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BlueJ Way

Posted by editor on August 30, 2005 at 7:38 AM PDT

Advanced features of the beginner's IDE

Jeff Friesen's first article on BlueJ, an IDE aimed at students and others learning Java, kicked off a lengthy talkback discussion about the value of shielding students from Java's command-line and other low-level "pipe". One crowd said that BlueJ and IDE's like it "teach the tool" instead of teaching Java itself. Others, including the author, argued that there's little value bogging students down in tricky stuff like classpaths and public static void main (String[] args) on Day 1.

Does BlueJ teach good programming practices? Jeff makes the case for it in today's Feature Article. In Java Tech: The Sweet Song of the BlueJ, Part 2 he looks at BlueJ's
support for debugging and unit testing, advanced topics presented in a beginner-friendly way. He also shows off BlueJ's extensibility, and the Code Pad, a useful little scratch pad for testing out code ideas.

There are big, open questions in today's Forums.
euxx thinks aloud in
Annotating 3rd party classes:
"If you think about this, even EJB 3 specification keep the notion of the deployment descriptor that can potentially override annotations from the bytecode. Basically these deloyment descriptors are just another layer on top of bytecode annotations, but the implementation is very specific for EJB 3 needs. It would be great to have a generic layer that would provide abstraction to transparently retrieve annotations defined in both bytecode and in externalized annotation definition. So, 3rd party code can be annotated without code modification."

An obviously-frustrated gbilodeau has some
Post-project questions:
"I'm sure you all know the feeling. You've joined a team working on a large-scale J2EE system. The foundations are shaky, the technologies outdated. Nobody knows what an interface is, and even less JUnit. You've spent several months trying to fix things up and yet end up convinced that it would be easier to simply rewrite the whole thing. By yourself. How do you react to this feeling?"

Annotations also kick off today's Weblogs. Ed Burns suggests

Using EJB Annotations Outside of EJB:
"The Common Annotations and EJB 3 JSRs both provide a number of annotations that are useful to enterprise Java developers. This blog entry examines the use of two from EJB3 that I feel really should be in Common Annotations: @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy."

N. Alex Rupp is
Looking for a home for my SnipSnap:
"It's nearly impossible to find the 'perfect fit' for Java web hosting. All kinds of hosting companies provide 'Java support', but they charge too much for WAY too little, and the important features are all wrong. So, I put the question before the public: if a guy were looking to host a SnipSnap on Tomcat and have his own JVM, where's the best place to do this?"

Want to improve the appearance of your project? Kirill Grouchnikov suggests
Personalizing your project site - using icons for address bar and bookmarks:
"We are all familiar with custom icons for the webpages that we surf. These icons are shown in the address bar, in tab that shows the page (in Firefox) and in bookmarks. However, i haven't seen a single community, blog or project page that features such an icon."

In Also in
Java Today
Are you working too hard to improve the footprint and performance of your J2ME application? Perhaps you have overlooked a readily available Java tool. In Use Obfuscation to Improve the Size, Performance, and Security of Your J2ME Applications Jim White argues for an obfuscation-based approach to crunch large, human-readable field and class names into a more compact form. The results: "while you cannot always expect to reap a 40 percent reduction in your application, there is a good chance that an obfuscator is going to get you a significant chunk of space back. This has the impact of making it easier to obtain your application over the air and the application will load into memory faster when executed."

Thinking big?'s Java Technology Web Crawler: A Massively Scaled Java Technology Application
reports on, an innovative shopping search engine "that
has created a Java web crawler that passes through three billion
pages in seven days, and may be the most sophisticated and
massively-scaled Java application in existence."

In Projects and
the new Java Games Community Forums reacts to the open-sourcing of Quake3 Arena with the discussion Quake3 Source released! - Who is going to port to Java? Topics discussed include JNI/JOGL concerns and what value such an effort would have.

The Javapedia page MemoryLeak collects resources of interest to developers working on memory-management problems. The page's resources includes a collection of articles on finding an eliminating Java memory leaks, as well as links to memory management tools.

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Advanced features of the beginner's IDE