Polyglot Plurality

The Pragmatic Programmer says, "Learn a new language every year". This is great advice, not just because it puts new tools into your mental toolbox that you can pull out on various occasions to get a job done, but also because it opens your mind to new ideas and new concepts that will filter their way into your code even without explicit language support. For example, suppose you've looked at (J/Iron)Ruby or Groovy, and come to like the "internal iterator" approach as a way of simplifying moving across a collection of objects in a uniform way; for political and cultural reasons, though, you can't write code in anything but Java.

The power of Office as a front-end

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Wilson, a principal with iLink, and we had a pleasant conversation about enterprise applications and trends and such. Last week, in the middle of my trip to Prague and Zurich, he sent me a link to a blog entry he'd written on using Office as a front-end, and it sort of underscored some ideas I've had around Office in general. The interesting thing is, most of the ideas he talks about here could just as easily be implemented on top of a Java back-end, or a Ruby back-end, as a .NET back-end.

The ultimate thin client

One of the things that I like about the idea of building a DSL is the idea of users being able to express, in fairly user-friendly terms, the actions they want to take. For example, Daniel Spiewak has a great example of a DSL built in Scala using Scala's parser combinators, and the resulting text, while certainly not English, is a very readable form. But in of itself, it seems it's been a hard sell to the general community, who look at GUIs as a far more intuitive way of doing things.


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Let the Great Language Wars commence....

As Amanda notes, I’m riding with 46 other folks (and lots of beer) on a bus from Michigan to devLink in Tennessee, as part of sponsoring the show. (I think she got my language preferences just a teensy bit mixed up, though.) Which brings up a related point, actually: Amanda (of “the great F# T-shirt” fame from TechEd this year) and I are teaming up to do F# In A Nutshell for O’Reilly.

Gotta love virtualization

From the "This is a First" Department.... While sitting in the Northwest WorldClubs lounge on my way to TechEd2008, I discovered that Sun is discontinuing their Sun Developer Express program (which I find a bummer--I think they should have done the opposite, in fact, and ramped it up even further, creating a preconfigured/prestocked image with all the open-source tools they do, like OpenJDK and Postgres, ready to build/hack inside it) in favor of their OpenSolaris initiative.

Best Java Resources: A Call

I've been asked to put together a list of the "best" Java resources that every up-and-coming Java developer should have, and I'd like this list to be as comprehensive as possible and, more importantly, reflect more than just my own opinion. So, either through comments or through email, let me know what you think the best Java resources are in the following categories: Websites and developer Web portals Weblogs/RSS feeds. (Not all have to be hand-authored blogs--if you find an RSS feed for news on java.net projects, for example, that would count as well.) Java packages and/or libaries.

On Blogging, Technical, Personal and Intimate

Sometimes people ask me why I don't put more "personal" details in my blogs--those who know me know that I'm generally pretty outspoken on a number of topics ranging far beyond that of simple technology. While sometimes those opinions do manage to leak their way here, for the most part, I try to avoid the taboo topics (politics/sex/religion, among others) here in an effort to keep things technically focused. Or, at least, as technically focused as I can, anyway.


I've gotten a couple of emails about this, and it's finally crossed the threshold to deserve a blog post. If you want to subscribe to the complete feed (not restricted by category), the URL you want is http://blogs.tedneward.com/SyndicationService.asmx/GetRss. It was only after the most recent email that I realized there's no link for it on the blog template; sorry about that, all.

Life at Microsoft

For those of you who aren't from that side of the world, you might find it... inspirational... to see what life at Microsoft is really like. (And I can vouch for some of these myself, having spent some time inside those buildings....)