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OOPSLA Educator's Symposium

Posted by daniel on October 26, 2004 at 9:55 AM PDT

Alan Kay keynotes

At yesterday's OOPSLA Educator's Symposium, Eugene Wallingford
introduced Alan Kay with Kay's famous quote, "The best way to predict
the future is to invent it." Kay's talk was a combination of some of
his traditional themes with his thoughts on what should be included in
a first course in computing taught in high school or college. If we
accept that the computer revolution hasn't happened yet then we need
to consider how this might change the content of an intro course and
the point of view from which we teach it.

Kay said that the corresponding first course in English doesn't lead
someone to becoming a professional reader or writer. Instead it is a
course in ideas. Contrast this with what we do in an introductory
Computer Science course. Kay argued that we teach CS too much like
driver's education or as part of a four year undergraduate vocational
program. He noted that one advantage that an English class has is that
students have learned to read and write from an early age. The college
professor can assume a certain amount of literacy. The best way to
teach a first course in college is to urge a real computer literacy in
the early grades. That requires an environment where the kids can
program from scratch. Even in first year college courses you have to
have an environment for beginners that contains no gratuitous
difficulties.

Looking to reading again for ideas, Kay said that "if you don't read
for fun yyou won't read for purpose." Similarly, he added, "of you
don't compute for fun you won't be fluent enough to compute for
purpose." The challenge is how to get kids and adults to compute for
fun. The Squeak and Croquet
environments that he demo'd are his team's attempt to provide a place
where people can compute for fun.


In today's Weblogs,
Joshua Marinacci writes a href="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/joshy/archive/2004/10/webstart_rant_1.html">
Webstart Rant. He asks "what you'd like to see out of
webstart. What are the missing features. What are the most important
bugs? I want to figure out what we can do through addons and what
requires changes from Sun." As always, his posts get a lot of
feedback - add yours.


In Also
in Java Today
, we ask: have you used printf yet? The
Core Java Tech Tip href="http://java.sun.com/developer/JDCTechTips/2004/tt1005.html#2">
Formatting output with the new formatter provides examples of
using formatted text with System.out.format(),
System.out.printf(), and related APIs. The new feature
takes advantage of the addition of varargs in Tiger and should feel
familiar (but not identical) to C programmers.Have you used
printf yet? The Core Java Tech Tip href="http://java.sun.com/developer/JDCTechTips/2004/tt1005.html#2">
Formatting output with the new formatter provides examples of
using formatted text with System.out.format(),
System.out.printf(), and related APIs. The new feature
takes advantage of the addition of varargs in Tiger and should feel
familiar (but not identical) to C programmers.

One advantage of annotations over XML metadata, according to Mike
Keith in href="http://www.oracle.com/technology/pub/articles/annotations_xml.html">To
Annotate or Not? is that annotations "are attached to the program
artifacts they describe. This both gives relevance to the metadata
when viewed and provides the multiple layers of context that must be
explicitly conveyed in XML." On the other hand, " Annotations may
only be read at runtime, not added. Annotating the classes is not an
option, and the tool is forced to use XML or some other mechanism
external to the class."


In Projects and
Communities
, the href="http://community.java.net/javadesktop/">Java Desktop
community highlights href="http://javadesktop.org/rollups/components/index.html#configurej">Configure
J, "a Swing-compatible library for creating user-configurable
menus, tool bars, and pop ups."

The Patterns
community links to this href="http://www.patternscentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=209">
Catalog of Non-Software Examples of Design Patterns "such as the
manufacturing of cars or the way a fast food restaurant prepares
food."


In today's
Forums
, dgriffit continues the discussion of href="http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=4410&tstart=0#4410">
Make class keyword work the same as this. "Classes can be defined
inside code blocks, it's just that nobody does so. It's a valid part
of the inner class specification. Google for "limited-scope inner
class". I've never seen one outside of some very complete tutorials,
though." He also writes the entry "Monitors as part of every object,
rather than separate Lock objects. href="http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=4406&tstart=0#4406">Keep
the synchronized statement, but require that it take Lock objects
as arguments. Lose the synchronized method flag. Much more clarity,
much better control, and 4 bytes less per object. Sadly, it's way too
late to make this change."


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Current and upcoming
Java Events
:

  • October 24-28, 2004 href="http://www.oopsla.org/2004/ShowPage.do?id=Home">OOPSLA
    2004
  • October 25, 2004 href="http://www.vircon.com/events/javabythebay.html">Java By the Bay
    JUG
  • October 26, 2004 href="http://java.sun.com/developer/ChatClient.jsp"> Project Looking
    Glass online chat
  • October 27, 2004 href="http://www.jini.org/webinar/index.html">Jini Community Webinar
  • October 30, 2004 JaMU - JUG
    Indonesia:Compiere and Jasper
  • October 30, 2004 JUG Sardegna meeting

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Alan Kay's keynote