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Times Like These

Posted by editor on November 24, 2008 at 7:01 AM PST

Make yourself more useful

Last month, I asked if the recession in much of the world economy was affecting techies, or if it is someone else's problem. Since then, we've seen a big layoff at Sun, cutbacks at Palm and Apple, and concerns that U.S. unemployment could be particularly bad if it represents structural changes to the economy.

So... maybe we're in this mess with everyone else after all.

How do you make sure your job is safe? A lot of experts will tell you to make yourself indispensable to your employer. But what does that mean? Does it mean that you know GlassFish better than any of the other engineers? Maybe, but Robert J. Miller says that instead of focusing on code, maybe you should look at your company's big picture, and start following business news and insustry trends. In Recession Proof Java Programmers, he writes:

Recession proof learning includes a mix of technology and business such that an understanding of industry trends and profitability can be gained. If you are a technology-only learner like I was before, then I recommend easing yourself into business with the subsequent action items...

Granted, we've heard some of this before. What's a little different about Robert's prescription is that he says you should develop an overall awareness of how business works, while some of what we've discussed in this space previously is the value of developing awareness and interest of your business' specific industry -- finance, medicine, transportation, government, whatever -- and marketing yourself as a coder who "gets" that industry.

Offering another outlook, Jay Fields has posted a Javalobby editorial arguing that developers should Specialize In Something Relevant. This follows up an early blog on Language Specialization and, in turn, Scott Ambler's ideas about Generalizing Specialists. Jay and Scott agree that it's valuable to have deep knowledge of something (Java coding, database administration, testing, whatever), and then pick up other topics that you eventually become an expert in. "Becoming a Generalizing Specialist takes time, but the first step is becoming a Specialist. Once you deeply understand one language/tool, you can move on to the next relevant language/tool." This gives you the ability to be highly productive by being able to provide unique value in your specialties, while also having a deep enough understanding of multiple topics that you can collaborate with peers who are themselves specialists in those other areas.

So what do you think? Do either of these offer a practical roadmap to get you through the recession? Or will clinging to your favorite API from five years ago get you through?

In Java Today,
the JavaOne 2009 Conference has posted its Call for Papers. " Your expertise helps make the JavaOne Conference community dynamic and leading edge. We'd like you to share that knowledge and be the Rock Star you are. The conference curriculum will be organized across four key areas supporting and surrounding the Java platform; pick the area that best suits your expertise and submit your paper." The four topics are Rich Media Applications and Interactive Content, Mobility, Services, and Core Technologies. Interested speakers must submit their proposals by December 19.

The Aquarium has posted an update on the status of Clustering in GlassFish v2 and v2.1."Clustering - supported in GlassFish since Sept 2007 - will be further improved in the GFv2.1 release (companion to SailFin). One of the improvements is also see Apache 2.2 support and Kshitiz has written an good writeup on the configuration steps and
mentions the automated support also. Clustering is used for horizontal scalability and high availability; interest and use of the feature is increasing quickly with GlassFish deployments. Check the official documentation and our recent White Paper on HA. Also, Satyajit just put together a set of slides on the topic (writeup, PDF@SLX, SlideShare)."

In today's Weblogs, Eamonn McManus discusses Applying MXBean mappings to your own types. "The MXBean framework gives you a way to define MBeans with custom types, and map those types to standard ("open") types so generic clients can deal with them. Sometimes you want to do this mapping outside an MBean. For example, we recommend that the custom payload of a Notification should use open types, but open values can be a bit painful to construct. It would be nice to use the MXBean framework to map from a custom payload type to an open type. Is there a way to do that?"

In Grizzly : Speedup the ProtocolFilter response time, Sebastien Dionne writes, "I want to show how to speedup the ProtocolFilter when dealing with IO that can block your application."

Finally, Arun Gupta's latest tip is TOTD #55: How to build GlassFish v3 Gem ? "GlassFish Gem is a light-weight and robust deployment solution for Ruby-on-Rails and Merbapplications. The gem can be easily installed as: gem install glassfish for any JRuby runtime. This Tip Of The Day (TOTD) explains how to build this gem if you like to understand the internals or hack it out."

This week's Spotlight is on the newly-released NetBeans IDE 6.5. "Simplify your development with the new NetBeans IDE 6.5. Sun's award-winning open source IDE enables Java developers to rapidly create and debug web, enterprise, desktop, and mobile applications. Supported by a vibrant developer community and offering a diverse selection of third-party plugins, the NetBeans IDE is a must-download for developers. " For more information, check out NetBeans 6.5's features, tutorials and documentation, and a guided video tour.

In today's Forums, rah003 explains SwingX's JVM support plans in Re: Any plans to move to JDK 1.6?. "Plan is to stop active support for Java 5 as soon as SwingX 1.0 is out. We will branch the code base at this point and main branch will be made Java 6+ compatible only. Now the issue is that we have still quite few things we want to solve before releasing 1.0 (check for details) so there is no definitive date for the release set yet ... if you feel like fixing some of the issues, we would be more then happy to get your contribution."

pbw needs some help with
Building 1.4 using extra sources in NetBeans
"I asked a similar question in the NetBeans mailing list without getting any response, so I'll try here. The source distribution of metro 1.4 contains numerous zipped sources; one for pretty much each of the jars required in running metro. I tried deleting most of these src zips from the relevant lib subdirectory. I was able to clean and rebuild without complaint. How can I incorporate these sources into my metro build so that I can debug through them using NetBeans?"

Finally, sebven1982 hopes to put comments in generated WSDL. "I would like to insert comments in the WSDL generated by JAXWS. Is it possible to do that? I did not find any annotations that would do the trick."

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