Java — and in a more general sense — the garbage collector is partly responsible for the huge productivity gains in the past several decades as development moved increasingly to memory-managed environments. This has come at a cost, with less attention paid to the amount of memory consumed in such environments.
This is the first of several interviews from fall of 2010 that I will document. The Microsoft Software Development Engineer Interview is hard. While no interview process is perfect, they do a lot of things right in terms of setting a high bar, as well as showing off what the company has to offer. It […]
“The great thing about managed code like Java and C# is that it can’t leak memory, because the garbage collector takes care of everything for you by reclaiming objects using a reference counting algorithm.” The above statement of course, is completely false, although widely repeated.
Many programming languages contain the concept of a null “value,” which can mean “nothing,” or may be precisely equal to integer zero. When encountering this in a database, it would be natural to assume it means roughly “nothing.” This is a naive, although workable definition of null. As we’ve seen, simplified and even incorrect definitions […]
Agile is the hip new software development methodology. Everyone from Fortune 100 firms to doughnut shops are trying to implement it these days. When even a US Department of Defense contractor is trying to become agile, a serious paradigm shift away from the traditional waterfall approach to a better methodology must be happening because agile […]
UMass offers a software engineering course (CS320) that teaches the software design process — on real projects, with real teams. It is managed by select students who have successfully passed the course. Below are some rules I (tried to) live by while managing my 12-member team.
Because everyone and their grandma is coming out with a book on “usability for people who aren’t user interface designers,” I’ve decided that I too am qualified to say something on the matter. I’ve been writing some docs in preparation for my hiatus from Etna, and below I’ve included some snippets from those docs. This […]
If there’s anything I’ve noticed that plagues many less-experienced programmers, it’s what I refer to as the fencepost problem (or fencepost error, if you will). The problem can be most succinctly summed up using this thought exercise: Imagine a fence that is 100 meters long. A fencepost is needed every 10 meters. How many fenceposts […]