A Christmas Wish List
I may not believe in the existence of someone who can span the globe in a number of hours, along with a collection of antler-based creatures (one with a red nose, the others not). However, it doesn't stop me from making a list of stuff that I want for Christmas. Apologies in advance if you do not partake in these celebrations.
JSP Support for Eclipse
If there's one thing that Eclipse is in desperate need of it's better support for Java Web applications. It's not just JavaServer Page creation but also neat things like a .war builder and the construction of the configuration files that go with it. I've built Ant tasks that create the .war files and copied them to the desired location. That's all very well, but after all this time I thought the Eclipse guys (and everyone else who writes plug-ins for the application) would have sorted this one out. It's odd that some folks have built a PHP plug-in.
Now before everyone writes in and tells me at great length that IDEA already does that; yes, I know. There's a small note of difference between free and lots of $$$ (something I don't have).
Blogs with Content, Not Links to Everyone Else's Content
Take this as advice: if you're going to write a blog, then write your own content. Linking off to everyone else's content is fine, but please accept the fact that, chances are, I've read it already from an aggregator of some form.
If 2003 was the year of anything, it was the year of the blog. I've never seen so many blogging tools, libraries, aggregators, and utilities come out in such a short space of time. Was it worth it? Well, the jury is still out on that one. I think there's an ebb and flow on these sorts of things. I certainly don't read them as much as I used to.
For People to Read the API Docs
I only ask for the small things in life. If I have to utter the words "equals()" and "String class" in either an e-mail or IRC channel, I think I will scream. That and you'd think that Alan would know this...(just joking E-in-C :)).
It may seem trivial but it is important. If you've read my previous editorials, these things are close to my heart. I don't care what the project is, no matter how small it should be documented one way or another. Javadoc helps a lot and it's pretty easy to use, so there should be no excuse for not creating it let alone reading the existing stuff. Don't even get me started on unit testing. If you're going to bookmark two things, make it the API doc for the JDK you are using and a link to the Java Almanac site. If you get stuck, those two alone should help you on your way.
Everyone Should Attempt to Write a Class Before Getting Apache Commons to Do It for Them
Yes, I know it sounds really harsh, but this is something I know from bitter experience. Let me give you an example. Reading an XML configuration file, everyone seems to jump on Commons Digester, which I assume you'd only ever use 10% of the API. The result is one huge dependency to do one small task. The whole thing can be done with some clever DOM coding; it's a case of taking the time. If you don't know it that well, ask someone (which is what I did).
A New Look to JDJ
Now I know I can dream and wish all I want...but in fact it is happening. Next month we move away from "J2SE" to a new section, "Core and Internals." To start off, we'll have an introduction to object orientation and also an article on the Java Collections framework. As ever I am on the lookout for articles, plus I'm also looking for shorter articles that get the message across on how to solve particular problems. If you think you have something that would be helpful to everyone, let us know.
Jason Bell is the senior programmer for a B2B portal. He's also a keen supporter of people reading the API docs before asking questions. In his spare time he's involved with building RSS development tools.
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