Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NetBeans IDE; huh?

I've been working in the NetBeans IDE v 6.1 for a few weeks now.

The draw is the Swing UI development tool, Matisse.

I usually work in Eclipse, with the MyEclipse extensions. Unfortunately MyEclipse hasn't seen fit to port Matisse to OS X.

Sun / NetBeans has.

But it's really vastly slower than Eclipse. I often find myself spinning back in my Aeron from the keyboard as I wait to see just what the hell NetBeans is making of my typing. The response lag is astounding.

It choosing to delete entire blocks of code isn't uncommon.

Once I have this UI nailed down enough to spin back to Eclipse I'm outta here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bad Test

I've been hacking away at this SOPI assessment tool. It is a Swing app using Quicktime for Java and the Swing Application Framework.

My first pass is to make it work. I tend to follow with a make it good, and then a make it right pass. In each pass I try to write code which is easy for the next poor person to follow. This means a lot of comments when the variable names don't help, lots of logging, lots of feedback to the end user and all that stuff. Actually I'll punt on make it right if I don't think that the next joe or jane in the organization will ever have a chance to look at the code.

So I spent a few hours, post refactoring, wondering where I had sunk the boat. All of a sudden the Quicktime movies started shuddering to a halt as the questions were being presented. I was sure I had introduced some kind of thread starvation. The end of movie handlers were still working fine, the testee could record new movies in response, but there was no guarantee that the next movie would complete.

After serial reversions I was back to looking at the data itself. As it turns out I had mis-rendered a revision to the first Quicktime movie used in the assessment. It was vastly larger then my other test cases.

As a result it was eating all the memory I had allocated to the IDE - and its spawned child processes in the debugger.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

QuickTime and iTunes

So you may recall that I'm writing a Java desktop application for delivering Language Assessments. The Application is a 'remote' Sakai tool running on the desktop but talking back and forth to Sakai.

One thing that is bugging me is this: I can create a QuickTime movie containing the desired audio track. I can annotate the QuickTime movie with a text 'track' which serves as a label for the content. It shows up when you play the movie. This is sorta kinda like captioning a movie.

I can add QuickTime metadata annotations to the movie; these show up in the QuickTime player and in the Finder just as you would expect: Artist, Album, Description, blah blah. Nice eh?

So why if I import the movie to iTunes does it forget about the metadata? the text track is still there, alabet rather small (I can fix that for sure) but none of the metadata is translated up to the iTunes attribute list.

Isn't this sorta kinda dumb?

These annotations are going to store a lot of stuff about the assessment context. But I though it would be useful if the instructor saw some of this stuff in the iTunes playlist when they imported the .mov files.

If they just download the .mov's from the Site Resources's tool then it won't matter as much. But it seems like a waste to lose automated tagging of these resources ( for example)

The Text Track I write may suffice: "UserEID Site Assessment# Question#"

( ach, I'll post some images as soon as Blogger gets over its internal errors )