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No Big Deal

Posted by editor on November 21, 2008 at 6:43 AM PST

Are programming contests worth your time and talent?

Dan Frommer of Silicon Valley Insider has posted a snarky article, Motorola's Plan To Woo iPhone Coders: Bribery, Widgets that mocks a new developer contest:

Motorola's new "Widget Developer Challenge" will award lucky winners prizes up to $25,000 -- $200,000 in total prizes -- and "global exposure." All you have to do is join Motorola's developer program, learn their widget system, make something cool, and if you're lucky, profit.

And then plan to forget everything you've learned -- because Motorola will be throwing it away anyway.

Dan's point is that the WebKit/Linux-based WebUI platform that the contest targets is not going to be on Motorola's upcoming phones, as the company is moving to Android and Windows Mobile.

But, in the bigger picture, what do you think about developer contests? They're a common way to launch platforms or get developers to dig into APIs that have been published -- indeed, our current Spotlight is on the Project Darkstar Developer Challenge -- but how often do you take the bait? Do you learn a platform just for the sake of a contest? Or do you enter a contest if you're already working with that platform and think it might be worth your while? Or do you have better things to do than code up contest entries?

It seemed like an interesting question, so we used it for the new Poll, which asks "Do you enter programming contests?" Cast your vote on the front page, then visit the results page for current tallies and discussion.

In Java Today,
the latest edition, issue 184 of the JavaTools Community Newsletter is out, with tool-related news from around the web, announcements of three new projects in the community, and a Tool Tip on getting information from a running JVM via JInfo.

Earlier this week the NetBeans team released the latest version of its open-source, multi-language IDE, NetBeans 6.5 In the Artima interview Sun Releases NetBeans 6.5, David Folk, Group Marketing Manager for Developer Tools, and Mark Day, Engineering Manager for Ajax, discuss NetBeans’ PHP support, JavaScript debugging ability, working with projects that use multiple languages, and what languages the IDE might support in the future.

Chet Haase, one-time blogger and former architect in Sun's Java client group, now at Adobe, has posted a point-by-point comparison of JavaFX and Flex to the flexcoders Yahoo group. He compares maturity, language traits, GUI capabilities, tooling, and runtime availability. "Having been on the inside of both of these projects, here are some points of comparison. I'm attempting to be objective here and just point out some of the areas to consider. But since I used to work at Sun on Java/JavaFX and now work on the Flex team at Adobe you should filter appropriately."

Today's Weblogs begin with Rex Young answering the question
How to bind front-end JSON strings to back-end Spring beans? As he explains, "this usually happen when Spring servlet receives HTTP requests that contain JSON strings, and you do not want to construct JSON objects then convert them to Spring beans. Nobody likes to handle two set of value objects."

Binod continues his SIP series in SailFin: Join and Replaces support, Part II. "In the first part of this blog, I explained how a third person Join a call between two parties. This part explains how one party is replaced by another in a call. RFC 3891 specifies Replaces SIP header, that help SIP applications implement this capability. Replaces functionality enables developers to implement features like Attended Call Transfer or Call Pickup."

Finally, Fabrizio Giudici posts
Some reminders (JUG Lugano, NetBeans Demo Camp at Genova, Devoxx...), all of which have a time element to them. "Let me recall you that hotels are going to be fully booked in Antwerpen... prepare now for Devoxx, it's coming in two weeks!"

In today's Forums, klemensz posts some ideas for Customizing the Menu / MenuBar. "I have some things that I would need to chage in the behaviour of the MenuBar: 1) Write something in the center of the bar, like "OK" (this should be changable) to indicate what the FIRE button does. 2) Draw images to the left and right of the OK string (arrows, e.g. for indicating whether the form or a component is scrollable). 3) The command from the left soft button should not move to the menu when opening it with the right soft button, it should stay on the left side."

Shai Almog explains the layout implications of
"Generally z-ordering costs, which is why it is not on by default for other layout managers. It wouldn't make sense for the current layout managers either since they don't allow overlapping anyway. isOverlapSupported allows a layout to indicate it supports z-ordering, so you can derive BorderLayout and make all elements "peek" then return true from is overlap supported and everything will work as you expect... Since isOverlapSupported returns false by default z-ordering is "cost free" if you don't use it."

robert.hook is looking for some
[webtier] Woodstock / NB6.5 / Alternatives. "Given that Woodstock is dead, and that NB6.5 has shipped with the same borken Woodstock libraries, and the bugs that I found with Woodstock bundled with NB6.1 are still present, can anyone suggest the best approach to satisfy the following requirement: - I need to build JSF pages in NB that include rich components, in particular rich tables and "add/remove" lists. - I need libraries and a source project that are documented, relatively complete, and not abandoned."

Finally, eduardomartins announces
Mobicents SIP Presence Service 1.0.0.BETA3-CP1 released!. "We are happy to announce Mobicents SIP Presence Service 1.0.0.BETA3-CP1! This release is a new spin of the previous BETA3, updated with the 1.2.2.GA version of the JAIN SLEE Server, which in turn relies on JBoss AS 4.2.3.GA. This version also fixes a minor issue on the XDM Server, which didn't support XCAP Application Usages with XML Schemas that the first child element was a comment."

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Are programming contests worth your time and talent?


InfoQ works. Thanks!

Can you get to it by means of the link in InfoQ's story:

I can't read Chet's comparison with any of my browsers. Something about cookies not being allowed, which is nonsense. Now I see why Jerry went home. Yahoo is still struggling to master Web 1.0.