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I Can See Clearly Now

Posted by editor on August 23, 2005 at 5:13 AM PDT

Can your prototype be too good?

Desktop developers usually need, as a basic requirement of their trade, to create a visual representation of their GUI before they code it. Visual prototyping lets you experiment with workflows, discover inconsistencies, and work out hard parts in advance.

It is also, unfortunately, a great way to blow your schedule.

The obvious problem with the pretty, significantly-functional prototype is that it takes real time and effort to develop this one-off, throw-away prototype, much of which won't actually be re-used in the final version. The more subtle, and far worse problem, is that management sees a functioning GUI and assumes that the one-off throw-away prototype is the final, working product.

Uh oh.

In the Feature Article
Interaction Happens: Prototyping Techniques, Jonathan Simon looks at the prototyping options available to developers, ranging in fidelity from the elaborate clickable prototype to the simple paper prototype, comparing the benefits and possible problems of each. He also shows you some intermediate options that you might not have considered, and helps analyze the various trade-offs involved with each approach.

Meeraj Kunnumpurath asks Does Java need friends? in today's Weblogs, but it's not necessarily what you think:
"The access modifiers currently supported in Java allows granting access to members within a class to members within the same class, members within the sub-classes, classes belonging to the same package and all the other classes through the private, protected, package and public visibility modifiers. However, in certain scenarios you may want to have more flexible visibility mechanisms."

Kirill Grouchnikov is bothered by pieces not fitting together in
Mustang synergy - the sum is less than the total of the parts?:
"Various parts of Mustang (such as JAXB 2.0) are available for download right here at But what about playing together with Mustang itself?"

How long is your String? is a reality-check from John O'Conner:
"Yes, it's a trick question, but it's one you should consider seriously: How long is your String? When you ask a String for its length with myString.length() the method will return the number of char code units in the String. That's ok, but it may not be telling you exactly what you wanted."

In Also in
Java Today
despite, or perhaps because of, the wide adoption of annotations, some are having second thoughts about where this J2SE 5.0 metadata feature is taking us. In Annotations: Don't Mess With Java, Robin Sharp writes: "Annotations are a major kludge on the landscape. They don't fit and we don't need them; but you just know that they'll be picked up by framework junkies and abused horribly."

In the eWeek opinion piece Free Java: Sun Struggles to Come to Terms with Open Source, Jason Brooks gauges the sentiment at O'Reilly's Open Source Convention and says "OSCON attendees seem more interested in Java than Solaris, and Sun's best move could be giving them what they want." Comparing the conference's Java-related sessions, he looks at the prospects for open-source Java, and the effects of not currently being open-source.

News from the Java Communications Community kicks off today's Projects and
"Open Cloud generously contributed a fully functional SLEE development tool to the Mobicents project. The tool, [eclipslee], is an Eclipse plugin which simplifies the process of creating and deploying VoIP services... The Mobicents team greatly appreciates the contribution."

Showing off Java desktop prowess, Swing Sightings #22 is out, providing 140 screenshots from 21 different applications, five of which are available via Java Web Start. "They're here because, based on the descriptions and the screenshots on their web sites, they look like good examples of what is possible with Swing."

In today's Forums, user madhukonda details some database performance considerations in
Re: Java EE postings (reprised):
"To give a little bit more insight into what happens on the database side with prepared statements(enabling statement caching), I will give an example using Oracle Database. In Oracle, every sql statement executed goes thru a phase called 'parsing'. It is this parsing phase, where a sql statement will be evaluated for syntax, semantics, security, optimal execution path, and allocation of memory areas. There are 2 types of parsing (Soft and Hard parsing). If the db finds the statement in the memory, it is soft parsing. Or if it is a new statement or a cache miss, then it is hard parsing. Hard parsing is what you need to avoid."

jarouch thinks Java should have unsigned numeric primitives. In
Re: Please add types uint, ulong etc..., he writes:
"Sorry, but language without basic numeric operation.. Question is - why we dont have unsigned types. Answer: Just because they was not implemented in OAK soon enough.. They were in plan. Unfortunately, the same end had things like assertions and pre/postconditions in definitions. Btw. still used argument is - we need readable code. Do you realy think that idioms like (x & 0xff) help to reach it?"

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Can your prototype be too good?