Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts

Following my previous post on IDEA keyboard shortcuts, I was inspired to look for the same thing for Firefox.  In particular I use the Copy URL function a fair bit but saddened to learn it doesn’t have a shortcut provided out of the box.

There is the keyconfig addon that provides the ability to look and add keyboard shortcuts to functions.  Strangely you cant change a shortcut, only add new ones by default. However, there are addons for this addon 🙂 that allow you to set shortcuts to actions that normally don’t have such functions.

Firefox as it stands

KeyConfig Extension

Functions for KeyConfig

Articles on being a better programmer (Career Development Advice)

Quick Reads

This is a quick read: Making the Good Programmer … Better

And another: 5 Tips for creating good code every day; or how to become a good software developer

Longer Reads

Find where you’re at, Improve It and your Career in the process

**** Recommended ****  If you are looking to get a job or updating your resume, you might want to know where your competencies stand.  The Programmer Competency Matrix very thoroughly lists attributes in the disciplines of Computer Science, Software Engineering, Programming, Experience and Knowledge and provides 4 levels (numbered 0 – 3) for each attribute describing what knowledge you have to be considered at each level.  I think it should be a mandatory professional TODO for any serious programmer to rate where they are at and what they need to do to achieve further competency.  Its a career development guide for the technical and soft skills a developer is required to have in a world that is growing ever more competitive.

In Signs that you’re a bad programmer the blogger talks about Symptoms and Remedies of bad, mediocre and ‘shouldn’t be a’ programmer types.  Its an excellent tool to look at yourself critically and see where you could be improving. 

Stay Informed

Most of these articles I picked up by following the DZone site on twitter, who are also behind those awesome Refcardz that help you get up to speed or revise on a particular technology in very short time.

I also follow a lot of other renowned technical guru’s in the Agile, Java, Spring and Groovy spheres.  Usually, they are all following each other and when there is a good article, they all retweet it (a validation of what is good).  If you look at my twitter profile, you can see who else I’m following and add to your sources of development info.

Somewhat due to the number of developer emails and twitter posts I dont read tech books as often as I’d like, but there are some important ones that every dev should read, usually everyone has their own list with a bias to a particular technology they use more often.  The one here is a fair example of books I’ve read or own.  There are plenty more ‘good programming list’ posts, just google or look on Amazon.

Key Promoter for IDEA

This is one of the best plugins that I’ve come across in IDEA.  It simply pops up an unobtrusive window every time you do something with the mouse, that has an equivalent keyboard shortcut to remind you how you can get to that action quicker.  This means you can become more productive.

An even better feature though is that if you use an action that doesn’t have a keyboard binding, after about 3 times of using an action it will ask you if you’d like to set one and take you to the preferences dialog (I’ve configured mine down to 2)

Speaking of plugins, Thoughtworks Neal Ford has a neat presentation online about some of the most useful plugins in Idea and Eclipse.  There were a couple in particular I wasnt aware of

CTRL+E – Open recent files list – This makes using tabs redundant.  A small popup list of files you’ve recently looked at for you to choose using, regardless of if they are appear on the tab bar, you closed or IntelliJ took the liberty of closing for you because you’ve exceeded the default 7 tab limit (super annoying coming from Eclipse, BTW)

ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+N – Symbol lookup (aka CTRL+N on roids) – Find a symbol (variable, method name, whatever) in any file.  Obviously slower than CTRL+N since it has more to look through, but a zillion times efficient than opening the Find dialog and navigating its controls.  BTW, Eclipse has CTRL+O, but from memory, that only looked in the currently edited file only.

Some Groovy Little Tips

My favourite Groovy/Java/IntelliJ web presenter, Vaclav Pech, has a short 20min Parleys talk on using Groovy with IntelliJ.

What I found neat was IntelliJ’s ability to take a Java class, rename it as a Groovy one, then refactor all the annonymous inner classes.  I also learnt about the capabilities of Groovy, the part where a class gets defined as a Map.  Wonderful stuff.

Also neat, was showing how refactorings apply not only to Groovy and Java, but also to Scala code in the same project.

JVM garbage collection behaviour on virtual machines

Interesting blog about how multiple virtual machines running on the same metal, each with their own JVM instances performing garbage collection can degrade app performance when the hypervisor has to swap out memory

Given at work, we will be switching platforms so everything is moving to the supposedly common good of redundancy that virtualisation provides, its worth noting.  I wonder if the new G1 garbage collector is any different, or if staying on Solaris with its Sun/Java roots and using zones instead manage this any differently?

.htaccess Tips

Sometimes I have to play with htaccess files.  This is usually followed by a process of ‘its been a while since I used htaccess, what are the options again?’ and a search of various blogs, manuals and other articles.

Here is a nice summary of what your htaccess should cover when deploying a new page.