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October 2007 Archives

Oct 31, 2007  –  Crap4j v1.1.4 Released, Available as an Ant Task now

Like the title says.

This is particularly exciting because now it can be included in continuous integration setups.

One natural next step would be to set a threshold value so that crap4j would throw an error that would fail the build. I would be curious to hear comments on how people would like that to work.

Anyway, find out how to get the latest version at the blog.

Oct 25, 2007  –  Visualizing Complexity and Coverage

At CITCON Europe in Brussels last week one of the sessions I enjoyed was on CRAP4J and other metrics for bad code. (I've put my notes up on the CITCON wiki.) Today Kevin reminded me that Clover has a similar metric for identifying risky code, a tag cloud that uses complexity to size the tag and the coverage level to color it. They have posted a sample using Lucene here. This is a pretty neat looking approach... but honestly? I don't really like it.

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Oct 24, 2007  –  Crap4j 1.1.3 released


A new version of crap4j has been uploaded to it's new home at http://www.crap4j.org/!

Please check it out and give us your feedback!

Oct 18, 2007  –  CITCON Europe 2007 Starts Today

CITCON Europe 2007 starts today in Brussels, Belgium. We're in a nice central location, very close the Brussels North train station. As an open space event everyone has the opportunity to propose a topic for discussion. The one I'm most interested in is talking about Crap4J and other ideas for metrics to spot bad code.

Oct 15, 2007  –  qu’ils mangent de la brioche

It is a curious fact that, if you say

Let them eat cake!

at an international gathering, the French-speaking people will have no idea what you are talking about. Even if you say it in French.

Oct 13, 2007  –  In Praise of Abstraction

A History of Build Systems

In my younger days, before I knew any better, many projects I worked on compiled and published their software manually. You'd type cc and then copy these bits over there and then zip that directory and post it to there. Eventually, we figured out we could write little scripts to automate all the tedious bits and make it less fragile and more repeatable.

One day, I discovered the discipline of daily builds and tools like make and my life got a whole lot better. Make gave us, in Elizabeth's handy phrase "a place to put things".

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 –  The Commitment Principle

Elizabeth Hendrickson is a tremendous facilitator and a canny manipulator.


In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini describes various techniques for making people do things that, if they were thinking clearly, they would otherwise not do because of lethargy, laziness, or because it would offend their better judgment.

One of those techniques is The Commitment Principle which was used on American POWs to great effect by the Chinese during the Korean War.

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Oct  5, 2007  –  What Jar? NoClassDefFoundError

My normal response to a NoClassDefFoundError is to ask google. This generally gives me a thread I can follow and eventually solve the problem, but it isn't very efficient. It looks like a better solution would be the What Jar? website... if only there were more jars in the index.

Have some extra time on your hands? How about uploading a bunch of the jars to save me some time in the future? :)

 –  106 Books Meme

Kevin says all the cool kids are doing it...

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Oct  2, 2007  –  No Software Heuristic for Implementability and Testability

Alberto blogged today about our free tool Crap4J. You might think that the last thing software development needs is another metric, but our goal here was a bit different. We were looking for a metric that would be simple and actionable like the cholesterol index: if you know your cholesterol score is over 200 you know you need to do something, it is a call to action. By the same token, you can't say that just because your score is under 200 that you're healthy. The cholesterol isn't a perfect indicator of health, and yet it is still useful.

Did we succeed in our goal? Check it out and let us know...

(And thanks to the writeup on The Server Side for my title.)