Screen Cast: Developing Project SocialSite

As more and more people are trying out Project SocialSite, we're finding out that some people want to be able to download and use the latest code without waiting for a promoted build. So this blog is for the code-happy developer types who want to build and try things out, and then rebuild and re-try if we (or they!) fix some particular issue. This isn't necessarily the best or only way to install SocialSite and then get into the twiddle/compile/test cycle (twiddle being the technical term), but it works for me.

As background, this blog assumes that you've downloaded the code, have an instance of GlassFish ready, already have ant, etc. There are a couple files that I have ready beforehand in the screen cast. Two are properties files that I edit ahead of time and copy somewhere else. You can do the same if you'd like:

  • socialsite/installer/sjsas.props
  • socialsite/installer/socialsite.props

The other step I mention in the screen cast is to change the socialsite.search.index.path property in socialsite/src/java/com/sun/socialsite/config/socialsite.properties. After that, you're ready to follow along with the screencast.

I use FireFox as my browser, and there are a couple extensions that are very helpful when working on Project SocialSite or pretty much any other web application. You can find them both through FireFox's "Get Add-Ons" functionality, but here are some links as well:

  • Firebug. Can't live without this one. I use it for debugging JavaScript code and for checking the outgoing/incoming messages for requests made by gadgets. If you're working on gadget code and want to see what some generated html is really doing in a page, "Inspect Element" is a handy feature.
  • Web Developer. This extension does a lot more than I use it for, but it's essential for a couple things. The biggest for me is turning off my browser's cache so that it doesn't keep loading an old version of a gadget xml file long after I've made changes. Being able to clear your session data is nice as well when working on login/authentication. This extension does just about anything to a web page that you'd like.
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Whatever part of GlassFish or the Java EE world that catches my attention. (Also, go Red Sox.)

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