Category: Java

Thoughts on Eclipse IDE

Noah Petherbridge
kirsle
Posted by Noah Petherbridge on Thursday, May 26 2011 @ 12:09:07 AM
This is a little rant about the Eclipse IDE for Java (and other languages, but it's mainly a Java IDE).

I hate it.

I have to use Eclipse because my current project at work is a Java project, with a massive amount of source code, and I have no idea how I'd compile and run the project except with Eclipse. Also, there's a significant amount of source code managed by CVS in a hundred different projects, and authentication is made complicated by a VPN and I have no intentions of trying to manage CVS via command line.

Eclipse creates more work for me just by being Eclipse. The CVS system on it is broken, and I frequently get CVS conflicts on files that I didn't even touch between updates, which cause syntax errors, some of which aren't immediately obvious (sometimes they cause runtime errors instead of compile-time errors).

Then, Eclipse likes to just crash from time to time with no explanation. I ended up jury-rigging a chain of shell scripts just to start Eclipse to try to minimize how often it crashes, and catch the errors (if any) when it does.

Namely, I needed to use ulimit to increase the number of filehandles Eclipse can have to keep it from crashing. Only root can do this, though, and I don't want to run Eclipse as root, because I don't want new files coming in through CVS to be owned as root and make my job more difficult.

So, just to start Eclipse, I had to set up /etc/sudoers to not require a password to use sudo, and allow sudo to run without a TTY (these are both bad security practices, btw), and to sudo execute this script as root:

$ cat start_eclipse.sh
#!/bin/bash

# increase fileno limit
ulimit -n 50000
sudo -u kirsle "./start_eclipse.pl" &
This uses root only to increase the filehandle limit, then it switches to kirsle (my user) so nothing further runs as root, and runs start_eclipse.pl, a Perl script that attempts to catch errors when Eclipse goes down like a cheerleader at homecoming:
$ cat start_eclipse.pl 
#!/usr/bin/perl -w

my $out = `./eclipse 2>&1`;
if ($? != 0) {
	$out =~ s/\'/\\'/g;
	system("zenity", "--info", "--text", $out);
}
Ugh. I strongly prefer a plain old text editor like vim or gedit.

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My Problem with Apple

Noah Petherbridge
kirsle
Posted by Noah Petherbridge on Wednesday, April 14 2010 @ 06:13:44 PM
I've told parts of this story to various people and posted about it in notes on Facebook but here's finally a blog post that sums up all the reasons I don't like Apple.

I didn't care one way or another about Apple until I got an iPhone 3G about a year ago. I got it about a month before the iPhone 3GS model came out; I heard the 3GS was on its way but nobody knew when, but I figured, "a smartphone is a smartphone, who really cares if mine doesn't have a compass built in?" How wrong I was.

I didn't know then what Apple was planning to do in the following month. Basically, they release the 3.0 firmware upgrade for iPhone 3G users. The new firmware gives the 3G customers a taste of some of the new features and would encourage them to buy the upcoming 3GS phone to get the rest. But, one more thing, the 3.0 firmware slows your shit down! So, the customers who were fine with the 3G and didn't plan to upgrade to the 3GS, now, would probably want to buy the 3GS just because they get sick of the 3G being so slow.

If you take an iPhone 3G running the 2.x firmware and compare it side-by-side with the 3GS phone running the 3.0 firmware... the differences in speed and "snappiness" is negligible.

So basically, the 3G was slowed down, on purpose, and then when the Apple fanboys stopped complaining and got used to this new slowness... Apple releases the iPhone 3GS and "ohh my godd, it's SO fast and snappy!"

I've been telling everyone my prediction for the last year but now I'm writing it for my blog: my prediction is that this upcoming summer 2010, Apple will release the 4.0 iPhone OS firmware upgrade, which will slow down all the 3GS phones (Apple's currently latest model of iPhone), and then this will be followed a week or two later by Apple unveiling the iPhone 4, which will be OH-SO-FAST now compared to the crippled, slowed-down 3GS phones.

Let's just wait and see if I'm right.

For this reason, my iPhone 3G is the first, and last, Apple product I ever intend to own. Well, the only closed device, anyway; I do like the Mac OS X operating system, and with a Macbook you can always reinstall the operating system from the CD that came with your computer. But with locked-down devices, once you make the mistake of upgrading, you can't go back; modern iTunes versions make sure of this: when you try to restore your devices in iTunes now, iTunes insists on getting the very latest firmware from Apple and doesn't let you browse and choose an older firmware image.

Because of the way Apple abuses their iPhone and iPod Touch customers, you'd better believe they'll pull the same shit with iPad customers too. I hope all you iPad early adopters love your iPad now, but just wait and, approximately a year from now there will inevitably be a new model, and Apple will really want to slow your shit down to force you to either deal with the artificial slowness, or pay another $500+ to upgrade to the latest model.

So I'm not a fan of Apple's closed devices. But I'm also not a fan of Apple's policies in terms of their app store approvals and rejections.

It was all over the blogosphere when Apple banned the Google Voice application from the app store, and even started an FCC investigation about whether Apple had any legal right to do so. Why did Apple ban Google Voice? Because it competed with Apple's very own phone application.

Similarly, there have been other apps Apple has killed because Apple is anti-competitive, including an e-mail app that was better than Apple's built-in e-mail app. Apple likes to maintain a complete monopoly--nay, a dictatorship--over its app store, and it would rather completely exterminate any hint of competition than to actually, you know, compete back. If somebody made an e-mail app that kicks the ass of Apple's e-mail app, Apple should make their e-mail app better than the competition; it shouldn't just throw a bitchfit and say "BAWWWWW this app isn't approved for the app store!"

Apple, in this regard, comes off to me as being like an immature little child, who would rather throw the chess board on the floor and scatter all the pieces than to even think about dealing with any form of competition whatsoever.

In the "App Store Competition" boat also sits Adobe Flash. It's highly speculated that the real reason Apple has a vendetta against Flash is because Flash applications can be just as feature-rich, interactive and animated as native iPhone applications. If Mobile Safari had a Flash player, nothing would stop people from creating web applications, that consist of a Flash object, that users could bookmark as Home Screen icons, that would be just as full-featured as native iPhone applications.

Similarly, Apple's latest developer agreement says you must originally write your app in C, C++ or Objective-C. Why did Apple decide to add this clause just now? Because Adobe's latest Flash beta includes the capability to export your Flash application into Objective-C code, which would enable one to basically use Adobe Flash to create iPhone applications.

Apple hates Flash for one reason: it directly competes with the app store and the native iPhone applications. If you could use Flash to create Objective-C code to author iPhone applications, Apple may lose some market share since Mac OS X is no longer required to create iPhone apps, among other things.

Anyway, this is where I stand on my views about Apple. Frankly, Apple is evil, in the sense of the term as it is used in Google's company slogan, "Don't be evil." Apple is this kind of evil.

So, I have no plans to ever own another closed Apple device, and would never consider developing an iPhone application. Nothing could be worse than spending weeks or months developing an application, only to have Apple dictate at the last minute that your app won't be allowed on the app store.

When I get an Android, I'll do Android app development. It has a plus of being Java-based. This means if I decided to make, say, a game, I could program the game once and then very trivially make many different ports of it: a desktop application, "full version" of the game; a Java applet, "try online before you download" light version of the game; and an Android application, "mobile version" of the game.

I know Apple fanboys like to google for anyone talking shit about Apple and I welcome the comments. I just know however from speaking with Apple fanboys I know in real life that they all were fully aware that Apple slows down their old devices (a co-worker fanboy has an iPhone 3G and agreed that it was slowed down with the 3.0 firmware). But, as expected of Apple fanboys, they try to justify it and defend Apple even though Apple is blatantly screwing them over and extorting them for as much money as possible. But by all means, post your comments anyway; entertain me with your blind dedication to Apple and how you believe they could do no wrong.

Because from where I stand, holding my iPhone 3G that takes 40 seconds to load the SMS app from a sleep state (and you 3G users know exactly what I'm talking about), Apple is doing nothing good here.

JavaCC

Noah Petherbridge
kirsle
Posted by Noah Petherbridge on Thursday, December 25 2008 @ 06:12:18 PM
I've completed a beta version of my Java CyanChat package. It doesn't have a page yet on this site because now that I'm mixing Perl and Java projects together, I'm thinking of redesigning the software pages to indicate what programming language was used. That aspect of this site needs a bit of restructuring.

For now you can download it, or browse the source code and Javadocs, at /projects/Java/.

Java!

Noah Petherbridge
kirsle
Posted by Noah Petherbridge on Tuesday, December 16 2008 @ 07:03:23 PM
Recently I got the bright idea to just sit down and put some time into learning how to program in Java. Why? My ultimate goal in which programming language I wanna figure out is C++, but every time I try that, it gives me a new reason to hate it (for instance, I wrote some code in Dev-C++ 4 which compiled and executed, but would not compile in Dev-C++ 5 anymore). Also, Java is under the GNU General Public License now, it runs the same on multiple platforms without much thought (like Perl), and it's less picky than C++ (and is therefore a good stepping stone along my journey to finally tackling C++).

I started with Sun's tutorials, beginning with basic command-line apps to get the syntax down, then moving into the GUI tutorials with Swing. I'm not putting high priority on learning Java applet programming right at the moment, because nobody likes Java applets anymore.

And so now I'm at the point where I'm attempting to program my own things from scratch. A logical place to start was to create a Java class for the CyanChat protocol. The goal of it is to match the functionality of Net::CyanChat, and then one day I might even program a "Java CyanChat Client", to complement my current Perl CyanChat Client (and by Java CC Client, I don't mean an applet; the standard CyanChat client is an applet -- I mean a GUI application).

My CyanChat package is named org.kirsle.network.CyanChat for right now. Eventually I intend to program a RiveScript interpreter in Java, to open the door up to Java developers to get into the world of RiveScript (and because the only RiveScript interpreter currently in existence is written in Perl). Then, one of my goals in C++ is to compile a "RiveScript.dll" file, which can be dynamically linked with C/C++ programs or any other language that can dynamically link a DLL. :)

Since I'm serious about Java development, I made a nice lil avatar for Java-related blog posts, and spent more than 5 minutes creating it too.

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