The most popular Sun Blogger is...

At this moment, a dog named Isa appears to be more popular than Jonathan Schwartz, at least according to my... uh... I mean the Roller Hot Blogs hit counters.

Welcome Anil Gangiolli to the Roller project

I'm pleased to be the first to publicly welcome our newest contributor and committer Anil Gangolli to the Roller team. As I mentioned before, Anil has been doing great work helping Roller users, filing bugs, digging into the code, and offering excellent fixes. Welcome Anil and thanks again for your contributions.

Morning after

This morning Andi and I attended the holiday program at the elementary school that my older boys Alex(8) and Linus(6) attend. We were quite proud parents as Alex got a "Going the Extra Mile" award for academic achievement. Nice to get out of the office/house. I need a break, but I'm not going to get it just yet. The week between XMAS and New Years is going to be devoted to writing.

I spent the rest of the morning responding to emails about the Roller 1.0 roll-out at blogs.sun.com. There were a number of glitches and some have been filed as bugs to be fixed for Roller 1.0. Some were caused by browser caching issues as we saw on JRoller earlier this year. There are lots of questions about themes and page templates. A number of folks are inspired by new release and are working up cool new themes. I'll have to point some of those out in later post. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to whip up some new themes myself and write a short tutorial for folks just getting started.

Since I had to delete an irritating comment today, I'll fill you in on my comment policy. If your comment irritates or offends me in any way whatsoever, I will take great joy in deleting it.


Roller 1.0 goes live at blogs.sun.com

We made the cut-over to Roller 1.0 (actually 1.0RC2) at blogs.sun.com today. We had some minor glitches, but overall the upgrade went pretty smoothly after we flipped the switch and started directing traffic to the new server.


mod_jk and I do not get along

You know you're not having a good day in Java web application development land when you spend hours staring at Tomcat source code and end up deciding your best bet for solving the problem at hand is to download and compile a new HTTPD and mod_jk from source.

Is blogs.net a spam site?

Is blogs.net for real or is it just a site devoted to blog spam? (It's not hard to tell that the site is running Roller.)


Roller 1.0 RC2 is out (with JCaptcha integration)

The full Roller 1.0RC2 announcement can be found on the Roller project blog. In addition to lots of bug fixes, we also added a new JCaptcha based comment authenticator. I've got it running on this site if you'd like to try it out.

JCaptcha integration was really easy because JCaptcha developer Marc-Antoine Garrigue did all the work. He implemented the Roller CommentAuthenticator interface and documented the integration process. Now all you have to do to enable CAPTCHA support in Roller is to uncomment a line in Roller's web.xml file. Thanks Marc-Antoine.

Roller 1.0 is very, very close, possibly only a day or two away. I'm still fighting a mysterious bug that is preventing Firefox 1.0 browsers from logging into my test server. We use Apache mod_rewrite to rewrite the blogs.sun.com URLS, so we can have http://blogs.sun.com/<username> redirect to http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/<username>. For some reason, this prevents Firefox 1.0 from logging in (via standard Servlet Authentication). All other browsers work fine and if I turn off mod_rewrite Firefox 1.0 works too.


Swamped

You haven't heard a peep from me this week because I've been under the gun to rewrite the first third of my book, which by the way is still without an official title, and to get Roller 1.0 up and running on blogs.sun.com

I delivered the one third rewrite this morning, which included some significant changes to the table of contents. Also, I talked to Manning about my blogging more details about the book, so that is what I'm going to do. I'll post the new TOC here as soon as I get a break from the blogs.sun.com work.

For those waiting for Roller 1.0: I will get something out this weekend even if it is just an RC2 release.


The New Web UI

Charles Miller: "if you develop web applications and you aren't looking today for ways to include dynamic interface techniques like those made practical by XmlHttpRequest, you're going to end up losing to someone who is."

OpenXource community in a box

Bob McWhirter of Codehaus is back to blogging (blog/rss) again, but this time as a corporate blogger in support of a new venture called OpenXource(tm). Services include an interesting new blog called Crossings(tm) and Xircles(tm), which is described as a community-in-a-box (a nice comfy box which allows for plenty of thinking outside, I'm sure).

OpenXource will assist companies who want to release open source software, foster a community around their open source projects, and develop an open source strategy. Sounds like a great idea to me, so Good luck to Bob and Ben. Learn more at OpenXource : Where Opensource and Business Cross.

Thanks to Anil Gangolli

I don't know Anil personally, but he's been helping out Roller users and submitting lots of bug reports against Roller 1.0.RC1, most of which are accompanied by a fix. So, I just want to say thanks Anil. You've been a big help. Quick Roller status report: I really hope to have Roller 1.0 out (or at least an RC2 release) in the next week or so.


Blogging/Roller talk last night in Orlando

I gave my blogging and Roller talk to the combined Orlando and Gainesville Java User Groups last night. I think the talk was pretty well received among the 30 or 40 Java users in attendance, but I've only given a half dozen presentations so I felt a little wobbly. There were a couple of times where I could not find quite the right words to complete a thought, but overall I think I'm improving at public speaking (I just noticed that Sun-U offers a course called "executive presentations" -- maybe I should sign up for that).

The talk was really two talks in one, a blogging talk and a Roller talk. I call the blogging talk "Blogging: What's the Big Deal." It covers the basics of blogging and includes newsfeeds, newsfeed readers, web services API, blogs at work, K-logs, Cluetrain in a nutshell, and blogs for community building. In my opinion, the big deal is simple: blogging technologies make it easy for people and programs to read and write the web. That empowers writers of all varieties and creates lots of opportunities for software developers.

The Roller talk is designed to give potential Roller users an overview of Roller features, the status of the Roller project itself, and Roller architecture/internals. I also include some lessons learned about performance and scalability. The Roller talk is informative, but much less thought provoking than the blogging talk and that was reflected in the number of questions I recieved.

The questions were pretty interesting and almost all concerned blogs at work. Here are the questions and answers I remember:

Q: What role does ownership play in blogs and wikis? Is it really important that you put your name on your blog?. Ownership and identity play an important role in blogs and wikis, but more so blogs. Putting your name on your blog is how you get credit for your writing and the cool links you are pointing out. That said, anonymous bloggers play an important role too. Anonymous bloggers can safely speak more freely than named bloggers and this can be very important in some situations. Anonymous bloggers get credit too and can gain trust and authority by writing well, being honest, gaining readers, and earning links from other bloggers.

Q: Isn't there a risk that employees will be judged by the quantity and quality of their blogs, and we will therefore discriminate against introverts, people who'd rather work than write about working, and folks who's blogs are just not that cool? I guess there is some danger of this. As we do now, we'll have to trust folks to understand that people are different. Some people are quiet and private and prefer to work rather than to write and talk about work. I think this is mitigated by the fact that some folks who are introverts in a social setting might not be so introverted when online or writing in their blogs.

Q: I can understand allowing your employees to blog publicly, but was is the benefit of supporting them by providing them with company servers and support to do so? This question came before I got to my Cluetrain in a nutshell slide, so my answer was that providing employees with public blogs is a way to encourage them to blog and once I explain the Cluetrain you'll understand why I say that is a good thing.

Q: Blogs are essentially UseNet newsgroups "minus minus" without easy way to search all posts on a topic and without threading. Usually, with a new communications medium we move forward, not backwards. Are bloggers concerned about that? Yes, bloggers are concerned with this and there are efforts to make it easier to search blogs (e.g. Feedster) and to support threading of blog-to-blog "conversations" (e.g. permalink based threading in BlogLines and SharpReader). But blogs are a different medium and they don't replace newsgroups and forums. Subscribing to a blog is different that subscribing to a newsgroup. With newsgroups, you subscribe to a topic but with blogs you typically subscribe to a person or a group of people and topics can vary widely. I think that is a good thing; people are more interesting than topics.

Q: Is it possible for a blogger to sell subscriptions to his blog content? I admit that I have not been following the blogging for money discussions very closely, but after some mumbles I managed to come up with a couple of answers.

  • Offer a free newsfeed to alert subscribers of new content, but require them to login to their non-free user account to view they full content.
  • Use a Podcast approach to automatically download newly available content to user, but the downloaded content is in a password protected format.
  • Require login to access your newsfeeds, but users would need a newsreader that can handle authentication.

But, newsfeeds are lossy aren't they. I mean, what happens if a user is offline for a couple of days and the user's newsreader misses some entries because they have already scrolled off the bottom of the newsfeed? Users that are paying for a subscription are going to much less forgiving about missing a couple of items.

That's all the questions I can remember. Slides should be available soon in PDF form on the Orlando JUG site.


Tonight: Roller talk at joint Orlando/Gainesville JUG meeting

Tonight I'll be speaking at a joint meeting of the Orlando and Gainesville Florida Java User Groups. I'll be talking about blogging, blogs at work, and Roller. The meeting starts at 6:30PM at DeVry University in Orlando. For more information check the Orlando and Gainesville JUG sites.


Cross-browser Rich Text Editor (RTE) added to Roller

I was doing some Roller testing today and I found that the old Midas-based editor for Mozilla/Firefox is broken. I searched around for docs on Midas and found out about RTE, written by Kevin Roth, an open source cross-platform WYSIWYG editor that works with recent versions of IE, Mozilla, and Firefox (sadly Safari is not supported). Instead of fixing editor-midas.jsp, I replaced it with editor-rte.jsp. So now, thanks to Mr. Roth, Roller 1.0 will include a cross-browser WYSIWYG editor. Here's a screenshot to prove it:



libc.a gone daddy gone

Surfing With a Linker Alien: "With Solaris 10 you can no longer build a static executable."

Amazing. I had no idea. I was definitely in the "thought of static applications as being a means of insulating themselves from system changes" camp. Now, I'm in the hope I never have to write another makefile camp.


Key language differentiator: facial hair

Tamir Khason explains with mug-shots why C# will never beat Java.

(Via James Robertson)

New business blogs book from Scoble & Israel

Microsoft's messiah of blogging Robert Scoble and friend Shel Israel are doing a book together about corporate blogging. They're going to break some rules along they way as well, by developing the book in public and on their blogs. When they finish they'll sell the book on eBay to the top bidding publisher. Very interesting. Sounds like they are going to focus on public blogs rather than the private k-log style blogs that John Robb suggests. For now, Scoble calls it the red couch project.


Getting in touch with your inner jackass

Before I had kids, I never got really angry. I did't yell and I didn't get into knock down, drag out arguments with anybody. But, as every parent knows, kids can make you crazy and kids can make you angry. I've got good control over my temper and I think I'm a pretty mild mannered guy, but with three young sons, I've got plenty of opportunities to yell, and to say things I never thought I would ever, ever say. I get angry now (and, of course, that is not entirely bad).

I've got a theory about why kids can make parents so angry. They don't realize it, but kids emulate their parent's verbal and physical mannerisms all the time. As you watch your child you can see bits and pieces of your own personality. They pick up on the little phrases that you repeat. They repeat them too. When your kid starts to fuss or throw a tantrum or otherwise behave like a jackass, he does it in a way that reminds you of yourself, your mannerisms, and your personality. You see your own inner jackass reflected in the actions of your child. Your kid learned how to be a jackass directly from you, it shows, and boy oh boy does that piss you off.

I've only raised kids up to the age of seven, so I don't know the full range of anger that a child can induce yet, but I think I'm onto something here.

CookieCo on Shatner's latest recording

CookieCulture: Don't ask me how but Shatner and Folds really pulled it off here. A smart sincere album that's funny in the right places.

Cookie hasn't learned the art of linking so here ya go Has Been, William Shatner


Talking Roller in Florida next week

I'm going to take a short trip to the sunny southern state of Florida next week to speak at a joint meeting of the Gainesville and Orlando Java User Groups. I'll be presenting an updated version of the presentation I gave to the Triangle JUG earlier this year. I added some slides on blogs.sun.com, I updated the Roller architecture section, and I moved the whole presentation from Evil Empire format to Open Office format. For more information, check the GatorJUG web site.

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