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Tom Ball

Tom Ball is a software engineer at Google, working on Java development tools. He has been working with Java since 1994 as part of the JDK, AWT, Swing, Jackpot, and NetBeans teams, and is a contributor to the JavaFX Script compiler team. Tom considers programming a craft, and is always looking for new tools and techniques to improve it.

 

Weblogs

One big reason Jackpot hasn't released yet is because it is tightly bound to javac's private modeling API for abstract syntax trees (parse trees), types and symbols. The two teams have been...

I'm a big fan of the Unix find utility for managing large projects. One task that's difficult to do with it, however, is finding which jar file contains a Java...

For years Java developers have been warned about the dangers of using finalize methods to release system resources.

Versioning, which I'm defining for this entry as how a Java application manages its external library dependencies, has been a tough issue ever since Java first released. Back when Java was born,...

My apologies for not writing recently, but it has been for a good reason: I will be giving a JavaOne presentation on Project...

Swing is slow, right? That seems to be a common perception which fast Swing apps like LimeWire seem unable to shake. Even the Jackpot GUI app is sluggish...

Exceptions (and their stacktraces) are one of the features that first attracted me to Java back in early 1995; C++ obviously had exceptions, but I never worked with any C++ projects that used them...

A few months ago I was interviewing at another company (they called during a bad week :-) and one interviewer pulled the classic "find the hidden bug in some tricky code" stunt. In the past I...

I've been running NetBeans for several months on 5.0. Today I built the development version of 4.1 from scratch and then ran it. The IDE was slower and ugly, and I thought "oh no, what have they...

As earlier readers have probably figured, I'm working on automated Java refactoring technology these days. It's becoming a crowded field with some really good tools already out there, but since I...

One of the traps to avoid when aging is regret; the more one accomplishes in life, the harder it can be not to regret some of your decisions along the way. Some days it seems life would be...

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free,

'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,

...

To turn, turn will be our delight

'...

I think all Java developers have at one time or another fallen in love with a new technology and wanted to use it to solve all problems; after all, when you have a "...

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Like many senior developers (old dogs), I've been quite happy and productive with Emacs or vi. I could use an IDE if absolutely necessary, but...

"Writing tests is QA's job." I've heard that line ever since I started being paid to program over twenty-five years ago. It wasn't just from other developers looking to cut their...