Mr Spring, Rod Johnson, Speaking in Dublin March 11th

I’ve been lucky enough to have been using Spring for just over 4 years. If you don’t know what Spring is, it solves a lot of problems in complex Enterprise Java Systems. And it makes those systems more configurable; Spring makes your code like Lego blocks. Blocks that you can take apart and use again and again (no matter what the underlying technology is). And because you can take it apart, it makes your code easier to test. And testing is a good thing – the earlier you find bugs , the cheaper they are to fix.


Get the feeling that I’m a bit of a Spring fanatic? Wasn’t always that way. It took me two projects where other people had choosen Spring to convince me. And did I mention that it’s one of the most in demand skills in the Java world?

Rod Johnson (aka ‘Mr Spring’) is speaking in Dublin at the Westin hotel Dublin on the 11st March. It’s fairly central, and it’s a breakfast briefing, so you don’t even to have to arrange the day off work. More details on the event are on the Kainos Website.

Update: The registration form to sign up for the event is here.

OpenIsland – showing free software means business – Belfast

If you’re interested in Open Software, and you’re around Belfast next Friday (Feb 1st) , you could do worse than go to this OpenIsland– it’s in Spires, opposite Jury’s Inn , right next to the Europa Bus Station (i.e. it’s pretty easy to get to).

Open Island Logo

Title: OpenIsland – All-Island Conference on Free and Open Source Software

Location: Spires Conference Centre, Belfast

Time: All-day Date: 1st February, 2008

Cost: Free Web:

The event will include talks from Bruce Perens, author of the Open Source Definition, and a senior speaker from Sun Microsystems, as well as a number of local case studies. Please note that the website says that the closing date for registration is 24th January, but if people wish to attend they can still do so by sending an email to Registrants should include the following information: Name, Company, Job Title, Email, Special Dietary Requirements

Sugar CRM lands in Dublin (Irish Times Jobs)

We’re big fans of Sugar CRM, and have recommended it to clients in the past. It does Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – basically the numbers you have in your mobile, but at a corporate rather than an individual level. We proposed integrating it with a (Java Based) billing system – we didn’t want to have to build (yet another) contact management system, as the value add was integration. Getting PHP (the web scripting language that Sugar is written in) to work with Java is getting easier but not straightforward. But hey, that’s what we do.

Sugar CRM Logo

So it in Friday’s Irish Times Business section (main part), I was surprised to see Sugar advertising for people for their Dublin European HQ (I obviously missed this press release back in March announcing the opening). The ad in the main part says ‘look at page 19 of the jobs section’. Page 19 exists, but no Sugar CRM ad. Strange.

Michele (him of Blacknight) talks a lot about Sugar CRM, from the hosting point of view.

Update: Link to the Sugar CRM Careers page (includes CRM Jobs in Dublin)

How long could you go without Microsoft Office?

I’ve recently got a new laptop (more on that in another post) and have to install the usual selection of software to get productive with it.

As an experiment / not having enough time I’ve decided to go without installing Microsoft Office. I do , however have the excellent (and free) OpenOffice installed, and use Google Documents and Spreadsheets on a regular basis.

Why would I do this?

  • It’s not about the money (as I have a copy of the Office disks paid for).
  • It’s not about the money (2) as I’ll also happily pay for something that gives me value over the free version (e.g. my subscription to LinkedIn).
  • It’s not really about getting locked into one supplier who can manipulate me at will (see the Microsoft Word 2007 File Format Conversion post) however annoying that may be.

No, it’s more about the features; with OpenOffice, I can save Word documents as a PDF , which (in my option) looks far more professional when sending to a (prospective) client.

Another reason is that as an (IT) consultant, I tend to ‘deploy’ on client sites on a regular basis, often with a bare machine to start with. Open software means that I have a ‘toolbox’ I can use to get up and running quickly , no fuss needed to raise purchase orders to buy software.

OS as alternative Logo

If you’re interested in this approach, the Open Source Alternative site is worth checking out. It’s not dogmatic; in fact it’s pretty even handed, listing commercial and open software for pretty much everything that you might need to do with a PC or Mac (business ,communications, graphics, security etc). That’s on top of the alternatives to Word, Excel , Powerpoint and Outlook.

It’s all about choice. Some are better , some or worse ; It’s up to you to decide which one works best for you. You’re a mug if you don’t know what the choice is.

Update 26th August: I lasted just over two weeks without installing Microsoft Office. Nothing bad with Open Office, just Microsoft playing around with Office 2007 file format. I have an important client that sent me something in Word 2007. The sort of client that I can’t (yet) ask to save in a different format and resend. Open Office does not (yet) open Office 2007 files, so I had to drop back to the Microsoft version (and install some filters) to be able to read it.

Dear Open Source Santa,

Dear Open Source Santa,

Now that you have Java in your open source toy bag, can I have Duck Typing please ? It shouldn’t be too hard to do, since the elves in Ruby-Wonder-Land have been making toys with Duck Typing for years. I’ve been a good boy all year and promise to play nicely with the .Net kids next door.

You don’t know what Duck Typing is? Sorry, I forgot that you’re more than 1000 years old. Little Jamie next door got Ruby last year and he says that ‘if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck , then it is a duck’. He says making the computer do more work makes it a lot easier to write programs.

My Teacher says not to be greedy, and that you’re very busy making Toy Trains. She says just ask for getters and setters. You know, the boring code like ‘getSomeValue()’ and setSomeValue(). She says the Apache imps have been very good with Dynaforms but that writing a Java web application is still just too slow.

Rudolph will tell you that writing get(“someValue”) is about as cool as having a bright red nose. He would also want to put ‘someValue’ in one place only (the web page). Having to write config files and javabeans feels too much like homework.

Santa, I know there are other children that need changes to the core Java code more than I do, so maybe you know of an open source project that already has this.


P.S. :I still want to keep compile time type checking to make sure I don’t make any mistakes.

Two posts about Oracle in One Day?

Two posts about Oracle in One Day? Must be going mad.

Sql Developer Logo

I’m using Oracle Sql Developer (formerly Raptor). It’s a nice little tool to view information on an Oracle Database (and much better than Sql Plus, which was a throwback to the 1970’s). Maybe it doesn’t have all the power of Toad or Sql Navigator, but that doesn’t matter , it’s free , can run anywhere (it’s Java based) and does most of what you need.

The reason for the post? Opened it up today, and found that it has an auto-update feature (a la Eclipse). It now has support for Oracle Reports , Oracle Data mining as well as a nifty Sql formatter. It will be interesting how Quest software responds to this!

The main reason for using Sql Developer as a Java person is that allows you to test your connections; simple copy and paste your JDBC Url from your Java application, and hit the ‘test’ button. No longer do you have to pull your hair out as to why your lovely ajax web application no longer works , only to find somebody has changed the DB username and password!