Latest Links: March 2, 2008


ApacheCons 2008

I've been busy as can be, working on launching a new project at work, lots of presentations and not enough code. March seems to have snuck up behind me, spun me around and punched me right in the stomach. Not good. I need more time. Slides for my Advanced Roller talk are due today, ApacheCon EU is a little over a month away and JavaOne is right around the corner (more about that later). That's enough whining. Now, it's my duty to remind you that there's still plenty of time to register for ApacheCon EU in beautiful city of Amsterdam, so here goes:

ApacheCon banner ad

Click here to register for ApacheCon EU 2008.

And in other news, the ApacheCon US 2008 Call For Papers is now open. This year ApacheCon US will be November 3-7 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Evans Data Corp. Web 2.0 survey

Evans Data Corp. is doing a survey on Web 2.0 development and they've included some interesting questions on social networking:

  • How is your organization using Social Networking?
  • What is keeping your organization from using Social Networking now?
  • Why are you planning to use Social Networking technology?
  • Which of these Social Networking APIs are you most interested in developing with?
  • What are your plans for OpenSocial?
  • What are your plans for developing Facebook applications?

Social Software for Glassfish screencast

fish1 fish2 fish3

I mentioned the Social Software for Glassfish (SSG) EA2 release before the winter break, but I never got around to posting any details. Since then some documentation has appeared, Manveen Kaur blogged it, The Aquarium too and now screen-cast master Arun Gupta has created an excellent Social Software for Glassfish screencast that walks you through the features in this very early access release. Now I don't have to say nearly as much.

Blackbox tour coming to the Triangle

In case you're not following the Blackbox blog, the Sun Modular Data Center is coming to the Triangle on March 12, 2008. The event will be hosted at the SAS Institute campus in Cary, NC. Here's the blurb:

Join us and enjoy presentations and tours throughout the day of Sun's Modular Datacenter, the world's first datacenter in a box - a 6.1 meter (20 foot) shipping container. Also known as Project Blackbox, this is a virtualized datacenter optimized for extreme energy, space, and performance efficiency. It applies Sun's trademark innovation and network computing infrastructure expertise to engineer out complexity and provide a whole new alternative for quickly adding datacenter capacity anywhere it's needed, with the ability to move it as business needs change. Because of its modular, high density design, the Sun Modular Datacenter packs more heterogeneous compute power in less space than a traditional datacenter, and can be configured, deployed, and quickly modified and redeployed for another project virtually anywhere worldwide.

Interested? The sign up is here.


Latest Links: JSF vs. REST

I've been very happy with the choice of Struts 2 for Roller, but I still follow JSF because it's the Java standard. A couple of articles by Ryan Lubke about what's coming in JSF 2.0 got me thinking about JSF again.

One of my problems with JSF is REST. REST fans say JSF is inherently RESTless because every JSF request is a POST. JSF advocates say JSF can do GET and bookmarkable URLs if necessary and that's good enough.

Fortunately, the plans for JSF 2.0 indicate that REST improvements are coming:

Unfortunately, it sounds like all they're planning to do is make it easier to create bookmarkable URLs and add some support for the JSF-311 REST API. Why can't the goal be to make JSF applications RESTful by default? Why can't JSF ensure that POST is only used when required by the application (not the framework) and JSF URLs are simple, clean and always bookmarkable.

Godless hackers

Michael Kimsal did an informal survey of computer language use and religion on his blog a couple of weeks ago. The results don't seem very surprising to me. Like Alan Turing, Linus Torvolds and Richard Stallman, most developers are either atheists or agnostics.

Here's Michael's pie chart for Java:

pie chart showing half of  Java developers are atheists

Latest Links: Feb. 16, 2008


wwwin-blogs.cisco.com

Apparently, CISCO has a pretty active internal blog server and it's running Roller. I can tell from my referrer logs. If any CISCO folks are reading this, drop me a line. I'd love to know how Roller and internal blogging in general is working out for you.

Triangle Social Media Club meeting at Ignite

Via social media maven Wayne Sutton, I learned about this interesting event:

Ignite Social Media blog: Our discussion leader this month will be Lee White, who will guide us in a conversation about social media and Enterprise 2.0. Lee brings his expertise from GlaxoSmithKline where he was the Sr. Manager of Social Media Development and will be speaking of how to “Re-imagine the Organization with Social Media”. Here are the crucial details:

Location: Calvert Holdings - 1225 Crescent Green, Suite115 Cary, NC 27518
Date/Time: Wednesday, February 20th @ 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Topic: Social Media and Enterprise 2.0
Follow that link and RSVP if you are interested in attending. That's what I did.

Thumbs up for Persepolis

tiny image of Persepolis movie poster

Yesterday, I saw Persepolis. I thought it was great. The artwork was beautiful, the characters Marjane and her grandmother were wonderful and the story really took hold. I dragged the older boys (10 and 11) along and that was probably mistake, not because of the occasional bad language and a couple violent images -- but simply because of the subtitles. The whole thing is in French and they had a hard time following along, especially at the start. I wonder why the Galaxy didn't show the English-dubbed version, because there is one with the voices of Iggy Pop and Sean Penn. Guess that's a good excuse for watching it again when it comes out on DVD.


Project Kenai: social networking place for developers

Kenai was announced yesterday at the Sun Analyst Summit (SAS 2008):

presentation slide about Project Kenai

It was mentioned in Software VP Rich Green's presentation.
I think that's just about all I can say on the topic.

And by the way, the audio and slides for all of the SAS 2008 presentations are online now. Ian Murdock's presentation is especially good, as Redmonk's James Governor tweeted yesterday "Ian Murdoch (the ian of debian) is doing a phenomenal job of explaining what Linux, and distributions are. A great education for analysts."


AtomPub in OpenSocial 0.7

I missed this one in my social networking API link-fest yesterday: Google announced version 0.7 of the OpenSocial API, some of the data APIs are outlined in the spec and they're still using AtomPub protocol (just like GData).

I had heard there was some push-back against AtomPub, but I really don't know what is going on because there is no transparency at all in the specification development process. So, who knows, but I really don't think they have time to invent an all new protocol. In fact, they'd better wrap things up tout de suite because Google's planning to go live with OpenSocial on Orkut during the last week of February.


Lots of latest links: social networking APIs and more

Here are my links for the past week or so and notes about social networking APIs, using the web itself as a social network, JMaki, Abdera and more. [Read More]

SpringSource and Covalent: good thing for Apache?

SpringSource, the company behind the Spring Framework, has purchased Covalent, a company that provides support for Apache projects. This popped up on my radar because Covalent offers support contracts for Roller and in fact, SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson mentioned Roller specifically when talking about the deal (emphasis mine):

Rod Johnson: "We want to support the open source software that people want to use," including the Geronimo application server, the Axis Web Services Framework from Apache, and the Apache Roller Blog multi-user blogging software."

Sounds like a good thing and hopefully it will improve the support story for all Apache products. In fact, it could be a really good thing for Apache projects because Rod's philosophy is that you can't support software unless you are one of the software's creators.

Rod Johnson: "You can't divorce the process of maintaining software from the process of creating software...That's not the future of enterprise open source - unless open source has no future"

Based on that, we can assume that SpringSource will now be paying committers to do creative work on Roller and other Apache projects so that they can provide the best maintenance and support of those same projects. Right? Maybe I'm too naive -- after all, I figured having Roller in Lotus Connections meant IBM would be contributing.


Filmbabble's 2007 films

picture of Varsity Theater in Chapel Hill

Dan says 2007 was an exceptional year for films and he's posted his top ten films of 2007 list, with links to his original reviews for each film. Based on the four I've seen (Simpsons, No Country, I'm Not There and Ratatouille), I'd have to say it's a good list. I'm looking forward to tonight when Dan and I are going to see Blade Runner, The Final Cut at the Carolina Theater.


Abdera AtomPub server refactoring

I've got to carve out some time ASAP to take a close look at this. The code is in Abdera SVN and there's 20-minute implementation guide (PDF) too:

James Snell: Dan Diephouse and I have been spending the last week refactoring the Abdera server framework with the goal of making is less complicated, easier, and generally better.

Yahoo Weather RSS module for ROME


Apparently, I spoke to soon about ROME being in maintenance mode. There's an all-new Yahoo Weather module for ROME from Robert "kerbernet" Cooper.


ROME vs. Abdera

For Java developers starting out with RSS and Atom, here are some notes to help you figure out the differences between the Java.net ROME and Apache Abdera (incubating) projects.

ROME is a set of Java tools for parsing, fetching and generating all forms of RSS and Atom feeds. The core ROME library is relatively small and depends only on the somewhat creaky old JDOM XML parser. Available separately are modules to support various feed extensions such as OpenSearch, iTunes, GeoRSS, etc. ROME was originally developed and open sourced by Sun Portal dev team members in 2004.

ROME Propono is a subproject of ROME that supports publishing/editing entries and files to blog servers and AtomPub servers. Propono is made up of three parts: 1) a Blog Client library can publish via either the old lagacy MetaWeblog API or the shiny new AtomPub protocol, 2) an AtomPub client that publishes only via AtomPub and 3) a framework for creating AtomPub servers. Propono was developed by Ramesh Mandava and Dave Johnson, based on code from RSS and Atom in Action and open sourced as part of the Sun Web Developer Pack in 2007.

Abdera is a set of Java tools for working with Atom feeds and AtomPub protocol. This includes a parser, writers, an AtomPub client and a framework for creating AtomPub servers. Abdera's Atom feed parser uses STAX, so it uses less memory and is faster than ROME. Abdera's Atom feed support is more comprehensive than ROME's and it supports signatures, encryption, Atom to JSON, extensions for Threading, Paging, GeoRSS, OpenSearch, GoogleLogin, etc. etc. Abdera was developed by IBM and contribued to Apache in 2006.

Now let's compare frameworks. The pros and cons of ROME are:

  • Pro: complete RSS support, all of the dozen various flavors
  • Pro: it's generally simple and small, depending only one jar (JDOM)
  • Pro: easy to understand and use the AtomPub server framework
  • Pro: MetaWeblog API support
  • Con: Atom feed support not as comprehensive as Abdera
  • Con: parser uses lots of memory, slower, JDOM based
  • Con: community not as active, seems to be in maintenance mode (See also Ohloh stats)

The pros and cons of Abdera are:

  • Pro: comprehensive Atom feed support, lots more Atom extensions
  • Pro: faster more efficient parser
  • Pro: In the Apache Incubator with active and growing community (See also Ohloh stats)
  • Con: lots of dependencies
  • Con: AtomPub server framework poorly documented, overly complex (rewrite coming soon)
  • Con: no RSS support (there is something in Abdera contrib, but it's incomplete).

There you have it. ROME and Abdera folks: think that's a fair comparison? Are you a ROME or Abdera user? How would you like to see these frameworks move forward?


Back in NC

I returned Saturday morning after a very productive trip to CA. The week was jam-packed full of meetings, meet-ups, dinners and other get-togethers with my co-workers and California friends.

View from SCA 12 SCA 12

Above are a couple of photos from/of the building where I work when I visit Sun's Santa Clara HQ. The campus is a beautiful place as far as corporate campuses go, and a former insane asylum with "historic and architectural significance" according to the National Park Service. I think it's slightly of odd that so far in my career I have worked at two software companies head-quartered in former mental health facilities.

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