Java

Breaking Out of Your Shell as a Coder

Posted in Java, Understanding Developers on January 15th, 2013 by Vineet SinhaBe the first to comment

tortoise in shellWorking on a software project after it has shipped for 1 or 2 years can be fun. But sometimes you feel like you need to do something a little different – to get different ideas, different perspectives, and different types of challenges. I feel like I am in the midst of such a journey, one that has begun to have some results that were unexpected when I started. The big lesson has really been that I need to *talk* to more people about coding. read more »

 

Diagramming Tools – A (Biased) Survey

Posted in Agile & Development Methodologies, Design Patterns & Architecture, Developer Tools, Java, UML & Diagramming on September 21st, 2012 by Christopher Deschenes6 Comments

Diagramming tools can help you to quickly understand a new project, debug code, visualize and enforce usage patterns, and quickly generate high quality documentation.  All good.  However, not all tools are created equal and there are lots of legacy tools (UML has been around for a while).  I wanted to take a look at what is out there to get a sense for how these tools are evolving.

Below is a slice if you will through what are some next generation offerings in software development, tools that are trying to do something different, and some well established old-guard tools that everyone has heard of and compares all comers too.

Code Canvas Example

Debugger Canvas  Debugger Canvas by Microsoft (see video) is based on Code Canvas which was developed at Microsoft Research in  collaboration with the Code Bubbles folks from Brown.  Debugger Canvas is available to premium Microsoft Visual Studio license holders.  I love how you can view a GUI widget, its documentation, and implementation side by side in one clean view.  The development metaphor is very different from a traditional IDE.

 

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I’ve Just Inherited an Application – Now What?

Posted in Developer Tools, Documentation & Communication, Java, UML & Diagramming on July 31st, 2012 by Christopher DeschenesBe the first to comment
Lucene Overview Diagram

What if I had a diagram like this?

I have previously written about how lack of decent software documentation can cause problems in doing what we developers love to do, deliver functioning software. Documentation, code comments and good variable naming are all key to understanding code.  This applies to both code that we write and applications that we use through their API’s.  We could just as easily be looking at C/C++/C#, Python, PHP or any language but for now let’s stay with Java (read more about advantages of Java over other languages at theappsolutions.com .

I want to illustrate how useful diagrams are in understanding an existing complex Java code base. Understanding code quickly is particularly important when inheriting a new project or trying to figure out how to use a third party package or open source project. As we all know we are typically faced with tight deadlines, limited resources, and herculean objectives. Sound familiar? read more »

 

The Decline Of Spring?

Posted in Java, Libraries & Frameworks on June 3rd, 2012 by Abhishek Rakshit11 Comments

I was recently talking to someone I respect very highly about the Spring Framework. I told him that that I would only very reluctantly consider it for a project.

Now, I have used Spring in the past, and am really a big fan of what they have done. But, these days, I keep thinking of ‘bloated’ in association with them, and wonder if their best days are perhaps behind them. read more »

 

Eclipse Tabbed Editor Extended.. Embedding a GEF Editor

Posted in Eclipse, Java, User Experience on December 17th, 2011 by Abhishek RakshitBe the first to comment

Finding the right format for users to edit and view your Eclipse plugin’s data can be tricky. Eclipse provides many different types of editors for modification of its resources. Some examples of these are the Java, Text, JSP, XML, Ant editor etc. It also provides tabbed editors like the Plug In Manifest Editor which can have multiple sub editors as tabs in one editor. A simple example template to extend the tabbed editor when creating a new plug-in, is provided in Eclipse by default. For our project we needed to add a compare editor and a GEF editor as sub editors. This post should help you become more familiar with creating custom tabbed editors in Eclipse.

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Uh oh, not another Large Code Base!

Posted in Developer Tools, Java on June 21st, 2011 by Novita Mayasari3 Comments

I came across two blog posts which agree that large code bases are a hassle to programmers. The first post, “Code’s worst enemy” written by Steve Yegge, basically loathes large code bases and Jeff Atwok shares the same opinion in “Size is the enemy”. The problem with large code bases is that their physical size is indication for the large amount of effort, cost and time to be invested for that project, as stated in Steve McConnell books.

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A simple intro to creating a MVC framework: Using GEF

Posted in Design Patterns & Architecture, Eclipse, Java, Libraries & Frameworks on April 10th, 2011 by Abhishek RakshitBe the first to comment

When creating a rich graphical editor the Model View Controller (MVC) design pattern makes life a lot easier. But it is often difficult to decide which libraries/frameworks to use. On the Eclipse platform GEF (Graphical Editing Framework) is a great solution but it can be challenging to figure out how to integrate with the parts you need. Since GEF is built on top of the Draw2d/SWT graphical libraries and is able to provide a powerful and consistent UI. However there are many considerations and pitfalls to take into account when getting started with GEF.

Some of my first large scale Java coding involved using and modifying GEF code. Luckily the GEF team provides many helpful examples showcasing the different features GEF offers. I will attempt to provide a concise introduction to the points that I found best helped me understand GEF.
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Understanding What Others Are Upto!

Posted in Developer Tools, Eclipse, Java on March 21st, 2011 by Seth RosenBe the first to comment

One of the challenges when working in teams is in keeping up with your fellow developers. Spending a lot of time reading others’ code not only means less time getting your own work done but also the gradual deterioration of the code architecture. This is a problem that we have heard over and over again from developers and managers alike.

We have just released additional code and architectural review tools that will help developers easily understand new features that are being built. We are pleased to announce that we will be demoing this functionality at EclipseCon 2011 as part of the Hot New Products Showcase. With this release we not only have a full fledged code review client and server, but also are making it really easy for developers to document the main parts of what is being worked on. Our new features will help developers create and maintain more comprehensive architectural documentation, solving a number of common development issues.

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From Java to Spring and Beyond – Making Diagrams (and UML) work for developers

Posted in Developer Tools, Eclipse, Java, UML & Diagramming on March 21st, 2011 by Seth Rosen1 Comment
One of the strengths of working with Java is the large number of frameworks that are available. These frameworks are great for taking care of the basic tasks involved in building Java based apps. But they often bring about challenges in understanding – whether it is xml files or annotation based configurations, developers needing to work with these frameworks have to see how different parts of the code are connected.
With this in mind we have extended Architexa to not just show code relationships but have also built special support for popular frameworks like Spring and Struts. We are happy to announce that we will be demoing this functionality at EclipseCon 2011 as part of the Hot New Products Showcase.
We are pushing the edge here – so we are making this capability available as an ‘early access’ version. You can find it by default in all versions of the Architexa Suite. We would really like to hear what you think about it, and invite you to extend your trial of the product as we refine the implementation based on your feedback
 

A Detailed Study on Understanding Code

Posted in Agile & Development Methodologies, Documentation & Communication, Java on March 19th, 2011 by Abhishek RakshitBe the first to comment

Let’s face it; code can be hard to understand. We have all encountered a piece of code that took longer than expected to figure out or was easy to misunderstand. It could be a new library, a coworker’s code, or your own code from 6 month’s ago.

In a previous post we discuss the importance of taking time to study users in order to get feedback on innovative ideas. We did that to determine how developers understand code and why it can be a challenge.

We asked Open Source developers a number of questions. Two that stood out were their thoughts on the difficulty of understanding their code and what they generally wanted more of in such projects.

The first question we asked Open source developers was if they thought that the code they were working on was challenging to understand. Those using the libraries (API Clients) had a different take than those building the library (Core developers).

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