Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reality of Large Corp Coding

I really enjoyed the article "Corporate Web Standards" today, not only for the primary thoughts, but also the secondary discussion of corporate smells. [http://www.digital-web.com/articles/corporate_web_standards/] (thanks for the link from Elsewhere on the Net [http://www.quirksmode.org/elsewhere/archives/2007/07/index.html#entry1348])

The author describes a journey to implement web standards, but expresses some large corporation insight along the way. From youthful exuberance:
"Initial stages of the project began and soon enough chunks of the project would be completed, neatly packaged, and passed off to the next stage of design or development. It was a finely tuned assembly line—we weren't cutting any corners, and were planning each step logically and carefully during those initial phases.

The code being produced was clean and semantic."

to experienced anxiety:
"After a few weeks, the pressure began to build in our isolated building. As the launch date of our initial website approached, scope creep became a big problem. Stakeholders who signed off on designs beforehand would start to see final, assembled products and make fundamental architectural changes, as they had not fully understood the signed-off documents they had approved only weeks earlier."
"The code became an angry, growing beast."

Not only can I relate to these statements, from 9 years at multiple large corporations, but I fully appreciate his attempt to bring everyone together; to get everyone on the same team.
"We all like to comment our code in different ways, use different CSS layouts, and apply different naming conventions to our classes and IDs, but this won't work if you want to work within large project teams and develop to a company-wide set of standards.

It can actually be quite a difficult step for many developers to swallow their pride and give up personal coding conventions, and instead agree on standards that work better for the group as a whole."

I could go on and on about the high quality of this article, but in the end just read it for yourself. I really can't do it justice, as the author did a terrific job at expressing the necessary but difficult task of creating and utilizing large project corporate web standards.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trying out Eclipse 3.3 Europa

I took the plunge this week of moving from Eclipse 3.2.1 to Eclipse 3.3 Europa. Technically, I went from the previous WTP release to the latest one. This WTP bundles some J2EE and DB features with the standard Eclipse. I don't really use it, but others on my team do.

I think this is the first time I have migrated from a prior Eclipse version successfully with 0 problems. I launched the old 3.2.1 one last time to Export my Preferences. Next I backed up my old eclipse dir to eclipse-old, and extracted the new version of Eclipse. Then I launched the new Europa. I was a little scared about importing the 3.2.1 preferences, but it worked and I haven't seen any problems so far.

A couple of cool things. I was intrigued by the new ability to auto Format code on saves. Unfortunately, my current team has crazy coding standards that differ depending on the type of file (namely constant files, and SQL files).

I was happy to see that the ctrl-shift-r (Resources) screen has been updated. It now allows easier selection of files with the same name but in different projects. Previously it would just show build.xml and have a separate tab window to select from which project. Now it just lists all of the build.xml files but with the project name next to them for a single select box.

What's bad? I don't really know for sure yet. One thing is that the WTP bundle doesn't include Weblogic integration yet, though a few blogs mention that it is coming soon. It might already be out since I haven't checked since last Friday. This doesn't really affect me, but others on my team are waiting for the patch.

So I like it. It looks a little cleaner, and I like the few differences I have seen, and overall it works just like before. Nice work Europa team!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blog Reload

Okay, so I almost made it a full year without a post. It was some well needed time away from blogging, but I want to try and get it back together on a weekly basis.

So what's going on? I took a new job at Lockheed Martin, working on some very interesting high profile contracts. It is very enjoyable and rewarding work so far. Actually, my lack of blogging coincides with my start date at LM last fall. Unfortunately (or not) I can't post to here from work.

Still doing Java. Still traveling often. I want to post some about Guice and Spring soon. I hope to fill in about Weblogic 10. Maybe some old school Struts. And I hope to sprinkle in an OJUG review or two.

So here's to a reload of this thing.