Jason Bell

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Top Stories by Jason Bell

A few months ago I wrote an editorial on the touchy subject of proper testing (Vol. 8, issue 6). Thanks to you there was much support (and a volume of information from Parasoft and how JTest linked with unit testing; this opened my eyes!). No one disagreed with me, but somehow I can't see unit-testing libraries being included with the next update of the software development kit. This brings me to another touchy subject - proper logging. If you administer any type of Unix-like system, you'll be used to working with log files in some form or another. Ever thought of logging your Java programs like that? Okay, the majority of us have watched everything spew out of System .out.println() or printStacktrace() at some time or another. No matter what the class of application - high performance, low performance, high visibility, or just something on your own machine - it do... (more)

Learning from History

Evolution: A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. There's no escaping that the evolution of programming languages has its advantages and disadvantages. The addition of the java.util.regex package to the JDK1.4 API is a perfect example of Java's development since 1995. However, there's a group of programmers who know only Java and no other language, so it's difficult for them to see why things like regular expressions are included. It all boils down to how your own career evolved. My own personal evolution is a strang... (more)

Desert Island Open-Source Disks

You may be aware of a radio program in the UK called "Desert Island Discs." Basically, well-known people choose which records they would want if they were stuck on a desert island (I've yet to hear anyone say they're taking a CD player). Something of a similar nature is happening to me at the moment, as I'm working from home (but far from stranded). Since I didn't have any of my normal development tools on the laptop I borrowed, I had to hunt around the Internet and download the tools I needed to get my jobs done. The tools all had one common feature ­ they're all open source. S... (more)

The 84% Rule

According the Standish Group, 84% of all IT-related projects are not delivered on time or within budget. Now when the world reads "IT-related projects," the automatic assumption is that the IT department is to blame. Further investigation reveals the main reasons for failure: inadequate requirements and lack of client/user input. I've worked both extremes: I've written functional and technical specifications and the client has responded (via the project manager) that the specs were like "a sledgehammer to crack a peanut." If this is the client's mentality, you'll encounter trouble... (more)

Success Without a Successor Is Failure!

I've always believed that we should pass on our knowledge to our peers, then, over time, we'd have a network of programmers who had a firm foundation in how Java works. To that end I try and help out where I can. I'm a member of the JDJList archives and I like to chip in once in a while. This is where all my troubles started. Some people seem to think that if they demand a solution, they'll get it. Not so. Guitarist Robert Fripp used a wonderful phrase with his students many years ago: "The quality of the question determines the quality of the answer." I know it sounds harsh but... (more)