Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
Fieldmouse took some good shots of The Connells show at Mission Valley saturday night. I was there. It was hot and muggy as hell, but after a somewhat shakey start, sound-wise, the guys put on a great show.
Simon Phipps: Today in 2005 we've reached a milestone. Sun's stated direction is to use an open source model for all its software, and it's become necessary to have a formal co-ordination point for all this activity. So today Sun created a new "Open Source Office" (OSO) to act as the meeting-point for all its open source activities. It's not the first time we've had full-time staff devoted to the care and nurture of open source activity - my good friend Danese Cooper did this for several years before her recent job switch, for example - but having a cross-functional, cross-Sun Open Source Office with a Chief Open Source Officer at its helm is new. I'm thrilled to have the chance to play that role.I'm thrilled too. Congrats Simon!
Rafe Colburn: I don't know about you, but I'm much more like to port my PHP applications to Ruby on Rails than my Java applications.To me, Ruby is a lot like C#. Not in terms of syntax or language features, but as a pleasant improvement over what was there before. See, if I ever have to do any Windows programming again, I'll be thankful for C# and .Net. They're a great improvement over C++/MFC and Visual Basic. And likewise, if I ever have to work in the world of the scripty web P languages, I'll be thankful there's Ruby. It looks like an improvement as well. And like C#, Ruby looks pretty easy to learn.
Halley Suitt: Is Foo Camp literally a circle jerk of geek boys? YUCK! That must be a heckof a mess to clean-upGo Halley!
I'm not sure why Slashdot and The Register decided that RSS3 is somehow newsworthy. As far as I can tell RSS 3.0 is the "work" of some random joker with no connection to Winer and the simple fork of RSS (i.e. RSS 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 2.0), no connection to RSS-DEV and the RDF fork (i.e. RSS 1.0) and an apparent inability to use Google to find out that there is already a (just as serious) RSS 3.0 proposal on the table. Suffice it to say: I won't be covering RSS3 in RSS and Atom in Action.
To integrate group blogging into Roller, we had to make some fairly big changes to the Roller UI. We're hoping to deploy Roller 2.0 next month, so it's time to start getting some feedback on the new look (and testing). Unfortuately, I still don't have the promised standalone demo ready, but I do have some preliminary screenshots. So, without further ado...
First up, the front page. Not much change here, but you are introduced to the new layout and color-scheme used in the new UI. Unlike Roller 1.X, there are no tabs on this page, but we still need to add some sort of tabs here for when the Planet Roller aggregator is enabled -- perhaps one tab (and newsfeed) per aggregation group that is defined?
Next up, the main page. If your user account has just one blog, then you'll go straight to the Roller weblog edit page when you login (just as you did in 1.X). If you don't have a blog yet or you have more than one then you'll land on the main page, shown below. This page allows you to manage your weblogs, create weblogs and accept/decline invitations to join weblogs. We've broken the Roller UI up into three portions: 1) the main menu page, 2) weblog edit/admin pages and 3) server admin pages. From the main page, you can drill right into any of your weblogs by clicking New Entry, Edit Entries or Manage to get to the weblog edit/admin pages. You can enter the server admin pages by clicking the Server Adminstration link.
The Create new weblog page, available from the Main Menu, is shown below. Note the new format and the help text for each field. We've added this type of help on many of the forms in the Roller UI.
From the Main Menu, you can access the New Entry page, shown below, for any of your weblogs. This hasn't changed much from Roller 1.X, but do note the new Pending Entries box. New weblog entries from LIMITED users will show up here. LIMITED users are not allowed to post, instead they submit posts for review by AUTHOR or ADMIN users. If there were any posts up for review in the weblog, they'd be listed in the Pending Entries box
Finally, we have the Member Permissions page, which a weblog ADMIN user can use to manage the users in a weblog. You can change permissions, revoke permissions or invite new members to join up.
That's all I have time for right now. I still hope to have a really easy to install standalone demo ready in the next couple of days so you can try this stuff for yourself.
Raible's published his first magazine article (contrats Matt), an insightful and informative piece on the state the J2EE web tier for JDJ titled Challenges in the J2EE Web Tier While Frameworks Driving Innovation. He traces the motivations and history behind JavaServer Faces (JSF) and the many challenges it faces.
I'll admit, I hadn't really given much thought to the mismatch between JSP and JSF. After reading Hans Bergsten's excellent article Improving JSF by Dumping JSP again, I tend to agree with Matt. A cuddly little open source project called Facelets could be the savior of JSF. And check out the Facelet docs; they've been getting some help from JSF spec lead Ed Burns. When I get back to my RollerFaces experiment, I'm going to give Facelets a try.
how many blogs does it have? what is your performance like? what are your cache size settings? how good is your caching efficiency on average? any numbers on how much activity the site gets? hits/visits? load? server info? processors? ram? OS? webserver? database? how is stability? does the server require restarts often?
Here are a couple of interesting stats. As far as we know, the biggest Roller sites are jroller.com with around 9,000 blogs, blogs.sun.com with about 1,600 and IBM internal blogs with about 1,200 blogs and 12,000 registered users (they require registration for comments).
Care to share your site info? You can join the dev list, leave a comment here or just blog it.
Last week I demoed Roller 2.0 to the blogs.sun.com team. The concensus seemed to be that the group blogging UI is too "documentation light" -- meaning that we don't explain well enough the implication of creating additional blogs and of adding additional users to existing blogs. Another important point that came up is that group blogging should be optional, because some sites might want to opt-out a keep Roller running as is: one user per blog and one blog per user.
So I spent most of the rest of the week improving the UI, adding better titles and prompts and in-line documentation. I also made the group blogging features completely optional via startup property groupblogging.enabled. After that, I started working on "landing" Roller 2.0 -- that is, merging all of the 1.X changes that have been happening in the trunk up and into the Roller 2.0 development branch. I'm almost done with that and hope to commit my changes today.
For the demo last week, we used VNC. I was't aware that VNC allowed multiple users to sign-into the same session, had a built-in web server and Java applet viewer, and had a read-only mode for giving presentations over the web. It worked *really* well. Who needs costly WebEx or LiveMeeting when free VNC can do all this? We did have some initial problems getting all of the meeting attendees signed in to VNC, but in the end it worked and I seem to remember similar problems with both of the costly options.
So... this week, my goals are to polish up Roller 2.0, fix as many bugs as possible in both the Roller 1.X and Roller 2.0 branches and get more feedback by creating a standalone demo of Roller 2.0 or a screencast or both.
I just signed up for the Old Reliable Run 10K, which takes place in downtown Raleigh on November 13, 2005. You can sign up too at active.com. It's been over 10 years since I've run a 10K and despite my daily 3-mile run I still feel pretty out-of-shape, so I'll be happy just to finish without walking. Now I need to figure out my training program and find some good 4, 5 and 6 mile routes. I can tell that BoulderRunning.com's Google maps based route planner is going to come in handy. It opens up in Boulder, but appears to work anywhere in the US.
Cory Doctorow: It means that the price of being a Mac user will be eternal vigilance: you'll need to know that your apps not only write to exportable formats, but that they also allow those exported files to be read by competing apps.Cory can't trust Apple anymore and he's got a point. But no matter what OS you use, you still have to be vigilant. Even without DRM and so called Trusted Computing built into the OS, app developers can screw you over and lock you down. Look at Intuit's CDilla spyware/DRM fiasco for example. I'm prepared to be vigilant, so this news alone won't stop me from buying a new Mac.
From the EFF statement: "Rackspace may claim to provide its customers with 'fanatical support,' but in this case it looks like it was more interested in serving the government," added Kevin Bankston, EFF attorney and Equal Justice Works/Bruce J. Ennis Fellow. "Despite these new revelations, a key question remains: Did government agents intentionally mislead the web host into thinking it had to hand over complete copies of the Indymedia servers?"To summarize the story: when the US government requested the server logs for the grassroots media network IndyMedia from internet service provider RackSpace, RackSpace couldn't find the files. So RackSpace handed over IndyMedia's servers. I wonder how the government agents worked their magic? Did they threaten to declare RackSpace an enemy combatant and lock the whole company up without a trial?