February 18th, 2005

illo me

Real update? wtf?

Generalities
A lot of significant things have happened in my life over the past six months, but many of them are not the type of things which are appropriate to talk about to large groups of people. Heck, most of them I don't even talk about to small groups of people. I don't like people groups, I guess. ;-)

When I was driving to work today, I was reminded of how much I like driving through Philadelphia while hating it at the same time. The grid-like sections of the city are ugly, but sane to navigate. In contrast, the Museum District and Fairmount Park are absolutely beautiful, yet very confusing to drive through. For those of you who are not from the area, those sections of the city are composed of crazy loopy roads of hell which start nowhere, end nowhere, and the standard conventions of numbered streets lose all meaning.

This is significant because I normally just get frustrated at how braindead those areas are laid out and I miss the opportunity to appreciate the beauty.

Needless to say, I got lost in the crazy loops of hell and was 30 minutes late for work due to that, among other reasons.

Work
Speaking of work, I might get to start on a real project at work for a change. For the past almost-four years, my job description has primarally consisted of surfing the web, checking email, and scolding students who try to partake in the joys of food and drink within my domain. It is likely that I will soon be working on a web-based system to replace an existing propriety application. I have no clue how hours and pay will work for this, but I'm not too concerned since this will look better on my resume than the job description I detailed in two sentences prior.

School
On a completely unrelated note, my new class-related group programming project looks like it will be a much better experience than my prior one. There is some overlap between the two rosters, but I get a much better vibe about this group.

We're having a tough time getting the ball rolling, so I feel like we are somewhat behind schedule; that worries me. The type of application we are building is very different from any I have worked on before, so that worries me too. In the last group, our application was something I have made several times before, so I knew exactly what it would need. With this project, there are some Big Topics I understand vaguely how they would be done, but I've never written code. There's enough Big Things that everyone is going to need to do some research. Relying on the kindness of strangers can be scary.

Java
On a somewhat related note, why is everything in Java so slow and sucky?

I hate Swing because even 5 line applications feel like their running at half time. When I went looking for an alternative, I ran into SWT and Eclipse. SWT was made by IBM as a faster GUI library than Swing for their IDE, Eclipse. Uh, Eclipse is one of the slowest beasts I've ever come across.

Of course, Eclipse is one of those programs which tries to be everything and the kitchen sink (beware of programs that call themselves "frameworks"), so I don't immediately blame SWT for that.

However, it seems like everyone makes SWT applications from inside Eclipse, so that would be the path of least resistance. That's fine.

Or, it would be fine if Eclipse wasn't slow as a dog and complicated to use. The WYSIWYG-style GUI editor plugin for Eclipse is even slower and seems even less intuitive.

When will people who make tools for programmers learn that just because one programs does not mean that he or she does not have better things to do with their life than read yet another manual to yet another application which wants to make my life easier by making me learn yet another complicated application. Just because your target audience might be more technically inclined than my grandmother doesn't mean that they aren't end users and want things clean and simple!

All I want is to throw together a quick, small SWT application to see if I even want to invest time into this and try to sell the idea of this library to myself and my group members!

Maybe I'm being too harsh on Eclipse. I could probably count the number of IDE's/Editors I really like on a single hand. Maybe I'm too lazy or my standards are too high. Or, maybe my expectations or needs are very different from everyone else's. That's possible. Anyone among the 5% of my readership who actually programs have any favorite light GUI libraries or visual GUI builders for Java? Or any thoughts to the defense of Eclipse? Or any IDE you feel I have been unfair to? :-P

Missing headline
I thought I had another topic to talk about. I guess not.