Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Java5, generics, and "just not quite there"

So an attendee comes up to me at one of the past NFJS shows, with this challenge:

The implementation does not know what parametrized Iterable class will be used. The Iterable class will need to know what class it contains. Interfaces are passed to the factory and it calls a lookup to identify (or create) the implementing class. Can this be done without causing a compile warning?
// usage:
        Seq<Item> items = factory.createBean(null, Seq.class, Item.class);

// interface:
    public abstract <T> T getBean(String localName, Class<T> javaClass,
            Type... typeArguments);

// impl:
    public <T> T createBean(String localName, Class<T> javaClass, Type... typeArguments) {
        Resource resource = createResource(localName);
        Collection<STRING> rdfTypes = findRdfTypes(javaClass);
        for (String rdfType : rdfTypes) {
            addStatement(resource, RDF.TYPE, createResource(rdfType));
        T bean = rdfBeanFactory.createBean(this, resource, rdfTypes, javaClass);
        if (typeArguments != null && bean instanceof RdfParameterizedBean)
        return bean;

-- Some ideas I have tried.

import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.Collection;
import java.util.Date;
import java.util.HashSet;
import java.util.Set;

public class test {

	public static class plain {
		public static Collection getSomethingOf(Class type, Class contentType) throws Exception {
			Collection result = (Collection) type.newInstance(); // cast
			result.addAll(Arrays.asList(contentType.newInstance())); // warning
			return result;

		public static Set<Date> getSetOfDate() throws Exception {
			return (Set<Date>) getSomethingOf(HashSet.class, Date.class); // warning

	public static class fixed {
		public static <C> Collection<C> getSomethingOf(Class<? extends Collection> type, Class<C> contentType) throws Exception {
			Collection<C> result = type.newInstance(); // warning
			return result;

		public static Set<Date> getSetOfDate() throws Exception {
			return (Set<Date>) getSomethingOf(HashSet.class, Date.class); // cast

	public static class external {
		public static <C, Collection<C extends T>> T getSomethingOf2(Class<T> type, Class<C> contentType) throws Exception {
			T result = type.newInstance();
			return result;

		public static Set<Date> getSetOfDate2() throws Exception {
			Class<HashSet<Date>> type = (Class<HahSet>) HashSet.class; // warning
			return getSomethingOf2(type, Date.class);

	public static class internal {
 		public static <C, T extends Collection, R extends Collection<C>> R getSomethingOf(Class<T> type, Class<C> contentType)
                        throws Exception {
 			R result = (R) type.newInstance(); // warning
 			return result;

		public static Set<Date> getSetOfDate() throws Exception {
			return getSomethingOf(HashSet.class, Date.class);
The goal here, I think, is to be able to construct instances of T without compiler warnings or errors (or old-style casts). Needless to say, neither Venkat nor I could manage to cruft up something that could work, and so I thought to throw this out to the blogosphere to see what others could come up with.

If I'm feeling bored one day I'll try coding it in C#, just to (hopefully) exemplify the differences in the generics model between the two.

UPDATE: Hopefully I got the formatting right this time; have I mentioned how much I hate the fact that Java, C# and C++ all use the left-pointy-bracket/right-pointy-bracket syntax when posting code snippets like this...?


Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:06:02 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, November 20, 2006
"What is Java Software?" You'd think they know by now...

While looking to download the Java5 JDK from Sun, I ran across this on the home page of

What is Java Software?
Java software allows you to run applications called "applets" that are written in the Java programming language. These applets allow you to play online games, chat with people around the world, calculate your mortgage interest, and view images in 3D. Corporations also use applets for intranet applications and e-business solutions.
Applets!? After almost a decade of Java's success on the server through J2EE and lightweight containers, the marketing idiots at Sun choose to explain what Java is by citing applets?!? Folks, if ever there was a single-sentence hint as to how Sun doesn't quite "get it", this is it.


Monday, November 20, 2006 5:51:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Blog changes

Because of all the referrer and Trackback/Pingback spam, I've had to disable Trackback and Pingback (hopefully just temporarily, at least until I can get my dasBlog upgraded). Dunno if that makes anybody else sad, but I'm bummed at not being able to see peoples' comments and reactions to my posts.

Thus, for the time being, if you respond (positively or negatively) to something I say, and would really like a reaction (again, positive or negative), please either drop me an email or just post a comment here.

Monday, November 20, 2006 5:26:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, November 18, 2006
Windows Vista has RTM'ed

... which, normally, would be a source of much excitement. So I pull down the Vista bits, fire up VMWare (not that I don't trust it yet, it's just that... well.. you know... it is a 1.0 release and all, and besides, I do all my work now in VMWare images, and...), and sort through the whole "Vista doesn't like the VMWare CD emulation problem" (by mounting the ISO on the host using Daemon-Tools, so that to VMWare it looks like a real DVD). Voila. Installation proceeds.

And then, Vista prompts me for a license key. This should be the easiest step in the whole process: Being an MVP, we get license keys to everything Microsoft makes. So I cruise on up to the MSDN site, ask for a Vista Ultimate key, and...

"Error while requesting Product Keys. Please try again later or contact customer support. Please try again later. Thank you for your patience."

I try again.

"Error while requesting Product Keys. Please try again later or contact customer support. Please try again later. Thank you for your patience."

One more time--Microsoft software has been known to work the third time (or not at all).

"Error while requesting Product Keys. Please try again later or contact customer support. Please try again later. Thank you for your patience."

Now, fortunately, Vista will allow you to install without the product key up front. But you've got to wonder what the folks in Microsoft's MSDN support department were thinking when they didn't check to make sure requesting product keys would work before posting Vista to the Subscriber Downloads section: "Well, you know, it's not like the MVPs, the folks that we've rewarded for loyalty and external product support, it's not like they would want to download Vista right away and start playing with it or anything... and besides, it's not like they'd want the fullest-featured version of Vista, all they want to do is install the Home/Basic/StrippedDownToNothing version, right?"

Get it fixed, MSDN. And preferably before I have to reinstall Vista in a VMWare image again because I don't get a product key registered in time.

Oh, and for the future? You might want to check these things before you put the silly thing online. And that error message... Oy! "Thank you for your patience"?!? That has GOT to be the most overused phrase in all of customer service. So much so that I'm considering a new crusade to eliminate it from the vocabulary of any and all customer service representatives and management. (If I had any patience, I doubt I would be spending it waiting for somebody to get their act together on this. Now, waiting for my son to make his next move in Catan, THAT's a worthwhile exercise in patience...)

So sorry, Microsoft, but this earns you the highest mark of disrespect I can offer in the blog: "Duh..."

Update: So I went back in to MSDN Subscriber Downloads and got the Product Key without a hitch this time around, but it still doesn't change (a) the inexcusable fact that MSDN couldn't handle the load of its MSDN Subscribers downloading Vista, or (b) the fact that it couldn't even handle the load of people downloading product keys. Possible solutions for future releases: how about handing out product keys *before* the release? Just about a week or two ahead of the actual release, post a notice telling subscribers that "RTM keys are available", and that'd reduce at least a little bit of the load. I think subscribers can understand the difficulties of providing enough server bandwidth to download a 2.5 GB ISO image (!), but not having the product keys ready to go, that's just really hard to understand....


Saturday, November 18, 2006 2:43:14 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, November 17, 2006
Java/.NET Interop discussions..

... are currently under way at The ServerSide Interoperability Blog, and at the InfoQ Java/.NET portal. I'll try to post more on the subject here, but for now, enjoy.

.NET | Java/J2EE | Ruby | XML Services

Friday, November 17, 2006 9:16:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, November 16, 2006
Welcome to Borders' Microsoft Days...

If you're a Microsoftie and you're in the Redmond area this week, swing by the Borders in the Redmond Town Center, where they're having their "Microsoft Days" experience--everything a Microsoftie buys (whether for themselves or for their significant other, hint hint, guys) is 15% off.

Why the advertisement? Two reasons: one, because I love supporting the local causes, and two, because I'm going to be there Friday night on a panel discussion with several .NET notables, including Bill Vaughn (the original SQL Server curmudgeon), Harry "I Got Your Architecture Right Here, Baby" Pierson, contributor to the "VB6 Migration Guide" book Keith Pleas, and possibly (if we can drag them out of the p & p "war room") agile afficionados Peter Provost and Brad Wilson. We have no real idea what we're going to talk about, but given the fact that we all like to express opinions regardless of whether we have any real working knowledge on the subject, I expect it'll be an interesting discussion....

See your local Borders for details, and while you're there, drop into the cafe and grab an espresso from the cheerful cafe staff... caffeine makes everything better.


Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:13:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, November 02, 2006
Kudos to APress...

So I'm in Borders tonight, looking around, and I happen to see one of APress's latest titles, "Practical OCaml". Several things go through my mind at once:

  1. WOW. OCaml.
  2. A book on OCaml. Not even a "Programming Languages 101" textbook, but a practical one, even.
  3. Like, a book, copywrit this year, on OCaml.
  4. Gotta buy it--not just because it's another of those Dead Languages I like to explore, but because F# is a dead-ringer for OCaml, and I'm really interested in seeing where we can go with F# these days.
  5. Gotta buy it--not only for the F# tie-in, but because Scala comes from that same family of languages, so there's probably some goodness on the Scala thought experiment, too.
  6. You know, come to think of it, this is the third or fourth book on the "Non-Mainstream" languages that APress has done recently. I thought maybe "Practical Common Lisp" was a one-shot, and hey, "Programming Sudoku" isn't a language but definitely a fun title nevertheless, but with "Practical OCaml", maybe Apress is quickly becoming like Morgan-Kaufman, in that they're going after territories that aren't already flooding with ten thousand "Me Too Ruby" books.
  7. And it's not just limited to languages either, come to think of it: they just published a db4o book, and even before then they had the only Lego Mindstorms books for years.
  8. Nice going, Gary.
  9. Hmm.... Wonder if Gary is already has "Practical Scala" under contract...?
Well done, APress. You had me worried there for a while, when you bought up all those Wrox titles (most of which were unadulterated crap, IMHO), but you've restored my faith in you once again. In fact, in my book, you have graduated to an entirely new level of coolness.


Thursday, November 02, 2006 11:22:41 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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