Forrester on Roller

Forrester: As an open source solution, Roller has been deployed only in a few instances, but it has been used by thousands of bloggers on a single installation. It features an excellent ability to allow administrators to manage permissions across blogs, but individual blog management is cumbersome, and robust content management workflow tools are lacking. Roller is ideally suited for companies that want to deploy blogs in an enterprise where content management and oversight will be minimal.
Since I participated in the study, I was able to read the full report, both the Roller report ($795) and the market overview ($995). Roller didn't do so well in the comparison chart (see Charlene Li's post), but we're still ranked as a strong contender -- especially for companies interested in Sun-style trust-your-employees blogging. Overall, I think the report is fair and accurate. I definitely agree that parts of Roller's authoring/admin UI are cumbersome and in need of redesign, but Forrester isn't very specific about the areas that need improvement.

Today's links [July 18, 2006]

ApacheCon US 2006 - October - Austin, TX


If you want to learn all about Apache Roller (incubating) project status, features, architecture and all the cool new features coming in Roller 3.0 then you'll want to make plans to attend ApacheCon US 2006 in Austin, TX. In other words: my Roller talk was accepted.

Raleigh bloggers meetup tonight at Cafe Cyclo



Cafe Cyclo sign
For more info, see the Raleigh Bloggers wiki.

Today's links - July 15, 2006

Busy week and Roller 3.0 update


It's been a very busy week and I've scarcely had time to catch up on email and blog reading and other critically important activities. I spent almost the entire week deep in Roller 3.0 development. Here's a quick update on our work.

Things are looking really good in Roller 3.0 and I'm really happy with the refactoring work we've done in the blog/feed rendering system. Our charter for 3.0 was to completely rework Roller's URL structure and to introduce the concept of a site-wide frontpage blog, but doing that work required a lot of refactoring -- a lot of ripping out crufty old and patched-up code with clean and shiny new abstractions. The results look great.

Thanks to Allen's new URL work, the rendering system is now pluggable, the caching system is easier to understand and maintain, we're approaching a point where we'll be able to offer the option of static rendering and, of course, the URL structure is much nicer, more conventional, logical and able to handle multi-language blogs.

As part of the new frontpage blog work, we introduced some new page models an macros to make it easy to display site and planet-wide blog community information, including a user and blog directory. But we didn't stop there -- we've implemented a completely new set of models and macros for all blogs and we hope to deprecate all of the old macos and old themes. We'll still support them, of course, but moving forward we believe the new macros will make it much easier for bloggers and theme authors to build a library of great themes -- something that Roller is missing.

We've been working hard this week because we're really supposed to be done by now, but I've got no regrets. We set some aggressive goals and, like I said, the results look great. Now we need to quicky stabilize things, get a test build together and get some feedback from the community and especially from theme authors.

RSS and Atom in Action now available in e-book form


You can now get RSS and Atom in Action from the Manning Publications site as an e-book. You should be able to get the print edition on July 21. But I won't believe it's done until I get my box'o'books.

.ie vacation wrap-up


All in all it was a great trip. We spent seven nights in Ireland, stayed in six different towns and drove about 800 miles around the island. It was our first vacation away from the kids in about ten years and we really had a great time together exploring the country-side and towns in the west and south of Ireland. In case you're considering a trip there too, here are some observations and a list of our favorites experiences.

Lodging. B&B's are numerous in Ireland, but we favored guest houses when we made our lodging plans. Looking back, our favorites were Davitt's guest house in Kenmare and the Buttermilk Lodge in Clifden.

Food. We found lots of choices for food and we had indian, chinese, Irish contemporary and pub-grub. Our favorite meals were at Punjab Balti in Dublin, Davitt's restaurant in Kenmare, Laken House in Kilkenney and the Porterhouse in Dublin.

Connnectivity. Mobile phone signal is strong all over the island -- four bars everywhere. Internet access can be found in post offices, coffee shops and other businesses. Wireless internet is a little difficult to find, but we found it at the video store in Clifden, a coffee shop in Galway and a computer store in Kenmare. Price was around four euro / hour.

Prices. Food and fuel are pretty expensive in Ireland right -- and the USD to Euro exchange rate doesn't help. Renting a car is also very expensive, which must be due to the dangerous roads.

And finally here are links to the previous posts in this series:

And that's it for the vacation. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.


.ie vacation day #6


Today (Thursday) we woke up early and got an early start. We drove north towards Dublin, took the scenic route through the Wicklow mountians and stopped at Glendalough, the beautiful double-lake valley where St. Kevin and his followers built a monastic city. We walked around the ruins, the lakes and up to the small waterfall there. Glendalough is only about an hour south of Dublin by car or tour bus, and it's worth the trip.

Glendalough

Next, we stopped briefly at the seaside town of Bray before heading back to Dublin. Thursday was our list night in Ireland, so we stayed near the airport in a Eagan's guest hour. We didn't want to venture all the way downtown, so we ate at the Porterhouse restaurant just a couple of blocks away. Porterhouse is a micro-brewery with an awesome selection of beer, and a very interesting guide to beer on every table, and reasonably priced food. I didn't expect much from the place, but it turned to be one of the best dining experiences of the trip.

Eagan's Guest House, Dublin

When we arrived at the airport, we found chaos and another bomb-scare in progress. Somebody left a rucksack under a stairway in the arrivals area, so the authorities order an evacuation and called the bomb-squad. Our flights were delayed for a couple of hours, but we both made it home safely by the end of the day.

Dublin airport bomb-scare


.ie vacation day #5


Today (Wednesday) we got an early start, had an excellent breakfast at Davitt's and headed out from Kenmare towards Kilkenney. We didn't make any stops and the trip took about 3.5 hours. We spent the rest of the day exploring the town, doing a little shopping and taking a tour of the Kilkenney Castle, which was the home of the Butler family until 1935 when the family moved out, auctioned off the contents and left the castle to fall into complete disrepair. In the 1990's the castle was restored to it's Victorian-era state and much of the contents was returned to the castle. They did a great job and as a result the tour was excellent.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle from bridge

Tonight we're staying at the Laken House, a restaurant and 10-room guest house across the river from the castle. The room is nice and our package-deal included dinner which was excellent, but the place is empty and the dead-quiet is a little disconcerting. Tomorrow we're off to Dublin for the last night.

Laken House, Kilkenney

Still offline in .ie


Finding internet access here in Ireland has been difficult and when I have been able to get online, I've had only enough time to upload photos, post a blog entry and correspond with the folks who are so kindly caring for the kids. With a couple of exceptions (e.g. Manning Press) I haven't had time to read or respond to my growing backlog of email. I'll be back online Sunday night, so you'll just have to wait until then. Cheers!

.ie vacation day #4


Today (Tuesday) we explored the southern part of the Ring of Kerry, which is a 110-mile route that follows the coast of the Iveragh peninsula and was apparently carved into the seaside slopes by thousands of years of tour bus traffic. The mountain and coastal views are truly amazing, even on a grey and overcast day as we had today. Starting in Kenmare, we drove west and stopped in the small town of Sneem for a relaxing walk through the town's nature park along the river. We saw a pretty pair of swans there.

two swans

Next we stopped at Staigue Fort, a well-preserved iron-age fortress -- really just a 15-foot tall circular stone wall -- about 4km off the main road between Sneem and Castlecove. It was an interesting sight, but the narrow one-lane road was a real problem. From there we drove on to Waterville, where we took another short walk by the ocean and then decided to turn around and backtrack our way home. On the way home we stopped at Derrynane House, the home of Daniel O'Connell who campaigned for and won equal rights for Catholics in Ireland. The house itself was not all that impressive, but the history lesson was very interesting and the park there was beautiful. We took a walk along the beaches to the ruins of the old abbey nearby. After that we made our way back to Kenmare to enjoy a nice dinner at Davitt's guest house (our second night in Kenmare). Tomorrow, we're off to Kilkenny.

Derrynane house

As usual, photos are on Flickr.

.ie vacation day #3


On Monday morning we headed south again, driving through Kilarney and stopping to do some hiking around the lakes near the Muckross house. We took the tour of the house, which was quite interesting thanks in part to an entertaining tour guide.



After that we made our way over the mountains, stopping at the Ladies View for a breather. The driving was quite nerve-wracking and frankly, we were thankful to make it to our next stop Kilmare alive. Driving on the left, swerving to avoid the big buses roaring around the narrow mountain road switch-backs and the faint smell of burning in the air really brought back some memories for us -- memories of our first year of marriage, which we spent in Jamaica. Did I mention that we're here to celebrate our 15th anniversary?



We arrived at Kenmare, definitely a "cute" and colorful little town with nice restaurants and tourist oriented shops. Andi loves it. We checked into Davitts, a restaurant to guest house right in the middle of town, to find a modern, large and well decorated room. After we check-in via the internet tomorrow we'll explore Kerry and if the weather holds up we'll find another place to take a hike.

Photos are on Flickr.

.ie vacation day #2


We started off Sunday by driving Sky Road in Clifden, a 7-mile twisty and narrow loop road that runs to the north and west of town with wonderful views of the coast. It's called Sky Road for a reason and I've got a healthy fear-of-heights so I was a little nervous during parts of the drive, but it was worth the time and the nervous tension.



On the road back to Galway the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful sunny day, quite different from the dark drizzly drive we had the day before. Once we reached Galway, it was quite hot. The streets were crowded with Sunday afternoon strollers and shoppers. We walked around the city center long enough to find a nice coffee shop called Mocha Beans with wireless internet (20-minute voucher w/purchase) and check-in with the kids and the folks taking care of the kids via email.



From Galway we headed south, stopping to take the tour at Dungaire Castle along the way. The sunny weather held up and next we made the obligatory stop at the Cliffs of Moher and take the obligatory photo, but decided not to take the extended walk south along the cliffs -- it was starting to get late in the day.



We drove through a series of interesting little towns south of the cliffs. We had to slow down in Miltown Malbay because the streets were filled with street vendors and revelers enjoying pints in the street on a sunday afternoon -- we're not really sure what was going on there, none of the other towns around were so active.



When we finally arrived in Kilkee, the sun was still shining brightly and the beach was still full of sun and sea bathers. After the dark and dreary days in Dublin last week, I wasn't expecting this. We spent the remaining hours of sunlight exploring the town on foot and trying the relatively inexpensive Chinese restaurant on the main street. We stayed at the Halpern Hotel, which was a little disappointing. We were the only guests and the place seemed drab and charmless, especially after our pleasant experience at the Buttermilk Lodge the night before in Clifden.



Photos are on Flickr.

.ie cat blogging



picture of a cat, with church in background

A friendly cat we met last night in the 10:30PM twilight (in Clifden).

.ie vacation day #1


Andi arrived yesterday (Friday) and decided to forgo sleep and walk around Dublin while I attended the last day of ApacheCon. I was occupied until 6PM because I didn't want to miss Craig Russell's talk (excellent, BTW), one of the last talks of the day. After that, Andi joined me and some Sun and IBM folks from the Apache Derby dev team (Manyi, Olaf and Sateesh) for a very nice dinner, drinks and conversation ranging from religion and politics to open source dev processess. Making some new friends was a great way to end ApacheCon.

Today, we drove across Ireland from Dublin to Clifden stopping in Athlone for a couple of hours of walking around and taking pictures. After a shaky start and almost getting lost in a maze of roundabouts outside of town, the trip went well. We had sunny weather most of the way and made the trip in about 7 hours total (including our stop in Athlone).

After we passed Galway, we started to hit mist and rain but the scenery was fantastic, if a bit desolate and sheepy. Just as we were about to check into the Buttermilk Lodge the sun came out for a bit, which was encouraging.

So now we're uploading photos and emailing the kids and getting ready to enjoy some music downtown. We'll check in again tomorrow if we can. Next stop is Kilkee.

New Atom draft plus new IE7 beta


Atom protocol draft 9 is out, but that's OK -- the last thing I did on RSS and Atom in Action was to update the Atom chapter in anticipation of draft 9. By the way, I just released Blogapps 1.0, the examples for the book, which includes a draft 9 client and server implementations. Try it out. Test it against Abdera. Make me release Blogapps 1.0.1 to fix the interop problems that you find. I dare you.

And IE7 beta 3 is out today too. I'll have to check it out when I get back to the USA next week. That might lead to Blogapps 1.0.2, 'cause I bet they've gone and changed the Feeds API again. So it goes.

Microsoft Flak Jacket 2007 (still in beta)

Robert Burke: And it was kinda cool to be the Microsoft guy running Apache and PHP on his laptop :)
I'm sorry I missed that talk.

Tags: topic:[apacheconeu2006], topic:[apachecon]

Roller talk at ApacheCon EU


I gave my talk this morning to a packed room of 40-50 people at ApacheCon EU. The talk is an updated and improved version of the talk I gave last year at ApacheCon US. It's designed to be a primer for system administrators considering using Roller and developers considering customizing or basic products on Roller. Here's what I covered:
  • Roller history: how Roller got started and how it got to where it is today at Sun, IBM, JRoller, Yale, NC State, etc.
  • Roller features: overview of Roller features, limitations and reasons for choosing Roller.
  • Roller community: discussion of Roller community, project processes (release cycle and proposals) and status of Apache incubation.
  • Roller internals - backend: overview of Roller business/persistence layer architecture, components used, XDoclet code-gen, POJOs and manager interfaces.
  • Roller internals - front-end: overview of Roller presentation layer including the Struts/JSP based editor UI and the Velocity-based blog/feed rendering engine.
  • Customizing Roller: brief overview of techniques for customizing Roller.
  • Roller futures: Overview of Roller 3.0 plans.
For those who couldn't make the talk, I've made my slides avalable in PDF format. Let me know if you have questions.

Tags: topic:[apacheconeu2006], topic:[apachecon]

Made it to Dublin


I made it to Dublin for ApacheCon EU but without my baggage thanks to weather-related delays. Missing luggage wouldn't have been much of a problem if I had dressed sensibly, but I chose to wear my traditional uniform of shorts and a t-shirt. Turns out, it's cold an rainy in Dublin. So now I'm dead-tired since I haven't slept in 24-hours, cold, wet and in search of a tooth brush and a comb so I can make myself presentable before my talk tomorrow morn. Hopefully the rest of the week and vacation next week will be better.

Also, as you can see in the sidebar of my, I've started to post some ApacheCon related photos to my Flickr account.

Tags: topic:[apacheconeu2006], topic:[apachecon]

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