Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Joel Talks About Hitting The High Notes

Another great post from Joel Spolsky of www.joelonsoftware.com. This time he is trying to quantify the dramatic difference in productivity and creativity a truly exceptional programmer can have versus your run of the mill "I write code just to pay the bills" mediocre programmer.

Hitting The High Notes

Well worth a read.

I only know of a couple of companies that seem to have been founded on the premise that Joel states at the beginning of the article. One is Fog Creek Software (Joel's company) and the other is ThoughtWorks (where the great Martin Fowler currently hangs his hat). They have blogs over at ThoughtWorks too, definitely worth checking out.

I would love to hear about other companies founded with these ideas in mind. If you know of any others, post a comment. It is nice to see companies succeed based on the main idea of creating an enjoyable environment for their workers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Business Integration Engine gets Groovy

I have been working with BIE (Business Integration Engine) trying to set up a proof of concept at work. I had a file format that did not have a built in parser in BIE. I thought about writing a new parser, but it seemed a better approach would be to convert the file into a known format using a bit of scripting magic.

So the plan was to use some regular expressions to convert the file into a nice fixed width format (which BIE can parse out of the box). After seeing that one of the loyal users of BIE had contributed a Jython plugin action that allowed me to perform Jython scripting inside my workflow, I decided to try and use it for the regex parsing (since I've wanted to play more with Python anyway).

Well I must say that Jython did not do my bidding if you will. I could not figure out (or find good examples showing) how to do regular expression parsing using the built-in Jython libraries (I believe it uses the Jakarta ORO project).
So after looking at the code for the Jython plugin, I decided I would take Rod Cope's advice (from his awesome Groovy presentation at JavaOne 2005. You can find a link to download the presentations here, his is TS-3402.pdf) and write a plugin for Groovy (http://groovy.codehaus.org).

It turned out to take less than an hour, and now BIE supports Groovy scripting inside workflows. Next on the agenda will be to add support for BeanShell and Rhino (which I've used in some Ant scripts with great success).

You can download the plugin here: Groovy Plugin for BIE

We also have set up a wiki for BIE here: BIE Wiki

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lower Alabama Dot Net User Group Website Is Live

Well a site has finally been put up for the Lower Alabama Dot Net Users Group. Please go to this site and register if you would like to be included on mailings regarding this user group's events.

The site is being run on DotNetNuke and the webspace has been graciously provided by ACO Employment Services. They also have an Information Services group that creates a securities tracking piece of software called STAR.

Hopefully we'll see a high level of interest for the user group in the community.

On another note, I have set up a Wiki for BIE (Business Integration Engine). The wiki is located at: http://biewiki.schtuff.com. This will give the user community a place to park resources for BIE. Schtuff.com is a great site that provides free Wiki's with up to 200 MB of space.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

SCJA Beta Exam - Denied by Dennis

Well Friday was supposed to be my day to go take the Sun Certified Java Associate Beta Exam. I was looking forward to checking it out and also being able to provide constructive feedback to the test designers. Unfortunately Hurricane Dennis had other plans for my testing experience.

I received a phone call today from the Triangle of Technology Prometric Testing Center in Pensacola, FL (closest place to Mobile, AL that offers the Sun tests) saying their power was still not restored (and might be back by Tuesday) so I would have to reschedule. Only one problem with rescheduling....the beta exam period ends tomorrow.

Oh well, hopefully the test designers can get by without my input.

So to cheer myself up I went ahead and signed up for the Sun Certified Java Developer exam (been meaning to but was waiting on the Associate exam to pass first) using my handy dandy discount voucher I received for participating in the Certified Programmer beta exam.

Sun very quickly processed my submission and sent me the link for the application. So I have downloaded it and hopefully will get started this weekend. For those that are interested I received the B&S application.

I promise I'm still going to write up more about JavaOne 2005. Hopefully this weekend.

Also something I just saw. The SD West 2006 Call for Papers is up. I'll have to put together a submission for this one and see if I can get accepted.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hurricane Dennis

Tomorrow (Friday July 8, 2005) I'm heading back to Mobile. Been out here in San Francisco for almost 2 weeks (JavaOne 2005 and then a week of vacation with the GF). And it looks like I'll have a warm welcome when I get back from Hurricane Dennis.

Funny thing about the big city, as Casey and I were printing out our boarding passes in the 1st floor internet area of the Commodore Hotel, we ran into a couple from Pensacola, FL that were looking at the hurricane's projected path. Hopefully it will work out well for both of us. We were both hoping it would sweep East and hit Tallahassee, FL instead of Pensacola or Mobile. We'll see how it goes.

I promise I have a ton to write about JavaOne. I filled up a legal pad and had to start writing on the backs of the pages, so once I get home I'll break it down by the day. Sorry for the delay, but it has just been too busy a 2 weeks. The short version is ..... Spring, Hibernate, Groovy, ActiveMQ, JBI, ServiceMix, Sybase... will expand later.