Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
Eclipse was the first IDE that was powerful enough to pull me away from good old trusty and ubiquitous vi. I had worked on a couple IDE projects, including Object Factory at Rogue Wave and HAHTsite at HAHT, and I had tried almost every Java IDE in existance, but I couldn't find an IDE that could tempt me away from vi. But, when I tried Eclipse in 2002 I was sold. What did I like about Eclipse at that time? Take a look at a My Eclipse Review to read my review of Eclipse from September 2002.
After seeing lots of cool demos of Java Studio Creator at JavaOne, hearing about Netbeans 4.0 release, and remembering to eat the dogfood, I decided that I had to take another look at Netbeans. I downloaded the Netbeans 4.0 demo over the weekend and I've been working with it all week. If you've used Netbeans before, you will notice some drastic changes. The Netbeans UI is much more clean, simple, and easy to use. Gone is the clunky filesystem mounting stuff and the complex options dialog is much more streamlined and easy to grok.
Here is a screenshot of Netbeans 4.0b1 showing the Versioning view:
There are still some shortcomings that will keep me going back to Eclipse, but there are also some areas where Netbeans seems to outshine Eclipse. Here are some of the things that impressed me:
And here are the things that will keep me going back to Eclipse:
It is cool to see such great improvements in Netbeans and it is great to have so many excellent Java IDE options. I've also spent some time recently with Visual Studio C#.Net and I'm here to tell you, Microsoft has some major catch-up work to do. The current crop of Java IDEs blow Visual Studio away.
I fell for another one of those cute little Apple gadgets yesterday, an Airport Express. I bought it primarily to extend the range of my existing wireless network, but I also bought the cable pack so that I can use the Express to pipe music from iTunes to my stereo.
I had assumed that the "extend the range of my Airport wireless network" feature would work with Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband router right out of the box, but I was wrong. I hate it when that happens, but after much cursing and gnashing of teeth I found an answer. I found an Airport Express review on Arstechnica that indicated that the WRT54G would work, as long as I upgraded to a hacked open source version of the router firmware and learned how to us WDS (wireless distribution system). Then I found the open source firmware, had a bad run-in with some poorly written instructions, and then finally found a set of instructions that worked for me. For future reference, here are the details:
First, I downloaded and installed the Sveasoft Satori v4.0 WRT54G firmware on my router. Next I followed the instructions below (found in the foruns at http://www.xlr8yourmac.com):
- Plug in, reset (push button with paperclip for >5 seconds), and attach the Airport Express (AX) to an Ethernet port on my (Linksys) WRT54G.
- Run Airport Admin Utility (AAU) - make sure it's the latest version - installed from the CD that came with the AX. My WRT54G gave the AX an IP address (it's set to use DHCP). The default AX password is "public" (no quotes).
- From Safari, go to 192.168.1.1 and log into the WRT54G (default login is blank, and password is "admin"), and display the channel (11), SSID, wireless MAC address (which differs by one hex digit from the LAN and WAN MAC addresses), in the format: 00:0c:41:5f:19:6e. I'm using WEP 128, so I copy the WEP key, too.
- Then, in AAU:
Airport (tab) - select Create a Wireless Network, enter the SSID (from the WRT54G) as the Network Name, set the channel to match (channel 11). Click Security and enter "$" followed by my WEP key. Enter it again in the Verify box.
- Next click on Internet (tab) - select Connect Using Airport (WDS), type in the wireless MAC address from the WRT54G, and then check Allow Wireless Clients. (I want to allow them but have not yet tested this.)
- Click Network (tab) - and uncheck Distribute IP Addresses.
- Click the WDS (tab) - and check Enable This Base Station as WDS, and select Remote Base Station. Check Allow Wireless Clients. Again, confirm that the MAC address is filled in with the wireless MAC address of the WRT54G.
- Click Music (tab) - and check Enable Airtunes on this Base Station. Give a name to the location where the AX will be deployed (near my home theater room), like "Home Theater."
- Now click on Update to load this configuration into the AX.
The Ethernet cable from the WRT54G port is then disconnected, and I unplug the AX, move it near my destination (room with home theater/stereo, 70 feet away and upstairs). After a minute, the AX resets and light stays green. This is good!
Janne Jalkanen: This is by the way the reason why I think that Atom should be considered primarily as a content-delivery channel, and not a "standard for publishing weblogs". People know how bad I am at predicting, but my guess is that measured by volume, in two years most content transported through syndication standards (like RSS and Atom) will be non-weblog. While blogging is important, it cannot match the sheer volume of corporate-created content services. There's money to be made in syndication - go get it, folks!
You don't have to wait for Roller to add a comments newsfeed, you can do it yourself through the Roller UI just by hacking templates, as illustrated by Richard Osbaldeston who has put together a page template that shows comment. I think Lance and Euxx have shown how to do this before, but Richard's comments feed is an extended RSS 2.0 feed and it also includes trackback:ping, wfw:comment, and slash:comments elements from the corresponding modules. Most excellent.
Richard also wonders aloud about contributing his work to Roller, or at least to the Roller Wiki. Unfortunately, I had to shut down public access to the Roller Wiki due to Wiki vandals/spammers. However, if you have something to contribute please let me know and I'll set you up with a login.
So far, my first week has been an absolute blast. I've barely had time to catch my breath and, as you can see, no time to blog. I have a little free time tonight, so I'll give you an update.
Monday started out with the standard new employee orientation meeting at the Santa Clara campus. I skipped out on the new employee lunch to head back up to Menlo Park to spend the afternoon in meetings talking about Roller enhancements, blogging, and some interesting open source issues. My new manager, Will Snow, and others have put together an extensive and well thought-out list of Roller enhancements that I hope to get into our JIRA instance as soon as possible. Some are duplicates of existing RFEs, but I'll sort that out. At the top of the list are, as you might expect, performance and stability. Moving to 0.9.9 will be a big help, but more work needs to be done. After we wrapped up the meetings, I headed down to Mountain View for a nice dinner at the Tied House with Tim Bray, Danese Cooper, Zak Greant, Simon Phipps, and Stefan Taxhet.
Tuesday was devoted to Sun's internal Open Source Summit which was just awesome. I really glad I started this week instead of next, because I would have hated to have missed the summit. Representatives from all of the open source projects around Sun were there to bring everybody up to date on status and future plans. On top of that, there were a bunch of interesting guest speakers like Doc Searls, James Duncan Davidson, Brian Belhendorf, Rael Dornfest, Zak Greant, and others. In the evening, I had a great time talking with Patrick Chanezon and Alejandro Abdelnur about Sun and Rome and politics and all sorts of vaguely related things.
Wednesday morning, we had yet another meeting to talk Roller and blogging, but this time, in front of a larger audience that included... gasp... James Gosling himself. I think I managed to keep my cool pretty well. Then Jonathan Schwartz stopped by to say hi and to tell some interesting stories about the impact of blogs on customers, employees, and analysts. How cool is that! (I'm not a name dropper, noooooo, not me.) Wednesday afternoon, we met to talk features and blogging technologies again. Sounds like a lot of meetings, doesn't it. Generally speaking, meetings suck, but I haven't had this much fun at work in years.
Tomorrow things should settle down a bit and I'll get a chance to get hooked up to the network, learn how to us the Sun web, and maybe even get started on some of those RFEs. Sorry about the lack of links in this entry, but it is well past my bedtime. I'll have to get to that tomorrow. G'gite.
Sam Ruby: FeedMesh is a group working to establish a "peering network" for decentralized web(site|log) update notifications and content distribution
Bob Wyman's Atom Syntax mailing list post blogs.msdn.com: RSS consumes too much bandwidth kicked off a very interesting discussion on the Atom Syntax mailing list. All of the well known remedies have been discussed including conditional GET, ETags, and compression. The discussions wander off into other areas such as serving newsfeeds over XMPP, using SSFT, and other interesting ideas.Patrick Chanezon suggested that Danny Ayers' JSoup library could allow Rome to better handle malformed newsfeeds and the Romans are now exploring the idea of incorporating JSoup into the Rome project.