Sunday Jan 25, 2009

Best Database Tool

Developer.Com has selected MySQL Workbench as the best database tool of 2009!

Competing behind Workbench were:

  • Altova DatabaseSpy® 2008
  • LINQ (Microsoft® .NET Language Integrated Query)
  • SQL Server® 2008 Reporting Services
  • Oracle SQL Developer

Monday Dec 22, 2008

Conversation with Lenz Grimmer

You can read my conversation with Lenz Grimmer or look at other interviews conducted by the MySQL community team. 

Friday Dec 12, 2008

Janice Heiss' interview with me

Starting from a series of exchanges conducted mostly by e-mail and often across multiple time zones as I was traveling in Germany and Russia in the last couple of months, Janice Heiss cajoled me (and I should thank her for it) into this interview.

I hope you'll learn a few things reading it. I certainly learned quite a bit as I was exchanging these ideas with Janice and as I was trying to reply to some of her questions. For example, although I had always been curious about it, I hadn't earlier thought much about how I may respond to Bill Joy's famous essay until Janice actually asked me about it during the course of the interview. (Thank you very much Janice!)

I should probably add that Janice is a Sun staff writer as well as a blogger on Java.Net. She is also the person behind a wonderful series of other interviews with Sun's developers and software engineers—lots of amazing work and ideas are summarized in these interviews: "Meet the Engineer". Finally, I also recommend a reading of her tips for students coming from some of these top developers. There, you are bound to fin (as I did) many nuggests of wisdom.

Is Project Management Dead?


The PMBOK book comes to you courtesy of Project Management Institute.
It is considered a standard for project management.
Chapters 1 to 3 are "must" reads. The remaining chapters are further, very useful elaborations of the material in these earlier chapters.
When you read chapters 1 to 3, think of what it would mean to apply the concepts in some project you're facing: Perhaps, you're organizing a large conference, a wedding, or the construction of the next space shuttle.
See which concepts are applicable where.
I used the book, along with cases form the real world, to teach a semester-long graduate course in project management at NPU last summer.

Far from it.

Projects are about unique objectives attained within defined duration.

They are inherently different from operational work.

By the very nature of how we operate as human beings, any cooperative activity involving more than a two or three interactions per person contains within it the seeds of error, missteps and failures. (This may have to do with the common size of family units in some of our societies.)

The whole practice of project management involves instituting processes that meet in anticipation of these errors and failures, handle and check them when they occur and make the necessary adjustments in order to digest the uncertainties that future brings.

If future could be perfectly predicted, there would be no need for project management. If groups could cooperate with a guarantee that no failure or shortcomings would occur on the way to the objective, there would be no need for project management.


Sunday Nov 23, 2008

MySQL Query Analyzer

MySQL Query Analyzer is already helping people to drastically improve their application performance. 

Jeff Freund (CTO, Clickability) shares an interesting use case.

Wednesday Oct 29, 2008

An HBR case on Wikipedia

Karim Lakhani has put together a business case study on Wikipedia. It is worth noting that Wikipedia uses MySQL as its database engine. 

Thursday Oct 09, 2008

Reminiscing on Micro-Kernels and Group Communications

Yes, I have to admit that, in my opinion, JGroups is probably the best early example of the "micro-kernel" concept in Java, aesthetically speaking.

The Group Communications stack can simply be specified by literally stacking micro-protocols into a group communications stack—each micro-protocol can be considered a micro-kernel with its own "up" and "down" threading system.

Stacking can be specified like this: "A:B:C:D" or "A:C:B:D" or "A:C:D:B" or .....

Not all stacks are semantically valid or useful.

The final, beautiful touch in Bela Ban's design was to provision a fusing concept ("fusing" is my word for it), where all the micro-protocol/micro-kernel pieces can be fused so that they will be one "kernel," using a single thread system for "up" throughout the stack and a single thread system for "down" throughout the stack.

Or course, some of the design elements for all this was probably, mostly, and already present in the Ensemble Communications System, the group with which Bela did his post-doc work, near the turn of the millennium.

Also, see Mark Hayden's PhD dissertation on Ensemble, which was written in the 1990s, and supported by DARPA funds.

And a bit about my own role in all this—

I should mention that we used Ensemble (and its Java binding, whose deficiencies led to reimplementation of the protocol stack concept, in Java by Bela) in the DARPA projects I led before joining Sun.

This is how I got to learn about Mark and Ensemble, and later, about Bela and JGroups. It was an honor to meet both of them in the course of my work with group communications systems. By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if we find out, when historians of software look back at our work some years from now, that Bela has played a role in re-architecting of JBoss's microkernel system. I may be wrong but I believe he decided to join JBoss sometime in 2004, during the same year when I was trying to bring him to Sun. We almost got him to join SunLabs. It wasn't meant to be, like many other things that go awry. Perhaps, with my managerial skills now, I could have made a better difference in that realm. At least, I'm happy to say I was able to convince Bela to change the name from JavaGroups to JGroups, which protected him from some copyright violations.

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Personal Data Storage Application

Patrick Keegan describes how to use Java DB and NetBeans to develop a personal data storage application.

The CRUD application is developed in some very simple steps. (Java DB is Sun's distribution of Apache Derby. Java DB is distributed with every copy of the JDK, starting with JDK 6.)

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Mobile Moves

Lots of strategic mobile moves were made during the last couple of weeks. Perhaps, the most important was Google's release of Android Development Kit.

You can also read about other mobile moves here,  and review Jeff Hoffman's presentation on Java FX and Project Nile.

Monday Sep 22, 2008

Software Freedom Day!

Sun celebrated Software Freedom Day in various locations on the globe, including in Riga, Latvia, where the database engineering team is having its annual developer meeting.

MySQL community team and Michael Dexter, who works with the Linux Fund, helped put the Riga SFD meeting together. (Lenz Grimmer and Colin Charles have written about the meeting. It was held at the University of Latvia.)

Thursday Sep 11, 2008

Memcached and Java DB (Apache Derby)

Knut Anders Hatlen writes about memcached user-defined functions (UDF) for Java DB on OpenSolaris.

Knut has also mentioned the recent release of Apache Derby 10.4.2. A corresponding Java DB release should be available for download soon. (Usually this happens immediately but we're all at a developers' conference for the next couple of weeks.)

Monday Sep 08, 2008

ERP and CMS on PostgreSQL on OpenSolaris

Jignesh K. Shah and Robert Lor describe how to set up Openbravo (an open-source ERP system) and Drupal (an open-source CMS) on PostgreSQL on OpenSolaris.

Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Brand Value vs. Logos

Jim Buckmaster, Craig's list CEO:

We pay zero attention to brand. We never use that word internally. We do zero advertising. We don't have a logo. We've never done a focus group. We don't care about any of that. And now we're told we have the strongest brand ever for a company our size.

What a great example, and still, isn't there a little symbol, a little logo, a little peace sign in the browser URL box?

Thursday Aug 14, 2008

Innovation Logic

Marten Mickos discusses the logic of open-source innovation and business in an interview conducted by Josh Hyatt, contributing editor of MIT Sloan Management Review.

The interview, originally conducted for the Business Insight Journal Report, has been published by The Wall Street Journal: "Software Firm is Open for Innovation".

I like the salient point with which Marten ends the interview:

Even if I showed you my DNA, you wouldn't know how to become me.

Tuesday Aug 05, 2008

LinuxWorld Expo?

I dropped by "LinuxWorld Expo" in San Francisco on Tuesday, and I think the only thing worth noting is the PgDay.

Five years ago, when I attended the same Expo, it had a completely different spirit, with a lot more participation by the main Linux vendors and a large variety of software companies.

(Other references: PostgreSQL on Solaris and on OpenSolaris.) 

Friday Aug 01, 2008

Web Smarts -- Using Time

Imagine how much easier it will be if my wife and I, who share calendars on Google, can use some kind of service that would  propose a few flights for our family to some desired destination at some free cross section of our time—the move from Internet calendars and other identity-rich measures (whether of the Google, Yahoo or other variety) to integration with already existing web services we all use (for everything from travel and budget planning to various other purchases, projects and plans) should be a relatively trivial matter.  

Another scenario—I'm looking for a house. My calendar is on the web. Some service can arrange house seeing expeditions for me and reserve time on my calendar.

This does not seem to be a tremendously difficult mathematical problem, and it doesn't involve much AI.

So, why don't we have these types of services yet. Lack of proper integration?

This type of integration simply allows to deploy other dimensions of search and constraint satisfaction technology—any search or technology that reduces transaction costs and brings real convenience to us. There is not really much else to it!

Thursday Jul 24, 2008

OSCon Presentations

Until O'Reilly gets the slides for OSCon 2008 posted, you can find some of the slide-sets and more at SlideShare.

Sun Microsystems was a platinum sponsor of the conference and had some free, slickly-published guerrilla booklets on operating systems and OpenSolaris, and several un-conference presentations at their booth, including some amazing presentations on DTrace and ZFS. I was also happy to hear the Erleng packages will be available directly as an OpenSolaris IPS.

All this, until O'Reilly posts the presentation for public viewing.

Saturday Jul 19, 2008

ACM Queue Magazine

Craig Russell (of Sun Microsystems Inc.) has written the lead article of ACM Queue special issue on object relational mapping (ORM): "Bridging the Object-Relational Divide". The opening sentence provides the motivation most succinctly: "Modern applications are built using two very different technologies: object-oriented programming for business logic; and relational databases for data storage."

Tuesday Jul 08, 2008

Using Apache Derby / Java DB with Caroline

Here is another embedded use case for Java DB in a full Java environment: On Grid Derby-based Server. For more on Caroline, see here.

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

PostgreSQL Surveys

PostgreSQL.org community pages contain some interesting surveys.
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