TextMate to IntelliJ IDEA Live Templates

I had one of those weird cross-over experiences last night when I came across a small note in a post about the history of Java’s origins. Ray Cromwell is quoted as saying:

I program in a language that I would actually call “JetBrains Java” since I find I must drop into Live Templates often to refactor and reuse code that otherwise can’t be abstracted due to Java’s limited expressiveness.

After getting so used to snippets in Textmate I’ve come to really rely on them. And I never would have really gotten the power of snippets until I saw a few screencasts. Now I can use that same technique to use in IntelliJ IDEA even though I’m sure they’ve had the feature for several years beforehand, I just didn’t really see how it could be so helpful. Apparently Eclipse has a similar template feature as well that we should look into in RAD.

Business Wants Technology Decisions

“I just wish someone in IT could make the calls on technology.”

That was the statement from one of our product managers, having sat through a long testy meeting where technical directions got brought up and debated at length. Testy enough that our architect at one point stated:

“So I’m just a researcher, well then see if I help any developers in the future.”

The end point was that the product manager just didn’t care, she just wanted someone to be the final arbiter.

We have a sort of classical dysfunction when it comes to deciding on architectural decisions:

  • Our CIO often tries to set technical architecture without much consultation which often goes over fairly poorly.
  • Our architect group is out on the bleeding edge researching the newest ESB offering or enterprise rules engine. They forget they have to actually sell/convince all the rest of the development organization that their ideas have real value for the business and are not just chasing the newest technical toys.
  • The application development division wants much more input into the process and the ability to give real feedback on what directions we head. Since there’s a lot of developers even if you just count leads this lends itself to more of a consensus model which takes more time. And developers want tools and architecture that make them more productive and able to deliver high quality code, not just resume fodder like experience with SOA business activity monitor.

The reality in the last few years that I’ve worked at the organization is that we’ve been able to swing the pendulum back towards the real needs of developers in most cases. Powerpoint slides with lots of wonderful layers are nice, but they don’t produce working applications. Still we constantly battle to not have tools and architectures imposed on us.

Anyway the product manager made a great point, we really need to present one answer at the end of the day to the business.

Delegating Little Things

I realized today as I was clicking through Dell configurations on workstation class machines with dual or quad core Xeons that I really needed to get my head out of the sand and delegate this. I’m not the world’s expert on all aspects of computer hardware other than I usually have a pretty good clue around Apple hardware, but that’s more of a techno-lust thing.

So after mulling it over I delegated it to one of my developers who can run with it, do a better job, and get it done faster.

Silicon Valley Ruby Conference 2007

I’ve been looking for a nearby Ruby or Rails conference to attend for the last six months or so, and I finally spotted one this evening on Josh Susser’s blog. Turns out SD Forum is going to be running a weekend Ruby conference April 21st and 22nd. The details are still not all there including the all important cost one, but I’m reserving a spot on my calendar.

Head First Java 2nd Edition TDD

One of our senior developers is putting together a class mostly based on Head First Java, 2nd Edition. The class will reinforce the basic language concepts for several of our developers who feel they still don’t quite get the point of inheritance or how an inner class works.

The developer explained that he was writing all the example code with JUnit and that Head First Java 2nd Edition has test classes and even mentions a process to follow of:

  • Prep for coding.
  • Test
  • Code

For some reason though they don’t follow through and just show you JUnit and instead end up writing main method test classes. Still it’s by far the best Java beginner book, I just wish they went ahead and introduced people to JUnit.