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JavaOne

Another day, another keynote. A fellow from IBM talked about cloud stuff. I sat through a lot of nebulous cloud talks, but this guy was good. He had a sensible slide on architecural alternatives, explained why we should all go out and buy a device for a ”data grid”—a memory device for sharing data among VMs—and he gave a demo of some software for configuring an app to run...
on Oct 7, 2011
The Script Bowl is another JavaOne tradition. The candidates were JRuby, Groovy, Scala, and Clojure. The JRuby pitch was simple: Use Rails for your web apps, and you are on your way to untold riches. The Groovy pitch was, I kid you not, that you can write fluent interfaces without parentheses, like    take 2 pills and call me in the morning instead of take(2.pills).and(call).me(in).the...
on Oct 5, 2011
Here I am, on my second day of Java One. I live in the residential part of San Francisco and get to the conference on a battered “express” bus that stops at every block, starting from the ocean until it reaches mine. Then it  goes straight downtown, but by the time that I get on, it is standing-room only. I make it to the keynote frazzled but just in time. Today, I realize that...
on Oct 4, 2011
Today, JavaOne started officially. With the traditional keynote. Except, traditionally, the keynote is in a huge room that has space for everyone. Today, people were shunted into overflow rooms where they could watch on monitors. In the age of the screencast, that seems pointless—why is that better than watching on your laptop? I figured I'd just muscle my way through to the press area,...
on Oct 3, 2011
Once again, I got a blogging pass to JavaOne—my fifth year as the intrepid reporter at JavaOne, and my 15th JavaOne attendance. Sadly, that wasn't enough to get me the coveted Alumni badge—my email address wasn't in the right Oracle database, and showing my previous conference blogs didn't impress the conference staff. I complained to Sharat Chander, the marketing person at Oracle who...
on Oct 2, 2011

J2SE

A few months ago, I had one of those unpleasant format conversion jobs. I had about 1,000 multiple choice questions in RTF format and needed to import them into Moodle. RTF is, as file formats go, somewhere between the good and the evil. It looks like one should be able to write a parser for it, but that seems like a dreary task. The miracle of open source came through for me, though, in the...
on May 16, 2010
Today, a tantalizing announcement by Mark Reinhold about closures in Java 7 has made its way through the twittersphere. On the same day, Neal Gafter updated his closure proposal (known as the BGGA proposal, named after the initials of Bracha, Gafter, Gosling, and von der Ahé, and not at all related to the B. G. G. A. organization). Presumably the timing is not a coincidence. The proposal...
on Nov 18, 2009

Education

I am working on rewriting a set of labs for our intermediate students at SJSU. Version control is something that everyone with a CS degree is pretty much expected to know these days, so I thought of digging up an old Subversion lab from my open source programming class. But distributed version control systems such as Mercurial and Git are getting all the love these days. Some people said that it...
on Mar 28, 2010
The next edition of my CS1/Java book is going to print soon. At the last minute, we decided to put the real estate of the inside covers to good use and include a “cheat sheet” with the most important Java control structures and libraries. Since it would be particularly embarrassing to have a typo here, I am hoping to enlist the aid of the community. PDFs for the inside covers are...
on Oct 6, 2009
This semester, I am teaching the CS1 course again. If you just teach plain Java, it isn't easy to come up with interesting lab assignments. Some of the students have built exciting animations with Alice in the CS0 course. Somehow, they aren't as excited about printing prime numbers or digits of π in CS1. But the latest version of Alice, now in beta, can be programmed in Java. This is very cool...
on Sep 28, 2009

J2EE

Composite components are a great feature of JSF 2.0. The canonical example is a login component with fields for the username and password: <mylib:login name="#{user.name}"      password="#{user.password}"      loginAction="#{user.login}"/> This has been well explained elsewhere....
on Jan 30, 2010
A few weeks ago, Ed Burns posted a link to a blog on the JSF expert group mailing list, commenting “A nice one, but it doesn't mention JSF 2”. Ever the curmudgeon, I pointed out that it wasn't so nice that the blog's sample code used the JSF API in beans when it wasn't necessary—as does in fact a lot of sample code, even in the official Sun tutorials. Ed's response: “Cay,...
on Jan 3, 2010
As I happily wrote about new features of JSF 2.0, my coauthor David Geary kept asking me how to run the examples in Tomcat 6. I kept putting it off—hunting down all those JAR files and web.xml fragments is just too much like eating soup with a fork. I finally got around to doing the research and thought that others might benefit from the (unhappy) results, if only to realize that this may...
on Dec 29, 2009

EJB

Java EE 6 has three different ways of defining “beans” that are “managed” in one way or another. Here is a quick recap. JSR 314 JSF 2.0 introduced annotations to avoid the tedium of declaring managed beans in faces-config.xml: @javax.faces.bean.ManagedBean(name="user")@javax.faces.bean.SessionScopedpublic class UserBean implements Serializable { ...
on Dec 23, 2009
In the relentless fight against configuration boilerplate, JSF and Glassfish have taken yet another small step forward. As of Glassfish v3 build 68, you no longer need to declare the faces-servlet in WEB.XML. <servlet>   <servlet-name>Faces Servlet</servlet-name>   <servlet-class>javax.faces.webapp.FacesServlet</...
on Oct 19, 2009

Blogging

I just learned how to make Flash screencasts on my Linux system and deliver them (with GlassFish) on a server that the computer science department received as a donation (thanks Sun!!!). Why am I doing this? My publisher wants me to develop screencasts for my books, and I thought it could be useful for my students if I record my lectures. I use a smart board for the lectures, and a screencast...
on Oct 2, 2009