Me vs. Proprietary Software

6 AM June 7, 2006

I’ve been developing with mostly open-source software for the last two years, and it’s made me soft. I realised this today, when I encountered a problem with the ESRI Map Objects libraries I am evaluating. An event listener that should – at least according to the documentation – be firing, isn’t firing.

Having worked with open-source software for so long, my first reaction is to have a look at the library code. With Spring, for example, there have been several cases where a quick examination of the source showed me that I was misinterpreting the reference manual. A quick tweak to my code, and I was off.

As it is, I’ve now got to go to the ESRI “self-help” forums. If there’s no answer there, we have to decide whether to ditch MapObjects, spend a day investigating clunky workarounds, or buy something that’s not working, with support, in the hope that support might might fix it. Wish me luck.

Update: I did find the answer via ESRI‘s self-help forums. Unlike normal Swing listeners, listeners on ESRI-provided Swing objects are only weakly referenced. If you want a listener to keep working, your code must maintain an additional strong reference to it. Words. Fail. Me.

By alang | # | Comments (3)
(Posted to Rants, Software Development and javablogs)


At 11:03, 07 Jun 2006 AndrewR wrote:

Another option here is MapInfo MapXtreme for Java (

At 13:29, 07 Jun 2006 Sean Gillies wrote:

An open source option is GeoTools,, the Java project which inspired me to build a better Python GIS framework on top of MapServer and GDAL (

At 15:38, 07 Jun 2006 Karl G wrote:

When I was working with ESRI, one of the guys I was working with had the uber-support contract which basically was the same thing you'd get on most oss mailing lists, but cost someone a fortune. It was great.


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