Blasts from the Past

Quill icon Years ago, I wrote a popular column, as well as feature articles, for a major Java programming magazine. Given the publication's Java orientation, I often had to write material about specific Java APIs. My column, however, was popular because I would cover general software development and computer science topics that were not tied to Java. In fact, a secret I harbored all those years was that—for reasons that would require a lengthy dissertation to relate objectively—I felt Java to be a deficient programming and program-execution platform. Therefore, I would look for opportunities to write about topics that were not intrinsic to Java. Invariably, the resulting columns were my most popular.

Unfortunately, none of what I wrote is available today, making it hard to prove that I wrote anything at all—were it not for my having saved copies of most of the printed issues containing the writings. In 2006, the magazine publisher went belly-up and—after a breach of contract dispute (the publisher had stopped paying its authors)—pulled all of the material from the Web. Eventually, all of the magazine articles by all of the magazine's contributors were removed, with all of the authors retaining their copyrights.

Until now (2012), I haven't had the hubris to think anyone would want me to republish any of the aforementioned material. The magazine required authors to prepare their articles using Microsoft Word, making it difficult to automate the conversion of all of my author's drafts into a Web-friendly format. Given that many of the articles are no longer relevant and some of them weren't of notable quality, instead of converting all of them, I am selecting the most promising articles, editing, updating, and sometimes expanding them. I am gradually making available the updated articles in HTML and PDF formats from this section of my Web site to distinguish them from any new articles I may write.

The Articles

Many of these articles were written for an audience unfamiliar with the topics they cover. Therefore, their level of depth is introductory. Many programmers lack formal training in computer science, leaving gaps in their understanding of fundamental concepts such as basic data structures and algorithms. They know how to manipulate software libraries implementing the concepts, but do not necessarily know how to implement them. It is those programmers for whom these articles are intended.

ArticleOriginally published as
The Trouble with Distributed ObjectsThe Trouble with Distributed Objects. Java Pro 7, 8 (August 2003), 46-47.
Approximation AlgorithmsClose to Correct. Java Pro 6, 11 (November 2002), 21-25.
Recursive Descent ParsingExpress Yourself. Java Pro 5, 5 (May 2001), 70-77.
Skip ListsThe Sort-ed Details. Java Pro 5, 4 (April 2001), 69-76.