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Dan North

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Top Stories by Dan North

I am always on the look out for good questions to ask candidates in an interview. Not the "How many oranges can I fit in this room?" kind of nonsense (the stock response to which is apparently "with or without us standing in it?"). Nor the picky, encyclopedic type such as "In the javax.obscure.DustyCorner class, which method throws a FullyDocumentedException?" (If you do not respond with "I would check the Javadocs" on the grounds that you actually know, you really ought to get out more.) Instead, I like the sort of technical question that allows candidates to demonstrate real insight; where they can show not only technical depth and breadth, but also a mature understanding of the software development process. So I was delighted when a colleague offered me a perfect interview question, namely: "What is the point of test-driven development?" Test-driven development... (more)

Client/Server Is Not the Only Fruit

The vast majority of Java enterprise applications are architected along the lines of Sun's original PetStore showcase application. Rather than seeing this as a market stall displaying all the J2EE goods on offer, developers took it as a blueprint for enterprise applications. It certainly created a lot of work for Java application developers (as well as systems administrators and systems integrators), but whether most of the applications needed most of the possible layers - including bean-managed persistence and the ubiquitous DAO - is open for question at the very least. This art... (more)

Writing Testable Systems

Complex enterprise applications are generally hard to maintain, and risky and difficult to change. As a new developer on a team, a large legacy code base is often difficult to understand, especially when the code has evolved over a long period and new functionality has been grafted onto an existing application. The situation is exacerbated by the usual time and delivery pressures of commercial enterprise systems development. With a modest amount of effort, however, it is possible to design and develop applications that are well architected and easy to change, and moreover that re... (more)