All posts by evan

Borland set to buy TogetherSoft

Interesting. My short experience of both JBuilder and Together has been very positive. They have struck me as very heavyweight tools with enormous functionality. JBuilder I enjoyed as it provides a lot of tools to take away chores, but doesn’t enforce a particular style of development (i.e. build methodology, source control) but rather seems to support everything. Borland always were the kings of the IDE and compiler. (Actually that link is not far enough back – my first experiences were of Borland C and Turbo Pascal waay back) Together is a memory and CPU pig, but I love the round-trip engineering.

What am I using now? I toyed with IntelliJ IDEa for a while – very nice refactoring support, nice and quick too, I’d buy it if there were no alternative. NetBeans is a disaster, what a bloated pig. Eclipse rocks! It runs fast, has the most ‘comfortable’ editing environment I’ve worked in for years, and has an excellent and expanding level of community support.

Check out for a comprehensive set of plugins for eclipse. I’m using:

  • XMLBuddy for xml syntax highlighting, code completion, and validation.
  • Quantum for database navigation
  • AntView to execute ant scripts
  • I’m still looking for a decent JSP editor though – I just want an editor with syntax highlighting and basic code completion. No joy yet.


    to <big>kev</big> for letting me rest my log here. I’ve worked with Kev on and off for years and he’s still my number one source of new tech bits’n’pieces. He’s taught me more than anyone I’ve ever worked with in the industry except for myself (if you know what I mean). I better stop or I’ll make him blush.

    Survival chance

    Your baby’s skin is very wrinkled from floating in water. This will stay this way until a few weeks after birth as your newborn fills out into a baby. Although take heart in the fact that your baby’s looks are assuming the looks that they will have at birth!

    It also seems that our baby has a very good chance of survival even if it were born now – so I’m in a really good mood about reaching this milestone. I’m going to have to rig up some sort of pulley system to lift the wife up the stairs though…

    Working with good web designers has taught me a lot about how to recognise good composition and use of color, but I’m a complete monkey when it comes to putting something together myself. I’m happy with that of course – my art is in code… (hmm.). is way cool – pick the color you like and it works out a complementary 6 color palette. I’ll definitely use this when I get a chance to redesign this page.

    Sold on CSS2

    Okay okay – I’m sold on XHTML/CSS2. W3C have got to do something about the CSS home page though. Ew.

    I’m implementing a simple reporting “dashboard” to be demo’d next week. No time to get a designer in to make it look pretty so it was time to get my hands dirty with some HTML – not my favorite pastime. I thought I might as well learn something while doing it, and I’ve been looking at sites like and the new Wired redesign. I’m not looking back now – I’d say it’s the biggest step towards separation of visual and content I’ve seen. I’ve spent way too much time in the last few years on presentation. Even when I’ve worked with really good HTML people it was always a chore – often involving handing over source code to the designer to work with. Things have gotten better as I’ve improved my ability to keep logic out of the pages but it’s always been fraught.

    Now the process would be to write code that outputs plain HTML in one big stream. I’d hand that to the designer, and they can ask to have it broken into

    s and s etc as required, and to apply classes as required. The designer can then own the CSS completely and totally control the layout and positioning. Nirvana?

    Deep Pointlessness

    From Martin Fowler’s home page:

    I was born in Walsall, England and lived in London for a decade before coming to New England in 1994. I enjoy living in the US even though I miss the beer, the deep pointlessness of Cricket, and the English countryside.

    I like that – deep pointlessness – I’ve only been in the UK for 2 years and I definitely miss the ballet that is Australian Rules Football and the ability to get yourself to places where you can feel completely alone.

    Jakarta Feeds

    Although I’ve used RDF/RSS for headline syndication onto client websites for a long time, I’m a newcomer to RSS aggregation. I’m now using FeedReader but I’m looking for something better – particularly something that stores a ‘read’ status on items that I’ve looked at before. Something web-based also would be good, as I’m often working on different machines. Hmm – the search continues…

    Problem is – now I’m annoyed with any site that doesn’t provide an RSS feed of their headlines. I usually find the latest releases from jakarta through announcements on blogs – why can’t I just monitor an RSS feed from the jakarta news page?


    Not often that I’m really impressed by a new shiny toy – even less when it costs me 50 pence a pop. Shazam is a mobile phone based service – you dial 2580 (conveniently the four digits down the centre of your keypad) and hold the phone up in a noisy bar or nightclub so it can hear the music. It hangs up when it’s done, then texts you straight back with the title and artist. That is seriously cool. I wasn’t really impressed when it picked a popular song playing on MTV2, but it also got a reasonably obscure old Midnight Oil song. More info at their


    Well I think this is suspect. I have been beating my head trying to get IIS and OC4J to co-exist on the same server running on 2 separate IP addresses serving HTTP on port 80. I checked that all of the virtual hosts under IIS were bound to address 1, but OC4J still wouldn’t start on address 2, claiming the address was in use. Turns out that MS have built a handy ‘feature’ into IIS – it claims all IP addresses on starting, whether it needs to or not. The fix is here. Should I be cynical about their intentions?


    I haven’t had time to properly read The Middleware Company’s benchmarks for their J2EE petstore v2, and definitely haven’t got the time to read through the code and validate their efforts. I definitely had a slightly suspicious feeling though. Thankfully Rickard has published his own review of TMC’s work. Now it seems that M$ funded the whole experiment. Very disappointed with TMC and