Tag Cloud

The software I use on this site is flatpress. Unlike many of its ilk, it uses the filesystem rather than an underlying database to store articles. This is generally good enough, but it does mean that things like "tag clouds" can be difficult/expensive to create.

Never fearWordle is here!

The following tag cloud was created from this site's RSS 2.0 feed:

I know it's only eye-candy, not the "real thing", but it's OK for now.

Tags: Tools

The Growth Of Grails

This is the Grails, Groovy, Rails, Ruby, Spring Job Trends graph.

Very interesting…seems like the hype machines in the media are yet to catch up with reality…

Tags: Grails, Programming

Is SOA Dead?

The title of a nice summary on infoq.

A few gems:

So having vendors claiming "we are still shifting products" while analysts who told people to go and buy those products are now complaining that they haven't seen the value really is just a farce… SOA hasn't failed, what has failed is the next generation lipstick on the pig, buy my technology it will save your problems, do a big project it will fix everything style of IT that has always failed.


…those companies that have not yet started a SOA initiative did so because they could not articulate and demonstrate its business value.

And even:

…you should probably avoid using the word "SOA" and instead focus your efforts on building "services" that deliver measurable value to the business.

What a horrifying idea: "deliver measurable value to the business"! What will they think of next ;-)

Tags: SOA

A Nice Little Overview Of Kanban

Over at Java DZone: Introducing Kanban, Flow, and Cadence.

I get the feeling that Kanban is growing in appeal; perhaps it is the "newness factor", perhaps it is the idea of constant motion that is appealing (after all, Scrum/XP have all these "stop and have a talkfest" points built in…I can see how managment might be nervous about that [the words "closed shop" spring to mind ;-)])

Tags: Agile

JBoss 5.1GA

Is available.

With a new, improved web console (embedded JOPR; at last).

Tags: Tools

SoapUI 3.0 Beta

Is available.

Improvements include reporting and upgraded Groovy support.

Tags: SOA, Tools

Java Look And Feel Graphics Repository

Just came across this: the officially sanctioned set of icons designed specifically for use with the Java look and feel.

Seems rather a limited set but the documentation accompanying each icon is useful (giving the required keyboard shortcut key/mnemonic/tooltip text, etc.).

I have always found famfam coming to the rescue whenever I am iconically-challenged.

OpenClipart is another favourite; you just gotta love the little people:


Found the Function Icon Set, another set of free, stylish icons.

Tags: Tools

Happy Towel Day!

In honour of that much-missed hoopy frood, Douglas Adams.

http://towelday.org/ is where the action is.

Brisbane: Beautiful One Day, Flooded The Next!

This is a park near my house.

One day, it looked like this:

24 hours later (after some really wild weather), it looked like:


Even more amazing: the following day, it was back to beautiful blue skies and green grass.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring?


Waaaay back, in the UK in the early '80s, I used to watch some of the excellent TV programmes from the The Open University on computers and data processing. One of these was brought to mind recently…

Thinking back, I can clearly visualise the punch cards flashing through a reader, the disk packs spinning wildly and a chain printer rattling away. Something like this state-of-the-art "1440 Data Processing System":

(Image lifted from The IBM Archives: http://www-03.ibm.co … ainframe_PP1440.html)

I can hear a narrator talking about how computer technology would allow up-to-the-minute access to data and how data duplication would be a thing of the past.

Fast forward…it's 2009. 25+ years later.

I keep getting letters from the Australian Tax Office addressed to 'TRTNSENTIA PTY LTD' Every time I reply to a letter so addressed, I ask the Powers That Be to change the name on their records. I have sent a number of letters to the ATO specifically to get my records updated. No dice.

I recently had a small 'prang' with my car. Phoned up the insurance company and made a claim. Somehow, my telephone number was recorded incorrectly during my first interaction with the claims section. Never mind, on my second interaction I corrected the number. I also corrected it on my third and fourth interactions…

Why is this?

We have had technology allowing us to live that '80s dream for decades…the technology has changed, sure. It has got more powerful and easier to use. It has become more scalable, easier to develop with and easier to manage. It is orders of magnitude cheaper to implement solutions now. Our development teams have grown up with computers: most of them don't know a world without the devices; programming is pretty much literally in their DNA. In contrast to the '80s, commercial data processing is no longer heading into unknown waters: our tools and componentry incorporate recognized, tried-and-trusted algorithms and patterns. The art of programming has become better defined and better controlled and (like most other professions) we are building up a substantial body of evidence and experience that can guide our work practices.

But still…

Here's why:

One thing has remained constant: my old friend: "fear." We still have management with 'marginal' technological literacy. Molehills can quickly become mountains… Inaction can become the only contemplatable way 'forward.'

I have come across the following sort of muddy, fear-driven reasoning: If my desktop PC computer can crash, any computer can crash. A cluster contains many computers…therefore clusters are much more 'dangerous' than a single computer and so their use shouldn't be countenanced. Since we are only able to use a single box, our ability to handle load is restrained. Given this, "live dips" into the database may put too much load on the system and so to be disallowed. Given this, we'll need multiple copies (maybe a unique copy per target application) of the same data. Periodic pushes of the 'master' database will allow us to work everything out…

Sounds OK in practise but reconciliations fail, oftentimes silently; the master goes down and data is lost; maintainance happens; the update timetable for application A starts to conflict with that of applications B and C and D and…leading to reduced periodicity of updates, etc., etc.. The end result is what started this rant!

Technologies for clustering application servers and systems like Oracle RAC (and to a lesser degree MySQL Clustering) have been around for a long time now. They are mature and capable of really impressive uptimes. There really is no good reason not to use them (IMHO, "too difficult for us" is not a good reason!). I have seen organisations (facing externally imposed change) adopt Oracle DataGuard because it sounded like what they had already been doing (almost "by hand") over many years and was thus the smallest possible, least fear-laden step they could (reluctantly) take.

Upshot: we have technologies and techniques that predate many of the practitioners of the art, but which still don't get applied.

Dissapointing, really.

So there you go: another rant over and done with.

Tags: Rant