A refreshing and emerging 2005
Wednesday 21 December 2005 @ 2:28 pm
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The year has almost come to an end so it’s time to look back. In general I have to say, 2005 was a surprising year. Surprising as refreshing. Surprising as emerging. Finally the tendency, already started in 2004, to make (enterprise/web) development more straight forward has been evolved into mainstream body of thought. Some (won’t mention names, won’t call them dropouts, won’t call them visionaries either but I encourage their way of thinking) have turned this evolution rather drastic into a revolution and the idea to leave java behind our back is alive and kicking. And the good, surprising, emerging and fresh aspect of this situation is the java world finally has opened their eyes and room is created for new approaches.

Most promising framework on the move: Wicket
Component oriented web development with a twist. And a very nice twist! Over the years I have played with several frameworks that applied the Swing approach in web applications. And somehow all those frameworks did not fit. Mostly because when doing web development, fine grained control over rendering is a must. And wicket is one of the first frameworks doing rendering web look and feel the right way (by plain HTML!). Yep, Tapestry and XMLC are build around the same paradigm but the first has a way to steep learning curve (assuming your axis are layed out correctly) and XMLC is not an application framework but a presentation engine. Wicket is just wicket! And that is exactly its power.

Most over-hyped but o so beloved abbreviation: AJAX
It’s a combination of old technologies that brought something new to the web: RIA, another abbreviation: rich internet applications. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with the desktop? Why on earth do we need a hyper text markup language rendering engine to give an application a decent look and feel? Your browser has been designed to bring you information, not to interact with you. Okay, admit, browser based applications are handy. Wherever you are, you can access them. Actually, when writing this text, I use an application that has been delivered to me through a browser. And I can not ignore the fact this really is handy! But I doubt the combination of XML, Javascript and asynchronous calls from client to server are the most ideal solution to pimp a web application. Nevertheless, AJAX is here (And in combination with for example Wicket a nice way to decorate your app) and why not use it while waiting for technology that will enable even more richness to the client.

Most eye-opening technology: DB4O
DB4O rocks! Object oriented databases have always been a bit clumsy. Either the way they interacted with a programming language (JDO for example) or the way they are installed, setup and configured (Ozone for example) never felt comfortable. DB4O takes a fresh approach: It’s embedded in the language and you can embed it into your application. Code needed to persist and re-retrieve your objects never has been that simple (I’ve been flabbergasted by their native queries: just write actual, no criterium api alike, java code to express a query). Forget ORM but go OO the right way!

And finally the music album that has boosted my java performance: LCD Sound system
Java development is not efficient. It’s not handy. There is a lot of overhead. It is complicated. It is cumbersome. It is redundant. It is everything you can imagine to slow you down. But happily there are frameworks, tools, code generators, model transformers and whatever to speed you up. But what really speeds up my personal productivity is some groovy music that fills the room.

By the way, Echo2 is also a nice Ajax based, component orient web framework like Wicket, but it misses the fine control (or at least, it is not implemented in a natural way).

Another by the way: SOA is also a pretty over-hyped (and by some beloved) abbreviation but I’m sure it will die like any other enterprise buzz for the sole reason money can only be made by new buzzwords and in 2007 SOA is so 2005!

and some more music that made java programming a party: Bloc Party, Death from above 79, Kaiser Chiefs, Art Brut, Nine inch nails, Brazilian Girls, The ponys and Patrick Wolf


— By Okke van 't Verlaat   Comments (1)   PermaLink
Safari Bookshelf
Wednesday 21 December 2005 @ 11:06 am
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Last couple of months I’ve been using this online bookshelf from Safari.

With this service you can search across, read, browse through 3500+ technical books. I should note that they have all the recent titles, be it on Java, OO, WebServices, .NOT etc. I’m using this service on a personal account (about € 10,- per month) and I am very pleased with it. (Though I wouldn’t mind if my boss would pay for it, as it is of both personal and professional value)
On a yearly basis this amounts to +/- € 120,- which is the price of 3 books. For this I have a virtual bookshelf with 5 slots. Some books take 2 slots, most take 1. Once you place a book on this shelf, you have to keep it there for at least a month. After that you can swap it for another one. This seems like a long time, but I usually don’t read more than 5 technical books a month :)

Most books I read, are read and put aside. There are ofcource some books I like to keep as a reference guide. For those this is a perfect place to make a decision before buying. They also offer a nice discount when you buy books online through their site.

I think it can also be very valuable at a corporate level. Think of study material, training, research, etc.

I know I would like to have an unlimited version of this service at my immediate disposal :-)

for some other reviews have a look at this or this page (or google for safari review).

Actually, I can’t believe that some of you aren’t also using this…
I would like to know if some of you are using this and if so, what you think of it.
If not, why not give it a try.

— By Ruben Sprangemeijer   Comments (2)   PermaLink


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