Mar 21

In London, then to Lancaster for AOSD 2004

AOP, Tech No Comments »

I fly back to my native London this weekend. It is great to be back, and I will enjoy my time here (have already had a great curry!).

Tomorrow I meet up with Ron Bodkin, and head up to Lancaster, for the AOSD 2004 conference.

I am looking to see this years Aspect Oriented show, as AOP is growing slowly but surely, and this year sees a mix of academia and the private sector. I am also looking forward to putting some faces to the names!

I hope to see you at the conference!

Mar 20

Offshoring Failures

Tech 1 Comment »

Linuxworld has a new article on the constant topic, offshoring, in 1 in 4 IT Jobs Going Offshore, Says Gartner; One Major “Offshoring Failure” in 2004 Predicted.

First of all, my main thoughts on offshoring are:

  • It can make sense
  • It often does NOT make sense
  • You have to be smart on what to off shore (please don’t offshore items with substantial business domain knowledge)
  • NDAs? IP Protection? Right. Be careful (depends on what/where of course)
  • “You” and “your country” does not have special rights which mean you deserve certain jobs. We don’t have a problem if we get jobs from abroad do we? Earn it.
  • Please spend money and effort on education so our kids are at the top of the educational tree…. and make them ready for the future economies

I have personally been involved in outsourced projects that both succeded and failed.

A few blanket reasons on the outcomes:

  • Success: A lot of thought went into communication, choosing who did what, quality controls, etc. Small components were spec’d out nicer leaving minimal interpretation, and these components were not necessarily the core business units
  • Failure: Bad communication and planning. No thought on how to manage this environment at all, weak processes, and no monitoring of the work, or who was doing it

I think there have been a LOT of failed projects. Of course companies will not come out and say “WE FAILED” will they. Who wants to be seen in that light? On that note, it will be interesting to see the public failures… and hopefully we can learn from those too.

Mar 18

RE: Is Groovy a threat?

Groovy, Tech 3 Comments »

Cedric points out that just because the Groovy JSR was submitted DOESN’T mean that it will be accepted.

He thinks that Sun will probably turn down the JSR as they see it as a threat.

Personally I don’t see it as a thread to Java. In fact I see it as the opposite. One proof is in Cedrics own statements about Ruby.

Don’t get me wrong: I am a Groovy fan. Ruby used to be my scripting language of choice and over these past years, I have accumulated a certain number of Ruby scripts that are working really well, but right now, I can’t think of any reason to use Ruby when I have Groovy.

I feel exactly the same way. I really like Ruby, but I haven’t touched it recently… since I had Groovy at my finger-tips. It isn’t because Groovy is “better” as a language…. it is because I can now reuse all of the Java code that I have laying around. Even better than that, I can choose to write code partly in Java, partly in Groovy (again, as Cedric mentions wrt ejbgen.jar).

So, Groovy has actually kept me working MORE on the “Java Platform”. Does Sun care about the platform…. or the language? I know what one I would care more about.

I also agree with Brian when he says Get it right — Groovy is endorsing the JCP.

This is a two way thing….. and makes the JCP move towards being a valid standards organization, versus being Sun’s Java toy. If the JCP (and this ISN’T JUST SUN) accept this JSR, it will say a lot…. and all positive in my book.

Mar 18

Near-Time Flow: Wiki + RSS + Blog + …

Tech 1 Comment »

Stu Halloway has been secretly beavering away on a new project… and the project is now out in the open.

Near-Time Flow

Near-Time Flow is the first integrated peer to peer collaborative content manager for individuals, groups, organizations, and enterprises using Mac OS X Panther. Flow’s interface is intuitive and engaging, allowing you to begin creating, collecting, and integrating digital content immediately. With a powerful, standards-based peer-to-peer collaboration engine, Flow takes content sharing well beyond traditional publishing, email messaging, and shared folders. Flow affords real interaction through collective editing and context-driven discussion, keeping teams on the same page…literally.

It looks like a collaboration tool which combines a lot of other items (Wiki, blogs, IM, etc) and even looks like it has the WYSIWYG editor that I just said was needed!

It is Mac OS X only (why it looks so pretty). I hope there will be a Windows release, as although I have a Mac, maybe people I collaborate with don’t!

Congrats Stu.

Mar 17

Nice Wiki Editor: A must have for the world of Wiki

Tech 4 Comments »

Mike, James, and the creator, Zohar, are talking about TimTam.

It looks like a really cool editor for Confluence.

I think this type of thing is an important evolution for Wiki’s. Us techies, we get them… and can easily handle the fairly simple wiki languages. However, I have seen the Average Joe’s try to work with the world of Wiki… and they just can’t wrap their heads around it.

For me, the ultimate Wiki would allow me to view the page… make edits INLINE, and just hit save. This would truly be WYSIWYG. TimTam is a good step in that direction, but doesn’t seem to be quite WYSIWYG… it looks like you edit the markup and flip to a preview where it is rendered.

Congrats on such a sleek piece of work, and I look forward to seeing a future leap for the laymen! Then Wiki can take over the world ;)

Mar 17

Open Source projects ponder move from C/C++ to Java/.NET/other

Open Source, Tech No Comments »

Havoc Pennington has written an interesting article on the future of open source desktop development.

He talks about projects like GNOME, Mozilla,, and Evolution. His discussion surrounds the (at least partial) desire to move away from the traditional C/C++ development environments, and moving to The Next Thing.

Havoc puts his thoughts on the competition (the usual suspects: Java, .NET, Perl/Python/Ruby).

I think that going with a platform makes sense. I doubt everyone is going to agree to work on GNOME using Perl. However, if Parrot really existed in the real world…. it could compete with Java and .NET the platforms.

I am feeling better and better about Java recently, as if a project was on the JVM I could choose to program in Java itself, OR something else such as Groovy, BeanShell, Jython, Rhino/JavaScript, .

This is pretty powerful, and although Swing still gets a hard time, I think it is solid in 2004 (and getting better). WinForms isn’t a silver bullet.

Mar 16

Rickard is a brave man: Why applets are great

Tech No Comments »

I had to blink a couple of times when I saw Rickards recent posting, Why applets are great.

I thought I was going to hear a gem about AOP…. bu this? :)

I actually agree in many ways. Applets themselves don’t “suck” as many people still exclaim.

My thoughts on applets are:

  • When they first came out it was annoying seeing the mouseover applets on everyones site
  • They were deathly slow at first
  • Working around browser issues is a real PITA
  • I have seen some great uses of applets. They have a place, just not right for every job (like all technology)
  • There are many cases where it makes more sense to use Java Web Start than applets
  • As Rickard mentions, there are cases where it makes more sense to use applets than Web Start!
  • Swing isn’t evil either
  • Applet development is getting better and better (as bandwidth increases, caching is better, java support will hopefully get better, etc etc)

Kudos to Rickard for being pragmatic about a technology, and not falling for “this sucks” syndrome. We have a toolbox, and now and then it makes sense to bring out toolks like Applets and even EJB!

Mar 16

Struts is “good enough”?

Java, Tech, Web Frameworks No Comments »

Dan Moore has responded to Kris Thompson’s assertion that “Struts will continue to lose industry acceptance as the MVC leader in the J2EE space”.

I definitely see a trend to avoid Struts… it is coming from a few angles:

  • People getting frustrated: There are some quirks to Struts, and they get frustrating enough to make you want to try something else. It may not be the right thing to do in the short term, but it could arguably be the right thing in the long run
  • People getting bored: Hey, you keep hearing about Tapestry, WebWork, JSF, etc…. and you want to play with the new cool shiny toy. Building web apps themselves aren’t the most fun in the world, so I can see why some people want to try something new
  • People want TLA’s for their resume: Nah… never met any of those
  • People not wanting to get left behind: A lot of the old Struts crew have moved on to other things…. and people don’t want to be left with the legacy

Now on the flip side there are many people like Dan, who don’t (or don’t think) they have the time to engage in something new, when Struts “works good enough”. There is nothing wrong with this, as you can write solid webapps in Struts just as you can in anything else… the business logic is where it matters.

What will it take for the Dan’s of the world to flip?

  • Someone needs to show him that moving to The New Way ™ will save him significant time (more than just saying so on a blog like this)
  • Maybe there isn’t a New Way that can even do this yet…. and we are waiting for a bigger leap in the web tier

I think it will be an interesting year for web frameworks, and look forward to see what comes of Tapestry and JSF (since they are very different).

The coupling of: MVC layer -> IoC -> Transparent persistence is a sexy one (e.g. Tapestry -> Spring -> Hibernate).

Mar 16

Latent typing, micro-interfaces, and Groovy

Groovy, Tech No Comments »

Laszlo has written up some interesting thoughts on latent typing and micro-interfaces.

The dynamic vs. static debate is as eternal as vi vs. emacs (wait, or is it now IDEA vs. Eclipse), Microsoft vs. The Rest, ….

I find myself jumping around a lot between languages that enforce static types, and dynamic. When in one, I find times that I miss the other. Sometimes I *want* a strict interface, sometimes I want a looser one.

This is yet another reason why I like what I see with Groovy, as well as many other new languages. I can pick and choose, depending what I am doing. This is the way forward for me.

So it is good news that the Groovy language has been submitted as JSR 241. It will be quite an experiment to see a new language standardized via the JCP. There are many questions that people are asking: Is it too early for Groovy? Doesn’t it need to mature more? Will the JCP slow it to a crawl? Time will tell :)

Good luck James, RMH, and everyone involved.

Mar 15

Tim Bray joins Sun

Tech 239 Comments »

It was interesting to read that Tim Bray has joined Sun. Instead of an entry saying “I work for Sun now”, he goes into some details on his choices, and why he took the job.

Some may see it as an interesting move, but best of luck to him. I just hope that Sun uses his talent in a way that actually helps them out ;)