Monday, May 12, 2008

SCJP Training day 1

I was a little disappointed today in training. Day 1 We started with Introductions and what everyone knows. It appears that I'm the most experienced Java developer in the room. Unfortunately that means the class will go slower than I expected. I will learn some good features of Java and the agenda for Thursday and Friday look very promising, however I think I'll have to suffer through Tuesday and Wednesday to get there.

Here's a few notes from my day of class.

The teacher started the day with: "Code Monkeys is what this course is aimed at. There's no analyses, no UML, and it's not for a beginner programmer." I loved that he brought up code monkeys. Of course listening to his talk on the process and who this class is for, it sounded like the class was designed for a very large organization that had code monkeys. I'm not one of them. I fill the role of every layer that he talked about.

The teacher is SCJP certified, but not up to date. He worked for Sun for years. He's from England, but is now a US citizen. He still has the English accent. I haven't had any trouble understanding him, but he has some turns of the phrase that are very English. Instead of long underwear he called them wooly drawers (while discussing the use of &&) he talked about getting a 99 from an ice cream truck (apparently some kind of ice cream cone with a candy bar in it).

I ended up with 7 pages of notes from class today, but almost none of the notes were about the things being taught they were random thoughts and observations about the other people in the room.

The slow start to the class was at least interrupted by window cleaners dangling from ropes and pounding away on the windows. But by 10 AM they were gone.

The class is taught completely on Sun hardware. It's a Sun desktop with a Sun branded keyboard, mouse, and 17" CRT monitor. I miss my LCD monitor. I don't like the keyboard. The control key is only on the left, and I use my right hand more often than my left when pressing control, even if I'm not supposed to.

We are using NetBeans to write the Java code. And using the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). I have never seen either of these before so I had to play around with both of them for a bit to get started this morning. I like the 4 desktops in the CDE, it reminds me of what I played with on Linux machines in the past. Although finding applications seems to be impossible. To run NetBeans I expected to find an icon in some place for it, but the teacher had us type NetBeans at a command prompt to open it. Closing the command prompt also killed NetBeans, so I'm forced to leave open a terminal window that I'm not using for anything else.

The labs are ok. They have each had 3 levels, Level 1 is for the advanced developer and gives a description of what you need to do to accomplish the lab, level 3 is every character you need to type, Level 2 is in the middle. I have been successful accomplishing all the labs with level 1 so far.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of programing examples that use the number 42. Does everyone who writes a programming book or training think that they have some kind of inside joke with this? Hasn't everyone already read "The Hithchiker's Guide to the Galaxy"? If you haven't you should, at least the first book, I have never laughed out loud more when reading a book.

Not that I need a moleskin, but with the amount of notes that I took today, and the fact that the wire binding in the center of the book is annoying me, I'm considering looking into it. I have to find a Barnes & Noble or a Borders so I can check them out. The hardest part about getting it will be bringing it to work and defending having it after having given my boss such a hard time about carrying his diary (moleskin) with him constantly. At least my boss knows we were just kidding with him and giving him a hard time, I never thought he was carrying a diary.

Martin (the teacher) said that we will be writing tests for the code that we are working on. So far the tests have just been the "main" function running and writing output to the console. The correct output is in the lab book and I have to visually compare. I would expect that we get into using asserts, which are built into Java now, or we would include JUnit and start using it as our test framework, but for now, it's a very poor test system and nothing at all like XP.

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