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Teacher I Need You

Posted by editor on January 17, 2006 at 7:12 AM PST

About those funny symbols...

Now that Java is 10 years old, it should be obvious that it is now the first language for a lot of young programmers. Or at least their first serious one... lots of us went through a BASIC phase when we were 12. Still, the key point is that not everyone in the Java space will be a C/C++ convert who's done everything in the syntax of the classic "curly brace languages".

And as Java tends towards the abstract, higher-level tasks, it shouldn't be surprising that some people have never had the need to shift bits. Sure, some of us old people can easily say "why, when I was your age..." and rattle off some tale about bit-shifting and masking to interface with some embarrasingly primitive piece of hardware over an embarrasingly slow interface. Point noted. But in all likelihood, a lot of developers probably haven't needed to mask off bits as behavior flags or spin bits around to deal with endianness or other grungy issues. So it's only natural that a lot of developers don't know what these operators do, or more importantly, why they're even in the language.

Today's Feature Article features the latest in our series of queries you might have been afraid to ask. (Not So) Stupid Questions 7: >>, >>>, <<, and ?: operators asks "What are the >>>, >>>, <<, and ?: operators, and why would I ever use them?" If you can help answer this question -- not just what the operators do (that's easy enough to look up), but why they matter and what they're good for -- I hope you'll contribute your insights in the talkbacks section.

In Projects and
the Virtual Universe project offers a Java-based virtual reality environment using pure Java and Java3D. Virtual Universe bills itself as "a combination of the Web, chat, and instant messaging within a realistic, three-dimensional cyberspace. Here people can meet, interact with each other, and build houses and whole worlds."

Noting that most attempts to bring Macromedia Flash functionality to Java are expensive or dependent on native code, the JFlash project seeks to create a pure-Java player for Flash .swf files that runs in J2SE or J2ME. The current J2SE version is an alpha that supports most of the functionality of the Flash 3 format.

In Also in
Java Today
the Free Software Foundation has released the first public review draft of the GPL v3 license. In Public debate on GPL 3 draft begins, reports that "the foundation is revising the GPL for the first time in 15 years, and this time the organization is accepting suggestions from the broad base of people and organizations now involved in the free software and open-source software movements." Significant deltas in the proposed GPL include language to deal with DRM software, automatic granting of patent rights by those distributing GPL software, and "a retaliation clause that prohibits an organization from using privately modified GPL software if it files a patent infringement lawsuit relating to that software."

Application developers may need to ratchet down their expectations for 2006, according to a new survey. The Integration Developer News article Survey: IT Pay Outlook Mixed for '06 says "The Enterprise Systems 2005 IT Salary Survey find the IT job market 'strengthening' over the past year, and into 2006. But, it’s far for clear sailing for a wide range of IT professionals, including those in application development." The survey says "for IT line positions, the bumpy IT economy and continued pressure on IT budgets are still putting a damper on salaries." Application Developer manager salaries went down one percent last year, and in the Systems Programming realm, Java programmer salaries actually trail COBOL, C, and even Visual Basic.

Sahoo addresses the popular question When can I use hibernate as EJB3 persistence provider in GlassFish in today's Weblogs, noting that
"a number of folks have asked me question about using hibernate in GlassFish. Read on to know the state of things..."

Shannon Hickey introduces you to
toto, The Francophone foo, "where Shannon Hickey learns about metasyntactic variables in other languages, during a recent trip to Montreal, Canada."

Finally in
Dealing With Rapid Change, David Ockwell-Jenner asks,
"can we deal with rapid change by using a simplified version of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)?"

fak sees tools as an alternative to String-simplifying language changes in today's Forums. In
Re: What Do you Think? A Proposal to Java Language For String, he writes:
"historically, Java has relied more on tools than on clever language features. So I think many people will agree with me on this post. Many people on this thread argumented that multiline strings would ease the cut and paste of string literals from other editors. Isn't it time for those nice and huge IDEs to have a special shortcut to automatically format the input of a paste operation into a string literal, automatically scaping the special characters and adding plus signs and doing the indentation? For example, instead of doing a Crtl+v on Eclipse, do a Crtl+Shift+v, and the IDE will do de job for you."

bjb busts out the exclamation points for his insistent entry
Provide sources package inside build package: This one is a MUST do ASAP!
"Dear Glassfish team: Having a bundled version of sources as part of the build will enable us to debug easilly glassfish code an as a result will generate better issue repport : more consistent with build, more detailed, maybe even some patch (!!) provided. Time saved for us and time saved for you ! As we have already access to it, I anticipate no legal issue at all ... I think this is what we call win-win situation?"

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About those funny symbols...