Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Java User's Group: Flex and ForkJoin

Three companies said they were hiring java developers and only 6 people were actively looking for work. This is quite a change from a year ago when dozens of people were looking.
David Sheth talked to the 80 attendees about the new Fork-Join coming in Java7 and when to use threads, the executor, or Fork-Join. He gave a great overview of the problems in optimizing parallel operations in multi-core cpus.
James Ward flew down from Denver to talk about Adobe's Flex. He recommended visiting www.flex.org/tour to see samples of flex programming. Flex has a free IDE available for download along with unit test and mocking library.
Adobe AIR is a superset of the flex api designed to run outside the sandbox as a native application so it can do things like access the harddrive. AIR can run on Android, but oddly enough not on the iphone or ipad.
James talked about a data transfer protocol, Amf, which was 10 times faster than transferring raw xml; works like gzip to compress xml. A version of Amf is on the .Net platform.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Becoming More Wikipediaesque

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online is starting to beta test new functionalities to become more democratic. Now, if you are a member of EB Online, you can submit comments or suggest edits to articles.
A very positive step. Wikipedia is useful, but you can never fully trust it. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online at least you can reference in school work and not be ridiculed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Software has the shelf life of bananas

Click to read reviews or buy Domain Driven Design

I just finished Eric Evan's Domain Driven Design book (see my notes here).

I'm struck by his Epilogues section about how most of the great software he and his colleagues sweated over is quickly brushed aside in a few years as business needs change. All that work lost, like tears in the rain.

That's the thing about software. It's so easily discarded. Most of the software I've written in my career has been used for a few years and then thrown out, or never even put into production. As software professionals we don't have the satisfaction of our friends in Civil Engineering or literature as Robinson Jeffers so eloquently says:

To the Stonecutters

Stone cutters fighting time with marble,
    you foredefeated challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain.
The poet as well
Builds his monument mockingly,
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun
Die blind and blacken to the heart:
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years,
    and pained thoughts found
The honey of peace in old poems.

-Robinson Jeffers, 1887-1962

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Great PodCast on the American Auto Industry

This American Life has a great podcast on NUMMI; searching for what is wrong with the American Auto Industry.

Two useful utilities: Console and SpaceSniffer

I download two interesting Windows tools today.
Space Sniffer tells you where your disk space is being used. It's entertaining as it scans your disk.

Console is a replacement for the 70s style Windows Cmd.exe windows. Console has tabs and real text selection.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Java User's Group: REST tools in Java

Srini Penchikala presented "REST Web Services Support in Java EE 6 and Spring 3.0" to about sixty java enthusiasts last Tuesday.
The meeting was sponsored by TEK who provided the pizza. The TEK spokesman said Agile skills would probably become a de facto requirement for most jobs within a year.
Srini talked about the different syntax for supporting REST within EE6 and Spring, with examples of doing things in both frameworks.
A small discussion centered around the movement of configuration data from code, then into XML, and now a trend back into code with the use of annotations. John Heinz made the point that annotations, although in code, are really declarative programming.
Srini mentioned that with Spring3 annotation in the code can be overridden by XML configuration, which seems to be the best of both worlds. He also used RestClient from Wiztool.org to test his demo code.