupid, and so on. A few thoughts .. Lots of people get annoyed that it takes a group so long...
on Aug 7, 2003
SAML (the Security Assertion Markup Language) has been stable since May 2002 and has been an OASIS Standard since November. There have been a couple of large and successful interop events showing how to use SAML for single sign-on across domains, the first event in July 2002. Security and access management vendors, not least Sun with the Sun ONE Identity Server, have been falling all over...
on Aug 7, 2003