Archive for June, 2005

Esplanade 307

All the JavaOne sessions I was interested in seeing today met in one room, which limited the amount of line-standing I needed to participate in. Unfortunately, I had to miss one, but a boy’s gotta eat some time.

This particular room is huge. I’m pretty bad at estimating volume, but I would guess it seats at least 1000. The sessions held in this room today were universally full.

Gavin King kicked it off with an overview of Hibernate 3.0 (actually, there was an earlier talk in this room on the JBoss kernel, but I chose sleep). Most of it was review, but the bits on filters and subselect fetching proved interesting. Hibernate Filters provide crosscutting functionality to narrow down result sets at runtime for things like temporal data or security limitations. Subselect fetching provides a new fetching technique for efficiently loading collections, avoiding the dreaded n+1 problem.

I skipped the Shale talk, though I’m becoming increasingly interested in exploring component-based web application frameworks to ease Jobster development in this tier. I did make the Tapestry discussion, JSF’s biggest competitor in the component-based java web framework market. I’ve often been tempted to dive into Tapestry, and the latest hype around trails only heightens this interest. This talk convinced me that my next scrappy project at Jobster should be done in Tapestry. My only hesitation is that JSF is now the Sun-blessed component framework, with Tapestry on the outside looking in. However, that position didn’t stop Hibernate or Spring from becoming the dominant players in their domain without Sun’s blessings.

Part of what excites me about the component framework promise is that all of the leading ones have good integration with Spring. Tapestry can use Spring outright for the backing container of its components, and JSF can be configured to, as well, as evidenced by the following talk: “Spring and JavaServer Faces: Synergy and Superfluous?” While the question posed by this session was obviously rhetorical, I still found the discussion around this topic disappointing. Maybe it’s because the integration is relatively straightforward, but most of the talk seemed like a pretty unrelated overview of Spring’s features, including an indepth discussion of how Spring can help abstract away TopLink data persistence. Whatever.

I’m now sitting in my final session for the day, fittingly the “Web Framework Smackdown.” JSF, WebWork, Struts-Shale, Tapestry, and Wicket are all represented. This seems like a somewhat odd grouping: Shale is built on top of JSF, has little to do with Struts, and many of its features are likely to make it into JSF proper. And WebWork, while technologically impressive, is the only framework here that isn’t based around components. What would really be nice if there was more cooperation and standardization around these projects. It’s doubtful that this will be possible, but each of these projects keep solving the same problems in similar fashion. So long as they keep have integration points into Spring, though, I won’t complain too loudly.

No BOFs for me tonight. I’m hanging out with my buddy zalm tonight. Not sure what we’re going to do, but rumor has it there will be some bashing the Balrog.

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To form a line is the natural instinct of JavaOne attendees. Lines are everywhere at this thing. There are thousands of attendees, and only about 10 or fewer sessions going on at once. It’s easy for even a seemingly obscure session to be at standing room only. And you have to be prepared if you’re looking at getting into a popular session; the lines form quickly and organically. I was considering attending a session on Portlets and JavaServer Faces, but the line stretched out of one building and into the next. Seeing as how I have no immediate plans on utilizing either technology for our project in the immediate future, I passed so I could talk to you.

I’ve found the sessions I’ve attended today to be more interesting than yesterday’s. I started with a talk on SOA and Enterprise Service Bus. I think I’ve mentioned in the past; I’ve been experimenting with Mule to provide a communication channel for the various servers in our farm. The premise/promise of ESB’s seems a little overkill for this, but Jobster may want to use this type of technology in the future as it communicates with external machines for job feeds, ATS vendors, etc. Good to know where the industry is headed with these types of technologies.

I followed that session with one on “The New EJB 3.0 Persistence API”. Gavin King, author of Hibernate, was one of the speakers; I didn’t heckle him, as I suggested to my coworkers that I might do. He seemed to have enough trouble on his own making it through his portion of the presentation. The Persistence API in EJB 3.0 seems very hibernate-like; I’ll be interested to hear more about how these two technologies will converge during Gavin’s talk tomorrow.

I just left a talk on XQuery. That little buzzword has appeared on several slides in other talks I’ve attended, and the synopsis promised that they’d discuss how to make XML sing and dance using this technology. Given that I didn’t know what to expect, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The presentation was the most entertaining I’d been to so far. XQuery looks like a really powerful replacement to XSLT, which I’ve found painful and confusing to use in the past. The real-time demos that Jason Hunter gave of XQuery pulling data out of a collection of O’Reilly books in XML format was compelling. Even more so was the 60-line XQuery source code that could find all references to an image in a docbook, displaying the paragraphs that the image was referenced in, the synopsis of the articles those paragraphs appeared, and the feedback to those articles tha tappeared in later journals. I don’t know if I’ll ever need this technology, but it was fun to watch something so obviously useful and powerful in action.

One more tech session, then dinner followed by the nightly BOF’s. Hopefully tonight’s will be more compelling than last night’s.

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Feast or Famine

JavaOne 2005, Day 2. I slept in and missed the opening General Session. No huge loss, though I caught the tail end on the huge monitor showing it outside the room. Apparently Scott McNealy gave James Gosling a Java Lifetime Achievement Award, which I’m pretty sure he referred to as a “Dukey”. Now, I realize that “Duke” is the name of the blob known as the Java mascot, but to give someone as esteemed as James Gosling anything that sounds like “dookie” is really unfortunate. But I digress.

Seeing as how I skipped the general session, I didn’t think missing the first round of technical sessions didn’t seem like much of a sin, especially since there wasn’t anything in them that sounded particularly compelling to me. But then the second round had 4 different sessions I would’ve been happy to sit thought. Such is the story of my current JavaOne experience; any particular round is likely to have either nothing of interest, or multiple sessions I wouldn’t want to miss.

I had to make a difficult choice for this second round, day 2. Rod Johnson, whom I have a bit of a mancrush on, was giving his Spring talk. I’ve never heard this talk, but I don’t think an introduction to Spring would’ve been the best use of my time (if only he’d been speaking in the first round!). So instead I’m listening to a talk on Enterprise Service Busses and SOA. It’s already started, so I should stop blogging.

More later.

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Business cards have always been little more than a novelty to me. As a coder, I rarely spend much time in groups that find much currency in them. And so I never even considered bringing any along for this trip to JavaOne. How silly of me. Of course, conferences are a perfect time to unload these otherwise worthless pieces of weak identification. I’ve already struck up conversations with strangers (who, as we all know, are just friends you haven’t met yet) where handing over a business card would oddly have seemed like a perfectly natural interaction. And I had nothing.

As you may have noticed or cared, I’ve stopped using the “JavaOne, Part *” title nomenclature. Partly because it sucked. But also because I created a category for all my JavaOne posts, since I imagine I’m going to write more this week than all my other posts combined. Not necessarily because JavaOne is the most interesting thing I’ve ever done. I just don’t have much else to do while I’m waiting between sessions…

My first technical session turned out to be a bust. It was supa-dupa hot in the room, and, as it turns out, I don’t really know much about JAX and Java-based web services to find much interest in the where this particular technology is going.

The one thing I did find out is that everything is going to be very annotation-heavy. Java EE 5 will rely heavily on annotations to replace much of the mundane descriptor configuration and boilerplate code. This is certainly a welcome development. There’s no greater buzzkill to application development than having bugs in your XML descriptors. I’m especially looking forward to trying out Hibernate Annotations, when I find the time. And what else do I have but time this week?

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JavaOne, Part 2

In the second general session for the day. It’s being lead by some guy from BEA. I didn’t think it’d be that interesting, so I planned to do some blogging. And here I am. But, lucky for me, BEA was using this forum to announce their partnership with Spring, and will be officially supporting the Spring
Framework on their application server, WebLogic. And now Rod Johnson, creator of Spring, is giving a mini-overview of Spring and the beauty of POJO’s. They demonstrated a cool console that used in WebLogic that lets you get an overview and monitor your Spring beans. Cool.

The General Session this morning was out of control. I don’t attend conferences like this much, but this seemed over the top. There were humongous monitors in the background showing crazy marketing slides and videos. Stylized lighting. Funky space music by “Magnetic Poetry”, featuring Paul Horn (or so we were told). And then the introductory video… man, I’ve got to find me a copy of that on the web. My favorite quote (I couldn’t write them all down) was that with Java, we are now “free from the tyranny of space and time.” I’m clearly not getting the most out of my JVM…

The speakers were actually pretty interesting, save for the SOA guy. I’m actually interested in learning about SOA, and how Jobster might take advantage of tools emerging around this technology (I just started playing around with Mule). But this guy provided little enlightment to how Sun intends to service this market. Which is too bad, since this seems like an area that could use someone providing clear vision.

I’m now sitting in my first technical session: “Next-Generation Web Services in the Java Platform”. It should start any minute now. If Rod Johnson shows up to this one, I’m going to assume he’s stalking me.

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JavaONE, part 1

Monday morning. 8AM. JavaONE. Moscone Center. San Francisco.

Between my hotel and the JavaONE pavilion, I’ve already had 3 pastries and 2 cups of coffee. Who knew there’d be so many free muffins?

I don’t know why I decided to do this. I guess I wanted to be that kind of Java geek. I’m not the only loner in this place, though there do seem to be a majority of people travelling in groups. This will be good reason to post to my blog: someone to talk to. Thank God for the Jobster PowerBook and free wireless.

So far, my terror is justified. Lotsa geeks everywhere (I am them). My initial guess is 10:1 male:female ratio. Already an abundance of schwag: backback with t-shirt, notebook, etc. I’m more interested in the schedule. It’s like a college coursebook. There are scheduled events ’til almost midnight. Not sure if I’m going to make all of them; I need to get intimate with schedule.

People are starting to file out of breakfast to the first “General Session.” I imagine it’s a general rah-rah to kick this party off right. However, there’s still a long line out the door of people waiting to get their kruller. Glad I’m an early riser.

More later.

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Out like a lamb

Ani walking in the sunset

Originally uploaded by shaug.

May 2005 is over, and I’ll miss it.

This past month, I celebrated my daughter’s first birthday. And what a celebration we had. Three out of four grandparents traveled from distant lands to help in the festivities. On her actual birthday (Weds the 25th), I paid the fine folks at “The Old Spaghetti Factory” to let Ani throw food all over their floors. We followed it up with a lovely stroll through Myrtle Edwards Park in downtown Seattle at sunset (pictured here). Gift opening spanned several days, not (necessarily) due to an abundance of gifts, but because Ani took so long in tearing off the paper. And on Saturday, we had a grand bash with about 15-20 other 1 year olds from Cheryl’s mom’s group. Too bad Ani won’t remember one bit of it.

May 2005 also marked the 10th anniversary of my “Top Five Life-Changing Events” (with Ani’s birth, my first date with Cheryl, and being adopted by my step-dad also in the running). In May 1995 I took a roadtrip (yes, I know, very cliché) with zalm and hatboy from Chicago to northern Minnesota. Ostensibly, we were all to be groomsmen in a wedding. But really, I was celebrating the beginning of the best friendships I’ve ever known.

Sadly, I have no pictures of this event at the ready. The Wayback Machine used to, but they seem to have disappeared into the bit ether. Suffice it to say, we were all thinner back then…

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