Drew King

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since Sep 10, 2002
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Recent posts by Drew King

Definitely an interesting read, and I do agree with some of his points. But this statment about extreme programming...

Its core idea is to put a group of programmers around a single computer and begin writing code without forethought or design in long sessions.


...tells me that he knows very little about XP, and that he is instead ranting about something that he has no true experience in.
While pair programming and continuous integration are important pieces of the XP puzzle, they are onlypieces of the puzzle. If these practices are used in isolation, then of course you'll end up with horrific code. To make XP succeed, a team must first decide if it is right for their project, and if it is, they must implement every component of the process, and stick to them rigorously.
15 years ago
According to Merriam-Webster:
Engineering - the application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people.
I'm not sure how accurate this definition is with regard to the profesion itself, but when I think of any engineering discipline (ie, mechanical, chemical, electrical) I think of the processes used to properly build a system. Analyzing, designing, implementing, and fixing are the general processes that you must follow within the given discipline in order to be considered a __________ Engineer. Civil Engineers gather requirements, analyze them, design a structure, build it, and maintain it. Software Engineers to the exact same thing, but with software systems.
That's my point of view at least...I could be a little off the the specific processes, so if there are any "real" engineers out there that can set me straight, please do.
-Drew
16 years ago
Are you doing any work on the side to keep your skills polished? As everyone says, you can always climb aboard an open-source project or two. I'm in a similar boat though; a full-time position as an instructor at a technical school. It's fun at times, but usually boring. I mainly teach networking, which is at least remotely related, but I am not gaining any hardcore industry experience (ie, j2ee). I've taken it upon myself to stay up to date by doing some manageable projects in my spare time on a contract basis. This way I keep the stability of my day job while still building up some resume fodder, a little bit of supplemental income, and some potentially useful contacts. Time management can be a beast at times, but I think it will pay off down the road.
-Drew
16 years ago
Take a look at this article on O'Reilly's site about Flash, A Pet Market with Flash
Here's an interesting excerpt:
Flash Is What Applets Should Have Been
The first major technology for nontrivial, interactive Web interfaces was, of course, Java. However, Java Applets never really caught on for several reasons:

  • The Java Plug-in Was Too Heavy -- While early browsers bundled the Java plug-in, the rapid evolution of Java quickly made those plug-ins obsolete. Newer plug-ins could be downloaded and installed, but their size became a barrier to use, especially for users behind low-bandwidth connections. Macromedia has always kept the Flash player very lightweight.
  • Java Was Different on Different Platforms -- While Java promised "write once, run anywhere", developers had to support different JDK versions and they discovered that even the same JDK version behaved differently on different platforms. Flash behaves consistently across platforms. Differences between versions are manageable.
  • Java Was a WIMP -- Java's windowing toolkit was still in the WIMP paradigm and didn't provide radically better capabilities for most needs, compared with the facilities provided by HTML and later, DHTML. Flash embraced and propelled the new, more media-rich interface ideas.
  • Flash Provides an Excellent Authoring Tool -- Flash also became popular because Macromedia's authoring tool was easy to use. Designers could create animations in the SWF format without having to know arcane technology, such as a programming language. The rich SWF format combined with a capable authoring tool led the design community to select Flash more often than the alternatives, thereby making it a de facto industry standard. The authoring tool and the SWF format have also evolved to keep up with the demands for new capabilities, such as those required for Rich Internet Applications, as discussed previously.
  • Flash Recently Enhanced "Good Citizen" Features -- Finally, while usability mavens have criticized Flash animations in the past for breaking some of the usability metaphors of the web, Macromedia has addressed all those concerns. Today, the Flash authoring tool lets authors tag points in the animation for the browser's history list (i.e., the "Back" button). Authors can also insert URLs to support indexing and search engines. Flash now provides support for Accessibility. Finally, SWF players are now appearing on PDAs, cell phones, interactive TV platforms, etc.


  • I personally think Flash is a pain to use, but then I've never put forth the time and effort to really learn it. I'm sure there are still many things that you can do with applets that are difficult, if not impossible with Flash, but I think it is important to know that there is an acceptable alternative for web-based UI's. Also, check out the pet store app they built with Flash, it's pretty amazing.
    Pet Market blueprint application
    [ October 30, 2002: Message edited by: Drew King ]
    16 years ago
    I'm running Red Hat Linux 7.1, Apache 1.3, Tomcat 4.1.12, and i'm connecting with mod_jk. I have several virtual hosts in apache, some that use tomcat, and others that do not. the problem is that when I check the mod_jk log file, it shows that the module is trying to map every single request that comes in from apache, even from the vhosts that have no Jk directives. obviously most of them fail, but the only places I have the JkMount directive are in the VirtualHosts that actually need them (in httpd.conf). Everything is working properly, i.e. servlets and JSPs load and run appropriately, but i'm afraid that given enough time, once traffic starts picking up, too many requests will be unnecessarily sent to mod_jk. Is this just the way mod_jk behaves? if so, won't it hinder performance if there is too much traffic? it not, does anyone know what might be wrong and what i might be able to do to solve it?
    I greatly appreciate any help that is given.
    Thanks,
    -Drew
    Here are the relevant parts of my config files:
    --- server.xml ---
    [Host name="www.domain1.com"
    appBase="/var/www/vhosts/www.domain1.com/webapps"
    debug="0"]
    [Context docBase="/var/www/vhosts/www.domain1.com/httpdocs"
    path=""
    debug="0"]
    [/Context]
    [/Host]
    [Host name="www.domain2.com"
    appBase="/var/www/vhosts/www.domain2.com/webapps"
    debug="0"]
    [Context docBase="/var/www/vhosts/www.domain2.com/httpdocs"
    path=""
    debug="0"]
    [/Context]
    [/Host]

    --- httpd.conf ---
    LoadModule jk_module modules/mod_jk.so
    AddModule mod_jk.c
    JkWorkersFile /var/tomcat4/conf/workers.properties
    JkLogFile /var/tomcat4/logs/mod_jk.log
    JkLogLevel debug
    [VirtualHost 11.22.33.44:80]
    ServerName www.domain1.com
    ServerAdmin "admin@domain1.com"
    DocumentRoot /var/www/vhosts/www.domain1.com/httpdocs
    CustomLog /var/www/vhosts/www.domain1.com/logs/access_log combined
    ErrorLog /var/www/vhosts/www.domain1.com/logs/error_logs
    JkMount /servlet/* ajp13
    JkMount /*.jsp ajp13
    [/VirtualHost]
    [VirtualHost 11.22.33.44:80]
    ServerName www.domain2.com
    ServerAdmin "admin@domain2.com"
    DocumentRoot /var/www/vhosts/www.domain2.com/httpdocs
    CustomLog /var/www/vhosts/www.domain2.com/logs/access_log combined
    ErrorLog /var/www/vhosts/www.domain2.com/logs/error_logs
    JkMount /servlet/* ajp13
    JkMount /*.jsp ajp13
    [/VirtualHost]
    # domain3 does not use tomcat
    [VirtualHost 11.22.33.44:80]
    ServerName www.domain3.com
    ServerAdmin "admin@domain3.com"
    DocumentRoot /var/www/vhosts/www.domain3.com/httpdocs
    CustomLog /var/www/vhosts/www.domain3.com/logs/access_log combined
    ErrorLog /var/www/vhosts/www.domain3.com/logs/error_logs
    [/VirtualHost]

    --- workers.properties ---
    workers.tomcat_home=/var/tomcat4
    workers.java_home=/opt/IBMJava2-131
    ps=/
    worker.list=ajp12, ajp13
    worker.ajp13.port=8009
    worker.ajp13.host=11.22.33.44
    worker.ajp13.type=ajp13
    16 years ago
    You could also try building a simple JSP that only prints a single block of text, say the date or simply "Hello, World." Then write a very simple client that requests that page. You could do it in PHP with something like

    where $expectedString would be set to the first line of the HTML returned by test.jsp
    16 years ago