Thursday, August 31, 2006

Some good data grid JSP tag libraries

The best one (also best documented one) is http://extremecomponents.org/. I am yet to try it out though but it seems quite flexible and has recently integrated with DWR (http://getahead.ltd.uk/dwr) to provide AJAX support for the data grid. The data grid can include form components. Another good data grid enabling JSP tag library is the display tag library (http://displaytag.sourceforge.net/). I recently also experimented with the live grid example of openrico but due to its insufficient documentation i found it too time consuming to work with (http://openrico.org/rico/livegrid.page). For my project purposes, i settled with the extremecomponents data grid as it seemed atleast as flexible as others and was better documented.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Learning BPEL

After having passed the SCDJWS certification i was a bit confused as to what next to learn to gain more mileage with Webservices. For sometime i simply kept idlying my time at the javaranch.com webservices forum trying to answer some questions and keeping in touch and testing the depth of my knowledge on webservices. Well that process still continues but in the meanwhile i got to know about BPEL for WS orchestration and it got me interested. I found only one book which addressed only BPEL and not the whole paraphernalia of webservices which i had already learned/read in the course of getting certified. This was the book Business Process Execution Language for Webservices 2nd Edition by Matjaz Juric et al. Also i found this article from Sun quite informative.

I have today got the book and will update this post with a review of how i find it. Java ranch has a review on this book too and my first impression is - it covers exactly as much as i would want to read on BPEL to get my hands dirty. It covers both theory for BPEL 1.1 and practicals of how to develop using a BPEL engine - Oracle Business Process Manager 10.1.2. Though it also addresses the practical aspects of another BPEL engine from Microsoft - the BizTalk Server 2004 in the chapter 7 (the last chapter). Book starts with an overview of SOA and BPEL and an overview of competitors of BPEL. It also introduces the different WS-* standards which BPEL standard builds on. Then it delves into BPEL theory for the next 2 chapters. Then it covers the practicals of developing using Oracle BPM and JDeveloper 10g + Eclipse 3.1 for the next 2 chapters. Lastly it covers Microsoft BizTalk server 2004. There is an appendix of BPEL 1.1 syntax. Its not a big book (only 350 pages).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Editing blogs with Windows Live Writer

Microsoft just launched Windows Live Writer, a new publishing tool for WYSIWYG blog authoring on Windows Live Spaces, Wordpress, Typepad and other blogging services. Found this software via Digg and it looks pretty good so far. The Live Writer is pretty similar to the Word and so I’m not sure how this product will be positioned in the future. With all the blog editing tools in Office 2007, this is an interesting offering but I guess it could be the free tool that doesn’t have all the features of Word 2007.
My initial impressions of this tool are fairly positive. The WYSIWYG blog authoring is really good and allows you to edit in GUI mode or directly edit the HTML being generated. The image tool is pretty cool that will allow you to add images to your post that can uploaded to your blog directly.
Writer supports RSD (Really Simple Discoverability), the Metaweblog API, and theMovable Type API with more blog platforms and API coming in the near future.
Another feature that’s interesting is the ability to insert a Windows Live Local map directly into a post. For now, only Live.com maps is supported but the SDK that is also shipping should allow anyone to create interesting add-ons.

How i find it? Well i must confess that i was not able to figure out how to add a title to my post on the blogspot editors. Also editing in the context of the template in use is not possible when you use blogspot editor. This is one of the most attractive features of using a standalone application client to do the editing rather than editing your posts online in the less-than-mature rich text editors on blogspot and similar sites. In short, i would say, Windows Live Writer from microsoft is a useful contribution (currently being offered for free) and it simply makes the user experience of blogging easier.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Learning Design Patterns

I have recently started reading the Head first design patterns book. I read about 150pages of the book sometime back and now i have to resume my reading of the book from where i left. This time around, i am planning to put the design patterns i learn about from the book in my notes which will make it handy for revision and referring later. From what i recollect now about my experience reading those first few pages from the book, i want to say that i liked the easy presentation style and humor in the book which makes an otherwise dry subject a little more interesting. I will update this post after making some more progress on the book. In short, this book only covers 14 of the 23 design patterns covered by GoF's book.


Updated 25 Oct, 2006: I had missed to be able to complete this book earlier and recently i have experienced a deep sense of grief on being at loss for proper words or ideas when given a design problem. I think after revising SNMP as thoroughly as i possibly could, learning all basic design patterns is the last step i need to take to move on and shake hands with destiny :). Really, it came as surprise for me when i recently interviewed for a company for which i studied the whole day revising my C++ and by 8pm late evening i am only asked some desing problems which completely floor me. Apart from the human factors (that i was tired by the end of day having slept only 4hrs between 2 days and studying the whole day and i was skipping my lunch for those two days too), i realized that i MUST read this book before i set my foot in USA.