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Making a Mockery

As I’m back on the hunt for a job, I’m going back and brushing up on technologies I’ve not necessarily used for a while, out of interest as much as anything else. This has been enlivened somewhat by realising I didn’t have and IDEs or any other coding tools – other than Xcode and TextWrangler – on my laptop. The effort of getting things set back up so that I can play has reminded me of why I love, and why I loathe, the OpenSource Java community.

I’ll write up some notes on bits and pieces that I want to remember as static pages elsewhere, so for the moment let me just mutter about what I got running, and what has driven me nuts.

To start with, it pleases me no end that Mac OS-X comes natively supplied with Maven. That gives me some base assurance that I can, at a minimum, launch a terminal and build and test without having to download the world first (other than Maven’s habit of downloading the world, of course).

Next up, I grabbed down Netbeans 7.1. I’d not used it with Maven previously, and was pleased to discover that the IDE plays nicely the Maven way, rather than desperately wanting to make Maven work the IDE way.

Penultimately, I got an Eclipse running – the SpringSource Indigo bundle – and began to grit my teeth. Don’t get me wrong. I like Eclipse a lot. But for the last eight months I’d been using IntelliJ, which means my brain and fingers had been retrained to different shortcuts, and trying to switch back to Eclipse is like trying to remember a language you’ve not spoken since high school. The other thing which always makes me grit my teeth is the richness of Eclipse. It’s the EMACS of IDEs, infinitely variable and configurable, and trying to get a fresh download to look and feel like you are used to is painful, annoying and tedious.

And finally, I sat down to fiddle with JMock again. And spent some time tearing my hair out. I was reading through a tutorial from the JMock site, and was damned if I could get it compiling. It was pretty obvious why – the JMock objects I was expecting weren’t in the JMock JARs. Maybe it was too late at night for me to be thinking straight when I downed tools, as picking it up again this morning revealed my problem: the tutorial was referring to a slightly older version of JMock, even though it was in a JUnit 4 context, and the current version is radically different.

Therein lies one of the things that drives me absolutely nuts about the open source Java Community: too many major, key, central projects have inaccurate, out-of-date documentation, and too much key knowledge is passed around in folklore.

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