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Business

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
A few weeks ago, Tesla, the company I work for, sent all its employees to a non-techie workshop. One of the videos that was presented there contained the following sentence: "When paradigms change, everyone gets back to zero". That sentence got stuck into my mind because it reminded me of the OOP-to-AOP transition we are experiencing right now. The first article I read about AOP and Java was...
on Aug 6, 2003
What is Microsoft trying to do? Microsoft is the uncontested champion of the desktop. In the business world, they own essentially the entire client-side market. This is a huge advantage for them. But it is also a limitation. In order to fuel its growth, Microsoft must find new, less-tapped-out markets to go after. The server room is one such market. Microsoft is already strong there, but...
on Aug 6, 2003
If you could change EJBs, what would you do? If you had full power to add features or redesign the old ones, what would be different today? Well, in fact, you have the power to do it, but you need to be fast! JSR-220 is in its early stages and during JavaOne Linda DeMichiel, the spec lead, made it clear she wants to get input from the community. I attended her session about EJB 2.1 just because I...
on Aug 5, 2003
There is a natural evolution of platform technologies from document publishing to forms processing to application delivery. The Web is the leading example of this, but Adobe Acrobat PDF and Microsoft InfoPath are on their way. The W3C has finally published its specification for XForms 1.0, after much delay and without the participation of Microsoft (not surprisingly). XForms is intended to...
on Aug 5, 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
Well ... it looks like our work on Professional JSP, 3rd Edition (previously titled Professional JSP 2.0, and now to be published by Apress) is almost at an end. It's currently slated for a September release and Amazon is now listing it, albeit with an incorrect authors list. I imagine that Sam, Dave, Matt and the other authors are looking forward to this being released as much as I am. If you...
on Aug 6, 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

J2SE

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
I'm currently reading (and reviewing for JavaRanch) Mac OS X for Java Geeks by Will Iverson and I'm surprised at how good the integration between the core Java platform and Mac OS X really is. Okay, I knew that Apple ships JDK 1.3 and 1.4 along with OSX, but I never realised that you could build a Java application and package it up to look like a regular native app wihout running your code...
on Aug 5, 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

Performance

Do you know how to use a hammer? A screwdriver? A saw? Almost certainly you do. Does that mean you can build a house? Well maybe, but unless you have previous experience at building houses, I don't think I'd want to live in the one you built. Knowing how to use the tools is not the same skill as being able to build a house. So why is it that so many people seem to think that knowing how to use...
on Aug 7, 2003

Community

Predictions do little for me. If they're in the near term, they're just stating the obvious, and if they're far into the future, they seem pointless. On the other hand, it is fun to speculate. In a recent blog, James Gosling mentioned he still dips into C on occassion. What this says about the language is interesting, but what it says about programming is even more so. C is 30 years old!...
on Aug 6, 2003
There has been some great talk about usability over the last week. Most of us here are primarily developers or technical managers. I want to remind everybody that there is a whole field of study around usability with several books, websites, conferences, and workshops to help you design your applications. I think its great that we are all talking about usabiliy. I in fact have worked as a...
on Aug 5, 2003

Tools

In my years as a professional programmer I have used many Revision Control Systems (RCSes). It's that software that manages and protects the software you use. One of the tools of the toolmaker. Many companies pay tens of thousands of dollars for this software, often licensing it per-seat, and yet a perfectly good free alternative exists: CVS. In fact I will argue that there almost no reasons not...
on Aug 6, 2003

Games

A little while ago I mentioned that I was looking into development of some Palm applications. I've been torn between C/C++ development and Java, and digging into the tool set available led to some interesting findings. Preliminary investigation into the Java realm left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. I kept getting the feeling that the commercial vendors were more interested in pushing a (poorly...
on Aug 4, 2003