Thursday, July 8, 2010

RESTful web services in Java

Today I finished annotating a tutorial on this topic. The link at the very end of this post—past the social commentary.

Many, including me, publish tutorials; this is the salvation of the computer software industry in a day where no university program could keep up with the frenetic pace of technology even if it were possible for industry workers to maintain continuous enrollment in such an institution.

In the world of JEE alone, there must be more ways to implement Model/View/Controller separation than Paul Simon knows for dumping an old lover.

This said, many tutorials are written with very questionable literary skill. More still are written by experts who've long gotten beyond the elemental skills that others wanting to capitalize on their knowledge are still in pursuit of. The author can scarcely burden himself with technical accuracy, still less with organizational completeness in his expression's vehicle: the tutorial itself. He has no time at all to coddle the beginner through the process of following it. More's the pity.

In one recent tutorial I reviewed and annotated, the author introduced some new HTML code neither revealing the filename it should garnish nor even which, of half a dozen Eclipse projects written over the course of the tutorial, it should find its way into.

Well, I'm one of the great numbers of dummies.

So, I drop bread crumbs à la Hansel und Gretl in tutorials that interest me (not to mention in my own). I try to cross-reference more difficult operations, especially sub-operations, so that someone struggling to complete his "homework" isn't stopped dead in his tracks, unable to learn the subject because he doesn't know the Eclipse IDE well enough, how to build a library as a JAR, refresh a container server like Tomcat, work around an HTTP status 404 error, etc.

How does this benefit me? Am I fishing for compliments? Maybe. More likely am I proving to myself that I grok the tutorial I'm reviewing or the subject on which I'm writing my own.

My tutorial notes on RESTful Web Services in Java and Jersey can be found here.

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