So what’s it about? We’ve all heard about the Wisdom of Crowds idea. But what if you need to actually implement it on your website? This book shows you how to (using both concepts and practical code, as well as the theory behind all of it that I was missing). It includes
Intelligent, learning search, using Lucene.
Extracting data from blogs using web-crawling.
Executing Real time feedback on facebook-like sites.
Scalable data-mining techniques to manage the torrent of information
Making personalised recommendations based on all of the information.
If you’re in business you need computer systems to support your team. Systems to find previous dealings with a customer, systems to allow your team to work together, systems to stop people finding out things that they shouldn’t.
Once your business passes the 100 employee mark and is heading for ‘Enterprise’ scale, chances are you need custom software written just for you, in addition to he ‘shrink wrap’ stuff you’ve been able to get away with until now.
Most custom Enterprise software is written in (or uses a large element of) Enterprise Java.
Enterprise Java is hard to get started with – it’s a big and complex framework because it solves big and complex problems. The Spring framework makes it easy.
OK, so we’re Spring nuts. But nuts only because it’s solved problems for FirstPartners over the last 4 years. What we like:
Spring allows you to use just enough Enterprise Java to solve your problem
Spring complements Enterprise Java, not replaces it.
Spring gives you a gentle slope to using Enterprise technologies.
Spring works well with Java, Oracle, .Net , (J)Ruby and pretty much any mainstream technology – including most of the widespread Java Frameworks like Struts and Hibernate.
So you wait ages for one Spring Event in Ireland, then two come along at once. We’ve written about Rod Johnson speaking in Dublin on Tue March 11th. Now there is a full day Spring Event in Belfast the day before (March 10th). And it’s sponsored by Momentum NI, so it’s free. And the Hilton Hotel is right beside Belfast Central train station, so it’s easy to get to from Dublin.
The full agenda is here (more details below), but given the importance of Spring to the Enterprise world, and the fact that the top four Spring guys are speaking, we reckon that it the Enterprise event of the year. The booking form is here.
Spring Ireland 2008
10th March 08:3010th March 17:30
Hilton Belfast, 4 Lanyon Place, Belfast (Beside Central Train station)SpringSource is proud to announce Spring Ireland 2008. Join us for a free one-day conference with presentations from the SpringSource team including a keynote from Rod Johnson.
Keynote: Spring into the Future – Rod Johnson
The Spring Framework began in 2002 with Rod’s best-selling Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development; one of the most influential books ever published on J2EE, Rod is recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities on Java and J2EE development.With the rapid expansion of SpringSource and move to new corporate HQ in Silicon Valley, this is a rare UK opportunity to hear Rod provide his views and explore the future of J2EE application development.
What’s New in Spring 2.5 – Sam Brannen
Sam is a lead architect at SpringSource and one of the most experienced developers within the organisation.This session provides delegates with an overview of the new features available in Spring 2.5. Specifically, highlighting the simplified and extensible configuration support provided via configuration annotations and new XML configuration namespaces, new Java 6 support, updates to Spring AOP, improved JDBC and JPA support, annotation-driven web MVC controllers, the new annotation-based TestContext framework for unit and integration tests and more!
SpringSource Professional Services – Greg Southey
Greg has built SpringSource’s UK Professional Services organisation into the leading Spring consultancy business in the world.
This is a brief resume of some of the 97 major projects completed by the UK Professional Services team in 2007. Delegates will hear about the business drivers behind some major development projects, the business issues faced and how they were resolved in partnership with the client.
Spring as a Full Stack Web Framework – David Syer
As Principal Consultant at SpringSource, Dave leads the way in the understanding of satisfying business requirements using the Spring Portfolio. His easy manner cloaks a prodigious knowledge of application development.
This session explores the “full stack” web framework trend and answers the question: how does Spring stack up? This session defines what a full-stack web framework is, then provides a fair technical comparison between a Spring-centric web development stack and the alternatives. Delegates will head about the feature-set of modern “full stack” web frameworks, and what Spring has that differentiates itself from the pack.
Spring in Ireland – Ian Graham
Ian Graham, Momentum, will explore the use of Spring in Ireland and introduce case studies from companies who are using the Spring family of products.
Round Table Discussion – Rod Johnson, Rob Harrop, Dave Syer, Sam Brannen & Greg Southey
Your chance to ask Rod and his team anything that’s on your mind regarding Spring!
What you do if you weren’t doing your current job? While we all harbour dreams of running a magically profitable coffeeshop, working only 3 hours a day, what would you really do if you wanted a change of career?
If I wasn’t in IT , I’d be in Finance, on the basis of …
My original degree is in Business (with French). Somehow I got seduced into IT (you don’t hear that very often).
Both Finance and IT require their own set of knowledge and expertise. Once you’ve acquired that expertise, the work can be quite profitable, as not everybody can do it.
Both are quite strong employment areas within Ireland, with the IFSC being one of the easiest parts of Dublin to get to from Drogheda (think Trains).
Sadly (but very sanely), neither Finance nor IT is considered ‘sexy’. There again, you can’t have everything. They’re both quite hard to explain to your Mum – as far as she’s concerned , I work ‘in computers’. This is akin to lumping Salesmen , Mechanics, road sweepers and Michael Schumacher in a category ‘something to do with cars’.
However , this lead-in does explain the contents of the ‘what’s Paul Reading?’ list. All links are to Amazon. I’d recommend all the books with the exception of the last one – it was written by a newspaper journalist and the slightly jingoistic style reflects this.
I don’t slag people off on this blog. If I’m annoyed enough to talk about people in public, then I should at least talk to them privately first. Up until now, that’s been good enough to resolve most things.
So for Dolan and Company / CMR Accountants to get the honour of being critisied in public, they must have behaved pretty badly. Yes, they’re the ones located at the Steelworks in Foley Street Dublin (near Busaras, Connolly Train station). They’re now our Ex-Accountants, for reasons that will soon become clear.
Dolan and Co were our company accountants from Dec 03 until Mar 06. We’re not the biggest of companies. Our accounts could probably be done using Excel by somebody with a Leaving Certificate qualification. We prefer to subcontract rather than employ people, so that makes our accounts even easier.
So what have Dolan done to annoy us so much?
Overcharging. We had a set monthly fee for their services, paid by direct debit. Easy enough? Even if a mistake was made, it shouldn’t be too hard to sort out. Well no actually. During the last 15 months of our arrangement, I spent more time on the phone to Dolan / CMR about the fees than talking to them about the actual accounting service. While I wasn’t happy at the end, Dolan agreed to refund me a set figure in March last year and I moved to another accountants.
End of story, or so I thought. Not nice, but not enough reason to blog about it.
Ok, so how have they really annoyed you?
The basic reason to have an accountant is to file accounts with the Revenue Commisionars (Government Tax Department). These accounts / reports are (i) How much money you take as Salary from the business and (ii) How much VAT you owe the Government (based on your Sales).
Not surprisingly, the government takes a very dim view if you don’t file these accounts / reports on time. Fortunately , they’re easy enough, so long as you keep on top of them. For example, you can pay your Tax every month by Direct Debit. At the end of the year, you file a final report and pay any (small amount due).
Here’s the problem. For 2005 , Dolan / CMR set up a the Direct Debit but did not make the final report. This is despite assuring me that that the return had been made when we signed off the accounts at the end of the Year. (You know who you are). While I do not owe any tax (because we paid by DD monthly), the Revenue are entitled to fine me several thousand.
My new accountants say it will take them about 5 minutes to complete and post via the web (the ROS.ie website).
I will accept a large part of the blame for this – after all it is me , not the accountants, that they Revenue Commissionars will chase. But if you (a) are paying a professional service company to do work and (b) they tell you that this (basic) work has been carried out, would you not be annoyed to find out that it hadn’t?
I’ve left the comments section open for Dolan / CMR to reply if they see fit.
Thanks to Martin Boylan and Co (Drogheda) , our new Accountants, who are helping tidy up this mess.
Or to be more accurate ‘Google Spreadsheets mean the end of Java as we know it’.
Think about this. Who pays your wages Mr Java-Developer-who-has-just-had-a-couple-of-years-at-the-top-of-the-pile? Clients, or if you’re in a larger organisation , the business folks (i.e.’internal’ clients). Do you think any of them care about Java? Do any of them know what Java is? All they want is to get things done, quickly , and with as few mistakes as possible.
These business people would be happy to run their organisations on Spreadsheets. Do you remember the cartoon where Dilbert convinced the pointy haired boss that he could fly the plane using Excel? There’s more than a element of truth to this. I know of at least one US Fortune 100 company that (until recently) conducted most of it’s operations on little more than Microsoft Office and duct-tape. It worked, not very well, but it worked.
Until now , the next line would be ‘Excel (or any other type of Spreadsheet) is not secure / scalable / sharable / not web friendly’. That was until Google launched their Docs and Speadsheets. It’s an online version of Office with some spreadsheet functionality. Play with it a bit and you’ll see that there’s plenty missing. But this being Google , I’m willing to put good money on
(a) new features rolled out (think steamroller) and
(b) These Spreadsheets being massivly scalable / secure / sharable.
This being Google, there is also an API (developer page here). It’s got massive holes in it (e.g. you can’t yet use it to create a new spreadsheet). But when Microsoft bring out their version of online spreadsheets (and they will) not only will they clone the Google API (to get market share), they’ll need to go one further and introduce new features / remove the usage restrictions in order to compete.
So, secure, scalable, sharble online spreadsheets are here to stay. So lets take a look at Mr. (or Ms.) Pointy haired boss thinking about their new project:
Hmm, I think we need to be able to gather which health plans our employees are enrolled in.
OK, I’ll throw together a spreadsheet to show people what I want
Before I’ll give to our friendly Java developer and let him ‘do’ a website from it. Soon I’ll just share this on Google.
Great , Loads of people are now using it, I’ll just the (Ruby / PHP / Insert other language here) guy to add one or two extra features.
Most Excellent. Why don’t we spin this off as a Web 2 company and sell it to EBay??
There you have it, Massively scalable , Highly secure websites (see Google Authentication API), without needing to know anything about EJB, JMX , JBoss, JDBC or any of the hard won knowledge that us Enterprise Java Developers have built up over the last 7-8 years. I’m exaggerating, but not much.
What do you think? Is Enterprise Java dead, or is Web 2 just another boost and a slightly different way of doing things for us Java people?
Java is read once , run almost anywhere. The ‘Almost’ is because (for various technical reasons) the difficulty in getting reasonably priced web hosting. Have your tried getting some recently – impossible to find , or at least impossible to find at the prices PHP and Ruby guys can get theirs?
Imagine writing an ‘I owe you’ note that people would accept them for whatever you wanted – in pubs , as payment for your car , or even as a downpayment on a property in Dublin 4. In your dreams , imagine that people trusted you enough that they would then use your IOU’s in shops as payment. This is even better, as people now want more of your IOU’s, so you can write even more of them and get even more free stuff.
This is fantastic – you’ve got a massive free loan. Best of all many of these IOUs will get lost behind the sofa or eaten by the cat so you’ll never have to pay them back. Free money. The situation is not so absurd as it seems : The 50 Euro note in your pocket is an IOU from the Irish (and other European) governments. Technically we can reclaim payment, but what would be paid in?
What has sparked this ‘free money’ post is the news from the Financial times is that the Euro has edged out the US Dollar as the international IOU of choice. Given that the Irish Government is allowed to issue a fixed percentage of the Euro in circulation, the Irish Government now has even more money in it’s coffers ahead of the next election.
If you remember Applets, then you are so 1990′s man. Right back before the dot-com boom , everybody was putting these Java programs in their web pages to do things simple things like display a financial chart (guilty as charged , my ‘lud). Oracle still uses them in some versions of it’s applications as a half-way house between it’s older desktop applications and a completely web only solution.
Fast forward to 2006 and these ‘heavy’ applets have been replaced by light web pages using Ajax and Flash, which don’t require a user download to run. Pretty much anything a Java Applet can do can be done in Ajax (if you have enough time and patience). Ajax developers have been pretty inventive in using Flash to solve problems (e.g. allowing web pages to store information on your local PC), so it may only be a matter of time before this gets picked up.
On a recent client project, we ended writing more than 300 business rules to reflect some of the financial decision making that they applied to an application (excuse me if I’m being suitably vauge with this). Many of these rules would be shared across applications. The rules engine used was the Java based JBoss rules engine (formerly known as Drools).
Obviously , these rules need to be stored somewhere. Most large organisations are comfortable with the idea of using a Database such as Oracle or Sql-Server to carry out this task. This article , for version 2 of Drools but also applicable to the latest release, shows you how to use a database to store your business rules.
15 people turned up to talk about Java yesterday evening in the Forum Bar Dublin. Actually we talked about the World Cup (Ireland didn’t make it , but we had the choice of 6 other teams, including Jakub who was very selfish and had two!), Ruby (which is going to eat Java’s lunch in some areas), PHP, Naked Objects (write in Java, deploy in .Net), JavaKicks (a Digg like service, targetted at Java), .Net, Enterprise and Financial software, Spring , EJB 3.0, Apache, Blogging , Web 2.0 , Ajax , Service Orientated Architecture, Government Tenders, the Dublin Contract market and a little bit about Java.
Can’t make it along in person? We’re going to do a 2nd Java meetup, but in a ‘virtual pub’ for people who find it hard to get to Dublin. We’ll still carry on with the existing (face to face) meetups. As an extra, at 7.30pm the last Tuesday of the month we’ll have an open chat session (We’ll setup chat software on this or another website).
So, for 7.30pm on Tuesday 25th July I’ll be online. We’ll start with ‘What technologies should I be learning in the next 12 months?’ and let things develop from there.