sebastiandaschner news

wednesday, may 23, 2018

Hello from Sapporo, Japan!

The last days and week have been full of traveling and Java community engagement. We’re at almost the end of our #DevTour in Japan. Since the beginning of May, we’re been driving around this country to visit many Java User Groups speak on Java Day Tokyo and to hold the JOnsen unconference again. The whole trip has been a success so far, and I especially enjoyed JOnsen 2018. Right now I’m in Sapporo with Ix-chel Ruiz, Matthew Gilliard, and Takashi Ito to present at JavaDo tonight.

For this and the next newsletter issues, I wanted to focus on a topic which I think is quite important: development productivity.


What’s new

Now let’s start this productivity special:


Create custom IDE shortcuts

It’s advisable to make use of code shortcuts in your IDE to reduce the amount of manual typing. In IntelliJ, for example, they are called live templates. Did you know that you can create custom templates tailored to the technology you’re using?

An example for pre-defined Java live-templates is Psf which expands to private static final.

I encourage you to reflect which snippets and imports you keep typing over and over again. As inspiration, these are examples of my custom live templates:

  • ijt@Inject, including the correct import, javax.inject.Inject.

  • ijte@Inject Event<CURSOR_WILL_BE_HERE>, including the correct imports for CDI events.

  • em@PersistenceContext EntityManager entityManager.

  • kcd → Kubernetes Deployment YAML definition with placeholders for name, app label, and the Docker image.


Script-away your mouse usage

Under Linux, I use dmenu-launch to open applications, what is similar to the Spotlight Search under MacOS. The idea behind it is obviously to minimize the time and effort required to start an application.

It’s advisable to take this idea further and create keyboard shortcuts for heavily used applications. For me that’s the browser, email client, Spotify, and IntelliJ (Alt + Super/Win + 1..4). Actually, I even created a keyboard shortcut to move the mouse out of the way, using xdotool under Linux.

In general, I want to maximize the time where I use the computer without touching the mouse. Especially “boilerplate mouse movements” that you keep repeating all over again can be automated away.


Consider switching your keyboard layout (for non-US developers)

If you’re from a country other than the US (incl. a few others), you’ll likely use a keyboard layout other than the US layout. It can be quite cumbersome to type special characters such as curly or square brackets on other layouts that favor language-specific features over developers.

Therefore, I can only encourage software developers to switch to a US keyboard layout. For those of you who need “Umlaut” characters and others, there is a US international version that allows to type many more characters, using the Alt Gr key. Have a look at the US international layout. Ideally, you want to use a version without dead keys.


Thanks a lot for reading and see you next time!


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All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my employer or colleagues.