What does Ruby on Rails Have to Offer a "Java Guy"?


I have been working as a "Java Guy" for roughly five years now. The majority of my work has been component / library development, and it has been enjoyable on the whole. However, I have also had a few unfortunate “Java web” development projects. These experiences have not been something I hope to repeat often. I am not going to re-describe the Java / J2EE deficiencies in the Web UI layer, but I will go over a few examples of how messy it can get and why Ruby on Rails makes me smile. :)

The Power of Portlets

I've been an advocate, user and sometimes promoter of the Plone CMS (an extensible content management system built on the Zope application server, using the Python scripting language) for quite some time. For me, Plone's most important feature is the ability to create Plone "products", which plug into the CMS. This allows the creation of a web portal that provides standard HTML CMS functions out-of-the-box, but can be extended to include almost any imaginable application. There's also a great versioning system built into Plone products that allows a CMS administrator to update a product right from the user interface. It also doesn't hurt that I chose Python as my main scripting language (sorry Ruby users/lovers/zealots, but Ruby was my dogs name ... I didn't want to get the two confused. Just kidding! I like Python's consistent and minimalistic syntax. Unlike PERL, there's generally only one right way to do it).

With many sites already running on Plone, I still haven't been able to justify using it for any major web application development projects. For these, we need industrial strength scalability, a more structured language and the support of a mature application server. Combined with the availability of a large pool of expert developers, Java and J2EE has always made the most sense. The problem with selecting Java for these projects was the lack of a framework that allowed the easy, modular development of the application. The adoption of JSR-168 Portlets by the Java community and its implementation by several major application server vendors has finally created an environment that promotes modular components on a Java driven web application.

Debian DPL Threatens to Leave SPI Over Sun Java

An anonymous reader writes "A three-week-long flame war in debian-devel over the new Java Distribution License has culminated in Anthony Towns, the newly elected Debian Project Lead, offering to separate Debian from its legal representative, SPI. This came as a response to SPI member John Goerzen's objections to the Debian project's interaction with Sun's legal team around the new JDL license without review from SPI's lawyers."

First Look: Google Web Toolkit

Portions of this entry were first published in the SitePoint Tech Times #139.

Have you written your own AJAX framework yet? It seems all the big boys are doing it. Microsoft is bringing us Atlas for ASP.NET, Yahoo!’s User Interface Library is open source, server agnostic and beautifully documented and Adobe is working on Spry, which is off to a shaky start in the web standards department. Do we really need another?

Google’s late-but-inevitable entry into this arena is certainly no copycat. The Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is nothing less than a completely original approach to web development that allows server-side Java developers to take their skills to the JavaScript domain… without having to write any JavaScript.

Learning Design Patterns – Iterator Pattern

This week I'll be stepping through the Iterator Pattern in my series on design patterns plucked from this book and from examples on the Internet.

What is it?
The Iterator Pattern encapsulates the functionality for stepping through a collection of items. The iterator object implements the stepping; the aggregate itself does not step through its own collection.

The pattern generally has a few of methods like first(), hasNext(), Next(), isDone() in some combination. In some programming languages it is possible to step through an iterator using a For Each item in Aggregate....<code>....Next type of construct.

Where is it used?
Anywhere there is a group of items. An array list is a common example; an iterator would step through the array items until the end of the collection was reached.

A look at Rails' Code Generation and Java

Bill Venners of Artima recently posted a look at how Rails' code generation compares with Java, and talks about Bruce Tate's recent DeveloperWorks article on the comparisons between Hibernate and ActiveRecord.

Learning Design Patterns – Template Method Pattern

This week I'll be examining the Template Method Pattern in my series on design patterns plucked from this book and from examples on the Internet.

What is it?
The Template Method Pattern lays out the steps in a process (algorithm) and allows subclasses to handle one or more of the steps internally. The pattern has a method that just contains a list of method calls to complete the process (create something, package it, sort it, deliver) that can not be overriden or augmented. Some of the process methods may be handled by the pattern (create something and deliver), while it makes the subclasses handle the others (sort it, package it).

Man, this ISV thing is tough

Well! I am proud to announce that progress is being made, and soon we'll be unveiling my new company, Chubby Game Studios. I'm using the ol' "Don't quit yer day job" strategy for this foray; I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
We don't have a production game yet, and in fact the website isn't ready to go, but I just had to announce the name of the company as it was a major undertaking just to settle on one out of many candidates. The selection was made easier by the dearth of available domain names that are even in the same solar system as your company name. Sheesh! As if cybersquatters weren't bad enough, what's up with all the lamers taking perfectly good domain names (think ${foo} and putting some piece 'o crap blog on it? And updating it every eight months. Arrrrgh. "Here's pictures of my cat." "Duhhh, Google is overrated gwaaaaah..."

Yeah, I'm two weeks into this, and I already know both why people start their own businesses and why they do not. Oh, there's the thrill, and the satisfaction that comes from making something (something that works, anyway). And sometimes it's just fun to make decisions.

Then again, sleep is kinda nice. Think I'll go get some here within the next... twenty hours or so.

Oh, almost forgot... can anyone recommend a jsp webhost?

Learning Design Patterns – Facade Pattern

This week I'll be simplifying my life with the Facade Pattern in my series on design patterns plucked from this book and from examples on the Internet.

What is it?
The Facade Pattern simplifies a complex interface so that it's client can rely on simple methods in the facade that handle multi-step calls to subclasses. The client might call facade.PowerUp, then the facade would turn on all of the subcomponents in the correct order and adjust their initial properties.

Learning Design Patterns – Adapter Pattern

This week I'll be switching over to the Adapter Pattern in my series on design patterns plucked from this book and from examples on the Internet.

What is it?
I remember when I was about 6 I was helping Dad replace a section of board-fence with chain-link fencing (by helping, I mean I was standing there picking my nose and asking him inane questions). He had taken the old fence out, which left three round holes in the ground where the fence posts were. Maybe to quiet me, or maybe just because he enjoys being ornery, he asked if I could explain how those square fence posts had fit into the round holes we were staring at. That question stumped me for years (I blame that on all the lead buckshot I ingested from the pheasants Dad hunted), but now I see that the Adapter Pattern is the answer (or not, but it makes a good story, right!?)