Stop on specific NullPointerException in Eclipse

20. December, 2017

TL;DR: Find the line where the exception occurs and then add a conditional breakpoint which checks the local variables for values that would trigger the exception.

In Eclipse, you can stop on any exception by using the menu Run -> “Add Java Exception Breakpoint…“.

That’s great but it doesn’t help when you want to stop on a certain exception on a certain line. It’s a big problem with code that uses exceptions for control flow – you could have thousands of those exceptions before you get to the one which you care about.

In my case, I had a NullPointerException in java.util.concurrent.ConcurrentHashMap:

    public V get(Object key) {
        Node<K,V>[] tab; Node<K,V> e, p; int n, eh; K ek;
        int h = spread(key.hashCode()); <-------- key is null

I tried to add a conditional breakpoint here with the condition key == null but Eclipse complained that it couldn’t compile the expression (probably missing debug information).

The method was called from Jetty’s ClassInheritanceHandler, so I added a conditional breakpoint there.

That’s another reason to copy method results into local variables before using them.

YouDebug, the Non-interactive Debugger

7. May, 2014

“Non-interactive” and “debugger” seem to be contradictory but bear with me. YouDebug is a tool which allows you to debug a running Java application with a script.

How could this be useful? From the website:

[…]your program fails at a customer’s site with an exception, but you can’t (or don’t want to) reproduce the problem on your computer[…]

Sounds like a familiar problem: Customer has a problem but they can’t give you access for security, legal or technical reasons. You can’t go there (too far away) of even if you could, security won’t let you touch anything.

In a nutshell, YouDebug is a debugger that is controlled by a Groovy script:

breakpoint("com.acme.SubStringTest",7) {
  println "s="+s;

This sets a breakpoint in line 7 of “SubStringTest” and then prints the value of the local variable “s”.

Granted, it’s more time-consuming then doing it yourself (and you may need several attempts to get at the bottom of things) but you don’t have to install an IDE at your customer site, you don’t have to bring the source code along and technically, the customer is already running code that you wrote so from a legal and security point of view, this isn’t much different.

Oracle’s Java FAQ Displays in Chinese

17. January, 2014

I just looked at an article in the Oracle Java FAQ and I was a bit surprised to get this result:



  • Java 版本: 7.0

從 Java 7 Update 51 版本開始導入了例外網站清單功能。藉由將應用程式 URL 新增至「例外」清單,可讓使用者執行通常會被安全檢查封鎖的「豐富網際網路應用程式 (Rich Internet Applications, RIA)」。[…]

The solution was pretty simple: Append ?locale=en to the end of the URL:

That fixed it for me … sometimes.

Bean of type is not eligible for getting processed by all BeanPostProcessors (for example: not eligible for auto-proxying)

30. October, 2013

Haunted by this? Getting mysterious NullPointerExceptions in your BeanPostProcessors?

I have written a lengthy answer how to debug and solve these issues on

Jazoon 2013 – The Economies of Scaling Software

25. October, 2013

Jazoon 2013 badgeIf you’re small, scalability is not an issue. If you’re big, you can plan for it. But what if you wake up one morning and you suddenly find you’ve become the next Google?

In his talk “The Economies of Scaling Software“, Abdelmonaim Remani talks about what scaling means, how you can plan for it (even if you don’t expect it to happen) and all the nasty details that stand between you and success (slides on slideshare).

Today, the ubiquity of the Internet has blurred the lines between consumers and enterprises. They start to ask the same questions which eventually all boil down to: “How can I find what I’m looking for in a universe of haystacks?”

One day, many of us will find themselves with the need to scale because the performance of the old solution has become unbearable and all low-hanging fruit (faster CPU, more RAM) have been picked.

To solve this, you can look at the CPU (slide 16-35) or you can start to build clusters (36-45).

Or your I/O might be the bottleneck (slides 46-60). You can solve this by looking at NoSQL databases and caching.

Is the network the problem? (slides 61-75) Start with asynchronous processing, batch jobs, content delivery networks (CDN), DNS sharding or use a different protocol to connect the various parts of your system.

But how do you know what part is the bottleneck? The answer here is monitoring. (slide 77)

Note that scaling often helps with disaster recovery, you still have to plan for it – if all nodes of your cluster are in the same room, it’s still a single point of failure (slide 79)

Software isn’t everything. Don’t forget your team (slide 82)

Jazoon 2013 – Join the Java Evolution; JCP & Adopt-a-JSR

25. October, 2013

Jazoon 2013 badgeHeather VanCura explained how the new JCP works in her talk “Join the Java Evolution; JCP & Adopt-a-JSR” (slides on slideshare)

Oracle spent the last years to make the JCP much more open and accessible. One example here are the JSRs which are much more lightweight than the complex JCPs. You can even adopt one.

Maybe you’re a long time joda-time user and want to make sure important features make it into JSR 310 – new Date and Time API for Java? Join them to discuss your need, share some code, help write, improve or translate documentation.

Some bug in the SDK nagging you? Contribute a fix to the OpenJDK. With Java 8, the OpenJDK build has been simplified tremendously. Sun ignored your bug report for years even though it contained a patch? Now is the time to change this.

I had the chance to chat with Heather after the talk which earned me a copy of “Java 7 Concurrency Cookbook”; thanks for that 🙂 We discusses a couple of ideas and she gave me points; maybe I’ll submit a few patches. If I do, I’ll blog about the experience here.

Jazoon 2013 – Kafka and Storm – event processing in realtime

25. October, 2013

Jazoon 2013 badgeGuido Schmutz introduces two frameworks in his talk “Kafka and Storm – event processing in realtime” (slides on slideshare)

Apache Kafka is a publish-subscribe messaging system like JMS but more simple. Messages are kept in files and never deleted. Together with the fact that subscribers have to tell the system which message they want next, this means you can recover from bugs that corrupted your data even if you notice them only after some time: Just process all the corrupted messages again.

Storm is a “distributed realtime computation system. ” It makes it easy to define topologies (= graphs) of bolts (= places where a computation takes place) flowing your real-time data through a complex network to process, filter and aggregate it. Just like Akka, it defines all kinds of operations (filters, switches, routers, …) so you can easily and quickly build the topology you need. Trident makes this set-up step even more simple.

Compared to Hadoop, Storm is meant for real-time processing. Some projects combine the two.

If you need a good framework for serializing data in Java, have a look at Apache Avro.