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Joe Winchester

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Top Stories by Joe Winchester

An acronym occurs when the first letters of a phrase are combined into a shortened form that becomes an abbreviated way of describing the original. In science, they are often used to take a fairly verbose and complex concept, such as Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, and create a more concise and catchy noun LASER. The computing world is full of acronyms: Joint Photographic Experts Group becoming JPEG, or Graphics Interchange Format shortening to GIF. In these cases someone has done something difficult and complex such as invent a laser or an algorithm for compressing pictures for data transmission, and they earn the right to have a colloquial acronym named after their solution. What worries me is the vast number of acronyms that plague our profession that seemingly serve no real purpose. Bandwagon by Association, or BBA Most people in, or even... (more)

One Size Fits No One

At a presentation a number of years ago given by Josh Bloch he made a comment that Java as a language hit the "sweet spot" of programming. His metaphor was based around the fact that the language was straightforward to learn and that rather than containing many esoteric coding constructs, writing and understanding a Java program was a relatively easy task. I think Java is at a very critical point at the moment where it is slipping away from its sweet spot and this worries me. Two things are to blame: annotations and aspects. An annotation allows a programmer to flag a part of a p... (more)

Ten Brilliant Years

The year 2006 marked the tenth anniversary of the Java language and for me is the most significant in its history. The most important event was the announcement that a GPL version of Java SE will be available sometime in the first half of 2007. If nothing else, all the back and forth "will they, won't they" discussions over open source have been a distraction for the Java community. They also provided a source of FUD to those who don't believe in Java, enabling them to describe the community as divided, fragmented, and imploding under its own mass of internal fighting. I don't b... (more)

Those Who Can, Code; Those Who Can't, Architect

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 signatur... (more)

Ship Happens! Insights From the Eclipse SWT Community

The Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) is the GUI toolkit used by Eclipse. The same folks that worked on the Common Widget (CW) library for IBM/Smalltalk developed it, this time for Java. Now, it's maintained as part of the Eclipse Platform project and distributed under an open source license, the Eclipse Public License (EPL). One key design point of SWT is that it uses native functionality on each operating system and, at the same time, presents a common, portable API. Joe Winchester, Desktop Java Editor for Java Developer's Journal, asked Steve Northover (SWT Team Lead) recently whe... (more)