Monday, September 28, 2009

Java 7 - a dissapointment

I've just been looking into the "features" available in J7 and I must say I'm mostly disappointed. Closures are out, properties are not yet implemented... I guess the code base must be to big to do any relevant changes to the language. Maybe it's time someone will admit that the language is going down and that there's time for Java++?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Come to Bury Agile, Not to Praise It - by Alistair Cockburn

Hi all,

from all the presentations about programming methodologies I believe this one given by Alistair Cockburn at the InfoQ conference to be of particular value. It's mainly because of the fact that he discloses most of the actual patterns occurring during a software development process and shows probable solutions for the upcoming (or present) challenges that we might face.

Go check it out at Bury not praise agile

And please - have fun!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

PostgreSQL and phpPgAdmin on Ubuntu Server

I was struggling to get the phpPgAdmin application to work on a virtual machine running Ubuntu 9.04 today. As it turns out phpPgAdmin's default installation is by default targeted at desktop environments which is by all intents and purposes stupid (to say the least).

So what's so "desktop-ish" about it? Well as it turns out the default configuration accepts connections from localhost only which is completely unusable in a server-like environment with no graphical environment and no web browser whatsoever.

The default behavior also manifests itself in a very non-verbose manner. At first the log entry

"GET /pgphpadmin HTTP/1.1" 403 268

is not saying very much. It'd be better if the error message said something more verbose and direct the user to change the access rules or better yet to have a configuration step during installation that asks for this rather than to have poke around some configuration files.

To change it's default behavior one has to edit the file /etc/apache2/conf.d/phppgadmin (which is a symbolic link to /etc/phppgadmin/apache.conf) and change the default access policy from ::1/128 to all.
To do that simply comment out the line that reads

allow from ::1/128

and remove the comment from one line below that reads

allow from all

That does the trick. Of course that opens the ability to connect to this server from the outside world, but since this is a server installation it's not uncommon to access it from far far away, is it?

Happy hunting!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The size does not matter

I've just finished a very inspiring conversation with a friend of mine and I want to share the outcome with the rest of you.

So it started quite innocent. He talked how he liked the Flex framework with some server-side code, I talked about the discovery of Apache Wicket... Just a normal conversation between 2 fellow programmers.

Then after some time he expressed his bad feeling about dynamic languages and all. Well, I've asked if he'd like to see the waves of a WiFi transmitter where he immediately replayed that he ain't got a microscope laying around....

At that time it was quite obvious that he thinks of them as something that really is there. That they are something he can take for granted. That's an assumption even if on a very theoretical level. He made an assumption and to that end he expressed his behavior as dynamic.

This fact lead to a conclusion that human beings are in fact in their nature more suited to the dynamic part of programming languages than anything else. We choose to think about programming as a very static thing whereas it is completely dynamic in its very nature. We can never predict what the user will give for an input to our carefully design form, do we? We can never predict what kind of weather condition will be fed to our application's flight planning routine - it's just a wild guess that we can cope with all of that.

On a more structural level it's a lot better to define the actual interface required for the part in question to work as expected than to say that this part must definitely be of some special type. Hell, the duck and a canary are birds and are similar in a lot of different ways. Did they evolve from the same species? Maybe yes but, on the other hand, maybe not. The fact remains the same that we can talk about the wings of a duck as well as of the wings of a canary and we all know that they move more-less up and down to create some lift to allow the bird to fly!

At the end of the day both ideas (the static and the dynamic one) have their advantages and disadvantages. It's just takes the openness of one's mind to realize the similarities and advantages of both solution to pick the right one for the job.

Happy hunting!