Thursday, May 14, 2009

Learn IDE key mappings while pair programming

I'm a big believer in keeping the hands on the keyboard and minimizing the amount of mouse use when coding. Therefore, I tend to spend some time learning the keymappings for the IDE I am using. I'm most proficient with IntelliJ IDEA but I've also learned a good portion of the keymappings in Eclipse and Visual Studio+ReSharper.

I've been doing a fair amount of pair programming lately on my current gig, a good thing. One behavior that we have been practicing while pair programming is gently forcing the driver of the pair to use keymappings to activate various actions within the IDE. Neal Ford describes this in his book The Productive Programmer. Practicing this behavior while pair programming has proven very valuable to increasing our productivity while in the code base. Neal mentions the KeyPromoter plugin for IntelliJ; I've tried this plugin and I haven't become a big fan of it. Much easier if your navigator keeps you honest.

I've done this before with pair programming while working at Identix in 2004 with Hans Loedolff. Hans knew all the IntelliJ keymappings and could type at about 90 words per minute. He was an excellent pair programmmer.

nmon performance monitoring tool

One of the takeaways from yesterday's Tomcat Expert Series seminar was the use of nmon (Nigel's monitor), a curses-based performance monitoring tool. I had never heard of nmon before yesterday, so I was curious why I missed this tool in my IT travels. Seems the tool has originated out of IBM, originally on IBM's AIX Unix variant. The tool has been ported to Linux. More information here. If you're deploying onto Linux or AIX, it might be worthwhile to take a look at this tool and add it to your systems. Unfortunately it does not look like there's a version for Mac OS X yet. Hey, OS X is Unix too ;-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tomcat Expert Series here in Minneapolis

Attended the SpringSource Tomcat Expert Series seminar here in Minneapolis this morning at the Hyatt Regency. Filip Hanik of SpringSource presented. Filip is a major committer to the Apache Tomcat project. Excellent technical presentations on Tomcat and JVM performance tuning tips and debugging JVM memory and thread issues. Lots of good information around Sun's generational heap and garbage collecting the heap, If you get a chance to take this presentation in, you won't regret it. $75 USD for 3.5 hours and a nice lunch. Seemed like a nice turn out, probably 120 or so attendees. SpringSource seems to be picking up momentum in the JVM space with recent acquisitions of G2One (Groovy and Grails consulting and development) and Hyperic (web application monitoring and management tooling). Could be well positioned when the economy comes out of this funk it's currently in.