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Real update? wtf? [Feb. 18th, 2005|12:02 am]
Chaz Meyers
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.

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.

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.

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.

[User Picture]From: approachmdnight
2005-02-17 09:27 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, I just installed Eclipse this evening. I didn't really get to play with it much, but it did seem a bit slow and the UI didn't seem right. I'm using it on Mac OS X, but I get the impression that it doesn't really fit the look/feel of any windowing system.

Out of curiosity, what GUI IDE do you prefer for Java development? Also, what kind of project are you working on?
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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-02-17 09:47 pm (UTC)
JBuilder was okay, not great. Borland has come up with better IDE's. One of their old C++ ones I used in high school comes to mind.

Normally I program in vim rather than a full-blown IDE. That normally seems appropriate when building webapps or command line programs. For GUI's, though, it seems more appropriate to design those visually.

We're building a customized tour scheduling application for a museum. I'm thinking, ideally, an interface somewhat similar to Sunbird.
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From: catch2002
2005-02-17 10:07 pm (UTC)
eclipse and java deserve each other. as do the various shitty plug ins for eclipse, such as the most annoying thing since the birth of carrot top: checkstyle.

frankly give me emacs anyday. I also didnt mind codewright. it had the nice features you want, but nothing too crazy extraneous to have to learn. I guess codewright is more of a bridge than a true IDE though since you dont straight compile from it...you have to use an outside makefile or something

Java trades speed for being delightfully oopish. which pisses me off...The OOP paradigm has its strengths...however, the full borne obsession with it, which helped to spawn many java features, is just overkill to me. I think its because over the past 20 years programming went from dudes in their basing calculating pi to 24 digits to corporate software. and we all know that those corporate types like the homogeny that OOP provides. OOP isnt the silver bullet and in fact it makes design quite annoying. of course the arugment goes design mistakes are less costly than coding mistakes....probably.

Im ranting...basically Im taking a class called software design which I loated because the prof has what I like to call OOPitis. everything is oop. a dictionary program is oop. a maze program is oop. hello world is oop. etc. brutally annoying class that uses eclipse, junit, checkstyle, and other plug in metric systems.

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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-02-17 10:45 pm (UTC)
Eclipse and Java deserve each other? Yes. You're probably right.
Last summer, I bought a book on game programming in Java. On the sections on performance, it basically said, "Yes, you can have fast GUI Java programs. However, you should keep in mind how the garbage collector works." If you are worrying about the implementation of one platform's VM, you're boned from the start and should just switch to C# so you can get some decent performance. Then, at least, you aren't lying to yourself with respect to how cross-platform your code is. Oh, and they didn't use Swing, obviously. :-P

I first tried emacs and vim around the same time. It's probably about time to give emacs another crack at bat. On the windows side of things, I really enjoyed using UltraEdit-32 in the past. vim and emacs can certainly do more stuff than UE, but am I ever going to open the manual and read how to do all that hoopla? Probably not. :) I'm still opening second and third ssh sessions when I want to work on more than one text document in vim. ;-p

As for Java making trades for OOP, I think many of those trades are for a GC and the run-anywhere mentality. I wonder how jcc-compiled executables compare to the same programs running under a JRE. As jwz pointed out in an old rant, Sun took "Java the Language", "Java the Runtime", "Java the Library", and "Java the Security Model" and glued them all together into one big mess that was forced to sink or swim together. I don't have major qualms over "Java The Language". The rest I have mixed feelings about.

I agree that academia is a lil OOP crazy right now. It fits very well with many problems, but it's definitely not the cure to every problem. I think many new students don't necessarally understand that you can have good, clean abstractions without a class/object syntax. That's sad.
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[User Picture]From: approachmdnight
2005-02-18 05:24 am (UTC)
2nd and 3rd SSH sessions!? Use screen! Honestly I put off figuring it out for years, and once I did, I kicked myself for not trying it before.

Cheat Sheet:

screen - starts screen
screen -r - resumes detached screen

Control+a c - creates new screen
C+a n - cycles to next screen
C+a p - "" "" previous ""
C+a d - detaches and returns to controlling terminal or you can just close SSH (use -r to resume)
C+a x - lock

There's lots more you can do, but I never bothered learning. The above is good enough to open a few editors, and a terminal to compile/test on. :)
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[User Picture]From: ewindisch
2005-02-18 12:53 pm (UTC)
I sometimes open multiple ssh sessions to a server *and* use screen. Its often nice to be able to see multiple documents at the same time (and I dislike split-screen).

One nice feature of screen is -x.. you can open a single session from multiple terminals. Not only does it allow for console cloning, but you can access separate screens within a single session at once.
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[User Picture]From: ewindisch
2005-02-18 12:54 pm (UTC)
Oh.. yeah, if you're ever stuck without a mouse, the copy and paste features of screen are great.
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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-02-18 01:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, normally when I open up multiple SSH sessions, it's to view more than one document at the same time.

That being said, I don't know why I haven't started using screen yet. "Ctrl+Z, !perl, fg" is kinda embarassing. :-P
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[User Picture]From: duckssaymip
2005-02-17 10:24 pm (UTC)
Dude, a real post... and I actually understood most of it. Rock on :)

On a historical note, the parts of the city you have problems driving about are parts that were constructed long after the Quakers set up our beautiful grid system. Construction on the Ben Franklin Parkway began in 1915, if I'm not mistaken, and, as I recall, Fairmount Park is also a newer construction.

In fact, the smaller streets that you find in-between the larger streets like Chesnut, Walnut, and Market are also a newer addition to the city. In the late 18th century, when Philly was becoming a major port, they were added to create housing for poor dockworkers. The large houses on the main streets stayed as residences for the rich folk, while the poor people lived in shacks on these smaller streets. The yellow fever outbreaks of the late 18th and early 19th centuries came because these folks were using the creek that used to flow along Dock St to the river as a sewer.

Just some fun Philly facts for ya :)

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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-02-17 10:47 pm (UTC)
My point was that the grid is ugly, though! The curves are stupid and non-functional, but pretty. :)

Market's a smaller street??
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[User Picture]From: duckssaymip
2005-02-18 05:07 am (UTC)
No, I meant those were the larger streets, and the smaller, one-way streets between them were artificial in nature. It was just poor, 1 AM phrasing on my part. Penn's plan was to have all the space between the buildings on those HUGE city blocks to serve as green, park space. Man he had some good ideas...
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[User Picture]From: instantdharma
2005-02-18 05:16 am (UTC)
The latter part of your post made me start drooling out of stupidity.
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[User Picture]From: duckssaymip
2005-02-18 05:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, but at least he wrapped it up nicely with the comedic missing headline. I got lost in the middle, but his conclusion definitely drew me back in.
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[User Picture]From: greensparkles
2005-02-21 03:57 pm (UTC)
with "SWT was made by IBM as a faster GUI library than Swing for their IDE, Eclipse" are you saying eclipse is ibm's ide? because i don't think that's true. eclipse is open source (not that companies can't make open source things). ibm has an ide (websphere studio application developer, more recently called ibm rational application developer) that runs on top of eclipse (see http://www-306.ibm.com/software/awdtools/studioappdev/ ). i have no experience with eclipse on its own, but i think the ide ibm built using it is pretty awesome. (though maybe working for ibm biases me :p)
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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-02-21 04:44 pm (UTC)
This is what happened:
IBM bought another company which had a nice IDE written in some language I forget right now. IBM put $40 million into porting the IDE to Java. The only problem was that Swing had horrible performance back then, so IBM rolled their own GUI kit. This was SWT. At some point along the way, they open sourced the project. I'm pretty sure this was after the first release of Eclipse/SWT, but I'm not 100% sure.

Either way, yes. IBM does not own Eclipse right now. They're part of a huge group of companies who owns it. However, they did get the ball rolling and I imagine put the most time and capital into the project to date.

Since when do you work for IBM? You want to give a fella a hook up over there in a year or so? ;-)
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[User Picture]From: greensparkles
2005-02-23 03:37 pm (UTC)
ah, that makes sense. i think the company you're talking about is called rational. ibm bought them fairly recently and their name is on the latest release of the ide. (that's the one i've been using.)

i'm doing an 8 month coop with ibm. i started jan3. i am really glad i did it...i have learned a lot of stuff, technical and otherwise (like how some of "the real world" works).

seems your last remark is somewhat joking but i will answer anyway. sometimes when managers i know are going to psu they ask if i have friends who might want an interview... but i guess they'll ask less often when they don't see me all the time, and they haven't asked about people from other schools. do you have a career fair or something? that's how i got in contact with ibm people.
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