Bill Fleet

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since May 25, 2007
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Recent posts by Bill Fleet

Well, I don't really call it the 'home' object either, but 'function context' sounds very abstract. I'm trying to explain functional objects to 'hard object' people, who expect JS to just be batch event handlers.

It's like the 'noun' vs. 'verb' analogy used to describe JS objects. I also use the 'nested rooms in a building' analogy (hotel>hallway>room>bathroom>shower) to help explain closures and anonymous functions. (No one cares what the bath and shower are called (anonymous), but they do care whether it's Room 201 or 202.) Eventually, the light dawns, and I am out of a job again. OO concepts are so much more interesting to describe when most of the objects are moving ones.

So my calling it a 'home' object is a side effect of my tendency to describe functions without a self to be 'homeless'. I should probably shift to calling them 'selfless'.

Sorry. My bad. My weird.
So I find myself in yet another situation where I'm training someone in Javascript to replace me after my contract is up, and the 'var self = this;' construct comes up again.

I always tell them it's a best practice, and I realize it's time for reality check again, since they always ask why.

My explanation is that it's a way to retain reference to the 'home' object in case focus shifts, or we have moved across closure boundaries, or some other change occurs. (the next question is usually 'what's a closure?'), but that's outside this scope (or closure ).

Am I correct in stating it this way? Or is there a better, more cogent explanation?

Fei Ng wrote:Here in NYC, there is a group called The New York iPhone Software Developers meetup. It is really a good way to meet Obj-C/iOS developers and learn from them. Your city may have a group like that.

Here in Charlotte NC (land of finance IT), there an iOS Developers meetup once a month. It's very informal, meeting at a few tables at Panera Bread (ugh), and there's not much programming focus. It's more about ideas, positioning, and who's-done-what. It's growing, though, and will probably have to start having presentations and a moderator at some point.

Cheers! -- Bill
10 years ago

Johannes Fahrenkrug wrote:Hi Bill,

yeah, it's hard to keep up with everything, who are you telling ;-)?
So the book has been updated to Xcode 4 (it was initially started to be written for Xcode 3).

About resources: Definitely get the free WWDC videos from this and last year: They are incredibly great resources!
Also the Standford iPhone Development videos are great:



Glad to hear you updated the book already. I had tried the Stanford videos about a year back, and found them more confusing than helpful: they were aimed at computer engineer students who already knew C variants, and I'm a Java guy Also, a visual thinker.

The apple videos look good, but there are so many I get overwhelmed about where to start.

Also, my link above was wrong: It's Their stuff is good, but coverage is spotty. They lean heavily toward designers and digital media workers.

Cheers! -- Bill
10 years ago
I'm a Sun-certified Java programmer, designer and developer, and I'm teaching myself iOS and Objective-C. (My initial career path was as a graphic artist and art director.)

Right now, I've been walking through the video tutorials on, which are pretty good, but I'm curious as to additional (hopefully low-cost) resources that may be more current, or at least updateabale. Much of my time spent with these tutorials has been spent bridging the gap between the examples in Xcode 3 and my experiences in Xcode 4.

Aside from the book of the week here, are there any other good book resources that won't go out of date so quickly? The sample chapter at Manning indicates that you're using Xcode 3, which is a handicap.

Also, what's your approach to app design?

Ah well, the challenges of chasing down an evolving technology are what keeps me young.

Cheers! -- Bill
10 years ago
Here's a question for Frank, Robi, and Chris:

I'm starting to gear up to learn mobile programming (starting with Android), and I have most of I need.

However, I will want a phone for testing once I have a few things to test. I also have a budget constraint, and am wondering how much phone I'll need. The latest greatest fastest is always appealing, but I worry that writing apps that target these phones will result in apps that won't run on older hardware. Especially since the vast majority of Android users out there are running on 'old' hardware.

So my question's really this: from a software standpoint, is there that much difference between the various platforms (phones) out there? (Other than specific hardware features, and considering a common base like 2.1 or 2.2, of course.)

Actually, that raises a separate question: how many people upgrade to the latest kernel when it comes available?

I'm currently considering the LG Optimus-V through Virgin. It seems solid, if not spectacular, and the plan is way cheap.

Cheers! -- Bill
10 years ago
Cool then. I guess I'll get better with SWT and JFace. It was time, anyway.

Also, thank you. That was the straightest answer I've gotten to the HTML question. So many places have adcie on how to do it, but none about whether it's advisable.

Cheers! -- Bill
I have a question about the promo book, and eclipse plugin dev in general.

Although fairly proficient in Java development (SCJP 1.4), I am much more comfortable with handling GUI/event handling in HTML and Javascript. This stems from a long time spent writing JSPs and EJBs. Can an eclipse plugin be written with an HTML/Javascript frontend, and a Java backend for handling any connections to edited documents, server events and/or streams?

I keep getting conflicting answers to this question, so I'm stalled on where to turn. (Mostly it's 'yes, but that's documented somewhere else.)

In my current work environment, we have need for varous small automation utilities (which I write in my odd moments) that would be ideal as a 'sidebar' editor panel, acting on a document in the main editor panel. I'm not sure where to start. I've been writing HTAs to do these file editor functions, and they've been very successful, but a better solution would be one that's integrated with our main tools.

Most importantly, does this book cover anything like this?

Cheers! -- Bill
Thanks, guys.

The people around here have been an inspiration to me.
14 years ago

I also have a lousy memory [banghead] [banghead] so it takes time for me to learn it or else I need to learn and test quickly.

Joe, you probably DON'T have a lousy memory, but it works differently for you than for others in this forum. Don't give up. It sounds like books aren't your best way of learning (they weren't for me), and you need to find a way to learn that suits you.

I had to find a different way to learn the niggly details that suited me and kept me interested. My preferred way to learn is to go mess around with tools and the code and see what they do. Very kinesthetic. No manuals for me. So getting the details exactly right is hard for me.

Study group dynamics can also be weird. They're like singles groups in a church, which always dissolve as their members marry out, leaving a few orphans.

Again, don't give up. Study smart. I had to learn (all over again) how I learned, and then I did it in three weeks. And I passed!

Cheers! -- Bill
Congratulate me - I passed the SCJP 1.4 (73%) in under 3 weeks!

Of course, I've been working as a Java programmer for 7 years, so that helped. I had originally been working toward the 1.5 exam since January, but making no real progress. My employer of 8 years set me a hard deadline of getting a cert by mid-year if I wanted to keep my job, and panic set in. So I looked back at the 1.4 in mid-May, and tried a few sample mocks. Instantly I was within a few percentage points of passing!

Comparison: the 1.5 contains a number of objectives I have no working experience with (Generics, the expanded Collections classes). The 1.4 is closer to what my workplace does now and for the near future, so it's a good match for me.

Obstacle: I'm very right-brained (also very left-brained, but more right-brained) in my approach to problems in general, a little bit ADD, and as such not very detail oriented. These exams are VERY detail oriented, so I had to come up with a study plan that took that into account.

The problem is that many of the books available are written by and for left-brainers, and I can't read them for long without going to sleep. My right-brain wants go straight to the WHAT (the specific) and move backward through the WHY (the general) until it loses interest, and few texts are built like that. Even the Head First books assume a general-to-specific beginner's approach, and force one to slog through a LOT of (well-written and structured, I must add) fluff to get to the gold nuggets I needed.

Anybody else have this problem?

Anyway, I used the K&B book, found an approach that kept me focused, got through the exam, and passed it! I would have liked a higher score, but it's like the driver's test: no one gives you a prize for getting 100 percent, they only care that you passed it.

So now maybe they'll let me keep my job.
14 years ago
I have a question about the WhizLabs Adaptive Exam. When I start the test, It requires me to give it a number of questions (minimum 45) and a time limit for the exam.

Once in the exam environment, I find there's no 'back' button, and no question numbers. After 15 questions, it dumps me out and gives me a score, and lets me review the questions and answers.

Is this how it's supposed to work? Nothing I can find in the help describes the algorithm for how questions are chosen for me, or how many. I'm just trying to understand how it's 'adapting' for me. Does it use past history to target my tests?

Is there anyone from WhizLabs here who can fill me in? Other than this confusion, I'm very pleased with the WhizLabs products.
I have a requirement at work (if I want to continue working there) to get a SCJP cert. I was working toward the 1.5, but struggling with it. I have no experience working with any of the new topics in the 1.5, my current job doesn't use any of them, and we have no expectation that we will use them within the next year, at least.

The deadline is looming, though, so I looked back at the 1.4.

Suddenly, I was almost finished. Everything in the 1.4 is what my company uses currently. I have direct experience with all of the topics covered. Now I'm passing the mock tests, and planning to schedule my first exam next week (the 31st), and working to fill in those last few gaps to improve my scores.

So, yes, the 1.4 is very viable. It is what most businesses (remember, they move slowly to upgrade) are using NOW, and will continue to use for some time. It is what IBM is selling and supporting, and many big corporations are just now starting to move to that level.

So it depends on your mileage: If you're starting from scratch, go for the 1.5, because it's all new either way. If you have working experience with 1.4-level systems, this will be the quicker path to a cert. Then you can upgrade to 1.5 later, if you ever feel the need.

Wish me luck on my exam!