July 29, 2005

Fridays with J2EE

Well, it is another Friday here at boot camp and we are all ready for the weekend. What a week this has been. Everyone got their weekly project completed (mostly functional anyway). Working with the 5+ layered architecture has been a learning process, but we are beginning to grasp the patterns (no pun intended). You just have to remember that every layer must hand over the correct objects to the layer it communicates with. It is still a little confusing to me, but with more experience working in the system it will become second nature.

Next week is the JWEB course so we will get more involved in Servlets and JSPs and we will finally get to talk more about STRUTS. Fun times friends, fun times...

Until next time.
Les Martin

July 28, 2005

Behold.... the power of bug.

Coming from a programming background that was not as healthy as some others might have been I am just now getting used to practices that should have been planted into my thick skull from the beginning. For instance, in my IDE [most IDE's] there is a little bug image I can click, and if I had set a break point then ~voila~ I can step through my code and see exactly what is going wrong before it goes wrong. The simplest problems within code are often easiest to overlook. Debugger helps step line by line through execution in your project and #BAM# you find the problem. If I had only known about this in college my life would have been a lot easier. I can remember nights of printing out C++ source and reading line-by-line through it to find the simplest of mistakes that the compiler has overlooked.

So, for my Computer Science I class that I may someday teach, no matter what language we use, I will cover the following things early in term:
Unit Testing

These things make life so much more understandable (well, not life, code).

Ok, there is my morning rant.
Until next time.
Les Martin

July 27, 2005

The Common Architecture

Wow. The Common Architecture Classes we are working with is a huge bundle of seemingly abstract functionality (oxymoron?). Just the small project we are working on this week can be a bit thick to step through. It is pretty neat what they have set up for us to use as a foundation, but it can sure be a head-ache getting everything setup correctly on your machine so that it builds correctly. Now we are working in groups of 2 checking code in and out of a CVS.

This weeks project is pretty straight forward, just add functionality to what is already there. This gives us a chance to really wrap our minds around what is already happening within the system. By the end of this training we should know this stuff in and out (mostly) but for now it is a slow process. There are so many classes up the heirarchy you may have to go up several super-classes to find out what a simple bit of functionality is. In this long run it will be easy to grasp, but for now it is just mind-boggling.

On another note, it is both welcome and regret to be doing this as a web project. Welcome because I am familiar with Web technologies and what goes on, plus I haven't actually worked with any J2EE projects so many of the tools we deploy are new to me in practice. Regret because as mentioned I've done web developement (but not on this scale so that is another plus) and I was looking forward to deploying different types of apps. But to tell you the truth without sounding really redundant, there are so many new tools to use in the J2EE world that it does feel like I'm in new territory. I am looking forward to moving on into the projects and getting more familiar with STRUTS and the other technologies and patterns surrounding it.

Current Recreation: Reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Research Shopping list: JUnit/Unit Testing materials, STRUTS references

Until next time,
Les Martin

July 25, 2005

Dallas Traffic...

Well, it is becoming clear to me that in Oklahoma there is really no true understanding of rush hour traffic. Don't get me wrong, at the end of any work day you will find plenty of vehicles on the road, but you could spread a picnic in the road and not stop traffic. Here in the Dallas area on the other hand every street/highway is treated like the road to the lake on the first day of summer. Bumper to bumper, no room to breathe. One thing is for sure, when I get back to Oklahoma City I will enjoy the light traffic the highways hold there.

On a more technical note, I would like to sum up a little bit of what we have been doing. Last week I mentioned that Java was the thing. Well, it was actually pretty cool. We got to write a program for the board game Monolopy. We went through the whole Unified Process with it. Defining the business objects, drawing out the diagrams, showing the dependencies, and then taking it to code. It was pretty enjoyable overall. It gave me a chance to see the concepts we learned in week 1 in action with a practicle application (and a practicle application that didn't require 1000 lines of code).

This week is an entirely different ball game. We get to work with our company's Common Architecture to write a project. We will be working on C.R.U.D. [creating, reading, updating, deleting]. This is giong to be a learing experience, because it is our first chance to meddle in the Business Architecture of our company, we are officially getting our feet wet (or maybe the correct term is going in head first).

On a side note, configuration is a pain. Everything has to be just right and when it is something can still go wrong. I have to go in early tomorrow (not too early though) so that I can get a fresh view of the Project and rebuild it, some files aren't being generated on the build, oh well, I will figure it out.

Until next time.
Les Martin

July 20, 2005

Hotel Java and Coffee Code

A few months ago if you had asked me what I was planning to do with my summer spending time in Texas would have been one of the last things to cross my mind. But ask me now what I'm doing for the rest of the summer and it's all changed. I'm now in the mid-week 2 of a 7 week stay in the Dallas area. What am I doing? Honestly, I'm going back to school, but not just any school. Seven weeks of intensive OOA&D and Java/J2EE training for my new career.

Object Oriented Analysis and Design was on the agenda last week. We worked on thinking in real world concepts and integrating them into usable artifacts. The most I got out of it? With proper planning and documentation programming business software is a piece of cake.

This week it's all about Java, and what a breath of fresh air that is. Everyone seems to be enjoying the chance to actually get to write some code... after all, programming is what we do. It is funny how you can take the simplest things and work them into object oriented code. This week we've done a simple Dice Game and now we are on the down side of a Monopoly game. Whatever everyone else may think this stuff is fun. Yes, I know that sounds childish.

I'm definitely looking forward to next week. We get to work with the common files and make a project based on it. That will definitely make the week go by fast.

Well, that is all you'll get from me now, later.

Les Martin