J and I and Me
2012-04-17
  Some Possible Enhancements for Java and Java EE
The recent discusssion about Java EE and Spring made me think. Actually I find it odd to fight over the programming model used to develop Java applications. Neither Java EE nor Spring will go away - the market shares of both are just too large. At the end everyone involved in the discussion is trying to sell a platform i.e. an application or web server. That product must offer good support for both programming models - and all the others like Scala, Groovy etc. IMHO the programming models have a lot in common now. Spring also covers advanced challenges like Social Media, NoSQL etc - see my older blog post Spring vs. Java EE and Why I Don't Care. So it is not in the field of programming models where innovation is laking. Instead we should focus on improving the platform. So what is it that would really make Java a better platform? Here are some ideas: Those are just some - possibly crazy - ideas. My intention is to focus on making the Java platform better for all of us. And I believe for that the discussion around the future of Java must focus more on the JVM and the infrastructure like web or application server than on programming models. There is quite some innovation in the area of the programming models anyway. For example there are lots and lots of Open Source projects - frameworks and complete languages. But for infrastructure standards are needed - so any server and environment can work with the solution. So that is what the standardization process should focus on. What do you think? I am looking forward to your comments!
 
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2012-04-02
  Testing: Again
As you have probably noticed, the last blog posting Testing Considered Harmful was actually a April Fool's Joke. I believe Test Driven Development is one of the most important innovations in the last years. I have been infected ever since Kent Beck explained JUnit to me. Here are some things adesso does to make TDD a reality: The list could go on. So please program - and drive - safely! If you were caught by the April Fool's Joke: I hope you don't mind. If you do: I apologize.
 
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2012-04-01
  Testing Considered Harmful
Unit testing started with JUnit - and was infectious. As you can see in JUnit Test Infected: Programmers Love Writing Tests that was the intention from the very beginning. And so the infection spread.

Nowadays almost all programmers do extensive Unit Tests. And therefore we see problems arising. Instead of thinking about a problem and building a reliable solution developers now just write a test and code away. At one point they get a green bar and consider the job done. But can you build proper software that way? Dijkstra stated in 1972: "If you want more effective programmers, you will discover that they should not waste their time debugging, they should not introduce the bugs to start with." - see Wikiquote. I think the same holds true for testing. So instead of the ever famous code-test-refactor cycle we could use more of the Feynman Way of Solving Problems. If you really think about the solution first you will find you won't need a test. Instead you will actually write correct code from the beginning. You won't need to rely on tests. They cannot show the absence of bugs anyway - as Dijkstra mentioned. In the end you will end up with cleaner code and less code - as there are no tests to be written.

This principle can be applied to other areas as well. I think one reason why there are so many car accidents are the very effective brakes cars have now. If we had less effective brakes people would think about possible problems beforehand, drive more carefully - and we would have less accidents.

 
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Eberhard Wolff
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Eberhard Wolff