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How I got here

Posted by jonathansimon on May 7, 2007 at 2:08 PM PDT

So I’m sitting here on the bean bag chairs at Muscone, getting ready to go to a bunch of talks and hang with java peeps this week. I made a pretty big technical switch recently - moving to J2ME from Swing. Before the insanity starts for the week, I wanted to share a little about my experiences, and how I got here to give everyone a little context on my experience.

Note: I've also had a lot of time to myself in the desert lately, so I've had a lot of time to think about this kind of stuff. Sorry if this is somewhat ranty...

My overwhelming drive is developing human interfaces for technology. It’s weird, I can’t exactly explain it, but it is really what drove me to become a programmer in the first place - and still what drives me to code and learn new tools. Most of my articles, blogs, and other writings are focused on some aspect of human computer interaction. Sometimes I'm writing about the usage of technology in general, and other times about more technical details developing user interfaces. Either way, the trend toward user interaction is like a mantra.

I got into this business developing Swing based trading systems on Wall Street. That was a great educational experience because of the lofty requirements of the systems and the high stress environments the systems were used in. At the same time, it was also a bit difficult because the Wall Street bank mindset typically doesn't have a lot of interest in user interfaces. Combine this with being an early adopter of Swing, bumping up daily against its performance limits (remember, I started at this in 2000). The end result is that I learned A LOT about the low level designing and building Swing user interfaces and cranked out a bunch articles and blogs telling you all how it really is in the weeds. And maybe even a little bit on how to make them better.

Then about a year ago, my wife finished her PhD and I needed a change from the Wall Street vibe, so we moved to Phoenix. I spend last summer learning Ruby on Rails and building a couple of community oriented websites. It was great to dig into a new language after six straight years doing Swing apps. It was also fun to develop for the web. I was exploring again, but still focusing on user interfaces. After some consulting work from phoenix and a lot of soul searching - I started working for a company building mobile banking software. I kind of thought I had left the Java world, but I ended up back in from an entirely unexpected angle with J2ME.

I started working with J2ME in december. Since then, I've gotten deep, deep into the tech- writing a canvas based UI framework and getting into production. And now I'm here at JavaOne. I'll share more about my experiences with J2ME this week. But for now, this should give a feel for how I got here and what I'm going to be writing about for the week. You might see a bit about Swing frameworks, definitely some talk about ME, and maybe even a little bit about Ruby on Rails.

That's all for now. More to come.

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