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Linda Walters

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Recent posts by Linda Walters

As Eric points out this is a rather open question, especially since there are a few hidden pitfalls here and you need to understand that there are a lot more possible values for the display style than just "none" and "block".

One that I came across a few months ago deals with displaying table rows. I was working on property sheet for a form designer deals with displaying and hiding rows in a table AND with cross-browser differences.

My property sheet looked great in IE 6 and when I changed widgets on the designer the table expanded or contracted to accomodate the number of properties for the widget. Cool. Then I tried it in Firefox and was totally disappointed and perplexed . Both the property name and its value, which should have been in columns 1 and 2 respectively, were showing up in the first column!

It turned out that I was using "block" unconditionally to display the rows of the table, which works just fine in IE, but does not work in Firefox (or any Gecko-based browser that I've seen). Firefox requires "table-row" vice "block". The worst part is that when I used "table-row" unconditionally, then the IE version broke! That meant that I had to test for the browser type (which I was already for other cross-browser issues) and use "block" or "table-row" as appropriate.

Note that there are ten, count 'em TEN, different table related values for the display style and additional ones for other cases. So, depending upon you needs it may not be as simple as "none" or "block".

[ June 07, 2006: Message edited by: Linda Walters ]

[ June 07, 2006: Message edited by: Linda Walters ]
[ June 07, 2006: Message edited by: Linda Walters ]
Do you mean that you want the text to be vertical?
For example, do you want:

as opposed to

If that is what you want, it can be done, but there is no simple way to do it; you can't define it as part of the <thead> tag or anything.
One way would be to do something like this inside the <td> tags:

I have been sorting through all of my notes and materials from last week's JavaOne conference in San Francisco and trying to collect and analyze my thoughts about it.

This was my first JavaOne and frankly, I was not impressed with the quality of the presentations. Obviously, I could only attend a tiny fraction of all of the parallel sessions, but the ones I did attend were, with about 3 or 4 exceptions, not very good.

In some cases it was because of the speaker(s); ones who should never have been allowed any where near a public speaking stage. However, in most of the negative cases, it was because of the lack of knowledge of the subject, their bias against or for one or more technologies or the simple fact that the session was nothing more than an hour long "infomercial" for their product.

I have been to many computer science conferences of a more academic bent, such as OOPSLA and other ACM and IEEE events, so I am no stranger to conferences. For size JavaOne has these beat by at least an order of magnitude, but, from what I saw at this conference, JavaOne cannot even hope to compete with these smaller events for quality.

I am very dissappointed in JavaOne.
16 years ago
This past week at JavaOne in San Francisco was very interesting. If you did as I did and went by the topics listed in the Session Catalog, you would have seen that Ajax and Web 2.0 were amongst the hot topics. If you then went to most of the Ajax and Web 2.0 sessions, as I did, you would have been very dissappointed.

Why are so many other Java developers so very anti JavaScript? No, it is not type checked. So what? Many of these same people love Ruby! One session's presenters went so far as to claim that there were no debuggers for JavaScript (ever heard of Venkman?) and no IDE editors (there is at least on Eclipse JavaScript smart editor plugin).

Many presenters were also quite happy to show sample HTML and then happily display, even brag about, their near total ignorance of HTML.

My only logical conclusion from all of this is a massive case of ego and arrogance.

I have been a software developer for over 30 years. When I started a "debugger" was a person, not a program. Your editor was an IBM 029 keypunch machine. Your "advanced" language was FORTRAN IV.

None of our tools are perfect. JavaScript is not perfect. Java is not perfect (blasphemy!). And a web developer who feels he/she is "above" knowing HTML, CSS, XSLT, JavaScript and so on is neither a complete developer, nor a very good one.

Just my $0.02

The computer engineering major and cs minor is certainly well qualified to be a software engineer. The CS is giving you the programming skills, data structure, algorithms, etc and the computer engineering is giving you the engineering dicipline that is so sadly lacking in most CS programs.

Also UMBC is a great school. I did most of my computer science degree at U. Maryland, University College.

Go Terps!
16 years ago
First of all, please note that what I am about to say applies to the USA and the specifics will most likely be different elsewhere. The basic entry level education is a BS in Computer Science. An MS is nice and will definately enhance your job opportunities, but is not require (particularly of entry level people). A PhD is really unnecessary for perhaps 99% of software engineering jobs.

I would strongly caution any high school students that while one may, on occassion as someone here suggested, find a software engineer who has no degree and, on even rarer occassions find one who never even set foot in a college, that these folk are the extreme exception and they usually had obtained some sort of work experience by unusual channels, such as the military (a course I would also strongly caution against).

As for my own bona fides for saying anything on this topic, I have been a software engineer for the better part of 30 years and I have also been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science. My own path was non-traditional. My first degree was in biology followed by a number of years in military intelligence (the world's greatest oxymoron), where I learned FORTRAN programming on the job as an intelligence officer working on tecnincal intelligence. When I got back to civilian life, I found a programming job and then went back to school nights to get a second BS in Computer Science and then an MS too.

My best advice to any high school student is to continue to get good grades in all your subjects and take as much mathematics as you can. You should also take physics and also either chemistry or biology. If your school offers computer programming classes, take them, but not at the expense of math and a lab science or two. Don't neglect your other classes, particularly English and composition. Despite the stereotype of the computer geek who can't put two words together, good writing skills are important in any field in business.

[ May 08, 2006: Message edited by: Linda Walters ]
[ May 08, 2006: Message edited by: Linda Walters ]
16 years ago
Who else is going to JavaOne next week?
Maybe we can meet up some where?
16 years ago
Are there any plans for a JavaRanch meet-up at JavaOne?
16 years ago
Well, I got "Pro Spring" this past Friday night and I'm well on the way into it and have found no major problems with it yet.

Special thanks to Junilu, that code you posted was exactly what was needed to make the "Spring in Action" sample "hello world" code work. I do like the text of "Spring in Action", but I'm going to be very careful of the code.

Thanks again to all

It's not so much that I want to do the "Hello World", its that I bought this book (which like most computer books is not cheap) and the very first example, which looks fairly complete, doesn't even work. I know that not all examples can be complete, but this is really lame. Imagine if you picked up a book on Java and it had a "Hello World" example that didn't work, what would you think?

You would waste a lot of time trying to figure out what you did wrong, just as I did with this Spring book. After I had double checked classpaths, etc. and tried compiling the sample files from both commandline and from Eclipse to be certain that I was doing things correctly I just dropped it.

I have taught lots of classes on various software topics to both academic and industry classes and one thing you always want to do is give your audience at least one, small, simple example that works just as written so they know that they get the idea and they can see how it works. THEN you can give them code snippets and partial examples for them to complete.

This weekend, when I have the time, I'll check out other Spring books at the local technical book store, get one and just advise others to steer clear of this one.

Thanks, "Pro Spring" and the Spring and MVC were my next two choices, but I didn't want to plunk down the money if they were no better than "Spring in Action".

I realize that sample code can't always be provided 100%, but it would be nice if the very first example, a simple "Hello World" to show you how Spring works would actually work so that the reader can see what happens without trying to correct the author's errors.

Very disappointing for the usually terrific Manning Press books.
The only thing I have ever seen is this Perl script to convert Java to C++.

Having done much coding in both languages ever since they were both hatchlings, I can only as why you would want to do that?
[ May 03, 2006: Message edited by: Linda Walters ]
16 years ago
I have been trying to work through Manning's "Spring in Action" by Craig Walls and Ryan Breidenbach and I find it to be a very frustrating task because the code examples are so incomplete.

I have yet to find any samples, even the very first "Hello World" that will work as written.

I have read Amazon reviews, for what they are worth, of Apress's "Pro Spring" and they make the same complaint.

Is there any Spring book that is any good?
I don't want to waste my money on another dud like "Spring in Action".
I have implemented an Ajax application to provide "lazy loading" of a tree-like structure that is part of the enterprise IT Service Management (ITSM) product on which I work. The actual JavaScript code is pretty simple because the XML that I get back from the backend server throught the web servlet is rather straight-forward and the DOM parsing features of JavaScript make short work of it. The web servlet side of things was pretty much just a pass through of the request from the browser to the backend server and then passing back the XML from the backend down to the browser.

Even when all laid out nice and pretty, with white space, well placed braces, one statement to a line, comments, etc. the JavaScript code is only about 750 lines.

It was much easier than I had expected.
Loose coupling is a term that goes way back in the history of software development to the very beginings of "Structured Programming", the forerunner to Object-Oriented Programming.

Simply put, loose coupling means that any two separate pieces of code (a module in the old structured programming terms) should have as little dependence upon and knowledge of, each other as is possible, ideally zero dependence/knowledge.

Check out the Wikipedia entry for loose coupling for some more modern references on it.
16 years ago