Ten Tips to Make Conference Talks Suck Less
Every so often, I come across some conference talk which is highly interesting in terms of its actual contents, but which unfortunately is presented in a less than ideal way. I’m thinking of basic mistakes here, such as the presenter primarily looking at their slides rather than at the audience. I’m always feeling a bit sorry when this happens, as I firmly believe that everyone can do good and even great talks, just by being aware of — and thus avoiding — a few common mistakes, and sticking to some simple principles.
Loom and Thread Fairness
Update Jun 3: This post is discussed on Reddit and Hacker News
Project Loom (JEP 425) is probably amongst the most awaited feature additions to Java ever; its implementation of virtual threads (or "green threads") promises developers the ability to create highly concurrent applications, for instance with hundreds of thousands of open HTTP connections, sticking to the well-known thread-per-request programming model, without having to resort to less familiar and often more complex to use reactive approaches.
Having been in the workings for several years, Loom got merged into the mainline of OpenJDK just recently and is available as a preview feature in the latest Java 19 early access builds. I.e. it’s the perfect time to get your hands onto virtual threads and explore the new feature. In this post I’m going to share an interesting aspect I learned about thread scheduling fairness for CPU-bound workloads running on Loom.
Running JDK Mission Control on Apple M1
JDK Mission Control (JMC) is invaluable for analysing performance data recording using JDK Flight Recorder (JFR). The other day, I ran into a problem when trying to run JMC on my Mac Mini M1. Mostly for my own reference, here’s what I did to overcome it.
The Code Review Pyramid
When it comes to code reviews, it’s a common phenomenon that there is much focus and long-winded discussions around mundane aspects like code formatting and style, whereas important aspects (does the code change do what it is supposed to do, is it performant, is it backwards-compatible for existing clients, and many others) tend to get less attention.
To raise awareness for the issue and providing some guidance on aspects to focus on, I shared a small visual on Twitter the other day, which I called the "
The JDK Flight Recorder File Format
The JDK Flight Recorder (JFR) is one of Java’s secret weapons; deeply integrated into the Hotspot VM, it’s a high-performance event collection framework, which lets you collect metrics on runtime aspects like object allocation and garbage collection, class loading, file and network I/O, and lock contention, do method profiling, and much more.
JFR data is persisted in recording files (since Java 14, also "realtime" event streaming is supported), which can be loaded for analysis into tools like JDK Mission Control (JMC), or the jfr utility coming with OpenJDK itself.
What's in a Good Error Message?
Update Jan 13: This post is discussed on Reddit
Update Feb 7: This post is discussed on Hacker News
As software developers, we’ve all come across those annoying, not-so-useful error messages when using some library or framework: "Couldn’t parse config file", "Lacking permission for this operation", etc. Ok, ok, so something went wrong apparently; but what exactly? What config file? Which permissions? And what should you do about it? Error messages lacking this kind of information quickly create a feeling of frustration and helplessness.
So what makes a good error message then? To me, it boils down to three pieces of information which should be conveyed by an error message:
Context: What led to the error? What was the code trying to do when it failed?
The error itself: What exactly failed?
Mitigation: What needs to be done in order to overcome the error?
Announcing the First Release of kcctl
🧸 It’s Casey. Casey Cuddle.
I am very happy to announce the first stable release of kcctl, a modern and intuitive command line client for Apache Kafka Connect!
Forget about having to memorize and type the right REST API paths and curl flags; with kcctl, managing your Kafka connectors is done via concise and logically structured commands, modeled after the semantics of the kubectl tool known from Kubernetes.
Introducing the OSS Quickstart Archetype
I am very happy to announce the availability of the OSS Quickstart Archetype!
Part of the ModiTect family of open-source projects, this is a Maven archetype which makes it very easy to bootstrap new Maven-based open-source projects, satisfying common requirements such as configuring plug-in versions, and adhering to best practices like auto-formatting the source code. Think Maven Quickstart Archetype and friends, but more modern, complete, and opinionated.
O Kafka, Where Art Thou?
The other day, I came across an interesting thread in the Java sub-reddit, with someone asking: "Has anyone attempted to write logs directly to Kafka?". This triggered a number of thoughts and questions for myself, in particular how one should deal in an application when an attempt to send messages to Kafka fails, for instance due to some network connectivity issue? What do you do when you cannot reach the Kafka broker?
Refining The Return Type Of Java Methods Without Breaking Backwards-Compatibility
If you work on any kind of software library, ensuring backwards-compatibility is a key concern: if there’s one thing which users really dislike, it is breaking changes in a new version of a library. The rules of what can (and cannot) be changed in a Java API without breaking existing consumers are well defined in the Java language specification (JLS), but things can get pretty interesting in certain corner cases.
The Eclipse team provides a comprehensive overview about API evolution guidelines in their wiki. When I shared the link to this great resource on Twitter the other day, I received an interesting reply from Lukas Eder:
I wish Java had a few tools to prevent some cases of binary compatibility breakages. E.g. when refining a method return type, I’d like to keep the old method around in byte code (but not in source code). I think kotlin has such tools? In the remainder of this post, I’d like to provide some more insight into that problem mentioned by Lukas, and how it can be addressed using an open-source tool called Bridger.