Netbean probs

Some while ago, I start coding a feed reader in J2ME to run on mobile phones. After some searching, it seemed like Netbeans would be the way to go.. They provide a nice UI builder including modeling of the flow between the different screens, tailored towards cell phones. Also, it seems the Sony Ericsson SDK provides nice integration with Netbeans.

My favorite java IDE IntelliJ doesn’t seem to support mobile development at all. (for the record, I wouldn’t use IntelliJ if I had to pay for it myself ;)) The next best thing, Eclipse, seems to be less mature in this area, although they are progressing fast. So Netbeans it became.

To my surprise, I even found a tutorial on the netbeans site which already gave me a bootstrap to my task! 🙂

So, where’s the problem?

Well, I set up netbeans and created a project and all, so I could get to serious work on my 2h train trip. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to write a single line of code! 🙂 As soon as I opened my laptop, the Netbeans IDE seemed to have become very unresponsive! Opening a menu could take 10 seconds, scrolling through the code is impossible. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, so I rebooted because I thought my laptop was having trouble waking up after having the short nap. However, not improved. I had to give up.
At home, I searched the internet, and indeed, netbeans has problems with my ATI X600 ‘s PowerPlay function! Who would have imagined that. 😉 Especially since this is the only Java app I have trouble with… Anyhow, just disabling the PowerPlay function solves the problem! It’s probably related to my ATI drivers, but since I have a fricking Dell laptop, I’m not allowed to install drivers other than from Dell, so, as you can imagine, Dell never supplies updates to the driver! If anyone knows how to circumvent the checks going on in the driver installer from ATI, please let me know…

What’s wrong with MNG?

Recently, I wanted to make a simple animation to put on a webpage. I have a background image and a rendered 3D animation which should be on top of that.

When it comes to lossless image compression, PNG is my all-time favorite. It has layer support, full transparency, lossless non-patented compression, open format, … So the PNG-derived MNG would be a logical choice for animation, right? Wrong! 🙂 Almost none of the current browsers support it out of the box! Mozilla supported it for some time, but gave up due to bloated implementation. Konqueror is the only one supporting MNG! Can you believe that? 😕 Maybe you can, if you see the popularity of Flash. But what if you just want a simple animation? Is the loading of a full flash player justified for a simple animation? And why prefer a closed proprietary format if there are open ones? So I went on a quest for better formats. 🙂 Continue reading What’s wrong with MNG?

Bruce Eckel on python

Python seems on a revive to me. Actually for some time now… 🙂

First time I heard someone “still” programming with it, was about 4 years ago. The guy used it more as a glue language to combine several image registration scripts. But these days, it is very “in” again to be programming in python. It seems to be used heavily in web related stuff too. So it made me wonder: should I try it out once in a time? What’s the fuzz all about?

I found an interview with Bruce Eckel about Python. I know it’s a bit outdated by now, but still an interesting read from the guy who dissected C++ and Java in his “Thinking in “-series…

It seems B. Eckel also has a blog of his own.

Google Web Toolkit

I know I’m praising Google maybe a bit too much lately, but when Peter tipped me about the GWT I almost started to worship them! 😉 The GWT is actually a dream come true for me. Trying to write a dynamic web application these days is really a pain in the ***. If your background is from a world in which all programming languages are nicely typed and have nice informative compilers, nice IDE’s, nice debuggers, etc then it’s really a chock to start web development. It’s like being in the stone age again. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I hope, somewhere, you can agree that web languages are in general less mature than for example C++/Java.

Now, what did Google actually do? It seems they kind of shared my opinion. They thought, instead of starting another framework in some web language, why not offer an SDK for an established, proven development platform, which can be cross-compiled to nowadays web technology, taking care of all the nasty little details like cross browser compatibility and fumbling around in javascripts.

They chose Java as the source language. I don’t say it had to be Java, but I happen to be a Java developer in my day job, so this makes it extra interesting for me. 🙂 I can use my favorite IDE and actually start debugging an AJAX app, refactor some code, design a gui! Debugging is also nicely cross platform. Google calls it

hosted mode, where your code runs as Java in the Java Virtual Machine without compiling to JavaScript. To accomplish this, the GWT browser embeds a special browser control (an Internet Explorer control on Windows or a Gecko/Mozilla control on Linux) with hooks into the JVM.

Last but not least, you are not really stuck to the auto-generated code. Normally, the generated code suffices, but as it’s in a beta phase, and there will probably always be some case in which you want to do some manual tweaking, GWT provides the JavaScript Native Interface (JSNI, nice pun! ;))
It seems they have everything nicely documented and there’s even a weblog so we can be nicely kept up to date about any news/progress. 🙂

Conclusion: way to go google! 🙂