My evening with Bob Martin

The Milwaukee SPIN Group (Software Process Improvement Network) had Bob Martin as their speaker tonight and it was a great time.

Bob Martin or Uncle Bob is a consultant and trainer in the field of software project management. He is the author of Extreme Programming in Practice, Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices, UML for Java Programmers and many other books. The topic of his talk was Agile Methods. I’ve heard the same talk about 4 times already but it is still a lot of fun to listen to him. In fact, most of the audience had heard this talk before and seem to be finishing the jokes before him 🙂 Still very entertaining.

PS: The SPIN is a group/forum for the free and open exchange of software process improvement expertise, experiences and ideas. Find a group near by you and join.

My favorite J2EE component is … DisplayTag

I guess I have to completely agree with this thread entitled Discussion: My favorite J2EE component is … DisplayTag on TSS. I have been using the display tag library since version 0.8 and have found it to be really useful and a huge time saver. Plus the ability to integrate with Struts is a nice plus.

If you’ve never seen or used it, the tag library display tables! Give it a list of objects and it will handle displaying of columns, sorting, paging, cropping, grouping, exporting, smart linking and decoration of the table in a nice and customizable xhtml style.

DisplayTag Sample

More information about the display tag library @ and

BEA jumps on security bandwagon

I first saw this on CNET in an article entitled – BEA jumps on security bandwagon. In a nutshell, the BEA WebLogic Enterprise Security product is an application security infrastructure solution that uses a service-oriented approach to enable security services for your applications.

The product is based on most of the stuff that came over as part of the CrossLogix acquisition. The interesting thing for me on this whole story was how security is playing an integral part of the application development process and how companies like BEA are jumping in this market. IBM has also been buying companies to complete its security/identity story in the Tivoli suite of products with TIM & TAM.

Another interesting part of the press release was that JAAS was not mentioned once. JAAS or the Java Authentication and Authorization Service is a package integrated into Java 1.4 that enables services to authenticate and enforce access controls upon users. It implements a standard Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) framework, and supports user-based authorization.

JAAS was a good first step for authentication and authorization for Java applications, but there are several limitations of the framework and I’m not sure what the future holds. It seems odd to write all this JAAS code for applications that are running inside a web/ejb container when the container has all of these services.

I haven’t been lurking in the newsgroup and so I don’t know what the future holds for JAAS. I guess I’ll have to go through the 15,000+ posting that are waiting in my newsreader.

Apple to launch iTunes for Windows

Just saw this on CNET’s News.comApple to launch iTunes for Windows. I am really excited as I don’t really like the alternatives in the Windows world. Companies like PressPlay have been offering online music sales for a while now along with newcomers like, Musicmatch and other but they all offer DRM’d version of Windows Media audio download only and not MP3.

I personally don’t care about WMA vs. MP3 but I do prefer MP3 and my iPod won’t take a WMA file. So it will be nice to be able to buy songs from Apple from my Windows machine. Love the idea of being able to buy just one song for 99¢ each or $9.99 for the whole album. No more waiting for Amazon to ship the music – No more paying for the whole album when you just want 1 song and the fact that I can put it on my iPod is another plus.

I wonder if Apple has ported the iTunes application to Windows or if they will use a standard web interface for the music store. I love MusicMatch Jukebox but it would be nice to see iTunes ported to Windows. oh boy!! I’m salivating already.

Can’t wait for IntelliJ IDEA 4.0

I really can’t wait to see the final GA release of IDEA 4.0. The JetBrains home page is also featuring the 4.0 coming soon splash graphic. I’ve been playing with most of the EAP downloads and the new features are really worth the 4.0 download or upgrade.

I personally don’t care about the GUI designer as most of my development efforts is focused on building back-end services with EJB’s and Web Services. The one thing that a lot of people find really interesting is the support for Generics that is based Sun’s Early Access compiler (1.4). A really cool feature is this concept of modules that makes sharing source files and library definitions among different projects a breeze. You can define j2ee.jar once and then reuse that for all projects instead of finding it in your directory structure and finding the copy of j2ee.jar or weblogic.jar.

One of the features that I love is the new CVS integration based on technologies licensed from the makers of SmartCVS. Being a newbie to CVS, I love the GUI interface that’s built into IDEA. I connected to my CVS server running on my Linux box in 2 minutes and was creating and checking in new content in minutes. At work, we are stuck with PVCS and I wish we could integrate that into IDEA..

Another really awesome new feature is the enhanced JUnit integration. Instead of popping up the standard JUnit window, the UI is completely integrated inside of IDEA. The new UI makes is really easy to see your test results and groups by class and package and gives you that complete view of your unit tests.

The 4.0 release is also the first release to include WebLogic integration. I can’t believe it took them this long, but the 4.0 release finally includes a really decent WebLogic integration. In older versions, it was really easy to write a simple class that just launched WebLogic from within IDEA or use the remote debug features using JPDA. This integration goes beyond these simple tasks and include support for WebLogic specific descriptors, deployment and server stop/starts.

The performance of the EAP releases has also gotten much better. The latest release that I ran was release 944 and I really think it is ready for primetime. Now that Eugene is back, I think IDEA is probably getting ready to announce and ship the GA release of 4.0.

[OT] My Griffin iTrip finally ships

hoo hoo :) – Just got an email from Griffin Technology stating that the new iTrip for third generation iPods are now shipping! If you don’t know, the iTrip is a FM transmitter for the iPod that can play your music through any FM radio. Unlike other FM transmitter, you can choose any radio station on the dial to tune for the best performance possible by playing special station codes directly from the iPod itself. Pretty cool.

Another cool feature of the iTrip is that it doesn’t need any batteries as it receives its power from the iPod. And I love the way the iTrip fits perfectly on top of your iPod. Can’t wait to get my iTrip.

If anyone has gotten their iTrip, drop me a line. Thanks and happy iPoding.

IntelliJ does .NET

I first read about when I was reading Carlos’s blog. In an entry entitled, Is JetBrains Selling Arms to the Enemy?, Carlos was musing about the future of IntelliJ and IDEA as JetBrains starts making as Eugene Belyaev, President and CTO of JetBrains talks about the products after IntelliJ 4.0.

In Eugene’s article, he talks about JetBrains creating a C# development tool along with the IDEA Java product line. I am a total IDEA bigot and have been a user since the early 2.x releases. But I understand what JetBrains is trying to do. I think the development community will eventually get to the point where we will have equal amount of development work going on in Java and .NET.

If I were a business, I would want to make sure I dipped my toe in both waters to make sure you are not left out on the sideline if something dramatic happens in the industry. The Java IDE space has been getting very competitive as well. With IBM’s Eclipse, BEA’s Workshop, Oracle’s JDeveloper and many other free IDE’s out there, IDEA will face some serious competition. I have been playing with the latest 8.1 release of WebLogic workshop and it is really a pretty sweet IDE. It’s still not close to IDEA, but if you are a WebLogic shop and have some junior developers, Workshop could do everything for you.

Having said all that, I still think IDEA is THE BEST JAVA IDE out there. Eclipse and Workshop will continue to improve and offer the same features as IDEA, but JetBrains has a significant market share and will be able to survive on their own. I have selfish reasons for hoping they make it 🙂 I don’t want another IDE.

Merrill Lynch rips Sun Microsystems

Merrill Lynch’s top analysts put out a scathing report about Sun that said that Sun is in danger of becoming irrelevant and of being acquired unless it fires thousands of workers and refocus its business. Wow. I’ve been saying the same thing for a while now and I think this report just hit it right on the head.

Sun really hasn’t had a strategy as far as their business is concerned. Sun is a hardware company that is trying to become a software company. As an ex-shareholder I followed Sun waste billions on buying application servers like Kiva, NetPerceptions, Netscape and then Forte to throw it all away. Then they buy NetBeans and rebrand it as Forte. Billions down the drain — And can anyone explain to me the deal Sun made with AOL and what the Netscape division bought it.

It appears that Scott McNealy and Sun got lucky. The revolution came at the right time where money was free and people didn’t think anything about spending millions on over-priced hardware. Java is another example of how Sun can’t do anything right. Sun owns Java and still can’t figure out how to make money on it. Owning Java would make you think they could make the fastest VM out there. No, BEA does that with JRockit for Windows, Linux and maybe even Solaris. BEA is not talking about JRockit for Solaris, but I’m sure they are working on one if they don’t have one already. And you can bet that it will be faster than the SunSoft JVM for Solaris.

Then there’s the whole iPlanet thing. So a hardware company that makes most if not all of its money on hardware is going to put out software to compete with companies that are responsible for its own hardware sales. That make any sense? No, but that’s exactly what they did to BEA by bundling iPlanet with the Solaris OS. BEA was responsible for the most Sun hardware sales after Oracle and that’s changing as Sun started competing with BEA on the software front.

Linux is another major misstep for Sun. Instead of adopting an OS that could make them money by selling hardware, they fought it, and spread FUD about it. You think they would have learned the lesson of Digital and the Alpha chips – Digital ignored Linux and didn’t realize till the end that their VARs were selling more Alpha boxes with Linux than OpenVMS and DigitalUnix. But it was too late. And I think Sun is in the same boat. They are about to become irrelevant in the hardware business.

And then there is Microsoft. Ok – Scott McNealy is really jealous of Bill Gates and Microsoft’s success and so Sun has made its mission to destroy Microsoft. Now that sounds like a good business plan. Sun really don’t have any ideas of their own, but they just do the exact opposite of Microsoft. Project Orion is just a simple grab for cash. And if I sound bitter, I am. I watched my Sun (Nasdaq: SUNW) stock go down for $120.00 to pretty much nothing. And I would have stuck around with the company if they had showed me something.. anything. I’m not picky. Just give me some idea that you know what you are doing. Nothing yet.

PS: The views and opinions expressed on this page are my personal opinion and in no way reflect the opinion or position of the company I work for or it’s other employees.

O’Reilly Releases ‘J2EE Design Patterns’

O’Reilly has just released a new book called J2EE Design Patterns written by William Crawford and Jonathan Kaplan. The press release states that this is not your typical patterns catalog. Instead, the authors have chosen to introduce these patterns in a narrative style, while keeping each section sufficiently distinct so that readers can easily focus on the patterns themselves. Underlying themes of scalability, extensibility, and reliability flow through each chapter. Their goal is to give the reader a set of patterns that build on each other. By presenting the patterns in the larger context of J2EE applications, Crawford and Kaplan hope to foster a more complete understanding of effective Java Enterprise architecture.

The release goes on to state that many of the patterns in this book focus on extensibility, scalability, flexibility, and performance–all areas of concern to J2EE developers. Some patterns will be new to readers and some will be familiar. But whether readers have seen the patterns before or not, “J2EE Design Patterns” is unique in showing readers how to apply them in real J2EE applications.

I wonder how this will compare to one of my favorite books, Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies by Deepak Alur, Dan Malks, and John Crupi. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. 🙂