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Too often I hear people talk about adding AJAX-enabled fancy UI elements to their website or web application to make it more “Web 2.0″ style. While many Web 2.0 applications do include these elements of AJAX,  gradients,  and glossy style, those features are not what characterizes them as Web 2.0 applications.   Web 2.0 is about the culture of participation.  Web 2.0 is about the Internet as a platform.   A typical Web 2.0 site becomes more interesting and valuable as it’s community of users grow.  Web 2.0 puts the user and the content they contribute as the primary actors in most of it’s use cases.  A Web 2.0 site makes it’s data available to be mashed into new applications. Let’s consider an example.  Imagine that you own a website that presents information about baseball to users. You may hear advice that you should make your site more Web 2.0. That person migh... (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 (http://java.sys-con.com/read/136518.htm) 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)

One Approach to Enterprise Adobe Flex Development

During the last several years our company, Farata Systems have architected and developed a number of Flex projects ranging from creating widgets for startups to large applications having two hundred views. Some projects were created from scratch, and we had a luxury to do it our way. In some cases we had to pick up the code left by other developers. Three years ago Adobe Flex has been completely revamped (I’m referring to Flex 2) and nobody knew about it. But today, the word Flex doesn’t make Java developers angry any longer. Java/Flex projects are considered business as usual. Many enterprise Java developers went through Flex training and are ready to roll up their sleeves… After spending 10+ years with Java I can easily put myself in the state of mind of Java developers - they often start with selecting the right framework. As a matter of fact, our perspective cus... (more)

Google OS - A Cynical View

If you didn’t hear that Google has announced that in 2010 consumers will have a chance to enjoy new Chrome-based OS, stop reading and do you homework first. Done? Now we can move on, and let’s do it by the rules – positive things first, then some bile followed by a happy end. I really like Google. They produce easy to use applications that work great. I use their search engine about a hundred times a day. Their applications make sense. Nine months ago they released a Web browser called Chrome, and I liked it. Back than I suggested that in a year Chrome will bite off a decent chunk of the Web browser's market. (see  http://yakovfain.javadevelopersjournal.com/i_like_google_chrome.htm). I was wrong. They’ve bitten a really small piece of the browser’s pie. For lots of companies 3% of any market would be like money from home, but for Google it’s a failure. Now they sa... (more)

i-Technology Opinion: Outsourcing...to 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)

What CIOs Should Know About Outsourcing Enterprise Java

Your manager Frank started the meeting by saying that the budget for the new project had been approved, but half of the project will be outsourced to a great team from overseas. Can you imagine, their rates for Java programmers can go as low as $15 an hour! No, we're not losing anyone from our team, and you should take it as an opportunity to work as team leaders, helping our new partners to hit the ground running. No, this wasn't my decision; it came from above. Three Months Later Mary. I've asked them to add two fields to a JTable on the Invoice screen. The data are being retrieved from our database so they'd need to modify an SQL query as well. I've sent them this e-mail yesterday, but it was night time over there, so they've responded today asking me to send them the modified SQL and write the name of the Java class and method where this new code should reside. ... (more)

Mentality Shift: from a RAD tool to Java and back

Mentality of programmers depends on a  programming language or tool they use. Should they even try to learn what's under the hood in a particular framework? Ten years ago I've been programming in PowerBuilder. This is a RAD tool and it does a LOT for you automatically. Creating a simple CRUD application there is a matter of one day (hello from the 90th, RoR). Anyway, I did not care HOW PowerBuilder did it under the hood. Then I switched to Java and started to spend all time programming this "under the hood stuff".  I've learned how to MANUALLY program servlets, JSP, EJB, et al. Last year, I was working on a project that was using WebLogic's Workshop 8.1 (not a good tool), which was also providing a lot of auto-generated functionality. But after so many years of writing everything manually, it gave me an uneasy feeling: the tool was instantiating some objects (if I r... (more)

PowerBuilder, Java, Flex, Agile Programming

From Farata Systems blog Ten years ago I've been doing PowerBuilder and my mentality was different: first, I was the best friend of business users, and second I did not really worry about what's under the hood. I could do stuff quickly, or using the modern jargon, I was an agile programmer without even knowing this (on the same note, lots of people were creating Ajax applications five years ago without knowing this, but it's off topic). I'd ask the business user Joe, "How do you usually do your business, what would you like to have on this screen, what step do you do after this step?" Most likely Joe did not really know, but I'd still give him a wide American smile: "No problem, I'll come back tomorrow and will show you something". Mary, yes you, "What's the most important word in my last sentence?" No, Mary, not "I'll come back", but TOMORROW. Not next week, not ... (more)

Why People Like Open Source Software

I like quotes by great minds. Here's my favorite quote by Henry Ford: If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right. Some of these chapters of our upcoming O'Reilly book "Enterprise Development with Flex" had opening software-related quotes.  Our editor suggested that for consistency,  it should be done in every chapter, which makes sense. Chapter 6 of the book is titled "Open Source Networking Solutions", which begs for a specific quote on  open source software, but I'm not aware of any pundit who said something short and catchy in this field. Hence I decided that I might as well come up with a quote myself. In less than three minutes I gave birth to this one: 99% of the people who reject using the software until it gets open sourced, neither plan nor will look at its source code. If you know of any better  on open source software, please ... (more)

The End of Three-Teared Architectures

Dan directed my attention to an interesting article recently, “Are 3-tier web architecture models too rigid?” in which the author postulates  that “maybe it is time to finally break out of  the old 3-tier web architecture box and retire the concept…” In addition to a great mention of F5 and an “application delivery tier” in web architecture models (the concept of which deserves its very own blog post), the author inadvertently, I think, brings to the fore one of the reasons SOA might have failed to dominate the world: service inequality. Most web service managers and architects I talk to describe their architecture as a "3-tier" model, meaning they have a web server tier, and appserver tier, and a database tier.  However most such architectures in fact turn out to be much more complicated with ESB components and other connectors, access control services, mulitple la... (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)