Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why Computer Programmers Should Stop Calling Themselves Engineers - The Atlantic

There are lots of analogies to be made between the construction trade and software development. Maybe a follow up piece? It's only natural to call the practitioners by engineering titles. Not everyone who codes is an engineer, just as not everyone who writes is a journalist. However, a lot of the same concepts go into each. The interesting part is how far the analogy holds, not probing at the weak points, but it would take a practitioner to appreciate it. I probobly wouldn't click on a story about blogging versus journalism. Why is a journalist writing about engineering? It seems the journalist in this case is making the same mistake he decries, or pehaps he's qualified. 

Professional licensing is almost singularly the only difference between the professions. It's called Software Engineering for a reason, with the emphasis on "soft", versus "hard", each with its own set of requirements. Not recognizing this difference only emphasizes the authors lack of subject matter expertise. Besides, there are volatile components, mainly memory that can inexplicably fail, causing a car to not start due to software failing to error check. That's a cost component, and we know how that works out in the manufacturing industry. The similarities across disciplines are more numerous and far more interesting than the differences.

Why Computer Programmers Should Stop Calling Themselves Engineers - The Atlantic:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring 3 MVC and REST

For anyone working with Spring 3 MVC and REST, I spent a lot of time getting this sorted, so I thought I would post some results.

Spring 3 is a few years old now, but I'm using it at my day job, so that's what I'm using here. You can get a Spring 3 MVC project running by following any number of tutorials. I won't go into those details here.

The biggest gotcha I ran into wasn't well documented anywhere, in fact, I found two singular pieces of information which enabled me to get this code working after some considerable effort. First is using Jackson version 1.9, instead of 2.x, for Spring MVC versions prior to 3.1. Here's the POM entries.




Secondly, with Spring MVC 3.0, you need this in your bean configuration;

 <!-- JSON support -->
 <bean id="jacksonMessageConverter"
  <property name="messageConverters">
    <ref bean="jacksonMessageConverter" />

So, let's take a request from the beginning. I used Advanced Rest Client chrome extension, but this works as a simple URL request. Your web.xml file needs handle the request,

<!-- Initialise the Spring MVC DispatcherServlet -->

<!-- Map the Spring MVC DispatcherServlet to intercept *.sp requests -->


Spring maps the URL to a controller,

<context:component-scan base-package="com.nml.myapp.web.controller" />
<context:annotation-config />
<mvc:annotation-driven />

and with Jackson in the classpath, the controller code returns the JSON response,

public class JsonController {

 private static final Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(JsonController.class);

 @RequestMapping(value = "/getCategories", method = RequestMethod.GET)
 public @ResponseBody List<String> query() {

  logger.info("rest request: getCategories");
  List<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();
  list.add("object is list");
  list.add("second object"); 
//  model.addAttribute("list", list);
  return list;

Here's the result. My first good night's sleep in a week.

Chromebook and Crouton Goodness

I've purchased a new Chromebook, an Asus C300 EDU with a 13" screen, 4G RAM, 32G SSD, an Intel N2830 dual core processor. It's quite an improvement over the Samsung 303C that I've used for a couple of years, in fact, we have one for every member of the family. It's just easier that way!

One of the reasons I went with the Chromebook was the ease of use. Everything works with a Google Account, and it integrates well with Android. I use Google Docs extensively, so there's no need for lot's of disk space.

I got this particular model with an Intel processor for two reasons. 4G RAM is a necessity for intensive applications, and I use Crouton which installs Ubuntu Linux side by side with ChromeOS, which runs on a scaled down version of Linux. Some Linux applications depend on native compiled libraries which aren't available for ARM based processors, like the Samsung chromebooks and Raspberry Pi.

I've been using some Amateur Radio applications just fine on the ARM processor, but Eclipse wouldn't run, and I blogged earlier about hp printing, although cloud printing works fine.

So, now I've got this great Chromebook with plenty of memory, runs all my linux apps, and I've got it connected to an older Dell 24" external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Life is good, praise the Lord! Amen and amen!