Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Microsoft and Open Source

It's very interesting to note the Microsoft's involvment in the Open Source (or open source) arena.
I came across this presentation held by Sam Ramji - director of the Open Source Lab at Microsoft - at the latest EclipseCon. It shows how Microsoft and Eclipse Foundation are working together on making Higgins and CardSpace interoperable and on building SWT on top of WPF (to let Eclipse shine on Vista).

One thought coming on my mind: how long is it going to take to have Visual Studio as an Eclipse plug-in.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Planning in Cork and Cyclomatic Complexity

I am in charge of prepping the Day0 happening in Cork, for the next Release Planning of the Web21C SDK Team.

A bit of background: Day0 tradition started a year ago (at the Dublin Release Planning) as an opportunity for the whole team members (located between London, Ipswich, Denver in US) to meet and share knowledge. It happens the day before Release Planning - hence the name - and involves technical presentations and discussions on topics selected by a small number of members and presented to the whole team in - typically - two or three streams.

The process is quite interesting as we're organising the event as a mix of Open Space and Unconference. I have asked people to sign up for sessions to present and for topics to discuss at the Gold Fish Bowl at the end of the day. (Yeah, I know that a preset agenda is not truly Open Space, but it'll help me to manage the hotel resources and keep people focussed, whilst having the attendee to comment and provide feedback to the presenters - and whoever has something to say on the day can book his session at the start of the day on a properly prepared sheet)

I am confident that the event will be as successful as the one I organised in Glasgow last January.

I am even attempting to present two sessions although I have the feeling it's going to be too much, being now involved on preparing the two papers for Agile 2008 the release of the Messaging capability at the back of the Web21C SDK next 28th of April and the Brown Bag at the end of May.

Anyway, one of the sessions I was thinking to present is on software metrics and refactoring complexity out of code. The goods the bads and the evils of metrics and how they work as triggering alarms on spotting complexity in the design and implementation. I am thinking how to best make use of those numbers without being too mental on making them nice and round. Especially the Cyclomatic Complexity, which I find quite useful as an indication of the complexity of the code. In fact with Eclipse and the Checkstyle plugin, it's possible to get the number on the fly. Another useful application of the McCabe number (the other alias of the CC) is to get an indication on how many tests are required to fully cover untested code - useful clearly when you inherit untested code.

I'll think of writing a more extensive post once I finish the presentation

Euro and Pound signs in Java

Never use € (euro) and £ (pound) symbols in a Java src file. If you do you're asking for trouble. Rather use their unicode prepresentation (and possibly a comment telling readers what that unicode represents), that is:

public static final char EURO = '\u20AC';
public static final char POUND = '\u00A3';

The main problem occurs when your src is meant to be managed in a windows platform (where encoding is by default Cp1252) and in a Linux platform (where encoding is by default UTF-8).
Unless you have to, then, don't use them. If you really have to, the option is to share between the platforms the same encoding.

You may need to consider

  1. -Dfile.encoding
  2. Use the same encoding in both platforms by passing to the ant the encoding attribute
  3. Change the default workspace encoding in eclipse (windows/general/workspace) and set it to UTF-8 (bear in mind that then your € and £ wont be visible anyway)
Obviously this happens for any other outside US-ASCII char that is not represented in UTF-8