Archive for November, 2008


Tokugawa Ieyasu, looking stoic and dependable.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, looking stoic and dependable.

That’s a quote from the Samurai Warriors version of Tokugawa Ieyasu, which I would have benefited from keeping in mind during my study sessions this week. I spent an hour or so yesterday going round and round in circles trying to figure out why a couple of exceptions kept occurring in my JDBC experiment program, and it turned out that the whole problem was due to me not using the next() method to move to the first row in the ResultSet object. Something I would have realised was necessary, had I actually read through the whole JDBC tutorial!

Unfortunately, my approach to studying and programming has been more Maeda Keiji than Ieyasu recently; I’ve been so enthusiastic about the tasks and projects I’m working on that I’ve been rushing the process, jumping around the tutorials and documentation, and trying to build working programs before I really understand the basics of the classes I’m using.

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Way back in Unit 4 of M257, we looked at basic input/output stuff involving keyboard input and text files. It feels like months ago, and in my last Java course input/output was one of the topics I found hardest to get to grips with, so this week I’ve been concentrating on shoring up my java.io skills.

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Back to layout managers

This week I’ve been doing a bit of Unit 8, which is about threads, but I’ve decided to go back to the material we covered in Unit 6, and hopefully consolidate my understanding of layout managers. I did fairly well with the practical exercises in that unit, but I still feel like I don’t fully grasp how to use layout managers effectively.

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I’ve been messing around with Java animation this weekend, but the constant screen-flicker as the graphics were cleared and repainted kept distracting me from the experiments I actually wanted to do (playing with collision detection and user interaction is a bit laborious when your eyes feel like they’re about to melt out of their sockets). So before I carried on with the project, I decided to get the flickering problem sorted out once and for all.

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I finished Unit 7 today, at last – I was beginning to think that I’d still be working on this unit in 2009! I know I keep comparing M257 to MT262, which is probably a bit unfair, but I found the animation section much easier to grasp in the latter. It’s not that animation is actually harder in Java than C++, as far as I can tell, it’s just that the way M257 handles the subject seems a bit disjointed.

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I’ve spent some time away from studying over the last week or so due to illness, but this weekend I finally managed to finish Unit 6: Graphical User Interfaces. Prior to this course, the only GUIs I’d ever created were for the C++ course MT262, which used Borland Builder, and for Excel/Access stuff I created at work using VBA. So when I started Unit 6 of M257, I was expecting to use a WYSIWYG GUI-building tool along the lines of what you get with Borland, only snazzier. Imagine my surprise when I realised we would be creating GUIs entirely in code!

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