User-written product reviews on

Jonathan Schwartz: you'll see something very interesting next week start to appear on Sun's web pages and throughout our on-line store. You'll start to see product reviews written by users. You'll see user defined ratings, right on our products. Just like book or product reviews at Amazon. We're starting with just a few products, but it'll ultimately extend all the way up to our highest end enterprise offerings.
In other words, the on-line store is getting the Web 2.0™ upgrade.

Apache Roller 2.3 (incubating) released

Crossposted from the Roller project blog

Apache Roller 2.3-incubating is now available via the Apache incubator. For more information about the release see What's New in Roller 2.3 on the Roller wiki. This is a new release, but the Roller 2.3 codebase has been in use for over a month at a number of production sites, including and this site. Here are direct links to the download files:

Note that we no longer use the wiki for the user and installation guides. Instead, we're using OpenOffice format and generating HTML and PDF versions of these two documents. Here are links to the latest docs for Roller 2.3.

Please report bugs and enhancement requests to Roller's JIRA-based issue tracker.

NOTE: Roller is in the Apache Incubator, but this release is not an official release of or endorsed by the Apache Software Foundation. Roller itself is licensed under the Apache license v2.0, but requires some components that have more restrictive licenses (i.e. Hibernate).

Status, CC: World

It's been a while since my last status, CC:World post, so here's an update on the things I'm working on these days.

RSS and Atom in Action. Because I added those two new chapters on Windows RSS and ROME, Manning had to renumber about 3/4 of the book. That took a bit longer than expected, but now the work is done and I've got the whole book in one big PDF file. I'll do one final review this weekend and, if we can quickly wrap up the loose ends and the index, we'll be off to the printers before the end of June.

Blogapps is the Java.Net project that I started to manage and support the Java and C# example code for RSS and Atom in Action. Now that the book is essentially done, it's time for the Blogapps 1.0 release. I'll create a 1.0 branch so that I can do bug fix releases like 1.0.1, 1.0.2, etc. -- but the code in that 1.0 branch will always match the code in the book.

Once Atom protocol is complete, I'll make the changes necessary to support it in a separate branch of the Blogapps project, because those changes may diverge significantly from the code in the book. Perhaps I'll call that branch Blogapps 1.5 or even 2.0 depending on how different the new code is. After that, I hope to continune to improve the apps but making use of newer releases of ROME and perhaps Abdera.

Roller@Apache. Roller has been in the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) incubator for almost a year now. We've been in limbo because Roller depends on a 3rd party library (Hibernate) that is licensed under the LGPL and ASF doesn't like LGPL, but it's still not clear if that LGPL dependency will prevent Roller fom graduating from the incubator. Recently, our ASF mentors told us that we can temporarily depend on LGPL components, but we cannot ship them. So we removed Hibernate from the release, added instructions to the installation guide explaining how download Hibernate separately and, thanks to Craig Russell, we've got the beginnings of a plan to eventually replace Hibernate with either JDO or EJB3/JPA.

Apache Roller 2.3 (incubating). We've been trying to get the 2.3 release out for quite a while, ever since 2.2 in fact. Now that we've removed Hibernate from our release, we've been cleared to release 2.3 via Apache infrastructure (i.e. make the release files avialable on an site). That should happen very soon.

Apache Roller 3.0 (incubating). The 3.0 release isn't due for deployment or release until July, but this week I've been working like crazy to get the new Atlas frontpage stuff into a usable state so we can get some early feedback. Tomorrow is my self-imposed deadline and I'm just about ready to put together a test build.

ApacheCon EU 2006. I'm giving a talk titled Roller: an open source blog server, which is essentiually a primer for new Roller users and developers. It's the same talk I gave at ApacheCon US 2005, but I'm going to update it to cover the major changes in Roller since then (and fast, the slides were due last week).

ROME and Abdera

Pat Chanezon responds to James Snell's proposal for collaboration between ROME, which is (in my mind) the premier feeds API for Java, and Abdera, a newly proposed Apache project that aims to implement the Atom format and protocol.

Get rollin' with Sun Java System Web Server 7.0

Seema explains how to get the latest Roller code running on Sun Java System Web Server 7.0 Preview 1. And Seema's right, Roller 2.3 (incubating) should be out real soon now. RC4 is looking good and I think it might be the gold.

Today's links [May 25, 2006]

And speaking of SAS

SAS Institute is still shying away from blogging, but Sun's Phillip Kinslow recently started a blog about his job, which is to align Sun with the SAS mantra "The power to know." So we've got SAS employees blogging about Eclipse and Sun employees blogging about SAS; how about some SAS employees blogging about SAS? There are lots of cool things going on at SAS and I bet the employees are just dying to tell us about it, but they need a push. Plus, they need a policy, some servers and some software.

PS. Sun's BM Seer is also blogging about SAS and some world record setting ETL benchmarks by SAS Enterprise Data Integration Server and a Sun Fire E25K.

There is life after SAS

Congrats to continuous integration guru Jared Richardson, who has jumped ship from SAS and apparently without much of a safety net. I don't know Jared personally, but I heard a lot of good things about him when I was at SAS -- so good luck to Jared.

Today's links [May 24, 2006]

Netbeans 5.5 (beta) and other new software

Netbeans logoAfter I got back from JavaOne, I loaded up on all of the cool new software I saw in action at the conference, including:
I installed all of this stuff and I've been using Netbeans 5.5 with Subversion support all week. On my Solaris/x64 box, Netbeans 5.5 seems very stable. The Subversion client is a little flakey, as is to be expected for pre-release software, but it's been really holding its own during some refactoring and package renaming work I've had to do this week.

So, if you're itching for Subversion support in Netbeans, give the 5.5 beta a try and help the Netbeans guys out providing feedback on the mailing lists and issue tracker.

The JavaOne general session demos last week (e.g. the build-a-blog-server in 5 minute demo) seemed to show an extremely fast build-deploy-test loop. So next, I'm going to try to switch to SJAS9 + Derby for development and debugging and see how it compares to working with Tomcat / MySQL. Last time I tried SJAS (version 8) for development, I found it to be a little too heavy for my tastes.

+1 to Atom Reference Implementation

Sam Ruby, James Snell and Robert Yates have proposed a new Apache project to provide a reference implementation for Atom: the Atom Reference Implementation or ARI. The plan is to implement an Atom parser, client and server libraries.

Code is already available from James Snell's site (ari.tar.gz, under IBM copyright) and, currently, there are two simple examples: one for parsing a feed and one for posting an entry. I've already taken a quick look and the code looks very good. But it does require Java 5 generics, so we couldn't use it in Roller right now now even if we wanted to.

ARI will definitely overlap with ROME to some extent, because ROME provides an Atom format parser and has plans to include an Atom protocol client and server toolkit. But ROME has always focused on supporting all feed formats (e.g. RSS 0.9X, 1.0, 2.0, Atom 1.0 and even the old and deprecated Atom 0.3) and that's not the intent of the ARI.

JavaOne factoids

Some little notes from JavaOne in roughly chronological order:

Progress towards open source Java

Danese Cooper: Earlier this week we all heard about Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green hinting they were about ready to release Java under some OSI-approved license. Supposedly they just need to nail down "How to Deal with Compatibility". I read this news with some irony, since I know that they bloody well know exactly what to do already. Its been discussed every year since 1999 inside of Sun. Their covenant with Apache and the Geronimo has already successfully demonstrated that it can be done (compatible FOSS reimplementations of Sun-generated specifications). They are simply being disingenuous. What they really mean is "How can we placate the FOSS community without giving up control?" which is the age-old question for Sun.
Give us Sun-folk a little credit. If you want open source Java runtimes (and I do), then the announcements this week were most definitely good news. Up until now, we didn't have our story straight. Jonathan Schwartz was telling people that all Sun software would be open source and the OpenSolaris folks were showing us how it could be done, but Java leaders like Gosling (and many others) seemed to be saying that Sun's implementation can never be made open source for fear of incompatible forks. Now we're all on the same wavelength. That is a good thing.

And I don't think anybody really knows "exactly what to do." I'm more than happy that the Java community is going to figure out how to do it right. I believe (and I think Danese would agree) the JCP needs some work and more participation before it can get us all working in harmony (no pun intended) on compatibility.

Tags: topic:[Open Source], topic:[Java], topic:[Harmony], topic:[JCP]

(Usual disclaimer applies: I do not speak for Sun)

JavaOne: putting the web back in web services

photo of me giving my talk
(photo thanks to Marc Hadley)

I haven't seen any reviews yet, but I thought my talk went quite well. Over 500 people registered and it seemed that the room (capacity 620) was overflowing. My demo worked, despite the fact that I had to work on a Windows box (and found some problems in my .BAT scripts). And I got the timing right too. I finished about ten minutes early, but that was perfect because there were lots of questions.

I think I got the point across that Atom protocol is generic, not just for blogs and applicable to a wide range of problems. I also made a point of promoting Marc Hadley's work on WADL and his talk on RESTful web services with JAX-WS.  Turns out Marc Hadley was in the audience. We'd never met before and my talk ended at noon, so we had lunch together and had a nice chat about WS-* and REST and life in general.

I attended Marc's talk later in the day and it was packed; I'd estimate he had over a thousand attendees. Based on the attendance at my talk, Marc's talk and the number of times I've heard or seen the acronym REST mentioned, I'd have to say that Java folks are pretty interested in putting the web back into web services (is that a Jon Udellism?).

You can get my slides from the JavaOne Content Catalog (link is TS-1756). You can also get the software that I demonstrated, which was the Blogapps Server (the Atom server) and the Chapter 10 code from the Blogapps Examples (the Atom client) download. You can get both of those from the Blogapps project on Java.Net.

Tags: topic:[Java], topic:[JavaOne], topic:[REST], topic:[Atom]

JavaOne arrival

I'm here in San Francisco and ready for JavaOne. Time for some more horn tooting: one more reminder to come see my talk on Tuesday morning. Here's the info:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
TS-1756 - Java and REST: Implementing the Atom protocol
Start time: 11AM
Esplanade 304/206

Today's links [May 12, 2006]

Roller Admin Protocol

The first version of the Atom protocol isn't going to include administrative features, such as user management and weblog creation, but Jeff Blattman needed those features now. Jeff needed to be able to create users, weblogs and manage group blog membership remotely, so he created Roller Admin Protocol (or AAPP). He patterned his work after the Atom protocol so that, perhaps someday, it can be useful to the IETF Atom Working Group.

Jeff's did great work on the AAPP. He proposed it to the Roller dev list, designed the whole thing on the wiki and contributed all of the code and tests to the Roller project. He also wrote a complete set of AAPP docs for the Roller Developer Guide, created an AAPP SDK and finished some of my work for me by adding docs for Roller's Atom protocol implementation. Thanks Jeff!

Like Roller's Atom protocol implementation, AAPP is still considered an experimental feature  and is not for production use, likely to change, etc., but it is included the upcoming Roller 2.3 release (both Atom and AAPP will be disabled by default). Take a look and let us know how well Roller Admin Protocol will meet your blog server admin needs (direct feedback to the roller-dev mailing list).

JavaOne 2006 Bloggers meet-up: time and place

Thanks to Simon Phipps and Tim Bray for putting together another blogger gathering at JavaOne. It's Thirsty Bear time again. Here are the details straight from Simon's blog:
JavaOne Bloggers' Social
Thirsty Bear Brewing Company
Date & Time
5:30pm-7pm, Tuesday, May 16 2006
Please register!
I'm looking forward to meeting-up with some of the folks from the Roller-dev mailing list; sounds like Anil, Raible, Sean Gilligan and a couple others will be there. Roller bloggers, users and developers come on down (but don't forget to register).

WS-* Kool-Aid and JavaOne

Anne Thomas Manes has written an insightful overview of the REST vs. WS-* debate. She starts out by explaining that she doesn't just drink the WS-* Kool-Aid.
I'm one of the folks responsible for mixing the Kool-Aid. I presented at the W3C Workshop on Web Services (representing Sun). I participated in numerous standardization efforts at W3C, OASIS, WS-I,, and JCP. I have a vested interest in making sure that WS-* succeeds.
She covers some of the same points I'm covering in my Atom talk (JavaOne 2006 TS-1756), which includes a brief overview of the debate, but she goes a bit further than  my slides dare to go with this:
But I can't ignore the debate between REST and WS-*. I'm a huge proponent of the KISS principle. So I don't recommend using WS-* for all service interactions. If an application doesn't require enterprisey infrastructure semantics, then it's much more appropriate to use a simpler middleware system, such as "plain old XML" (POX) over HTTP. In fact, for applications that require Internet scalability (e.g., mass consumer-oriented services), POX is a much better solution than WS-*.
Sounds like she mixes the Kool-Aid, but she stopped drinking it some time ago.

Anne was responding to a blog post by Mike Herrick, which compared big-and-bloated WS-* to big-and-bloated J2EE. I wonder, now that J2EE has been reborn as JEE5 and EJB as we once knew it is dead, does WS-* need the same treatment? Anne's post seems to imply that WS-* just needs better tools. And, does simply making it possible to build and consume RESTful web services with a WS-* stack, as JEE5 does, go far enough? Maybe I'll get some answers in Mark Hadley's talk on building RESTful Web Services with JAX-WS (JavaOne 2006 TS-1222).

Tags: topic:[REST], topic:[Atom], topic:[Java], topic:[JavaOne2006]

The Awful Green Things from Outer Space

Cover of Awful Green Things from Outer SpaceWith the book out of my hands again, I'm trying to return to normal life by doing things like leaving the house, watching movies and playing games with the kids. Tonight's fun was The Awful Green Things from Outer Space, an easy-to-play and very cute Steve Jackson mini-game (a board game) with an interesting set of rules. It's perfect for Alex, who at 9 is absolutely fascinated by game systems and rules.

TAGTFOS is about a space ship that is boarded by green monsters; monsters who grow each turn from eggs to babies and from babies to egg-laying adults. To fight off the monsters, the ship's crew members grab whatever weapons they can find, things like bottles of acid, cans of rocket fuel and blow torches. Problem is, the crew has no idea what the weapons do until they use them (and they change every time you play). So, if you fire a stun pistol into a room full of monsters you might blow 'em to bits, which sounds good until you realize that all of those bits will grow into babies next turn.

I got my copy of TAGTFOS from The Dragon magazine back in '79. The game is out of print, but you can find copies at used game stores online (around $15 a copy).

« Previous page | Main | Next page »