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Programming

Your time to attend conferences is limited. However, if you are involved in software internationalization, you have to at least consider the International Unicode Conference. The IUC 28 is in Orlando, FL this year from Sep 7 through Sep 9. I've done a fair amount of complaining about charset conversions from browser to database in web applications, so I'm going to share a few of those pitfalls...
on Aug 25, 2005
We are all familiar with the following straightforward implementation of lazy-loaded Singleton pattern:     public class TestSingleton {  private static TestSingleton instance;  private TestSingleton() {}  public static synchronized TestSingleton getInstance() {    if (instance == null) {      instance = new TestSingleton();...
on Aug 24, 2005
I'm not really an early adopter...so I'm just discovering blog clients. I'm disappointed that after showing up so late to the party, I still can't comprehend the APIs. I thought they would have had time to fully bake by now, and that the specs would have lots of examples. Turns out this is just wishful thinking. I did a google search for blog client api. I found that the Blogger API and the...
on Aug 15, 2005
I've done a lot of recursive programming in Java. I like recursion. That's my weakness. Why? I don't know. Perhaps because I spent a good many years of my life studying logic and methodology of science at Berkeley. There's just a certain beauty to it. So, after many years of logic, when I took a course in LISP, I grew an admiration for it. However, that didn't stop me there. I moved to...
on Aug 3, 2005
Lewis & Chase's (not Lewis and Clark's) Java: Software Structures—designing & using data structures, 2nd edition seems like an excellent book. If you want to take another look at Java, this no-nonsense book demands a peak, and I'm puzzled why they have received such a low rating by Amazon readers. By the way, I've written a bit about programming on my blogs.sun.com page.
on Aug 3, 2005
Blogging coherently from a conference is incredibly difficult to do, but Matt Raible has done a great job with his notes on Dave Thomas' Intro to Ruby. Phil Windley reports on David Heinemeier Hansson's (Google/O'Reilly best hacker of the year) Ruby on Rails presentation. UPDATE: Matt Raible's report on the same Ruby on Rails presentation. For more OSCON 2005 goodness, see the O'Reilly news page.
on Aug 3, 2005
Every profession has its share of workers who continue past their prime years of productivity. Maybe you've seen one...the overweight police officer who looks more at home in a Krispy Kreme shop than in his cruiser. I'm thinking software engineers have to "throw in the towel" sometime before 40...before the ol' brain loses too many working cells that can absorb it all. I'll admit that maybe it...
on Jul 22, 2005
Martin Fowler posted a good article on the idea of Language Workbenches, followed up by some nice links and more reading: http://www.martinfowler.com/articles/languageWorkbench.html and http://martinfowler.com/bliki/LanguageWorkbenchReadings.html
on Jun 24, 2005
Over on the O'Reilly website, our CTO Murugan wrote an article based on a developer survey we took at our company, spikesource. Its a good idea, often large tech companies would rather pay a focus group than ask the large number of engineers just down the hall. My number one choice didn't feature, a nice new 64bit laptop :*, hey, you can only ask, but joking aside there are some interesting...
on Jun 23, 2005
I've been working on a JDJ article comparing the latest releases of eclipse and netbeans. I knew both were obviously close to releasing significant updates but it crazy to see yet another round of public discussions about SWT and Swing. For all the hot air, both products and teams are more alike than they are different. Netbeans is free, Eclipse is free and yet both parties spend huge...
on Jun 7, 2005
There is an old saying that mathematicians only know three numbers: 0, 1 and ∞ (infinity). There is some truth in this in computing too, as dealing with a single entity can be very different to dealing with a multiplicity of that entity. In JDK 1.5 speak: Am I using a Thing or a Collection<Thing>? It is possible to build a system using single entities at each level of the...
on May 30, 2005
One movie that made a strong impression on me was the classic "Amadeus." Salieri, one of the main characters and a contemporary of Mozart, is often depicted (like most of us mere mortals are) as someone who can compose music but is nowhere near as quick or talented as Mozart. There's a specific scene where Salieri is composing music, one small step at a time (one note at a time!) and derives...
on May 4, 2005
Michael Levin posted a Java coding challenge this morning to write a Java program to show what terms like e.g., 99.999% reliability actually means. Here's my quick and dirty take (written while watching F1 :-): /* * What does X nines reliability really mean? */import java.io.*;public class Nines{    private static int SPM = 60;    private static int SPH = SPM * 60;...
on Apr 24, 2005
i've recently been thinking about two related topics: - on programming languages vs programming apis - on the relationship between human languages and programming languages the sources of these thoughts have been coming from two separate corners: 1. discussions we sometimes have at nfjs symposia on the ever-popular question "which language should i program in" or "which language is best;" 2...
on Apr 22, 2005
Perl is famous for its one-liners. By using the -e command line switch you can execute the script supplied as an argument. But the real power comes when you use -p (to process each line of a supplied file), and -i (to modify the file in place). The classic example is to perform search and replace on a bunch of files. The following will replace all occurrences of curious george with the gruffalo...
on Apr 18, 2005
All the recent ramblings about Groovy and Jython makes me wonder: What makes scripting so powerful? Let's start with what a "script" is: In a play a script tells the actors what to do. In a software environment a script tells preexisting components what to do. Scripts aren't about creating actors or components, they're about orchestrating actors or components. So why isn't Java a scripting...
on Mar 24, 2005
I was doing some C++ hacking today, and I added the traditional: #ifndef MYINTERFACENAME_H#define MYINTERFACENAME_H preprocessor magic in my .h file and it occurred to me: normally I don't even question having to type such nonsense in C++, I just live with it. Exploring this train of thought more completely, I realized that C++ has never gone through a concerted ease-of-development effort as...
on Mar 21, 2005
Guy Steele is leading a group to build a new programming language called Fortress. In homage to the old SATs, Fortress is to Fortran as Java is to C++. :-) That is, Fortress is about doing high-performance number crunching. Alas, Fortress is not yet available for us to play with. The complete article is: The Soul of a New Programming Language. The most telling quote: "I'm now not convinced that...
on Mar 12, 2005
You'd pick LISP for an AI app, maybe COBOL for a banking app, and possibly FORTRAN for intensive numeric, scientific apps. OK, maybe your choices would be different. However, we've all been told to pick a programming language that fits the problem domain. All languages have strengths and weaknesses. If you pick a language that is strong in your problem domain, you simplify development. If you...
on Mar 8, 2005
ONJava.com published an article titled "A Look at Commons Chain: The New Java Framework" by Bill Siggelkow. Being a commons-chain user myself for some time now, I thought people might find useful a tip or two. Return value I find very confusing the return policy of the chained commands. If you want your chain to continue, then return false, if you want it to stop, then return true. Solution:...
on Mar 8, 2005