Friday, November 20, 2009

Java People Spotlight: Sylvain Berthouzoz

The "People Spotlight" series is catching up after a rather long break...
Sylvain has joined Cambridge Technology Partners in January 2006 and is an important know-how carrier in the Java Competence Group since then.
So let's check out the answers by Sylvain then!

Java Competence Role:
Developer [aka Java Debugger or Mr. jBPM]
My Master Kung-Fu Skills
I can hit everyone with a single process in jBPM
I'd be excited to get my hands dirty on:
JPA2: see how they included the Criteria query...
...and to see what Ezio Audirore da Firenze will do.

Q: Hi Sylvain, how would your message look like if you would have to tell it via Twitter what you are currently doing?
A: Sitting in the train in hoping that the locomotive don’t break this time.

Q: What was the greatest piece of code you have ever written so far?
A: Testing if all the elements in a list are different from each other:
List< Long > list = Arrays.asList(longs);
Set< Long > set = new HashSet< Long >(list);
return (longs.length == set.size());
Q: What is the best quote you have ever heard about programming?
A: “koffienodig”

Q: What is the best quote you have heard from our managers?
A: "There is not enough boxes here."

Q: What is the most cutting-edge technology or framework you actually used on projects?
A: JBoss Seam

Q: What is your favorite podcast?
A: The gameblog podcast every week. And the Java Posse from time to time.

Q: Which Java book can you recommend and for what reason?
A: Seam in Action, because it is a great book to start with seam and you’ll also learn how to play golf.

Devoxx day 4/5

Day 4 was really great we had some very good keynote sessions. Ivar Jacobson is the father of components and UML. In his presentation he told us about the work he is doing to standardise the methodologies. Now a lot of companies make their own flavour of a methodology or create an entirely new one but "steal" from others. He want to create reuse so that people don't have to relearn the entire thing but just have to learn the new parts. It's food for thought, that is for sure and if it works out we'll have to wait and see.

After that, another great keynote from Robert Martin a.k.a Uncle Bob he is the founder of fitnesse and very focused on TDD (Test driven development). His talk was about "Filling The Professionalism Gap" by being Craftsmen. What it comes down to, is to make more IT projects succeed, developers must see themselves more as craftsmen. That means that developers should have a more "ethic" approach in delivering things and only create software that is clean tested and that really works. This is what we already do at CTP but I think a lot of developers can learn from this.

There were also some big announcements made at this Devoxx:
  1. Closures are in JDK7
  2. More new components in JavaFx 1.3
Big stuff and cool to hear that closures are going to make it in JDK7, that is a huge thing.

Also I had some fun of this day at devoxx, I went to the presentation of the JavaPosse. And when you hear the recording you can probably hear me shout: "Switzerland" :-). Of course they had their beer sponsor Atlassian so we had some nice Belgium beer (Duvel). A cool side effect of conferences is the fact that they are normally hosted inside a movie theatre: So at Devoxx they showed the new movie '2012', a very nice movie with lots of effects.

And then it is already the last day and I didn't notice this before, but it's only half a day. So I had some good sessions today one from Andy Wilkinson about Modular Web Applications with OSGi. He uses Spring DM (that's an application server, but not a Java EE certified one) to be able to split his web application vertically and/or horizontally in different OSGi bundles. That could be really good to manage big applications. Also he had some news, they are working on a version that does not require Spring DM, so that is definitely something we must keep an eye on.

That is it from Antwerp, Devoxx 2009!
So let's see what will happen with all the announcements made here in the next year...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Devoxx Day 3

The network at devoxx is letting me down a bit, so this post is a little bit late. This day is the first conference day, the university days are over. That means that there are a lot more people here than yesterday. Oracle (Steven Harris) had a long keynote talk in which interesting upcoming details have been presented with what is coming with future WebLogic releases. What they demo-ed was kinda cool. A modular WebLogic based on OSGi (often referred as mSA aka Micro Service Architecture) that you can assemble using a GUI tool. That you can also run in a virtual machine without adding an OS.

Next keynote was presented by Roberto Chinnici from SUN, he is the spec lead for JavaEE6 and gave a quick overview what is new in EE6. As I already had a 2 hours talk about that topic during the university days there was nothing new to me but all in all it well covered all aspects for people hearing about it for the first time. One of the cool things in Java EE 6 I like most is the modularity of the web.xml being part of the Servlet 3.0 spec. Using 3rd party frameworks only requires to add a library, instead of also adding a servlet or servlet filter in your web.xml.

Also announced in the keynote is that everything presented at Devoxx is going to be released on (currently upgraded to version 3!! ). That is great as all the presentations I've visited can be watched again including comments by other visitors etc.

During the break I ran into a lot of people I know from previous companies I worked for. It is always nice to hear what they are doing now and what other sessions they have seen and to tell them if they ever want to work for a nice company in Switzerland, I would know a good one :D

Now an update on where JDK7 is right now by Mark Reinhold. Great talk about what is important and where the focus for making Java move forward is going to lay. Talking about Project Jigsaw this is the first time ever I have seen some implementation how this could/would work. The shame is that there is no JSR for Java SE 7 so all development will not progress as long as this is the case. What was very surprising is that Mark wants Closures in, but in a very simple form, but that is great news for a lot of things Closures will make my code look nice.

In the keynote Apple gets a lot of criticism about being slow accepting apps in the store and the kind of feedback Apple provides when apps are disallowed.

Lunch break: Bumping into a lot of people again that I know; Talking to someone from JBoss about their community, now I have a nice CD to give away.

James Gosling is talking about the Java Store and I hope he is going to tell us that we here in Europe can use it now. So he is talking that we should provide him with feedback on the stuff they made, but as of now the Java Store is still not accessible for us. That makes his whole talk a bit pointless. Yes, I would love to have a platform I can sell my hobby projects with, but no need to tell me about how great it is when I still can't use it. There are a couple of countries being added in the near future, but Switzerland is not one of them.

Cameron Purdy tells us how we should change our programming paradigms if we want to use multi core, multi node programs. So the answer to all our problems is to use partitioning? I'm a bit puzzled how I could use this. I think this presentation could have been a bit more concrete. He presents all theoretical ways to do parallel distributed computing. At the very end I know why everything was so vague, if you want an implementation of all of what he talked about than you'll need to buy Coherence a bit of an anticlimax.

Doug Tidwell will now tell us a little about how to extract a way from implementations of cloud computing. He is from IBM an I hope this is not another product plug and it turns out that it's not, he is funny and a good speaker. What he is trying to tell us is that we need a standard for doing cloud computing, an API to talk to different clouds. The problem is that the services that clouds provide now are so diverse that one API to rule them all makes no sense. That is a bit what I miss, nobody is talking about how using a cloud will impact my design.

Then one of the creators of the Android platform Romain Guy will talk about animation. Romain Guy is really famous in the Java world so his presentation will be good. It's about animating GUI using the cartoon rules. There are some basic cartoon rules for doing animation he shows us how they apply to GUI animation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Devoxx day 2

Today it is day two at Devoxx. What I didn't put in my last post is the BOF I went to last night. BOFs here are great - there are only a couple of people in the room, it is really different than at JavaOne where there are a lot more people. So yesterday I had a BOF with the JSF spec leads (well the 3 key persons: Dan Allen, Peter Muir and Andy Schwartz) and we could in a very relaxed setting ask them some questions about the JSF 2 spec. So we could find out how and why they made some decisions. The question I asked them: "Why is JSF 2 not more focused on components so that I can mix and match components of 3rd party providers?". The answer was that they are looking into that and that a lot of problems one has with that right now is how resources are loaded: all 3rd parties made something on their own. So now all the AJAX stuff needs to be gathered and then they will look into that. Good answer, I'm glad that they are aware of what lives in the community.

My first session of today is a session about JEE6. They are talking about and demo-ing everything that is new in the spec. Antonio Goncalves a French Java Rockstar has a lot of humor and a nice presenting style. JSF 2.0 is kind of confusing, because it could run on servlet 2.5 but also on 3.0 but then less needs to be configured. Yesterday the expert group also talked about this that they communicate better what is now the "preferred" way of doing things. This is difficult when you make a spec. You can't remove things, because it needs to be backwards compatible. This is also the case for EJB3 - there is now a EJB3.1 lite edition where all old stuff is removed. According to them there are some containers being built that only support this spec.

JavaFX is what my next talk is about. This is hyped a lot by Sun and now with the takeover by Oracle also Oracle will continue with JavaFX. The last changes around JavaFX involved a lot of tooling at this year's JavaOne. Tor Norbye presented a tool for designers that they can layout an application for mobile and desktop. Stephen Chin also a Java Champion starts with a nice little JavaFX Puzzle. For his demo he is using twitter but that was a bit of a poor choice, because with the Devoxx network, reaching twitter proves a bit of a challenge. So most of the time we are waiting for some internet resource to load. So I'm changing again, I already know the basics about JavaFX and I was hoping this would be a little bit more deep dive. Emmanuel Bernard is also a guru of the Hibernate team and here at Devoxx he is talking about integrating Lucene into Hibernate as an alternative query API. So the bridge they have built for Hibernate is really cool. In the past we did this on ourselves, have a Lucene index to search on and then load entities when needed. But with the Hibernate search query API we can do it "automatically".

During the lunch I talked to Ceki Gülcü who is also from Switzerland and giving a talk about logback, the continuation of the dead log4j project, tomorrow. He would make a nice speaker on the JUGS.

Now it's time for tools in action again, first up is Gradle. Hans Dockter is the project lead and he gives an introduction about Gradle. Gradle is a build tool that uses CoC and has a DSL to configure your build. Yet another build tool, but this time is using groovy DSL to make a build file. I also blogged that Maven3 is also going to provide this. I don't know what Hans is trying to explain to me or how this is better than Maven3, but he is a bit chaotic. After a while there is a new speaker that is even worse. I think there are some good options in Gradle, but these are not the guys to explain it to me. One thing I did get from the presentation that you could fork your test over more threads, which is cool.

Next up is Scala Actors that will be a good one. You all know of course that Scala is a language on top of the JVM and developed in Switzerland. Because computers are getting more and more processors, functional languages like Scala could be very useful for this, because they are stateless and you don't need to think about how to distribute the work. After a little history lesson, Frank Sommers gave us a concrete example of how Actors can be used in Scala. It's great, a lot of stuff you get for free. Of course the concept of Actors is not bound to Scala, but there are things that Scala offers that make Scala a good language to use with Actors. For instance types in Scala are immutable by default. Great talk and when I'm going to type synchronized in code again I must remember this talk.

That is it for day number 2, it was a fun packed day and I look forward to tomorrow. One more thing I noticed today if you want to present on Devoxx you'll need a Mac and IntelliJ IDEA.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Devoxx day 1

Devoxx is probably the largest European Java Conference. As it always takes place at the end of the year and approximately half a year later than big brother JavaOne, it's a good time to get the stuff again that has been announced at JavaOne and to see how the news and forecasts have been adopted in the meanwhile.

When I think of Belgium I think of beer, bars, chocolate, hospitality and cosiness. But when I arrived and saw my hotel all these feelings went away. The location of my hotel and the conference is in an industrial part of Antwerp. There is nothing here but harbours and sea containers. So there is absolutely nothing distracting me from attending the sessions :D

So my first session of the day was about jBpm 4 and that was very impressive, I've used jBpm in the past together with Seam. I wish that I could use it with my last project. They changed a lot the API making deployment and testing easier. The console is now rewritten in GWT, and there is a web app that business people can use to create and modify processes. Also creating screens for tasks now works!

So with the new version they really focused on working together and fixing the issues with regards to configuration. So I'm definitely trying that out.

Strange thing about this fist day that I haven't seen any companies yet. Maybe they will only setup their stuff when The conference days are starting. OK update on this: they are building up their stuff now.

Another important note... I already have my 2 t-shirts and one of them is a limited edition!

Next up is Architecting Robust Applications for Amazon EC2 , let's see what they have there.

This one was not interesting at all, if I want to know how the webservices of amazon work I'll look it up myself. So I switched to a talk from a SUN guy who is clicking stuff together in Netbeans. What he is talking about is interesting. But his demos don't go further than the wizard screens of Netbeans and he is looking all the time to his webpage.

So after the break it was "Tools in Action" time, these sessions are shorter and focused on tools, hence the name. The first one I saw was about Introducing Scimpi a framework rather than an actual tool, build on Naked Objects, but the concept is a bit old and Scimpi is sort of redefining it. I've used metawidget for similar things but I think this gives me more control over the output than Scimpi and also has more powerful components that I can use.

So now the last one of day one NoSQL with Cassandra and Hadoop. That was a nice introduction and they presented a nice usecase when to throw out the relational database. But I want to know more about it. Let's see if I can find some more talks.

All in all it was a very interesting day and let's see what tomorrow brings.