James Elsey

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since Dec 21, 2007
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Recent posts by James Elsey

Hi Scott & Jeanne

I passed the OCP6 back in 2012, and have mostly been working with 8 since it was released, I've not touched any Java beyond 8.

Is it worth taking the upgrade exams to get to 11, then take on 17 afterwards, is there any benefit to this?

I see there is no upgrade path to 17, so everyone does the same exam now, just curious if the 17 exam would be easier if you'd already have passed the 11.

Hi Fernando Doglio,

I've been an engineer for over 12 years now, with the past few years leaning into a more lead role, and I'm finding books like yours to be increasingly valuable (although I have not read yours yet).

When I first started, it was all about the low level coding, all I wanted to do was write code, learn new frameworks etc, I didn't care about much else. Even during meetings I was always into the detail. Whilst I'm still "on the tools", I'm definitely looking through a different lens these days. As a lead, I am often tasked with more than just straight up developing, such as:

- Designing / architecting new solutions
- Wearing the analyst hat and digging into requirements to find out what the business really needs rather than wants.
- Writing user stories, being a few sprints ahead making sure the other engineers have work available.
- Reviewing PRs
- Pairing with other engineers to help them through difficult / new areas
- Interviewing
- Planning roadmaps with leadership teams, scoping new work etc.

My question to you, is how do you develop these new skills to make you a better engineer? How do you find new ways to make yourself more efficient at your job? I think these are difficult skills to develop, as you can't just google the latest documentation.

What "ways of working" are top engineers at places like Google, Atlassian etc doing?

I've found that working with other smart people and taking mentors to be the best way. Some things I have learned from working closely with other leads, that I have found useful:

- Stop being so rigid with unit testing; test the contract and be oblivious to internals, this way the implementations can freely change and not break all testing.
- Github etiquette, ensure commit messages follow a standard. Do small cohesive changes, don't flood reviewers with 400 file changes.
- Follow guidelines on pull requests, this one is for Go
- Log outcomes, rather than intent. Don't log "about to do x", but rather "did x" with some context of what happened.
- Follow the 12factor apps guidelines
- Documentation should sit as close to the code as possible, not on some crusty webpage that never gets updated.
- Always ensure requirements are clearly documented somewhere, and have assumptions if needed.

As someone who's been around a bit, interested to hear your advice on how you are keeping up to date with these softer skills.

2 years ago
I forgot to mention, I felt that the exam was MUCH harder than whizlabs/enthuware. It felt slightly more in line with the study guide quizes.
11 years ago
Hi guys,

Last weekend I finally passed the exam, with 78% Not the best score, but well above "just scraping through" so I'm happy with that.

I first bought the study guide in 2008, but procrastination of reading it got the better of me for a long time.

I prepared for around 3 months prior to sitting the exam, which gave me enough time to read the study guide properly, take mock exams, and panic.

Some tips for the exam :
If you're really stuck, use the strikeout feature to eliminate the answers that are obviously wrong, then sit and ask yourself which the remaining two could be right.
If the question has a lot of code, chances are they're trying to catch you out, so watch for noob errors like final variables being reassigned, final methods overridden, or interface methods overridden but not using the public modifier.

I used both enthuware and whizlabs. Enthuware was definitely the better tool, my whizlabs full edition expired so I didn't get to use it during my 3 month cramming period.

Write lots of code! Take lots of mocks, and don't forget to take breaks.

I wrote up more bits and pieces on my blog if anyone is interested
11 years ago
You don't need to know anything about servlets or JSPs for the SCJP exam.

The two most popular books are often the SCJP Study guide by K&B and the HeadFirst Java book.

I've got a few iOS applications done as hobby projects, they're all using the default iOS look and feel with a few background colour tweaks here and there. Whilst the apps work OK, they do look very amateur.

Where can I start to make a proper theme for my apps, do I need to photoshop button images, tab bar gradients etc? Are there any free resources I can use to start skinning up my applications?

I've spent the evening googling, half the problem is that I don't know where to start so not sure what to search for, and the other half either just finds "theme applications" or icon sets.

Any pointers/advice would be grateful
11 years ago
What are you trying to achieve? You mention downloading the web page but you only check for the HTTP response code.

Can you let us know what you want to do a bit more?
12 years ago
Hi folks,

I'm brainstorming ideas for a technology stack for a hobby project I'll do in my own time, and could do with some help.

I want to create a fitness site that lets you track routines / routes etc, and I also plan to create an android app that exposes some features, such as looking at your profile and logging new routes.

Ultimately, for the web part I'd like to use Spring MVC, with JSPs for views, as from what I can tell its a rather industry standard piece of kit, and also a good thing to learn and have on the CV.

My question is, what technologies can I use to expose some features out to android? My initial thoughts is to use RESTful web services. Is spring capable of doing this or do I need to tie in another framework such as RESTlet?

Some other things that I have on my list for research are : JSTL, hibernate, Google accounts (for logins), social integration (FB/Twitter), and Google App Engine (since its probably the only half decent free J2EE hosting)

Any advice?
12 years ago
Hi folks.

I have some android / google app engine projects on the go at home. I'm currently running a ubuntu VM that purely runs jenkins to build and test my projects. It's nice, but it'd be so much more conveniant if I could run it in the cloud somewhere.

What are my options for doing this? Preferably I'd rather not have to pay, so free options would be nicer.

What do I need, just somewhere that offers free J2EE containers like tomcat?

12 years ago
It seems that the latest version of enthuware for SCJP is out of date, it is still testing on serialization and some threading topics that have been removed. Anyone know if there are plans to update this tool?
Can anyone give me a link, or a list of the things that have been pulled from the exam currently? I notice Berts' post mentions serialisation and wait/notify being removed, but that post was some time ago.

Can anyone give me an updated list? Planning to take test before Christmas 2011.


Hebert Coelho wrote:Prometric is in the past. You will not find it there anymore.

In the PearsonVue you will find OCJP not SCJP. They changed the name. [=

Yea, but they're not listing the Programmers exam.

This is what I'm finding..

Hi Folks,

I'm trying to find availability on taking the SCJP on the week before Christmas, but I can't seem to find the exam on either the prometric or the pearson vue site.

The prometric doesn't seem to list anything under Oracle or Sun micro systems.

The pearson vue website does list oracle, but it only lists either the enterprise architects exam, or the developers exam.

Can anyone help me find them? I'm in the UK

Hi folks,

A friend introduced me to something called Arduino, which seems quite interesting, but from what I can gather it requires learning C/C++ and some proprietary SDKs.

Is there any alternative products that use Java? I'd like to experiment with something like arduino but would prefer to use Java.

12 years ago

I've just been through the OO concepts test on enthuware and this little gem of a question(which I must admit is a good one!) came up...

My initial thoughts was that it would print out "9 sportscar", because even though c is a "Car", the "sportscar" has both the gear ratio and accelerate, so I thought it would use both the variable and method from the subclass.

However, it appears that it will use the variable from the super class, and method from the subclass.

The explanation on the tool isn't that good, it mentions that variables are shadowed and not overridden...can anyone expand on that for me?