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Three Day Insight

Been working on some difficult software architecture problems lately. I'm a proponent of a method of thinking that, according to my rather faulty memory, was attributed to Einstein, possibly by Robert Anton Wilson. I can't actually find any evidence that Einstein used this method now, but I find it useful nevertheless! Essentially, the theory goes that the subconsious mind is highly effective at problem solving but does not work quickly. Whereas the conscious mind is useful for making snap decisions (on the timescale of seconds or minutes) that can mean the difference between escaping a predator or being eaten, the subconscious mind works on timescales approaching days, weeks, months, and beyond. An effective way to use the subconscious mind is therefore to pose a question or series of questions to it, then banish those questions from the conscious mind (either by occult means or by sheer distraction). Upon returning to the problem in roughly three days time, the subconscious mind will usually have arrived at some sort of solution.

To achieve this, I spent the last few days hammering away at the mindless task of modularizing an existing codebase. In this case, jsycamore. I'm only really this year getting a handle on applying a service-oriented approach to programming and each new project is an opportunity to find new places where the model can be applied. For example, the user interface in the jsycamore package is themable. Previously, the core package provided a set of four default themes, each of which emulated the look and feel of an existing operating system. The modularization of the code moved those themes into their own modules with the themes being published as services. This allows programmers to publish their own themes as services and have them automatically made available to any program using jsycamore without anyone having to write extra code to use them. If nothing else good comes from Jigsaw, I hope at least that it shoves programmers in the direction of publishing services as opposed to relying on ClassLoader and reflection hacks to provide late-binding of functionality in this way. Much of the JDK has been converted to services, apparently, and they're now a core part of the new module system instead of lurking in the background the way they have since Java 6.