Last week was an awesome week at work – Well, every week at work is awesome but last week was even more special because we had Keith Donald from Interface21 onsite doing Spring training. If you don’t know Keith, he is a Principal consultant at Interface21 in addition to being the lead of Spring Web Flow project and the founder of the Spring Rich Client Project.
I have been a user of the Spring framework for almost two and half years now. I introduced Spring at work about a year and a half ago and we started off by using Spring’s DAO framework in our data-access layer with great results. As advertised, Spring is very modular and non-intrusive and so we were able to use parts of it, without having to rewrite other aspects of our applications. Over time, we have replaced many of the standard J2EE components with Spring and our use of EJB is now relegated to act as pass-through façade to the service tier hosted inside Spring’s container. The only reason we even have the EJB’s around is to use WebLogic’s servicegen Ant task to expose the EJB as a set of Web Services. The servicegen Ant task takes as input an EJB JAR file or list of Java classes, creates all the needed Web Service components, and packages them into a deployable EAR file which makes it very easy to create Web Services endpoints using your existing code.
My team had different levels of experience with the Spring framework and so we decided to bring in Interface21 for Spring training to make sure everyone in the team was able to leverage all of the features of Spring. Matt and I had the most experience with Spring and so we felt that a lot of the training would be just a review for us but we were pleasantly surprised to know how much more there was to know and learn about Spring. Keith Donald did an incredible job in teaching us the nuances of Spring and the hands-on labs made learning a lot of fun. One of the great things about this class was the off-topic discussions we had with Keith where he was able to share his experiences in using Spring creatively to solve common problems. In addition to teaching us Spring, Keith was gracious enough to put up with 4 days of bitching and whining about Eclipse from all of us IntelliJ IDEA guys.
If you need Spring training, I highly recommend Interface21 – To me, the mark of a great training class is when it gets you so excited that you cannot wait to fire up your IDE to try out all the new things you’ve just learned. And I can tell you that I’ve spent most of Friday and this weekend refactoring a ton of applications to leverage even more of Spring.
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