The Holy Java

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Archive for September, 2012

Most interesting links of September ’12

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 30, 2012

Recommended Readings

  • Johannes Brodwall: This dependency injection madness must end! – it’s very valuable to hear well-founded arguments against any popular belief and Dependency Injection is one of these. “I have started disliking the consequence of this strategy very much: All coupling in my system becomes implicit and harder to understand. I have instead reverted to using design patterns like the Singleton pattern, but with a slight twist.”
  • Computer Programmers Learn Tough Lesson in Sharing – – A balanced presentation of pair-programming including both benefits and issues. A key point: It is a skill that must be learned (to respect the other one, give her space, be aware of how your behavior is perceived by her, …).
  • Kent Beck: Functional TDD: A Clash of Cultures – TDD has been developed for object-oriented languages and applying it to a functional language with strong type brings interesting challenges. Also a good summary of the benefits of TDD: double checking of the logic (by the implementation and the, preferably quite different, test), solution decomposition (focus on part of the problem, once solve be sure it stays solved),  automatic checking of correctness, outside in design (API first, implementation after that). Plus the pleasant experience of the continuous cycle of tension (failing test) – relief (green).
  • Paul Callaghan: Thinking Functionally with Haskell: Types? Tests? We Need a New Word – Powerful type systems eliminate possibility of defects thus venturing into the domain of testing – what can they offer and where the new border and symbiosis between types and tests will be?
  • Tales from the Ops Side: Black Friday – an interesting and exciting view into the life of operations engineers one day when all went wrong. Key learnings: Many interdependant components are difficult to reason about; good monitoring and communication are crucial. The post refers to an interesting concept of Recovery-Oriented Computing, i.e. failures are inevitable and their prediction is nearly impossible thus we must focus on making the systems able to survive failures (e.g. vi damage containment, automatic fault detection, component-level restartability).
  • Groovy: The road map for the popular JVM language – why was Groovy created (as Java companion focused on productivity), key changes in Groovy 2.0 (more suport for static typing, Java 7, modularity with speed as a side-effect) and in the future Groovy 3.0 (invokedynamic everywhere, more Groovy written in itself).
  • Martin Fowler: Key Points from NoSQL Distilled – an overview of why NoSQL, data models, distribution models, consistency, map-reduce, polyglot persistence, criteries for choosing a database.
  • You’re a Top Developer! – a surprising hypothesis that “90% of all developers never read a programming blog, never have any side projects to learn something new, and never spend any time or effort outside work hours to improve”. However I haven’t seen any data to back that up (the author only quotes  Peopleware) and the author doesn’t propose any explanation for the fact. I’d really like to know if it is true and why it is so.

Business & Agile

  • Experimentation Is The New Planning – “You have no idea what’s going to happen to your industry. That’s why you build your organization into an engine of possibility.” We need “to  continually develop options and explore possibilities” to survive in the ever-changing conditions. Successful strategies emerge from the many ongoing experiments. However, “For emergent strategy to be successful, there must be enough autonomy, freedom, and slack in the system for people and resources to connect in a peer-to-peer way”.
  • The Buy-vs-Build Shift (part 1) – Buy to reduce risk of failure (however true agile development – with frequent deliveries and feedback-driven direction – may be cheaper and more importantly can tailor the product to the actual needs) and to avoid inefficiecy of development (but it doesn’t need to be so with agile). “[..] in projects with long cycle times (years) there is a tendency for the business to be somewhat speculative and request all functionality that they can think of [..] With prioritised iterative delivery the business can halt a project when all features that are actually needed have been completed. [..] it does reduce the amount of features that are implemented, and based on my experience, quite substantially so.” Today’s development with e.g. TDD, powerful IDEs supporting automated refactoring, powerful development/production machine, the all-knowing Internet may be much more efficient.
  • European entrepreneurs – Les misérables – A good analysis of why it is much more difficult to be an entrepreneur in Europe than in USA (the strong negative impact of a business failure, lack of local investors, cost of firing people) and the decline of European entrepreneurship since 19th century/WW1.
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office: Effective Practices and Federal Challenges in Applying Agile Methods – US government considers agile effective; description of the useful practices and of challenges


Clojure Corner

  • 10-minute Emacs for Clojure – getting started with Emacs for Clojure – install & config & basic usage for Emacs newbies (though no REPL integration yet)
  • Keep IT Simply Simple: First month @Runa Inc. – Clojure shop in Silicon Valley – brief post about using Clojure in the wild. Some points: TDD works splendidly; frameworks are not necessary; Clojure can be really fast (<= type hinting, memoziation, performant data structures + occasional Java code)
  • Blackstag: Why Clojure? The author describes the set of reasons that have led him to Clojure – and those that actually made him stick with it. “[..] what I like the most about Clojure is that it brings together the best of what many languages have to offer while not forcing it all upon me and, in doing so, has provided a good balance between power and flexibility.” “With Clojure I accomplish more and have found a greater sense of happiness with the work I am doing.”

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Using Java as Native Linux Apps – Calling C, Daemonization, Packaging, CLI (Brian McCallister)

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 25, 2012

This is a summary of the excellent JavaZone 2012 talk Going Native (vimeo) by Brian McCallister. Content: Using native libraries in Java and packaging them with Java apps, daemonization, trully executable JARs, powerful CLI, creating manpages, packaging natively as deb/rpm.

1. Using Native Libs in Java

Calling Native Libs

Calling native libraries such as C ones was hard and ugly with JNI but is very simple and nice with JNA (GPL) and JNR (Apache/LGPL)
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Infographic: Why Should All Learn Little Code

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 24, 2012

Programming Infographic (by


BTW, Codecademy is really fun.

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Enabling JMX Monitoring for Hadoop And Hive

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 21, 2012

Hadoop’s NameNode and JobTracker expose interesting metrics and statistics over the JMX. Hive seems not to expose anything intersting but it still might be useful to monitor its JVM or do simpler profiling/sampling on it. Let’s see how to enable JMX and how to access it securely, over SSH.

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VisualVM: Monitoring Remote JVM Over SSH (JMX Or Not)

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 21, 2012

(Disclaimer: Based on personal experience and little research, the information might be incomplete.)

VisualVM is a great tool for monitoring JVM (5.0+) regarding memory usage, threads, GC, MBeans etc. Let’s see how to use it over SSH to monitor (or even profile, using its sampler) a remote JVM either with JMX or without it.

This post is based on Sun JVM 1.6 running on Ubuntu 10 and VisualVM 1.3.3.

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The Best Code I Have Ever Written Is The Code I Never Wrote

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 14, 2012

The best code I have ever written is the code I never wrote. It works exactly as intended. There are no bugs, ever. It doesn’t increase complexity of the application. Other people don’t need to struggle to understand it. It gets never outdated.

Therefore don’t write code unless you really have to.

You might enjoy also other posts on effective development.

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Programming Like Kent Beck

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 12, 2012

Republished from with the permission of my co-authors Stig Bergestad and Krzysztof Grodzicki.

Three of us, namely Stig, Krzysztof, and Jakub, have had the pleasure of spending a week with Kent Beck during Iterate Code Camp 2012, working together on a project and learning programming best practices. We would like to share the valuable lessons that we have learnt and that made us better programmers (or so we would like to think at least).

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(Unit) Testing Swiss Knife: All the Tools You Wanted to Know

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 9, 2012

I love testing. And I like productivity. There are many tools and libraries that make writing tests easier, more convenient, more fun. I would like to introduce here those that I found the most useful during the years, from selected advanced features of JUnit to assertion libraries, powerful behavior/fault injection, testing of database-related code, and finally to boosting your testing productivity hundredfold with Groovy.

This post accompanies my JavaZone 2012 lightning talk and goes more in depth and introduces additional tools and tips.

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Help, My Code Isn’t Testable! Do I Need to Fix the Design?

Posted by Jakub Holý on September 9, 2012

Our code is often untestable because there is no easy way to “sense1” the results in a good way and because the code depends on external data/functionality without making it possible to replace or modify these during a test (it’s missing a seam2, i.e. a place where the behavior of the code can be changed without modifying the code itself). In such cases the best thing to do is to fix the design to make the code testable instead of trying to write a brittle and slow integration test. Let’s see an example of such code and how to fix it.

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