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Joe Winchester

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Top Stories by Joe Winchester

At the moment there seems to be an extremely unhealthy obsession in software with the concept of architecture. A colleague of mine, a recent graduate, told me he wished to become a software architect. He was drawn to the glamour of being able to come up with grandiose ideas - sweeping generalized designs, creating presentations to audiences of acronym addicts, writing esoteric academic papers, speaking at conferences attended by headless engineers on company expense accounts hungrily seeking out this year's grail, and creating e-mails with huge cc lists from people whose signature footer is more interesting than the content. I tried to re-orient him into actually doing some coding, to join a team that has a good product and keen users both of whom are pushing requirements forward, to no avail. Somehow the lure of being an architecture astronaut was too strong and I ... (more)

Devils, Demos, Details, and Demons

When a product a colleague worked on recently shipped its first generally available release, the event was accompanied by a marketing fanfare of podcasts, press releases, and conference trips to beautiful cities with boxes of presentation materials, branded lapel pins, and flashing fridge magnets. My colleague gave a hugely successful presentation to customers and was rather taken aback afterwards when she was approached by a member of her company's marking team who asked why it looked as though the development team hadn't done that much to the product since the last presentation... (more)

SWT - A Native Widget Toolkit for Java Part 1 of 2

The Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) is a Java class library that allows you to create native user interfaces. It's designed to provide efficient, portable access to the underlying facilities of the operating system on which it's implemented. SWT uses native widgets wherever possible, giving an SWT program a native look and feel and a high level of integration with the desktop. In addition, SWT includes a rich set of controls such as tree, table, and tab folder. This article introduces SWT by describing some of the basic concepts and classes. Hello World: A Simple SWT Program The e... (more)

Dialog Boxes, Habituation, and Single Threaded Thought

In Jef Raskin's excellent book, The Humane User Interface, he discusses how the human brain is able to perform many tasks simultaneously while only having the ability to focus on one conscious thought at a time. Being able to process information and analyze it intelligently is crucial to our ability to solve problems, but once we have learned how to deal with a particular situation, just as vital is our ability to remember and recall the response without thinking. This allows us to drive a car while thinking about what we're going to have for dinner that evening. If, on said jour... (more)

The Pragmatics Of Java Debugging

Essential to the development of complex systems are tools that help the developer locate, analyze, and fix problems. Debuggers provide support for this by letting a developer inspect the internal state of a program at runtime, as well as suspend and resume execution statement by statement. The originators of the Java programming language defined a debugging architecture, but since its conception Java has advanced into new areas of deployment topologies and optimization technologies that present a further set of problems. This article covers some of the background behind these is... (more)