Wednesday, August 18, 2004

My Java Presentation is Useful!

A few months ago I thought that learning Java would be useful. I work with cell phone software, so having a little background knowledge of Java would be advantageous, I thought.

One thing that really helps me learn a subject is to create a presentation on the topic. I typically use PowerPoint, though I admit my knowledge of that borders on next to nothing. I can use the application to make titles and bullet points as well as slide notes, and that's all I really need. So I made a presentation for Java.

The presentation assumed that the audience didn't know anything about programming. It started with the concepts of Object Oriented analysis and design and slowly added pertinent Java building blocks where they would most appropriately fit. Building out from there, I explained core fundamentals like functions, variable declarations, conditionals, and looping, all with the necessary Java syntax added after a clear description of the concept.

I threw in a blatant plug for Eclipse which is a first class Java development environment. I even had a whole slew of philosophical ponderings discussing the concept of the object (namely Plato's theory of Forms as it relates to the concept of a class versus an object).

At the end of the presentation, the audience ought to be able to write a simple Java program that can do simple string processing and text output. Obviously, this was just an introductory lesson not designed to explore the depth and breadth of the Java class library. In its goal, it succeeds.

But when I brought the presentation to work, no one was interested. This isn't a Java shop, granted, but to turn away something like this without even a second glance seems a little too tunnel-visioned. I took my presentation home and sulked about that. I gloated a little too because I managed to teach myself basic Java in a couple days whereas I absolutely shunned the language my entire college career.

A friend of mine who works elsewhere mentioned that he might need to teach a Java training class, so I offered my presentation. He took it and adapted it a little (mostly by removing the Eclipse stuff) and is now using it in his training classes. He told me the other day that the presentation does a good job of introducing the basics and that his students (technical professionals, mostly) are able to grasp enough of the language in order to grow from there.

I feel like a proud papa, but I'm a little dismayed that it took someone at a company other than mine to realize the benefits of what I was doing. We've still got no Java work here, so I guess in that sense my efforts were wasted, but I can't help feeling that doing all this development in C is going to be wasted effort as more and more cell phones integrate J2ME JVMs.

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