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Joe Winchester

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Top Stories by Joe Winchester

User interface generation tools are something that has always been dear to my heart. I've enjoyed using them and have been fortunate enough to work on developing them. However, there's a huge tar pit to be avoided when using them on projects that I see people heading towards over and over again. The problem crops up when one tries to automatically generate GUIs from a model. It doesn't matter what the model is; once upon a time it was a CORBA IDL or a relational database schema, today it's more likely to be a UML model, WSDL schema, RESTful API, or whatever the API du-jour happens to be. The tool is pointed towards the model's metadata, wizards are launched, and, hey, presto. Alakazam, a brace of fully compliable screens are kicked out in seconds. Things are looking good so far - the application can connect to the messy backend, the GUIs will list elements with trees ... (more)

Desktop Java

Java is enjoying a renaissance on the desktop. There are several reasons for this The issues that plagued early client/server projects or Java desktop applications have largely been solved. Swing 1.4.2 delivered great performance improvements and good fidelity XP and GTK look and feel classes. Java Web Start now exists as a way to deploy programs to a client PC that run in a local JRE and enjoy the benefits of local caching, lazy update, and execution within Java's security model Java is becoming part of the default installation setup for many PCs vendors, such as Dell, HP, Gatew... (more)

Software Testing Shouldn't Be Rocket Science

Earthdate: October 15, 1997, and the Cassini spacecraft is launched. Mission: to boldly go and explore the planet Saturn. Saturn is about 10 times farther away from the Sun than the Earth, and to get there required two orbits of the inner solar system, receiving gravitational kicks from Venus and Earth before doing a flyby of Jupiter to get a final assist toward Saturn. Piggy-backed to Cassini was the Huygens probe that would be dropped onto Saturn's moon, Titan. Unlike most other moons in the solar system that are barren, cratered rocky places, Titan has an atmosphere covering i... (more)

E-mail - Problem Solved or Created?

At the annual Alan Turing memorial lecture given by Grady Booch in London last month, he chose as his subject, The promise, the limits, and the beauty of software. It was an excellent address in which one of the themes was that for each of the incredible advances that software has brought to our lives, there is an almost Newtonian opposite effect that is negative and destructive. One such example given was e-mail: while making us able to communicate instantly with our peers, allowing effective and immediate information sharing, it brings its own set of problems. Issues with inf... (more)

Please Listen Carefully as the Following Options Have Changed

The other day when I arrived at work my phone's voice mail light was lit up. Cool, except that after pressing the voice mail button I was asked to enter my password. Since it was so long since I had retrieved a message, I'd naturally forgotten what my password was; after several unsuccessful attempts to get it right, the system got tired of my wasting its time and announced that my mail box had been deactivated and I should contact the system administrator to have it reset. The system administrator isn't actually a real person; it's an automated phone system that you need to ca... (more)