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Showing posts from 2010

Order matters

Every so often I come across these simple things that after thinking about them I kick myself for not thinking about and knowing sooner. Earlier today was one of those moments!

It might seem natural, assumed, even obvious that for many method calls it doesn't actually matter what way around things go. So take "asd".equals("dsa"); - does it ever make a difference?

In this case, no - but what about if we introduce variables?

String str = "asd";

Again, no difference. Now let's be a bit sneaky however and swap str to null (you may see where this is going!)

String str = null;

Ahah! This time we (somewhat obviously) get a NPE on the third line. But the second line executes without any problems at all (also rather obviously - we're not dereferencing null here!)


The solution

You might expect it to print out 104, "10" being the sum of the fields and then "4" being the number of fields. You would of course be wrong :-)

If you run the following code you won't get a number out at all, you'll get an exception:

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Attempt to get test.Outer field "test.Outer$Inner.this$0" with illegal data type conversion to int
at sun.reflect.UnsafeFieldAccessorImpl.newGetIllegalArgumentException(
at sun.reflect.UnsafeFieldAccessorImpl.newGetIntIllegalArgumentException(
at sun.reflect.UnsafeQualifiedObjectFieldAccessorImpl.getInt(
at java.lang.reflect.Field.getInt(
at test.Outer.(
at test.Outer.main(

The key here is actually down to an implementation detail of Java - specifically h…

No, I'm still not keeping these to myself ;-)

The usual drill here - what does it print and why?

...yes, it does compile :-)

import java.lang.reflect.Field;

public class Outer {

private class Inner {
private int field1 = 1;
private int field2 = 2;
private int field3 = 3;
private int field4 = 4;

public Outer() {
int count=0;
Inner inner = new Inner();
for(Field field : Inner.class.getDeclaredFields()) {
try {
count += field.getInt(inner);
catch(IllegalAccessException ex) {}

public static void main(String[] arguments) {
new Outer();


So, I've started a new project on the side. It's something I've had on my mind for a while but something that I've never really had the incentive to start. Until now that is!

The project is essentially a lyrics projection system designed for use in churches, much like OpenLP, Opensong and Easyworship. All of the preceding are decent packages and I've used them all, but there's various things in each of them I like and don't like. The aim? To bring all the features I do like together into one neat, easy to use package that's comprehensive, reliable and open source. When I say "I" I actually mean a few people I've spoken to as well as myself - I'm definitely getting other input before ploughing ahead! :-)

The site's - there's not much there at the moment but things are definitely on the way. (You may notice a few interesting things on there, I don't like to take everything quite 100% seriously!) I'm hoping by…

ListModel turns generic - at last

The features of project coin have been shouted about and argued over for a while now, and other various API changes have also made it into the spotlight - a fork-join framework in java.util.concurrent and the ability to have shaped windows for instance.

However, one thing that seems to have slipped under the spotlight is the fact that ListModel is now generic, a change that's well overdue in my opinion.

Dealing with constant casting on list models thus far hasn't been nice, and I'm not sure why it's taken this long for the class to become generic - it's an obvious candidate and I struggle to see how it slipped under the carpet for both Java 5 and 6.

It's a relatively minor change in the grand scheme of things, but sometimes it's the minor changes that actually turn out to be the ones that work best and save most time. I'll certainly look forward to the day when I no longer need to …


No, I haven't become addicted to the orange fruit growing on trees. But I have become a tad addicted to the game called apricots (again, nothing to do with the fruit and aside from "various reasons" I can't find any explanation as to why it's called this!)

It's a game where you have to fly a little plane around and shoot enemy bases whilst avoiding civilian houses, trees and skyscrapers. Grab it, it's free and has Linux and Windows versions:

It's rather simplistic, but highly addictive and I like the idea. Despite the fact the site claims it's still being developed, the last update was the best part of a decade ago, and after attempting to contact the author a while back and receiving no reply I'm pretty certain it's been abandoned. I'm considering taking the idea and rewriting it in Java with more modern looking graphics and gameplay - it'd be an interesting project on the side. That is if I c…

Java puzzle - the solution

Though no-one's actually commented on the Java puzzle, I know at least two who attempted it... and one who, after a hint, got it bang on.

The key is that anonymous inner class that actually gets compiled into a separate class file - Main$1.class. It's this class that contains the code which prints out hello, so the following compiled and dropped in place would cause the program to print goodbye, without modifying Main.class:

package bosscode;

public class Main$1 implements Runnable {
public void run() {

The java.lang.Runnable in the original code was deliberately there to prevent the creation of an additional Runnable class in the bosscode package, which would have worked had Runnable not been declared with its package!

This actually highlights an interesting problem - it's entirely legal as far as the compiler's concerned to create a Main class and a Main$1 class in the same package, creating naming conflicts. Whilst this ma…


I'm a Java guy - I've dabbled around in other languages but generally speaking my default language of choice for a project comes back to Java. It's been that way for a while, and quite honestly it's because out of the languages that I've looked at it seems the best "general" one out there. It's extremely versatile, can do an awful lot in the right hands and despite the various myths, well written Java code is really rather speedy these days. More recently though, there's been a lot of talk about Scala - it's been around for a decade or so but it seems it's only recently it's gained a lot of attention.

Every so often something comes along that looks great from an academic perspective, but for various reasons (usually because the industry has made its mind up already) it's not adopted - left to rot and subsequently forgotten about. Then again, every so often something comes along that looks awful from an academic perspective but someh…

A java puzzle

I like coming up with these things once in a while. They exercise the mind, make people think and occasionally someone comes up with another method or two of solving the thing I hadn't considered.

So, here we go.

You've been presented with the following class written by your boss, which is meant to print "goodbye" out to the console. However, as you can clearly see the following code actually prints "hello". Your boss has asked you to rectify this problem somehow, but his code is perfect and it must be a bug in the JDK (of course).

In fact, he's already compiled the thing and it's ready to go, so he's said the only thing you're allowed to do is to add / modify / change class files in the bosscode package before it's released. Change whatever classes you want, as long as it's not Main.class (that's the perfect one!)

package bosscode;

public class Main {
public static void main(String[] args) {
new java.lang.Runnable() {

Java 7 - and now 8?!

It'd all gone pretty quiet on the Java 7 front recently - the last that'd been heard for a while was an estimate of a late 2010 release. I was hoping no news was good news on this front and that sometime around Christmas we might hear something positive regarding a release - alas this isn't the case.

This link sheds some light on things:

To summarise, it seems now that JDK7 is going to have an estimated ship date of mid 2011, *but* with a lot of the new features everyone was raving about (including Lambda, Jigsaw and parts of Coin) pushed back to JDK8 which should hit home in around 2 years time. The other approach detailed is shipping JDK7 with all its original bits in mid 2012 with no updates in the meantime.

Everyone was hoping for something a bit quicker, yes, but I guess with the Sun / Oracle acquisition slowing things down Java was bound to take a bit of a back seat. It's not such bad news, and if anything I'm mildl…

The move

After a bit of thought I decided I could no longer justify shelling out for a domain and hosting package on for what had essentially become low traffic blog. So here it is - the site in its new format on blogger.

Unfortunately I can't upload files here, but I'll set up a Google site for that and link out to them on there.

Apart from those changes things should pretty much stay as usual - same guy, same thoughts!