Javapolis 2006 Interview w/Neal Gafter available

The first of the interviews I did at Javapolis 2006 is now available, this one with Neal Gafter. It's an interesting chat, particularly the parts where he discusses the two closures proposals being tossed around the Java space.

Interop Briefs: Begin at the Beginning...

(Originally appeared as a DevelopMentor article on; updates and changes to the piece have been made in accordance with the time difference, roughly two years since its original publication, and some changing beliefs on my part, which I will elucidate further in a future piece.) In the halcyon days of my youth, a major candy manufacturer ran an advertising campaign. It was destined to be a timeless classic, one that sticks with you for the rest of your life: a scene would be some typical meeting place (like a park or a street), one actor would walk from one end of the scene towards the other emerging from the other side.

The Root of All Evil

At a No Fluff Just Stuff conference not that long ago, Brian Goetz and I were hosting a BOF on "Java Internals" (I think it was), and he tossed off a one-liner that just floored me; I forget the exact phrasology, but it went something like: Remember that part about premature optimization being the root of all evil? He was referring to programmer career lifecycle, not software development lifecycle. ... and the more I thought about it, the more I think Brian was absolutely right.

The Five Things Meme

Simon tagged me, so I suppose I have to do this or else be on the bad end of Bad Luck For Seven-and-a-half-Years or something like that. Here we go, five things you may not have known about me before now: Je parle francais, un peu. (I'm not sure how to get the French characters on my keyboard or in the blog, so those who speak French will have to pardon the lack of the appropriate accented characters.) Ein BiBen Deutsch, aussi.

The First Major Patch/Feature/Change/Whatever to Javac7...

It's a new brand of property support, submitted by Remi Forax. Have a look, and let the huge language debates begin... Personally, I like what he's done, but then again, I'm a fan of properties-as-first-class-citizens support, a la C#. I'm not so wild about introducing the keyword (I like the C# syntax), but I can understand where the C# syntax is deemed a bit cryptic to Java developers. Besides, Remi's done the Right Thing by not making property (or abstract property) an actual keyword, so we don't have accidental backwards incompatibility issues to worry about.

Interop Briefs: Check your politics at the door

(Originally appeared on TheServerSide, November 2006; I’ve made some edits to it since then.) As we prepare to enter the holiday season here in the US, I think it’s time that we called for Peace on Earth. Or, at least, Peace in Computer Science.   In 2000, when Microsoft first announced the .NET Framework (then called by various alternative names, such as the “Universal RunTime (URT)” or “COM3” or the “Component Object Runtime (COR)”), it was immediately hailed as the formal declaration of war on Sun and Java, if not an actual pre-emptive attack.

A Time for a Change

I've had The Blog Ride up for almost two years now, and it seems the latest fad to change your blog title to match whatever your particular focus is at the moment. Given my tech predictions for 2007, and how I believe that interoperability is going to become a Big Deal (well, I guess in one sense it was already, but now I think it's going to become a Bigger Deal), and that hey, this is my schtick anyway, I've decided to rename the blog from "The Blog Ride" (which was kinda a lame name to begin with) to ...

Warning: XSS attack in PDF URLs

Just heard this through the OWASP mailing list, and it’s a dandy: I wanted to give everyone all a heads-up on a very serious new application security vulnerability that probably affects you. Basically, any application that serves PDF files is likely to be vulnerable to XSS attacks. Attackers simply have to add an anchor containing a script, e.g. add #blah=javascript:alert(document.cookie); to ANY URL that ends in .pdf (or streams a PDF).

2006 Tech Predictions: A Year in Hindsight

OK, time to face the music and look back at my predictions from last year: The hype surrounding Ajax will slowly fade, as people come to realize that there’s really nothing new here, just that DHTML is cool again. As Dion points out, Ajax will become a toolbox that you use in web development without thinking that “I am doing Ajax”. Just as we don’t think about “doing HTML” vs “doing DOM”.

Lack of power makes it really hard to work, even on a laptop...

Originally, I was going to post this the weekend just before Christmas, but the power outage struck back, and I was forced to hang on to it for a while longer, until I finally had a chance to post (which is now.) Thanks to all those who expressed concern and support through the outage; the worst that happened to us, overall, was the loss of recharging ability, which is a killer when you live on laptops and GameBoys...