Polyglot Programmer Meme

"There is a 'polyglot programmer' meme going around which roughly says that future systems will be built on a statically typed library foundation (e.g. BCL in .Net) with a dynamically typed language used in a dual role to both script those static types as well as define a domain-specific language (DSL) which will be used to implement the high level app logic."

The Accelerator of the Modern Age

This article is about British mathematician Donald Davies who conceived of the idea of network "Packet Switching".

"The insight of Dr Davies and his team was to slice data, be that a chat on the phone, an e-mail or a picture, into separate pieces or packets. These are then put on the network and rely on the intelligence of nodes in the network to help them wend their way to their destination. Once there they are re-assembled into the right order."

I first read about Davies in the book "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" which tells the story of the pioneers behind the creation of Arpanet, the precursor to the internet.  It's a great read.  I highly recommend it.

Citigroup’s Pandit vows major cost cuts

"Beyond job cuts, Mr Pandit said one of his key priorities would be reducing Citi’s information technology budget, which runs into the tens of billions of dollars. Citi’s sprawling IT operation has 23,000 developers, on a par with many large technology companies, and is highly decentralized – a structure that led to duplication of functions and an increase in expenses."

Generalists that get through...

As a technologist in a rapidly changing world there is always the tension between attaining and retaining deep knowledge in a particular technology vs "not-so-deep" knowledge across a broad spectrum of technologies.
but I really liked the quote below

Specialisation is short term-success but it is long-term risk; because as soon as the ecosystem becomes destabilised, you're the first candidate to go extinct. It's the generalists that get through... (From: Sabretooth's surprising weak bite)

Sun's Web 2.0 Bubble Accessory

Sorry, I just can't hold my tongue on this one. There has been a number of technology pundits waxing on about whether or not we're in another tech bubble. I couldn't decide myself either. It sure feels like there is enough froth around Web 2.0 and Me-To startups to say yes. But having lived through the first one, something is missing... Could this be it?

Sun was one of the biggest benefactors from the first tech bubble selling servers by the boat load. Startups were building sites and buying hardware as fast as they could. Well, if you have not seen Sun's new "Black Box" announcement, then following the link in this posts title will take you to the Sun site. Although the Black Box is seriously cool for the hardware nerd set, this feels like a Web 2.0 Bubble Accessory. I think I just found my Web 2.0 Tech Bubble indicator. Sort of a canary in the coal mine if you will. If Sun starts selling these things in real quantities, then you'll know we're in a new tech bubble.

Security Onus Is on Developers

I actually read this eWeek article on my way into work in it's print form. (A one hour train ride into NY City every day can do wonders for your reading backlog...) I liked some of the points so much, that I tracked down the online version so I could blog it here.

Essentially, poor code quality can have as much of an impact on security as the hackers themselves.
"In 2004, Internet Explorer had a publicly revealed vulnerability that had not been patched on 98 percent of the days [of that year]. Firefox was vulnerable on 7 percent of the days [ of that year]. That tells you that what the application developers are doing can make a big difference."

David Wagner
I'm a strong proponent of code inspections, especially automation of the more mundane but insane little detail checking. But it has always amazed me how hard it is to get managements approval to purchase inspection tools. It usually comes quickly though, once one of those small mistakes has caused a big problem. Bill Pugh points out the other side of the coin... that everyone makes mistakes, even the smartest of developers.
"A lot of people think that errors and defects and stupid mistakes are things that the "lesser programmers" make. One of the things that I've found is that tools find insanely embarrassing bugs, written in production code, by some of the very best programmers I know."

Bill Pugh

2006 JavaOne Conference - It's a Wrap

I'm contemplating the week @ JavaOne while I wait for my flight at the airport.

AJAX was obviously a popular topic at the conference. There is a clear consensus that AJAX is cool, gives you the appearance of rich client capabilities, but is still hard to do well. A number of speakers pointed to bugs in various Google products. The point being, is that the Google brain trust does AJAX very well and even they run into problems. JavaScript features are uneven across browsers, so this has lead to a wealth of vendor server side "Frameworks". Frameworks that try and solve this problem. There seems to be dissagreement as to weather or not this is the way to go... See the JackBe/Sun discussion.

Representation State Transfer or REST popped up in a number of talks... Simplicity and leverage of the standard Web infrastructure are it's primary benefits, but a big drawback is that it is not discoverable... although there is work being done in this area.


XML processing continues to receive improved support..... Mark Reinhold gave a brain dump of his thoughts on how XML can be made "native" to Java in Dolphin.

Back To Basics....

JEE - The Java Enterprise Edition version 5 has made good use of Tigers annotation capabilities and lessons learned from the Spring Framework and simplified the EJB specification considerable. Some would still say it wasn't enough and that Spring's POJO model is still the way to go.

SOA - Although vendors continue to introduce products that support all the latest standards and clain "Buzzword" compliance, there is an undercurrent of chatter from attendees that "things" are overly complex... The S in SOAP stands for Simple, but anyone who has read the WS-* specifications can attest to the fact that the Web Services space seems to be spiraling out of control. There were a number of well attended talks in the REST space and mention of WOA as a simpler more scalable alternative to SOA.


Finally, there was a continuous call for participation of individuals in the JCP. Doug Lea, spec lead for JSR 166, was called out as an excellent example of how individuals can have large impact on the language and platform.