Great Lakes Software Symposium
September 16 - 18, 2005 - Chicago, IL
View the event details here ».
Chief Scientist, Relevance Inc.
Glenn Vanderburg is a principal at Relevance, where he is focused on cutting-edge software development technologies and techniques. He brings more than 20 years of experience developing software across a wide range of domains, and using a variety of tools and technologies. Glenn is always searching for ways to improve the state of software development, and was an early adopter and proponent of Ruby, Rails, and agile practices.
The Java Collections framework is a cornerstone of Java development. It's been a part of J2SE for six years now. Every Java developer knows it—how to create Lists, Maps, and Sets, how to put things into them and take things out, and how to iterate over the contents. But there's a lot more to the collections framework than that -- and very few programmers really know how to exploit the power that's just under the surface.
The basics of the collections classes are so simple that many developers haven't even thought to look for the additional power that's there. And it's not just built-in capabilities, either. The design of the collections framework makes possible several powerful techniques and patterns that can magnify your productivity, as well as helping you build systems that are efficient and scalable.
It may seem strange to give a talk on a framework that every Java programmer already knows. But in every project I've worked on for the past six years, I've seen a lot of code that uses the collections poorly. More often than not, that code was written by skilled programmers with significant Java experience. In this talk, you'll learn how to use the collections well, exploiting their full power—the little-known capabilities, the extensibility features, and powerful patterns such as wrappers, adapters, and decorators. We'll also cover some new features that slipped into Java 1.5, plus a few especially useful third-party collection implementations.
Most of the time, Java's automatic memory management works really well—it's one of the things that makes programming in Java a pleasant and productive experience, and it's nice that we don't have to worry about managing memory manually. However, although it's usually nice to ignore memory management, occasionally we have to pay close attention. Sometimes we need to take control of certain aspects of memory management. Sometimes Java programs do exhibit memory leaks, or unacceptably long garbage collection pauses, or very poor overall performance. But because Java's memory management is supposed to be "fully automatic," it can be difficult to find out what's really going on inside the VM.
Java memory management is just like most labor-saving simplifications: it works well most of the time, but for the weird edge cases when it doesn't work quite right, it can be a nightmare. This talk opens the hood, examining the inner workings of Java's memory system, including allocation and garbage collection. We'll look at how to control the memory system and interact with it, what's costly and what's not, how to tune the garbage collector and when to switch to a different GC algorithm, and other topics.
Every now and then, it's really helpful to be able to generate a new Java class at runtime. Some problems just can't be solved any other way. It's one of those troublesome tasks: it's fairly tricky to do, and you only need to do it occasionally—but when you need it, you really need it (and usually you need it yesterday). So you have to start essentially from scratch, learning about how to do it on the fly, under pressure.
This talk is designed to help. You may not face this problem for a while, so there's no point focusing on the arcane details that you'll soon forget. Instead, I'll give you what you'll need to quickly come back up to speed when the time comes. You will see some real bytecode generation, but more importantly we'll discuss the types of problems where runtime code generation can save the day, the variety of tools and techniques that are available, and a step-by-step approach to getting the job done. Finally, for those who may be working with more dynamic languages, I'll show how powerful runtime code generation can be when it's easy. We'll start simply, but before we're done we'll be pretty deep into the bag of tricks. Come along, and be ready for the next time you need more than what's in your JAR file.
We've been writing web applications now for 10 years, and they're still no fun. They're awkward and clumsy to write. Internally, they're overly complicated (which almost invariably means that they're buggy). Meanwhile, they're usually too primitive externally. To put it another way: the web programming model is so cumbersome for programmers that the users pay—through reduced features, clumsy interaction, bugs, and poor performance. There's a better way. I know -- who needs another web framework? But Seaside makes even Rails look primitive.
Seaside represents a new generation of web frameworks. Using it, web development is simple. A little code goes a long way. The code is simple and clear. There are powerful development tools that magnify your productivity. You can focus on making your web application good rather than having to strive with all your might just to make it work. It might not be perfect for your situation—it's written in Smalltalk, for one thing, which presents a barrier to adoption in many organizations. And it's not quite as scalable as more traditional web frameworks. But for most applications, it would drastically reduce the development effort while also increasing the usefulness and robustness of the application.
Sound too good to be true? Yeah, I thought so too. But it is true. In this talk, we'll see an extended demo of Seaside, and all the things that make it special. We'll discuss how it works, as well as its limitations. Finally, we'll look at other frameworks that are trying to bring the same ideas and techniques to other languages. Whether you try Seaside or not, a better way of developing web applications is in your future, and Seaside is showing the way.