Monday, December 18, 2006

Jave EE 5 SDK includes beta JSR168 container

Java EE 5 SDK Update is out. The thing that interested me was the inclusion of a beta version of the JSR168 portlet container. Interestingly, IBM WebSphere Application Server 6.1 also includes a JSR168 portlet container.

So what does a Portal give me and what does a Portlet container ?

A portlet container runs portlets and provides them with a runtime environment. The runtime environment manages the portlets lifecycle and persistent data for the portlets preferences. JSR168 is the portlet specification, if you write portlets to this specification you can use them on any portal server that supports the JSR168 specification.

A portal is a web application and provides a presentation layer, security, personalisation and aggregation from different sources. The way in which this functionality is implemented varies from vendor to vendor.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Book:Agile Java Development

I've just finished reading the book Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse. I wasn't looking, but there it was in the book shop. I keep hearing good things about spring and hibernate. That together with Agile and Eclipse and it just about hits all of the areas that I'm curious about, so I bought the book.

The books takes you through a small project to create a timesheet application from requirements to finished product using the Agile methods. The author also described other necessary parts of the development process not just Agile, Spring and Hibernate. He covered UML, and setting up ANT and JUNIT. He also includes his personal opinions on things like "Why Agile Modelling and Extreme Programming?". I was very please to see that he thought setting up code directory structure, ant and junit upfront was vital to a projects success. All of which resonates with my own personal opinion that this builds the foundations for a smoother project.

The reasons for my interest in Spring and Hibernate, stems from my Domino and Notes roots. One of the important areas that keeps Notes and Domino in demand is that it has an easy to use database implementation and easy to program environment. Historically, in J2EE projects storing of data somewhere has been the area that required lots of effort. As a result there has been a proliferation of persistence frameworks, such as Hibernate, Ibatis, JDO and Toplink that have been designed and written to simply J2EE persistence. The other area is the general MVC framework for web application development. Spring is one of the leading (or most talked about) modular frameworks for web application development, which includes a flexible MVC web application framework, AOP, JDBC abstraction layer and integration with Hibernate, Ibatis, JDO and Toplink.

I've used Struts and Ibatis in other projects and they are not exactly easy to use and so I was keen to read about spring and hibernate. It seems that everyday J2EE is becoming easier and quicker. The net impact is these frameworks, which speed up development, have the potential to make J2EE applications another option for projects where Domino has been traditionally chosen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

WebSphere Sales Professional 2006

I had a spare few moments in the office and thought I would have a go at the test. First attempt - failed, Second attempt 100%. So now I know the difference in how to pitch the benefits of Websphere MQ versus Websphere ESB.

I'm not entirely convinced of the value of the test. All it really proves is that you can memorise a few key messages from a 40+ page presentation. The Lotus test was a little harder IMHO as there were more material to remember. However, as with most things the devil is in the detail.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lotus Solution Sales Professional 2006

I always wondered when keeping up with IBM/Lotus software strategies would be useful. Today I found out. I had to sit the Lotus Solutions Sales Professional Test. I passed - 76%. Even when I was in the depths of the J2EE world I always kept up with the latest release and acquisitions by visiting developerworks, Ed Brill and all the other notable bloggers. Mostly this was to understand what technical skills I should think about developing.

Now my boss wants me to sit the Websphere Solution Sales test...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Virtual ANT and a new Portal 6.0 Redpiece

Via A new tool for visually creating and maintaining ANT scripts.

Virtual ANT

There is also a new redpiece available Best Practices for Migrating to IBM WebSphere Portal 6

Friday, November 24, 2006

Interface Matters

There has been some criticism of web interfaces produced by domino developers. There is a perception that the majority of domino web interfaces (and Notes) have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch. From time to time I come across some very poor examples of (shock horror) other environments that have less than beautiful interfaces. I came across one today. Its a paid-for-out-of-the-box web application, in a trial phase, so the web app must be relatively new.

It's not a reason give up and produce poor interfaces, its just that Domino web apps and Notes apps do not have a monopoly on bad user interfaces.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I was so energized by the Ed Brill presentation, that I decided that it was time for me to get involved in the Lotus community and start a professional blog, rather than the one I've been using to keep family and friends up-to-date.

I couldn't decide what should be the first post. I thought that perhaps an introduction would be good. I'm really not that interesting, so here is a little about me in bullet points.

  • Left University with Degree in Computer Science.
  • Started working for Lotus UK on the Help Desk, supporting Notes v2.1, cc:Mail and Organiser.
  • Left Lotus and started working at a UK start up for a large US Lotus Business Partner.
  • Left the Business Partner to start contracting.
  • Started contracting for Lotus Consulting UK.
  • Decided to have a quick look at what Sydney, Australia had to offer.
  • Started on Contract with Lotus Consulting in Australia, which then became/merged with IBM Software Group Services.
  • Got married.
  • Left IBM to working in a finance organisation.
  • Had two children and became an Aussie.
  • Left the finance organisation and started working for a large Australian IBM business partner.

So far during my career, I've built solutions for clients using Lotus Notes/Domino and related products (Quickplace, Domino.doc, Workflow..even ViP for those that remember). In the last couple of years I've been more involved with the Java/J2EE world which I find interesting. So far I've been using IBM products such as WAS, Portal and Rational Application Developer - but have been keeping my eye on the open source products.

I've also become interested in the Project Management discipline and recently been deemed competent to be certified as a Registered Project Manager (RPM) with the Australian Institute of Project Management.

However, I'm still a techie at heart....

...and if you are wondering, the quick look at Australia became a little more permanent.