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Advice appreciated...

 
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Hi!
I'm very new to Java and software development in general. I do, however, work for a software company. Due to recent contract issues, my workload has changed, which is how I found myself in the WWJ (that's Wonderful World of Java).
I recently took a Java course (taught by Mike DaConta, an author of several Java books and former employee of my company) and am reading as much on the subject as possible while working through tutorials and trying to understand the basics of programming in Java.
My real question relates to what I need to study and when to get some work done. I have been handed some software and been asked to "analyze" it. One package is BBN's OpenMap, an open-source Geographic Information System package written in Java. Another is a C-based package with a recently added Java interface. It uses InfoBus, so I assume that JavaBeans are in use somewhere.
While the tutorials and books I've seen help someone get up to speed, they don't really explain how to look at an application and tell what is going on. What kinds of things do I need to know to be able to figure out what someone else has written? As an aside, the two packages I've mentioned are about as different as can be with respect to documentation of code. One is open-source and well-documented, the other is not and not.
Any ideas greatly appreciated!!
Thanks,
Drew
 
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Originally posted by Drew Zimba:
Hi!
I'm very new to Java and software development in general. I do, however, work for a software company. Due to recent contract issues, my workload has changed, which is how I found myself in the WWJ (that's Wonderful World of Java).
I recently took a Java course (taught by Mike DaConta, an author of several Java books and former employee of my company) and am reading as much on the subject as possible while working through tutorials and trying to understand the basics of programming in Java.
My real question relates to what I need to study and when to get some work done. I have been handed some software and been asked to "analyze" it. One package is BBN's OpenMap, an open-source Geographic Information System package written in Java. Another is a C-based package with a recently added Java interface. It uses InfoBus, so I assume that JavaBeans are in use somewhere.
While the tutorials and books I've seen help someone get up to speed, they don't really explain how to look at an application and tell what is going on. What kinds of things do I need to know to be able to figure out what someone else has written? As an aside, the two packages I've mentioned are about as different as can be with respect to documentation of code. One is open-source and well-documented, the other is not and not.
Any ideas greatly appreciated!!
Thanks,
Drew


The best way to learn is to READ about Java and study the code.
If an example program is given in a book you are reading, sit down and type it in, compile it and run it. That way you have to look at each line of code and you stop and think about what it does as you do this. After you run it, you see what it does.
Keep on doing this, and before you know it, you will know Java. The "lights" will come on and before you know it you will be reading other code.
Good Luck!
 
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AFAIK, the first thing to do is understand the system architecture, how different components communicate each other.
Next thing is reverse engineer the code (if there is no docs) using any tool (like Rational Rose). If you have docs, see how the classses and interfaces relate to one another.
These two things could be a starting point to understand what the supplied packages do. You can go thru the code to understand how it is done.
 
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