Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
It's been a couple of weeks since the last Roller Strong because I've been very busy with 4.0 and some other new projects. Plus, I was getting a little tired of saying "we're still working on 4.0." So now I'm happy to report that release candidates have been made available for upcoming Apache Roller 4.0 release.
It should be very easy to try out the new release because we spent a lot of time focusing on a new easy-install process, plus there is no need to download a separate bundle of Hibernate files as Roller no longer uses Hibernate. With the new easy-install, installation should be as easy as editing four settings in a small configuration file and dropping the WAR into Tomcat or Glassfish.
Below are some links to the 4.0 RC1 release files.
Keep in mind that 4.0 RC1 is not an official Apache release and is meant for testing only. Even so, this is probably a pretty solid release. The .Sun Engineering team put the code into production at at blogs.sun.com over a month ago and my coworkers on the Sun App Platform team just put the code through a couple weeks of testing.
Big thanks to Gene Strokine! As seen on raibledesigns.com, Gene has been busy with Roller theme development and has started a new site rollerthemes.com to promote his work. Gene is also the newest committer on the Roller Support project at Java.net and has committed many of his themes there (they still need to be upgraded to work with 4.0 though).
Notes on Roller and JA-SIG CAS SSO
And Phillip Rhodes reports success integrating Roller and JavaBB with single-sign on via JA-SIG CAS and has plans for additional identity related work. He has posted his notes on Roller and CAS/SSO to the Roller dev list.
In the "OK, so maybe Roller ain't so strong" department, JRoller.com has been having problems with Roller 3.1. Matt Schmidt upgraded JRoller.com from Roller 2.0 to Roller 3.1 a couple of weeks back and ran into database connection pool problems, which were resolved by switching back from Tomcat to Resin. Now he's dealing with some explosive memory usage and asking for help from the Javalobby community.
Coming soon: a Geronimo plugin for Roller
Our Geronimo friends David Jencks and Peter Peterssen stopped by the Roller-dev list this month to contribute some code to make it easier for Roller to work in Apache Geronimo. They're cookin' up a Geronimo plugin for Roller and I'm looking forward to seeing it in action.
In other news...
One final note. We've made a bunch of fixes to 3.1 so we also have a new RC available for the upcoming Apache Roller 3.1.1 fix release. You can find the RC files for 3.1.1 in my Apache site and the change list in JIRA.
Anil Dash: The only tools that succeed in an enterprise situation are those which are so compelling that people choose to use them in their free time.
When I talk to companies about blogging, I ask them how their Knowledge Management or Enterprise Content Management deployments have succeeded. And they almost invariably mumble a bit about "it's sort of underperforming...". This is the dark outcome of people trying to draw a line between who we are at work and who we are at home. You end up with shoddy, compromised products like KM or groupware. And the folks in IT aren't unfeeling, tyrannical monsters; When I tell them "well, we'll give you LDAP integration, but it'll also have a UI that's easy enough that people choose to use these tools in their free time as a hobby", their eyes light up. They want to delight people, too.
A great post by Anil Dash, VP and chief evangelist at blog software vendor SixApart. There are counter examples. I mean, who really spends a delightful and inspiring Friday evening with SAP? But generally I agree. Those of us who make enterprise software have a lot to learn from the consumer market.
And it reminds me of my old Dave on software post.
Apache JSPWiki Manifesto: This idea has been brought up before, but so far it has not really been an issue. However, this looks like the time when it would be possible to accomplish this.
JSPWiki code base is old, and it needs some refactoring. This refactoring includes things like moving to Java 5, fixing the metadata engine, replacing the backend with something scalable, and in general removing all the cruft that has been accumulated over time. This requires that we break compatibility with existing plugins and other components. Not badly, but to some degree.
Also, JSPWiki as an open source software project is growing slowly but steadily. However, the wiki world is moving rapidly, and wikis have been adopted widely. JSPWiki has become a tool for a great many companies, who are relying on it in their daily business. This is a lot for a hobby project lead by a "benevolent dictator" -model. Therefore, it is time for JSPWiki to mature to a "real" open source software project to be a serious contender in the wiki world.
To accomplish both of these goals needs a major shift in how JSPWiki is managed and who "owns" it, in a sense. Therefore, we (the people who have been committing source code) think that Apache would be a good choice, and have decided that we will try to submit JSPWiki into the Apache incubation process, with the goal of graduating as a top-level project.
I've been a JSPWiki (and Janne Jalkanen) fan for years now. It's my favorite Java-based wiki so I'm pretty excited that the dev team is preparing a proposal to move the project to Apache. I think this will be a great move and will ensure that the project continues to grow and continues to be a strong contender in the enterprise wiki space. I'm more than willing to help with that proposal and to help out in the Incubator.
I wasn't paying attention and this one snuck-up on me. Today at noon Pacific Time there will be an online Atom Publishing Protocol interop event. The location is IRC on the Freenode network in the #atom channel: irc://irc.freenode.net/atom.
I'm really glad I didn't miss this announcement because I spent much of the last two weekends updating the ROME Propono and Apache Roller 4.0 implementations to work with the final version of APP (draft #17). I've got both implementations online now and ready for interop.
And in kinda sorta related news, one of the founders of the Atom effort Joe Gregorio is leaving IBM and heading over to Google. Congratulations Joe! I hope this doesn't mean you'll be leaving the Triangle behind.
My brother Dan is a great writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of films, rock and pop music in general, and he's blogging, so it's only natural that folks start to notice. This weekend he got another boost, this time it's a mention in New York Magazine: The week in Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman.
I've been waiting years for this one. As Roumen Strobl points out, the Netbeans 6.0 nightly builds finally include a "go to file" feature, much like CTRL-SHIFT-R in Eclipse (but in Netbeans 6.0 it's CTRL-SHIFT-O).
I'm diggin' 6.0 and it's starting to look pretty stable in advance of beta1, which is coming out this month. Grab a nightly build and check it out. According to Tor on the Java Posse the nightly builds are likely to be more stable than the most recent M10 milestone release.
InfoWorld In addition, the report found that the perceived business value of different Web 2.0 tools varies widely, with instant messaging and RSS noted as being the most valuable for organizations while blogging is at the bottom of the list. Only 11 percent of those surveyed said blogging had substantial benefits, while 48 percent said blogging had moderate benefits to the company.
Nearly one in four of those surveyed said RSS is the highest-value technology, Young added. Most frequently, RSS is used for corporate communication or content aggregation, the report said. It also allows many other Web 2.0 technologies to work more efficiently with its publish and subscribe mechanism, Young added.
The report also noted that companies with more Web 2.0 technology in place get a higher business value than those using fewer tools. Those enterprises with blogs, podcasts, wikis, RSS, and social networks in place get the most ROI, the report noted.
However, those surveyed noted there is no "killer combination" of the tools, although RSS was most strongly correlated with high-value combinations.
That seems to imply that Spikesource/Intel's SuiteTwo product is on the right track with its combination of blog, wiki and RSS/Atom technologies.
We had another short but nice weekend in the N.C. mountains thanks to our friend Mark. We enjoyed good food, homemade wine, playing pool and a nice slow canoe ride down the New River. The kids got a break from Lego Bionicles and Runescape and enjoyed more simple things like playing in the river, throwing stones and catching crickets.
Russell Beattie was one of the bloggers I started reading regularly, way back when he was a "Java blogger" and developing his own blog software (sound familiar?). I love his long-winded anything-goes style and his encyclopedic knowledge of mobile tech. Welcome back Russell!
Instead of staying up until the dawn hours (not naming names) reading the final Harry Potter book, I spent most of the weekend working on bringing Propono in-line with the draft #17 and in particular adding support for out-of-line categories and relative URIs. I've got code ready to commit that passes Tim's Ape tests, so hopefully we'll have a new Propono 0.6 release ready very soon that supports the final spec.
Roller's Atom protocol implementation is already up to date and passing Ape tests, so Roller 4.0 will be Atom protocol ready. I still need to do a little work to document the setup.
The Raleigh Bloggers meet-up has morphed into a more inclusive RTP/Triangle-wide gathering, not just for bloggers and not just for Raleigh. We're still meeting on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, but we've moved the location from Raleigh Times Bar to the more centrally located Serena, a nice restaurant/bar with free WIFI. And we've established a community page at Ning. Our first meet-up in this new configuration is tonight so come on down and join us at 6:30PM tonight.
Mike Levin: Remember the JRoller aggregator filling up with soulmates that are now this vibrant community? Hasn't it been a blast meeting kinfolk around the globe that share the common ideal of faster, better, simpler, continuously improving, shared software that feeds your thoughts and projects with reusable code? Well, keep remembering. Remind yourself we all have a life and priorities change. As things like software change, so does the level of complexity. As opportunities open up, people move on. And, change becomes a little harder to implement. History becomes blurred. We have to strain to remember all the details that are so important to continuity and reliability. How much have you paid for your JRoller hosting? You contributed your most valuable asset: your thoughts. Well, remember who took you to the party. If you find another dance partner, don't kiss and tell. Be a code hero. Remember your partner, "Nada". Smile demurely and set an example. And, if you hang in there while the boat rocks, think of the good times and the better ones to come. Be a part of the solution. Be a code hero.
I'm not totally sure what to make of that, especially the don't kiss and tell part, but I do like the sentiment. The JRoller.com guys have been struggling to upgrade the site to Roller 3.1 this week and experiencing some downtime, so long-time Roller fan Mike is encouraging folks to stick with it -- or at least not bitch too much on the way out the door (maybe that's the don't kiss and tell part).
There have been some ads here and there but Developer Zone's JRoller.com is still primarily a volunteer site, a labor of love ever since Anthony Eden started the site and handed it off to the Javalobby. So Matt, Rick and the rest of the Javalobby/Developer Zone crew definitely deserve our thanks. And Mike too ;-)
And a note for those who don't understand the difference between Roller and JRoller: Apache Roller is an open source blog server, developed and supported by the Apache Software Foundation. JRoller.com is a free blog service for Java developers (mostly) that uses the Apache Roller software, but is run by Developer Zone.
Today Simon and Eduardo point out the cool new front-page at blogs.sun.com, which features a site-wide tag-cloud and a display of the newest blogs on the site. By the way, everything you see on the front-page there is possible with the stock release of Apache Roller 3.1 a some tweaks to the front-page theme.
More of the same news this week as work continues on Roller 4.0, testing and bug fixing. Allen made some comment formatting related changes and introduced what I hope is the last database schema modification we'll make in 4.0. Davis Nguyen is testing and finding problem, some of which may be caused by bugs in the new JPA back-end so I'll have more debugging work this week.
As you can see from the road roller graphic on the right, we're making progress with 4.0. We've gone from a wobbly pen and colored pencil drawing to a snazzy Gimp-powered image with gradients and drop-shadows.
Looking forward to getting started with post-4.0 work, I started two new 4.1 proposals to externalize user management and permssions to make it easier to hook Roller into directory servers and permissions systems.
In other news, the Roller 3.1.1 RC1 release has been out for a about a week now. We haven't gotten much feedback on it yet, but we have been getting some feedback on Roller 3.1 in general from Websphere and Weblogic users as they're having problems getting Roller up and running. If you work for IBM/Websphere or BEA/Weblogic you might want to stop by and help us figure out what's going wrong, maybe there's something we can fix in 3.1.1 to getting Roller running better on your platforms.
Also on the 3.1 front, Matt Schmidt is working on upgrading JRoller.com to Roller 3.1 and has plans to move to 4.0 after that. Roller 3.1 will bring better performance/stability and new features to the DZone network's Java blogging site.
That's it for this weeks episode. Please tune in next week for more...
I don't know why it took me so long to pick up on it, but Nicolas Chase has been publishing a very nice series of Atom protocol articles over at IBM developerWorks. Some of them make use of the Blogapps server from RSS and Atom in Action:
And by the way, I'm working on updating Roller, Blogapps and Propono to support the latest Atom protocol draft (#16). More about that later.
My bro Dan, who clearly understands the secret to blog success, has done it again with another lengthy and well-researched blog post. Thanks to his most recent post 10 definitive films within films, he was featured on the IMDB hit-list again this week.
Looks like we're going to have a pretty good turn-out for the Raleigh bloggers meet-up tonight (7PM at Raleigh Times) with Pat Mueller, Jackson Fox, Wayne Sutton, Michael Kimsal and perhaps even Mister Sugar himself planning to show up. That's a little unusual because attendance has been pretty spotty recently. In fact, last time it was just Pat and I sipping pints outside of the Raleigh Times Bar.
Pat proposed that we rename, refocus and relocate the Raleigh Bloggers meet-up. He suggested that we admit our geek nature by renaming it the "RTP Blogging Code Monkeys Meet-up." Also that we move it to the RTP area so it's convenient to folks from all three corners of the Triangle. I'm ready for a change and declining attendance is a drag, so I'm a big +1 on that. I suggested that we be more inclusive to non-bloggers with a blurb like this:
RTP dev/blogger meet-up. Come and chat about software development and web-technologies with Triangle-area code monkeys and bloggers.