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IRC channel?

 
Siegfried Heintze
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Why does not javaranch have an IRC channel?

I'm trying to encourage one at the Denver Java Users group at irc://irc.freenode.net/djug-chat but that one would probably be specific to the boulder/denver area.

Actually, it does not have to be IRC, I suppose another one of the IM products like MSN IM or AOL IM or skype IM. I like skype the best because you can save chats.

Siegfried
 
Ilja Preuss
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What would you want to use it for?
 
Siegfried Heintze
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Some questions are very tedios to ask in a forum. For example, I just recently resolved some confusion I originally tried to resolve in the java forum (or was it the swing or java2d forum?)

I did not understand the following code

void get_xyz(final int tuv){
addXYZListener(new XYZListener(){
void abc(){
def(tuv);
}
}
}
I got a response in the forum but it was not helpful. Basically the response was "well the code works, what is the problem?". I was confused by the syntax because I had not seen it in any java tutorials.

Someone at denver Java User's group responsed to my suggestion for an IRC channel and set one up.

On chatzilla at irc://irc.freenode.net/djug-chat we were able to discuss the fact that final function args are implicit data members and can be passed to function "def" long after "get_xyz" has executed. But this required interactive chat for me to understand.

I'd still love to have java ranch set up a IRC channel. Presently there are only three of us hanging out on irc://irc.freenode.net/djug-chat. The name DJUG is implicitly city specific and a java ranch IRC would be world wide.

Thanks,
Siegfried
 
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
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Hi Siegfried,
Some questions are very tedios to ask in a forum.
Personally I prefer how forums get you to slow down and write things out in full. In my mind, IRC (or any chat software) tends towards faster, less complete, less thought out answers. I am not saying that this results in wrong answers, just it is a different model. And my personaly preference is for the style of responses you typically get in forums.
For example, [...] I did not understand the following codeOn chatzilla at irc://irc.freenode.net/djug-chat we were able to discuss the fact that final function args are implicit data members and can be passed to function "def" long after "get_xyz" has executed. But this required interactive chat for me to understand.
To be honest, I am surprised you were able to discuss this sort of code in a chat room - possibly it only worked because there are few members at present. Otherwise it is hard to get the code across to the other people for them to view it and then discuss it.

Looking at some of your other recent topics (Wanted: example mouse coordinates->world coordinates, JSplitterView treats panes differently, How to add mouse listener? ...) I cannot see how that amount of code would work in a chat room environment. To elucidate:
  • No longer real time.


  • For somebody to write those code samples and/or read the code samples in order to discuss them, they have to take a break from the chat room.

    So in that case, the person who asked the question is going to be left waiting for an answer while the other people are doing the writing / reading . (No different from posting at JavaRanch really.)

  • Large amounts of code do not work within the chat environment.


  • You could not simply paste large amounts of code directly into the chat window - formatting might be lost, somebody else might type something in the middle of your code (which will make it difficult to copy / paste - even assuming that the scroll-back buffer of the IRC client is set large enough to allow that).

    So how do you handle this? Post the major code into a forum (such as JavaRanch)? If so - why not use JavaRanch directly?

    Send the files directly between chat participants? Then you only have a limited subset of people viewing the code / making comments on it. For example, if you asked for some sample code, and I created a sample application for you and sent it to you, how many people do you think are really likely to ask me for it? If you are the only person at the time we are talking about it then you are putting all your faith in me knowing the answer - if I am using an anti-pattern then you are going to be learning the wrong things from me, and nobody else is likely to pick it up at that time.
    I got a response in the forum but it was not helpful. Basically the response was "well the code works, what is the problem?". I was confused by the syntax because I had not seen it in any java tutorials.
    So this is a case where you may not have provided enough details for anyone to give you a better answer. IRC does not change that, however if you can find someone who is willing to ask the right questions to eventually find out what your question is, then IRC might provide a mechanism to help you provide the details quicker than the same process in the forums. This goes back to my first statement about why I like the forum process - since I am not in an interactive discussion with the other people, I tend to take more time to ensure that the problem / answer is as completely described as I can make it.

    I haven't mentioned until now what I consider to be the biggest issues with your proposed usage of IRC - history and availability.

    Right now, if I have a problem, I can go back and search JavaRanch to see if someone had the same problem in the past / what solution(s) were found. This would be difficult (if not impossible) to have in a chat environment. While it might be possible to save the outputs of the conversations, due to the very nature of interactive chatting, topics change rapidly, so it would be hard to find relevant bits of text. Plus, in the case we had before where we were hypothetically discussing large bits of code, how does someone find those large bits of code at some time in the future?

    As for availability - I am talking about availability of people who are knowledgeable and willing to discuss the problem I have right now. If someone is online right now who happens to know the answer to my particular problem (and isn't involved in chatting to someone else) then chat software will give me a more immediate response than the forums. But if there is not anyone that meets those 2 criteria, then I am completely out of luck. With the forum software, I can post a question at 9am my local time, which someone in India might answer at 9am their local time - 12 hours later for me. So I might see the response after 24 hours. But at least I got a response. The fact that you took 4 days to respond to Ilja's question is a perfect example of how IRC wouldn't have worked for something as simple as asking about a feature - you probably would have gotten bored waiting for an initial response (only 6 hours later), and Ilja would have certainly gotten bored waiting for your response.
    I'd still love to have java ranch set up a IRC channel. Presently there are only three of us hanging out on irc://irc.freenode.net/djug-chat. The name DJUG is implicitly city specific and a java ranch IRC would be world wide.
    It also sounds interesting to me, but I am not seeing a compelling reason yet.

    (I am also concerned that those people, who's partners are already complaining about the amount of time spent on JavaRanch, could get in real trouble if they started chatting with people in an IRC environment )

    Regards, Andrew
     
    Jeroen T Wenting
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    newbie103223> i have doubt
    newbie5363234> me2!
    newbie103223> class some_class
    newbie563422> im 1337 hax0r
    newbie103223> {


    just doesn't work...
     
    Dave Lenton
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    Having the conversation within a forum also means that it is stored for future reading by other people. Whenever I have thought about posting a Java related problem on the ranch, I've always been able to find someone else who has previously had the same problem, and a helpful response.

    In a chat programme, all that knowledge is lost to the rest of the world as soon as it moves off the screen.
     
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