Thursday, July 7, 2011

Anti-If Campaign for Cincy Clean Coders

Below is the presentation I used for my talk on Anti-If Campaign for Cincy Clean Coders today.

The source code used in the presentation is available in github.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dumping the thread - Websphere Performance Analysis

There are numerous occasions when we land up working in a performance problem be it at a development box or a defect opened from Production or Performance testing environment. While there are good profiling tools to help us get to the root of the issue like JProbe or YourKit, they come with a price tag with them. If there's a constraint on the team budget you wouldn't be able to use these tools. You can still workaround and use the trial version but if you read through the fine prints in the license file, you and your project stakeholders can be in trouble. So, stay out if not officially working on evaluating on these tools.

Though it could be a handicap there are other options that can be of use. In this mail, I'm going to demonstrate how to get the thread dump for your Websphere (WAS) server for performance analysis.

What is a thread dump?
A thread dump is a list of all the Java threads that are currently active in a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). When the jvm receives the signal for the same, it collects all the thread statistics and outputs it to a .txt file.

How do I generate it?
The most reliable way to generate a thread dump in WAS is using wsadmin utility. The steps for the same are as follows:
1.Navigate to the bin directory
cd <was_root>/profiles/<PROFILE_NAME>/bin/

2. Connect to deployment manager using wsadmin script
wsadmin.bat -conntype SOAP -username -password

3. The above command opens a wsadmin prompt. Now set the object variable to be used for generating the dumps
wsadmin> set jvm [$AdminControl completeObjectName type=JVM,process=,node=,*]

4.Run this command:
wsadmin> $AdminControl invoke $jvm dumpThreads

5. If you want to force heap dump, run the following command:
wsadmin> $AdminControl invoke $jvm generateHeapDump

Besides, if you have unix based systems like Linux/Mac, you can generate threaddump by just running the command:
kill -3 <pid>.

use ps -ef | grep java or ps -ef | grep to get the process-id(pid).

If you run WAS in console mode in Windows, Ctrl+Break helps to generate the dump but I have never tried it before.

A sample for generating a thread dump in a machine with node 5184Node01 and hosted locally in port 9443 with user/pass (ADMIN/password) is as follows:
wsadmin.bat localhost 9443 -username ADMIN -password password
The following commands will be run in wsadmin prompt.
set jvm [$AdminControl completeObjectName type=JVM,process=server1,node=5184Node01,*]
$AdminControl invoke $jvm dumpThreads

How to read the logs?
There are several ways to do it. Doing it manually is one of the most painful thing. IBM alphaworks has a cool tool for the same - IBM Thread and Monitor Dump Analyzer for Java shortly called as JCA. The ReadMe html inside the jar and the FAQ section talk a lot about the usage and interpretation of the data. I have used this a lot in the past and it helped us fix a lot of problems.

All said and done, try them in your leisure or when you are dealing with performance problems.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Effective Enums - 1

I'm planning to start a small series of one of my favorite inclusions in Java 5 - Enums. Joshua Bloch in his book Effective Java has dedicated an entire chapter on the same. This series will also be loosely based on the same.

In short, I want to have a Loan constant that can help me get the interest rate, maximum repay period and to check if one is eligible provided you enter the age and credit score. Here is my implementation in Java 5 for the same using enum.

Now, there are some constraints for a developer on the environment he works. Lets say if you are forced to work on Java 1.4, how do we implement this feature.

Lets create a new interface for Enums

Lets now implement our Loan enum here:

Phew! Its done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Answer:Why is toArray() a generic method in Java Collections

At the outset, a special thanks to Joshua Marotti and Kevin from CinJUG to help me get to the solution. This is the solution to the question of my earlier post: Why is toArray() a generic method in Java Collections.

Consider the following scenario:

class Bar{}

class Foo extends Bar{}

foos = new ArrayList();
foos.add(new Foo());
foos.add(new Foo());

Bar[] bars = new Bar[ foos.size()];
bars = foos.toArray(bars);

This works fine with the current code but will fail at compile if the method use the class level parameterized type as I had mentioned in the previous post. This is the use case why the method is declared generic. However, it doesn't prevent us from writing the below code which would compile just fine but fail at runtime with ArrayStoreException.

String[] strings = new String[foos.size()];
strings = foos.toArray(strings);

Per Joshua Bloch, we should follow PECS while using generics. Producer Extends, Consumer Super. Its probably the reason, the constructor for classes implementing collections has the extends parameter.

public ArrayList(Collection<? extends E> c)

Unfortunately, the language allows only wildcards for super. If it had supported type declaration with super, we could've solved the ArrayStoreException with the following usage.

<T super E> T[] toArray(T[] a)

On the other hand, I see Scala offers something on this line in scala.collection.immutable.List
def copyToArray [B >: A] (xs: Array[B]): Unit

There's a fabulous explanation on codeidol that discusses generics and collections in a very deep sense (suggested by Joshua Marotti). The chapter about "reification" that has some talks on toarrays and why it is the way it is and is a great read:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Diamond Problem and Scala Traits

In object-oriented programming languages with multiple inheritance and knowledge organization, the diamond problem is an ambiguity that arises when two classes B and C inherit from A, and class D inherits from both B and C. If a method in D calls a method defined in A (and does not override the method), and B and C have overridden that method differently, then from which class does it inherit: B, or C?

Java's approach to this problem was to prevent developers to extend from multiple classes but provide them options to implement multiple Interface(s). Scala provides a more clean implementation similar to the Ruby's mixin concept (I'm 0% into Ruby) called Traits. So, how does Scala solve this problem. Check the code below:

abstract class A{
def isWhat():Boolean

trait B extends A{
override def isWhat():Boolean = true;

trait C extends A{
override def isWhat():Boolean = false;

val a = new A with C with B;

The output is:

scala TraitLearn.scala

So, instead of getting confused to identify which method to execute it has left it to the discretion of the developer. The actual purpose of traits is not what is shown above but what I like it more than the interface is its ability to have partial implementation.

By the way, I bought a new MacBook Pro and the very first thing to try in it was Scala. :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why is toArray() a generic method in Java Collections?

Probably some java enthusiast can answer this question for me. I was referring to the Collections API to convert a list to array. I was shocked to find that the method was generic.

<T> T[] toArray(T[] a)

I was wondering why the method was declared generic when the type is itself declared with one. So, in order to convince myself, I wrote the following code and a test case. Please excuse if the code looks odd and isn't following any standard; its written quickly for the purpose of this blog.

public class AList<E> {

private final List<E> list;

public AList(List<E> list) {
this.list = list;

public boolean add(E value){
return this.list.add(value);

public int size(){
return this.list.size();

public E[] toArray(E[] a) {
System.arraycopy(list.toArray(), 0, a, 0, size());
return a;


The first part of the test case is for pre-Java5 collection and the next for the type safe Java 5 way.

public void testAListToArray() {
AList list = new AList(new ArrayList());
list.add("Not type safe");
String[] sl = (String[]) list.toArray(new String[list.size()]);
assertEquals(sl.length, list.size());

AList<String> list2 = new AList<String>(new ArrayList<String>());
list2.add("Type safe");
String[] s2 = list2.toArray(new String[list.size()]);
assertEquals(s2.length, list2.size());

Both worked perfectly fine and the test passed. So, back to square one --> I'm unable to figure out why they method is declared generic with an additional parameterized type.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Just for gigs...

This is a sequel to my earlier post - Numbers: Not everything is magic.

If I show the numbers 1024, 2048, 4096... to a software geek, the immediate answer would be around bits and bytes. But these numbers have another peculiar pattern.
1024 is the first positive integer to satisfy the condition.
an+2 + an = (2a)n

It is followed by the remaining numbers. Check the following:
102422 + 102420 = 204820
204824 + 204822 = 409622
409626 + 409624 = 819224
819228 + 819226 = 1638426
1638430 + 1638428 = 3276828

Now the hack to find it.
an+2 + an = (2a)n
=>an (a2 + 1) = 2 n an
=>a2 + 1 = 2 n
=>a= (2 n - 1)1/2

Now, let us find out a way to solve the below equation:
an+x + an = (2a)n
=>an (ax + 1) = 2 n an
=>ax + 1 = 2 n
=>a= (2 n - 1)1/x

So, for n and n+4, the first positive integer to satisfy is 64.

Last but not the least for the post.
an+x + an = (k*a)n
=>an (ax + 1) = k n an
=>ax + 1 = k n
=>a= (k n - 1)1/x
So for k=3 and x = 1, the numbers are 2, 8, 26, 80...

Friday, April 8, 2011


OpenJPA is a JPA framework very light compared to the heavyweight Hibernate. In order to provide optimal runtime performance, flexible lazy loading, and efficient, immediate dirty tracking, OpenJPA can use an enhancer . An enhancer is a tool that automatically adds code to your persistent classes after you have written them. The enhancer post-processes the bytecode generated by your Java compiler, adding the necessary fields and methods to implement the required persistence features. This bytecode modification perfectly preserves the line numbers in stack traces and is compatible with Java debuggers.

This is my third stint with EMMA and I simply love it even over the much detailed Clover. Apart from the free factor, its pretty fast and has less memory overhead. In one of my project, our nightly CI job with clover used to crash with clover which forced us to stick with EMMA. Instrumentation is an important step to get the coverage. The instrumentor adds bytecode instrumentation to all classes found in an instrumentation path that also pass through user-provided coverage filters. Additionally, it produces the class metadata file necessary for associating runtime coverage data with the original class definitions during coverage report generation.

Unfortunately, OpenJPA enhancer and EMMA instrumentor don't jell together. Yes, there's a conflict between them. As a result, your coverage will be incomplete. So, options left out will be
1. To switch over to Cobertura(sic) or Clover.
2. To filter the Dao and JPA entity classes from the coverage (sic again).

Depending upon your flexibility and need, you can choose one of them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Numbers: Not everything is magic

In my previous post - Number Magic, I scribbled that I found a pattern as follows...
- For any number n from 1 to 10 and any number k that satisfy the condition - k^n + k^(n+1) = (k+k)^n the next such condition is satisfied by (2k+1). But actually, there was an interesting solution. Lets put it in plain equation.

k^(n+1)+k^n = (2k)^n

So, the number thats satisfies are 1, 3, 7, 15...1267650600228229401496703205375...

What is my learning here? - Get back to the basics... Or should I say to myself KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Number Magic

Thanks to a post from one of my old manager, mentor and friend - Anand Mohanram - 10 (Square + Cube pattern - Interesting Number Pattern), I was able to find an interesting pattern. Some were commented to his facebook posts.
1. The difference between the cube numbers over their previous square partners is an arithmetic progression with common difference of 1. See them below:

Actually, we can easily find the numbers matching the pattern by solving the equation:
a^3+b^2 = (a+b)^2;
=>a^3+b^2 = a^2+b^2+2*a*b;
=>b = a*(a-1)/2

This explains the AP of constant 1 between the numbers for every value of a.

Java Source code that helped to find this (though its of no use now) :

public void findSquareCubeNumbers(int count){
for (int i = 1; i < count; i++){
int num = i*i*i;
for (int j = 1; j < count; j++){
int sum = i+j;
if (num+(j*j)==sum*sum){

2. For any number n from 1 to 10 and any number k that satisfy the condition - k^n + k^(n+1) = (k+k)^n
the next such condition is satisfied by (2k+1).
The below illustration is the proof:
(k= 1((2*0)+1); n= 1) 1^1+1^2=2^1
(k= 3((2*1)+1); n= 2) 3^2+3^3=6^2
(k= 7((2*3)+1); n= 3) 7^3+7^4=14^3
(k= 15((2*7)+1); n= 4) 15^4+15^5=30^4
(k= 31((2*15)+1); n= 5) 31^5+31^6=62^5
(k= 63((2*31)+1); n= 6) 63^6+63^7=126^6
(k= 127((2*63)+1); n= 7) 127^7+127^8=254^7
(k= 255((2*127)+1); n= 8) 255^8+255^9=510^8
(k= 511((2*255)+1); n= 9) 511^9+511^10=1022^9
(k= 1023((2*511)+1); n= 10) 1023^10+1023^11=2046^10

Java Source code that helped to find this:

public void findNextPowerNumbers(int powVal, int count){
double prevK = 0;
for(double i = 1; i < powVal; i++){
double power = i+1;
for (double k = 1; k < count; k++){
double num = Math.pow(k, power);
double num1 = Math.pow(k, i);
double sum = 2*k;
double num3 = Math.pow(sum, i);
if (num+num1 == num3){
System.out.println("(k= "+k+"((2*"+prevK+")+1); n= "+i+") "+k+"^"+i+"+"+k+"^"+power+"="+sum+"^"+i);

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BeforeClass Over Static

The JUnit API states the following:
"Sometimes several tests need to share computationally expensive setup (like logging into a database). While this can compromise the independence of tests, sometimes it is a necessary optimization. Annotating a public static void no-arg method with @BeforeClass causes it to be run once before any of the test methods in the class. The @BeforeClass methods of superclasses will be run before those the current class."

Can we not avoid the repetition of this expensive setup using a static initializer which comes with Java itself? We can; but the BeforeClass offers one more additional feature. You can tailor-call the required setup call when you want to modularize your test cases by introducing inheritance. The below code and output will help you understand it more clearly.

The output if you run the test:

inside static of class org.sudhin.statictest.BaseTest
inside @BeforeClass of class org.sudhin.statictest.BaseTest
inside static of class org.sudhin.statictest.Test1
inside @BeforeClass setupForTest of class org.sudhin.statictest.Test1
inside test method of class org.sudhin.statictest.Test1