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)

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What's better than a blog for getting more visitors to your site? A Wiki

Regular readers know that there are three parts to this site:

  • The blog (the part you are now reading) – aimed at business people with a passing interest in technology.
  • A wiki (more later) – undiluted techiness, and a scratchpad for various projects in progress.
  • The ‘corporate‘ site – the usual ‘happy people in front of PC site’, with standard ‘about us’ , ‘contact us’ and ‘what we do sections’. This is the part that thankfully, Eoghan is working to update.

If you don’t know already, a wiki is an easy to update website that almost anybody can edit. The most famous is Wikipedia, we use the same software , Mediawiki, on our site. It’s good / free /open software, and if you’re able to setup a blog , you should be able to get this working with little of no problems.

Looking at the stats for the last 18 months , I’ve noticed the following:

  • At the moment , traphic to these is split roughly 60-30-10 (should keep all you MBA types out there happy). 60% goes to the blog, 30% to the wiki and 10% to the corporate site.
  • Visitors to each section are looking for very different things – people tend to hit the blog via cross posting and general search terms (e.g. Java Dublin). People come to the wiki looking for very specific terms (e.g. Apache Lucene Exception). People come to the ‘corporate’ site, either after personal contact, or reading my CV from other channels.
  • The writing styles in each are very different. The wiki gets updated most , but is often a series of technical notes in various stages of completion. The blog is updated (on average) 2-3 times a week , with more composed items. The corporate site get’s updated roughly every 3-6 months and has a much ‘dryer’ official style.

All of which brings us back to why a wiki is even better than a blog for getting people to your site.

  1. The current wiki has only been working 7 months (since our last web hosts big crash) and already (without any serious promotion) is getting half as many hits as the (heavily promoted) blog. This is before we get into implementing Richard’s Search Engine Optimisation tips. From previous experierence, I would expect to get 4 times as many hits without too much effort.
  2. Wiki’s are updated even more often then blogs. Google loves frequent updates. Therefore wiki’s are even better than blogs for SEO.

Build your Web2 site quicker – Free Ruby Book

Ruby has a lot of buzz around it. The idiots version of what Ruby is:

  • It’s a programming language (like Java) that allows you to tell computers what to do.
  • Used with the Rails framework , it allows you to churn out your latest Web 2 site faster than you can pitch it to your friendly VC.

InfoQ has a good link to a Free Ruby Book that has just become available. The author of the book (Jeremy) blogs here.

Free Ruby Book Link

We have two main reasons why we’re interested in Ruby:

  1. Java is great for scalable , Enterprise systems used by thousands of people. Sometimes we just want something quick and dirty to try out an idea.
  2. If your idea proves successful , you want a migration path (i.e. not to have to throw away all your original work). Ruby gives you this as the way it is organised means it is less likely to fall into a heap (Object Orientated)
  3. So Why not PHP (the way this blog, using wordpress, is built)?  Ruby has a companion tool called JRuby. This means that you can run Ruby code anywhere you can use Java. Anything that Java can do , Ruby can do as well.

We’re also going down the free book route on Enterprise Web 2.0. Only it’s taking us a lot longer to get there. Currently the problem is a techie version of writers block.

I'm not used to this from a hosting company

I’m in shock. I don’t normally get this kind of treatment from a hosting company.

Normal Version (for more see this post)

  1. Try something vaugely technical and fail
  2. Post support ticket on website
  3. Have support ticket ignored
  4. Post another support ticket , have it ignored
  5. Have credit card billed for hosting
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until hosting company dies (it actually happened).

Java and Linux VPS Hosting by RimuHosting

New Version

  1. Try to upgrade to PHP5 (latest version of the language the website is written in)
  2. Find good script on support section of hosting company website
  3. Script fails near end (these things happen), raise support ticket.
  4. Get response within 6 hours (hmm , that’s strangely fast!).
  5. Shock! Not only have the updated the script, but they’ve actually gone and performed the upgrade for me , saving me about 2 hours work.
  6. Still not believing 5 , I double check the upgrade , and yes, they’ve actually done it!

Now , if only they could do something about the name (I’ve lived in New Zealand , so I know Rimu is actually a type of tree, but a lot people just think it’s rude!).

Sxore is the spawn of the Devil

Alternative title: if you left a post in recent weeks, and it hasn’t appeared, I’m sorry.

Sxore Logo

(don’t click on the link. It will only make it worse).
I dabbled with Sxore a while back for this site. At first it was great, users didn’t have to login to leave comments. Then , for some reason, sxore stopped letting me login, and didn’t have a ‘lost your password?’ link to save the day. Hundreds of insightful / witty / cutting comments got lost in the ether.

I bit the bullet and turned it off. The problem being that my ‘last known good’ version of this blog had sxore as part of the backup. So , every time I restored the website (you’re looking at version number 3), sxore came back again.

So , if you left a comment and it’s not here, I’m sorry. It only makes me feel slightly less bad that Conor from Argolon (the Sxore dealing merchant that he is 🙂 has turned it off as well.

JRuby – Web 2.0 in the Enterprise Java world

On a recent project , the choice was between Enterprise Java (using frameworks such as DWR and Struts) , or Oracle Forms. The newest latest Java technology , versus a 15 year old technology that Oracle is comitted to phasing out (and moving to ADF / Oracle fusion). No contest , you think , until you hear that the decision was made (and rightly so) to us Oracle Forms.

‘What?!’ I hear you say – how could this happen? The project in question was fairly simple – get information and store it in a database. The problem is , despite being mainstream for the last 6 years, there is no standard, easy ‘drag and drop’ method of doing these applications in Java. C# does it in Visual Studio. Oracle does it with Forms. With Java (and despite having doing 10 or so of these projects), there is still too much plumbing that the developer needs to know.

I’m expecting a deluge of ‘have you tried project X’ on this post. And yes, I expect that an Eclipse based tool will probably fill the gap. But for these simple applications , there is no standard way of doing this (standard being a solution that dominates the market in the way Struts did the Web App framework space, until recently). But we’ve been waiting 6 long years!

ruby on rails logo

All of which brings me to Ruby. Ruby on Rails’ sweet spot is exactly these kind of simple, ajax enabled , no frills ‘get info from web and store it on database’ applications. Enterprise Java’s sweet spot is the heavy lifting workflow , Rules , Calculations, Integration with Legacy and other systems , web services and basically anything to do with Business logic. The two are a perfect complement to each other, which is why the news that JRuby now runs Ruby on Rails is especially interesting.

JRuby is a version of Ruby that runs in the Standard Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It means that (1) You don’t have to install Ruby, which might meet resistance in a corporate environment. It also means (2) that all the methods you have available in Java you have available in Ruby. The O’Reilly Ruby site and this Javaworld Article are good places to start learning more about Ruby and linking it into Java.