It’s been so long, again!

It’s quiet crazy how time goes so fast! I haven’t had any time to make posts here, but I hope to write some more in the near future, and if not here at least on Travelfusion’s blog (I’ll post the link here when we go live). I’ve been working for Travelfusion since July and it’s been a great experience! If you want to find cheap flights you should check our website. I am currently the lead developer for the site and we have a planned a major redesign, so there are so many cool things to implement using GWT. Drop by anytime and give us some feedback.

I am loving London, so much to do, never bored – well almost never – and visiting friends and family once a month just makes up for the occasionally lonely days.

Here are some pictures of a team building event. I can’t say for sure that shooting each other is team building but it was a lot of fun.


Officially Java

Just to keep in the record (for myself :P), I officially moved from the C++ team to the Java team! The last two weeks have been great. I’ve had the opportunity to attend really great sessions given by Alef Arendsen from Interface21:

  • Introduction to Java EE
  • Introduction to Spring
  • Spring Core

Although the training was mostly about Spring, Alef also talked about Unit Testing, EasyMock and Eclipse shortcut keys (very usefull)!

JFall was “OK”

The sessions I attended this time:

Sun Technical Demo Keynote: Unleash the power of Java
Reginald Hutcherson, Angela M. Caicedo & Simon Ritter

Very nice session, with a couple of cool demos about the “Sun Spot”, controlling robots remotely using web services, and a new cool idea on how to search music, not based on mp3 tags, but on the content of the music itself. Same applies to photos and videos, all still a technology in research by Sun.

Is That the Enterprise in You Pocket?
Brian Leonard

I’ve heard before that with Netbeans you can easily and quickly build an application for a mobile phone, and after this session I really feel like getting a hang of it and trying it out asap. I’ve done some programming for embedded devices before, but with Java ME and Netbeans it seems much straightforward. Brian gave a small workshop on how to build an application that displays the results of calling to web services via HTTP. Easy and pretty nifty! This is the 2nd place of my favorite sessions!

Swing looking good: Synth L&F
Arjan Schaaf

The idea of Synth is pretty interesting. In short words with Synth it is possible to configure the look and feel of your Swing application using XML. It’s a pity that it does not have much support in terms of documentation and it doesn’t seem to exit a big community using it. But I’m sure that with the improvements that have been made by Swing Labs for Mustang this problem will start changing pretty soon and all kinds of cool swing applications will start popping up all over!

The Vocabulary of Enterprise Applications
Adrian Colyer

I knew this was going to be a great session, and it turned out to be my number 1 favorite of the day. Adrian is a great speaker with a lot of humor. I like AOP, and this session was an introduction to it and how you can use it. If you don’t know about AOP, please have a look! OOP and AOP together make your applications more powerful!

Java Knobs: How to change performance with the Sun JVM
Simon Ritter

I was only in this session for 20 minutes. It was not Simon, but it was the huge amount of options that can be tuned to achieve all kinds of stuff that actually depend on the profile of your application…

Desktop Patterns and Data Binding
Karsten Binding

Well this just made me more confused about MVC and MVP so I gotta go read some more, also on JGoodies.

In the end, it was quite a good conference. And the big news are that we had a very nice booth this time.

J-Spring Wrap Up

J-Spring 2006 was my first Java conference. I have to say it was a great start! 🙂 Here are the sessions I attended:

Agile Java Development With Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse
Anil Hemrajani

I bough the book from Anil a few weeks ago so I though it would be nice to hear what he had to say. Anil has a great sense of humor and the session went very lightly! He is visiting all continents presenting his new book. In this presentation he gave a brief overview of Agile Development, Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse. Anil has 20 years of experience in IT and project management. Fortunately for us, young developers, we can adopt these proven methodologies in our daily work, instead of going through all the burn of badly managed projects.

Distributed Caching Essential Lessons
Cameron Purdy

Cameron talks quite fast, but still he did not have time to finish his slides! This was a very interesting session about distributed cashing. Cameron explained several ways to do distributed cashing and how sometimes, for example, performance, has to be sacrificed in order to gain consistence and scalability.

Keynote Oracle
Duncan Mills

About frameworks, and more frameworks, and Oracle ADF, and more about…frameworks!

Spring Framework 2.0
Arjen Poutsma

Arjen kindly spoke in English because I was the only non-Dutch speaking in the room (what an embarrassment, I really need to work on my Dutch!). Anyhow, he talked about the new features and improvements of Spring 2.0, which will be available sometime in the beginning of July. You can read everything about it on Spring website.

Is Ruby the New Java? What every Java coder should know about Ruby – and Rails
Danny Lagrouw

The last session was in Dutch! There were too many people in this session so I did not ask Danny Lagrouw to speak in English. Everyone is curious about this Ruby on Rails phenomenon. Is Ruby the New Java? I think that not many java developers agree with that. At least, as far as I could understand, there were lots of questions about security issues and the fact that Ruby in an untyped language. Nevertheless, this framework is cool, that’s why it’s hot! It has a cool name, its simple, and promotes rapid development. In addition, they always give these incredible demos that show how to build a pet store or a blog in 15 minutes! Very cool, indeed!

In the end I was hopping to win the Xbox that Conspect was offering, but I was not so lucky. Can’t complain though, I still got some pens, mugs, t-shirts…and my favorite: an anti-stress soft ball that I got at the Interface 21 booth.

Spring Framework Session Reviewed

Last Monday evening I joined the Java Study Group at the VIK’s house, near Antwerp, for a session about the Spring Framework. It was certainly worth the ride! Besides, Gerrit Cap kindly spoke in English instead of the usual Dutch. 🙂

I have made some research on Spring before, but with this session I could get a better understanding of the framework and its applicability. The idea was to learn the principles behind Spring and how to use the framework. Gerrit Cap spoke about decoupled OO implementations, which are easier to achieve with Spring. He touched other several subjects, including Inversion of Control and AOP.

It came as a surprise that Spring can be used in standalone applications. I thought it was more meaningful to use it in web applications, and the reason is that I usually read about Spring and its applicability in enterprise applications. I really liked that implementations can be done with less code than usual, eliminating duplicate code and promoting code reuse. I find imperative decoupling between objects, which is achieved in Spring by using Inversion of Control.

I liked more things of course! I find the JdbcTemplate fantastic. 😛 I am developing a web application in PHP where I have to do all the code to query the database myself: get a connection to the database, prepare the SQL statement, bind parameters, fetch the result and finally close the connection to the database. And I have to do this many times. JdbcTemplate does all this for you, which lets you actually concentrate on the query itself.

Another thing I find interesting is AOP. Although I had already used AspectJ last year at the Advanced Software Engineering course, while I was studying at TU Delft, I never understood very well the concept. It’s actually quite simple, and using it makes it possible to concentrate on the logic of the application and overlook logging, transaction, security or any other kind of concerns. These can be taken care later or even by another specialized developer.

In conclusion this was a great session, and I hope there will be more like this! In addition, Gert Cuppens offered me a DVD from JavaPolis 2004 with some nice presentations also about Spring and AOP. Ah! And the book “Agile Java Development With Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse” arrived today. Gotta keep running!

Spring Framework Session

The 29th of May, I’ll be joining the Belgium Java Study Group, near Antwerp, for an “Introduction to the Spring Framework“. I am finally going to have a look into it! And the interesting thing is that apparently EJB 3.0 is a now a challenger of Spring (read more). On an earlier post I had a link to a very interesting article for beginners. It was said that a beginner should not loose time learning EJBs. It appears that this argument is not valid anymore! Maybe now there are enough reasons to have a look at the new model for EJBs. But one thing at a time, please! 😛