Posted by davidrupp
on July 19, 2004 at 10:57 AM PDT
A light-hearted alternative to a heavyweight metaphor.
Everything I need to know about EJB I learned from watching Bugs Bunny.
In keeping with recent developments in the Java article-writing space, here's my take on a folksy, hyper-extended, EJB-tweaking metaphor (thanks to Bruce Tate and his People of the Elephant for the inspiration; I hope the rumors of a major movie deal all turn out to be true).
When I was a kid, the local network affiliate aired "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner show" for three whole hours every Saturday morning. I would no sooner miss a minute of this show than I would donate half of my Halloween candy to my brother. Of course, it meant having to get up at the ungodly hour of 7:30 to get ready, but this was Bugs Bunny. No sacrifice was too great. Getting ready consisted mostly of showering hastily, dressing sloppily, pouring my first bowl of over-sugared, turn-the-milk-chocolate cereal (adding sugar as necessary), and staking out my territory in front of the TV.
Then, at 8:00, it happened: that wonderful theme song ("Overture, dim the lights, ..."), followed by the first of dozens of cartoons that I could pretty much recite from memory. If I'd had any artistic talent whatsoever, I probably could have drawn out detailed storyboards as well. Now that I'm a parent, I look back on this time in my life with appalled fascination and wonder what (if anything) my parents were thinking by permitting this weekly ritual that had no redeeming value whatsoever.
And yet, having made the deliberate effort to relate this particular childhood experience to EJB programming (don't try this at home), I think a case could be made that it did have some redeeming value. As it turns out, I did learn a few things from watching Bugs, Daffy, and friends. To wit:
1. Leave the singing frog alone.
You remember this one: man finds frog, frog starts singing, man sees dollar signs, frog stops singing whenever anyone else is around, man doesn't give up, man's life is ruined. All this without a single word of dialogue (except the frog's singing, which is actually pretty good). Ever feel like EJB is singing a song that no one else can hear?
Even if they could hear it, consider this:
2. The Road Runner is probably not worth the effort.
Poor Wile E. Coyote. Endlessly resourceful, ever in hot pursuit, yet he never manages to catch the darn bird. But what if he did? Would the sustenance he received from that scrawny framework (er, "frame") justify the expenditure of energy required to achieve it?
And, speaking of good ol' Wile E.:
3. ACME = CRAP.
Wile E. Coyote must have had really good credit (or a sizable trust fund). Rocket-powered skates, flying batsuit, instant holes; all supplied by ACME, all consistently and hilariously ineffective. Mostly they ended up getting W.E.C. folded, spindled, mutilated, blown up, or crushed by something heavy. Further proof that vendor lock-in can be A Bad Thing.
4. An umbrella provides very little protection from falling anvils.
Those anvils (boulders were also popular) had the Road Runner's name written all over them, but it was always W.E.C. left standing squarely in their rapidly spreading shadows, with nothing but a spindly umbrella to keep him from being turned into a walking accordion. All that heavy equipment changes from asset to liability at the speed of gravity when something goes wrong.
And, finally, one of my favorite Daffy Duck quotes:
5. Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich.
This is from "Ali Baba Bunny", wherein Daffy, along with Bugs, finds a cave of treasure, including the requisite genie in a lamp. Daffy (in typical Daffy fashion) screws up and incurs the wrath of the genie, who threatens to make him "pay the consequences". The above is Daffy's reply. And it costs him. The lesson here: before you set the genie free, make sure you can keep him happy...
Tune in next week, when we attempt to extend this metaphor even further (and risk a lifelong ban from publishing) by attributing deep significance to the weekly antics of "Hong Kong Phooey" and "Scooby Doo".