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Joel Spolsky doesn't need my help in defending himself. But since he's my favorite blogger and a person I highly respect, I feel obligated to speak up. Mr. Curt Monash has written an article implying that Joel overestimates his importance while not achieving that much since he was able to grow his company to "only" 25 people. Mr Monash wrote this article based on the wrong assumption that the number of employees is an indicator of the success of the founders of the company. Joel's company has about 25 employees, which is the border number when the company remains agile, manageable and doesn't require an overhead in the form of mid-tier management. Besides, every founder of a company has his/her goals and priorities that may include (surprise, surprise!) having some spare time for a personal life too. I have no doubt that if Joel ever decided to open a consulting arm a... (more)

How to attend Adobe MAX conference for cheap

Three years ago, I was calculating the cost of attending JavaOne conference: Thanks to crisis had, the conferences got cheaper, but still are not affordable for many software developers. I’d like to offer you a legal way to get more than 80% off the registration price at Adobe MAX that will take place next week in Los Angeles. But you have to move fast! It’s easy: 1. Today: enroll into a cheapest class in your local community college to get a student ID. 2. Tomorrow: register for Adobe Max for $199 at the following Web page: 3. Sunday: arrive to LA. 4. Find me at the conference (I’m nice looking and friendly guy wearing black T-Shirt with white letters FARATA) and say, “Thank you, Yakov for saving me about $1200!” You can easily find me at 12:30PM on Monday at the Community Pavilion where I... (more)

What Makes a Web Application Enterprisey?

We’re starting to writing a book for O’Reilly that’s titled “Enterprise Web Applications: From Desktop to Mobile.” The book will be available under the Creative Commons license, which means you can read it and provide your feedback from the get go. Here’s the github repository where we’ll keep the current version of the book. In the morning we had a discussion about the meaning of the word Enterprise applied to Web applications. Below is the draft we came up with and we ask your input – would you agree or have a different understanding of the meaning of the term “Enterprise Web Application”. The easiest way to do this is by example. Creating a Web application that will place process orders is not the same as creating a Web site to publish blogs. Enterprise applications, including company-specific workflows, might need to be integrated with a number of internal syst... (more)

Hangover Thoughts About the Web and AJAX

Yesterday, we celebrated the birthday of my employee Alex in a fancy Russian restaurant. If you haven't tried it, go there - once. The party started late, and I've never seen such a variety of food on the table at the same time (they call this setup "bratskaya mogila," which means "mass grave"). After five shots of straight vodka, we enjoyed a Broadway-type show, and then more drinks and food. Anyway, this morning the last thing I wanted to do was drive to my gas station. Last time I selected a Java Web application framework ( and for a second, I regretted that I hadn't implement a Web application. If I had, I could have opened a Web browser and checked on the business without leaving home. At the moment, I was pretty sure there were only two types of users that could appreciate Web applications: Sober people who want to buy... (more)

Klee Associates, Inc. Launches New Blog on

Klee Associates, a SAP training and education provider, has announced the launch of a new blog dedicated to SAP training and education. The new blog, titled SAP Training: Taming the Beast, will serve as an ideal setting for SAP users to obtain free information and education on SAP's ERP software packages. The blog will offer frequent discussions on all aspects of SAP training and education, SAP best practices, SAP certification, SAP configuration, SAP how to instructions, SAP integration, and SAP implementations. Jocelyn Hayes, Klee Associates' resident SAP expert, will provide educational discussion and information on SAP software and provide visitors with excerpts from ERPtips' SAP training manuals. Accompanying her as a fellow blog author is Andy Klee, founder of Klee Associates, who will offer interviews with SAP training experts, his views on ERP training, and... (more)

i-Technology Opinion: Students

JDJ Editorial Board member Yakov Fain writes: One of my resolutions this year is to start teaching part-time Java-related classes in some college. That's why I started browsing the computer science course lists that are being offered this year. While graduate-level programs offer many interesting courses, the situation is different in the undergrad world. Some schools keep teaching how to multiply matrices in Ada or work with algebraic expressions in Prolog. Half of the courses are preparing professionals who will be operating on another planet. Information systems programs look a little more down to earth. Meanwhile, many college graduates are having a hard time finding their first jobs because many entry-level programmers jobs are being outsourced overseas, and it'll stay this way as long as it makes financial sense for businesses. Unfortunately, student loans ha... (more)

Microsoft Is Not Dead, It Just Has A Flu

From Yakov Fain's Blog One of my favorite bloggers, Paul Graham, has published an essay called “Microsoft Is Dead.” He starts, “A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead”, and then explains why he thinks so. Obviously, Microsoft circa 2007 is not the same as 10-15 years ago. It’s weaker now, but it’s far from being dead.  I’m not a Microsoft developer, but during the last twenty years I use their products daily – Windows OS, MS Word, MS Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio.  Last month, I’ve attended a very interesting technology summit for a small non-Microsoft crowd at Redmond, WA. I’ve posted a number of more or less technical blogs with my notes from this event, but this time I’d like to explain my vision of this software giant as a respond to Paul’s blog. About fifteen years ago, Microso... (more)

Hackers Are Cowards

Yakov Fain's Blog Last month, Estonia dismantled the monument to a Soviet soldier-liberator. Russia plays an offended party saying that they liberated tiny Estonia from German Nazis-invaders. The problem is that Estonia believes that Russia is also an invader that that forced them to be one of the republics of the USSR.  Virgin Putin condemns this act. The mayor of Moscow, Saint Luzhkov demands the boycott of Estonia.  Somehow they’ve forgotten that monument removal in Russia itself became as simple as taking a leak. After destroying thousands of churches, they turned around and rebuilt them and removed thousands of monuments to their own leaders. But this does not bother me as much as the news that Russian hackers commited 128 cyber attacks against Estonia government Web sites, banking, and other computer systems. I’m sure that Russian population supports... (more)

Is it the Time to Follow Twitter and Learn Scala?

The Register has published an article about Twitter considering moving the mission critical portion of its code from Ruby on Rails to Scala. This sounded logical to me, even though the article has been dated by April first. But then Artima has confirmed the news a couple of days later. As usual, the bad part of me goes, "Told, ya!" as people who read my posts knows that I was never a fan of RoR. I really respect DHH and his followers for doing exceptional job in exciting so many software developers with Ruby and RoR. But when these boring men with cash (BMW$) come into play, things change. The problem is that BMW$ don't get excited that easily. Their low-IQ brains go like this, "I may invest $X into this startup, and on exit in five years (IPO or takeover), it should bring me $Y".  They always had problems with math, and the only formula they've managed to learn was t... (more)

Interviewing Java Developers With Tears in My Eyes

During the last week I had to interview five developers for a position that required the following skills: Flex, Java, Spring, and Hibernate.  Most of these guys had demonstrated the 3 out of 10 level of Flex skills even though each of them claimed a practical experience on at least two projects. But this didn’t surprise me – Flex is still pretty new and there is only a small number of developers on the market who can really get Flex things done. What surprised me the most is a low level of Java skills of most of these people. They have 5-8 years of Java EE projects behind their belts, but they were not Java developers. They were species that I can call Robot-Configurator.  Each of them knew how to configure XML files for Spring, they knew how to hook up Spring and Hibernate and how to map a Java class to a database entity. Some of them even knew how to configure laz... (more)

Dealing with Open Source Software

In the first article of this series (see, I "bought" a gas station with a convenience store and a repair shop and started to think about automating this small business using various Java technologies. This time, I'm getting a crash course on open source software. Mentality Shift The most surprising thing is how quickly my programming preferences have changed after I left the corporate world and started working at my gas station. I used to easily recommend expensive software tools, application servers, RAID devices, grid servers, and fiber optic connectors. Need scalability? No problem. We'll create a cluster of two 8-CPU application servers. Let's allocate another $100K for the server licenses for our development, UAT, and contingency environments... But now I'm buying coffee beans in bulk quantities for my convenience store... (more)