Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

Gamification for User Groups

At the gamification session of the International Oracle User Group Community (IOUC), leaders discussed how to drive membership. Typically, they give away licenses, books and goodies to encourage attendance at monthly meetings. Others have used gamification to get their communities to brainstorm on mascot names, or post pictures and comments on social media. Hackathons also require the use of similar techniques to keep attendees motivated to create applications over several days. SouJava leader Bruno Souza successfully ran hackathons that combined brainstorming, team building, training, hacking sessions and prizes to keep participants engaged.

“Turn life into a game, drive engagement of audiences, make the experience more enjoyable and get users to come back ” are the key advantages of gamification according to user group leader Jim Bethancourt.

The forum platform Stack Overflow is a great example of running a thriving community of developers with its point systems. Contributors get rewarded with points for their useful entries and visitors easily find the most relevant and best-rated entries.

The ArabOUG has implemented a point system to keep its community active. The group gives out points to the members, who contribute applications, articles, and translations. It partnered with training organizations and other services to give its members free training and services in exchange for points. As a result, members don’t have to pay for services using online payments, which governments in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East don’t allow.

In an interview, ArabOUG leader Mohamed Chargui  explains in more detail his experience using gamification.

Wednesday Aug 07, 2013

Garbage First Garbage Collector Tuning

A new article, now up on otn/java, titled “Garbage First Garbage Collector Tuning,”
by Monica Beckwith, Principal Member of Technical Staff at Oracle, and performance lead for the Java HotSpot VM's Garbage First Garbage Collector (G1 GC), shows how to adapt and tune the G1 GC for evaluation, analysis, and performance.

As Beckwith explains, the Garbage First Garbage Collector is the low-pause, server-style generational garbage collector for Java HotSpot VM. It uses both concurrent and parallel phases to achieve its target pause time and maintain good throughput. A garbage collector is a memory management tool. When G1 GC determines that a garbage collection is necessary, it first collects the regions with the least live data – known as garbage first.

Beckwith describes the collection phases and marking cycles, lists default tuning devices, offers recommendations about how to fine tune and evaluate garbage collection, and shows how to respond to overflow and exhausted log messages.

She concludes her article as follows:

“G1 GC is a regionalized, parallel-concurrent, incremental garbage collector that provides more predictable pauses compared to other HotSpot GCs. The incremental nature lets G1 GC work with larger heaps and still provide reasonable worst-case response times. The adaptive nature of G1 GC just needs a maximum soft-real time pause-time goal along-with the desired maximum and minimum size for the Java heap on the JVM command line.”

Check it out here.

Tuesday Apr 30, 2013

Everything on the NetBeans Platform

NetBeans Principal Product Manager Geertjan Wielenga describes a myriad of software tools and applications in his blog in fields as diverse as biology, security, airport management, data analysis, data modeling, radiology, home automation, retail, and equipment safety - all of them created on the Netbeans Platform: 
  • Alphalogic, an easy to use tool with high level integration, control and monitoring for engineering systems and security systems 
  • Platypus Application Designer, a tool to develop the structure of database applications, reusable SQL queries and client/server applications
  • Sypherlink Harvester, a tool collecting metadata, database statistics, sample data and more in relational and non-relational data sources
  • Total Airport Management (TAM) 
  • Summit Management Systems, an data acquisition and floor plant monitoring tools for assembly processes
  • Integrated Service Technology, a testing and analysis solution for integrated circuits 
  • DigiMed, a radiology software for hospitals in Mexico 
  • Ksenia, a security system configuration software 
  • Vimar, a home automation management software 
  • Phyloviz, a visualization software tool for Phylogenetics
  • Delcam Crispin, a footwear CAD/CAM software 
  • Autopsy, a digital forensics platform
  • Sristy Technologies, a software solutions to analyze seismic data, drilling, completion and reservoirs for the energy sector
  • HEIDE, a multiprocessor microcontroller platform 
  • SIEUFERD, a universal user interface for relational databases 
  • Polaris Slipstream, an extensive data modeling application designed for NASA Mission visualization
  • MammoControl DIANNA, a tools analyzing and transmitting managraphy images for the German Breast Cancer Screening Program 
  • IGS-Bio, a motion capture software application
  • Klinika Medical Assistant, a EMR software used in the Philipines 
  • A series of software from Satlantic, an ocean technology company 
  • Mongkie, an integrated network visualization platform for biological data 
  • 4Vending, a vending machine management solution 
  • Piraso, an open source debugger and analyzer tool 
  • SafetyMach, a European safety requirement software 
Check his blog for details on each project. 


Tuesday Oct 18, 2011

Java Champion Michael Hüttermann on Best Agile ALM Practices

Michael HüttermannJavaOne 2011 - Java Champion and Agile ALM expert Michael Hüttermann gave a session, "Agile Application Lifecycle Management (18180)" on Tues., Oct. 4, designed to help Java developers integrate flexible agile practices and lightweight tools into software development phases. Hüttermann is the author of Agile ALM and CEO of Systemtechnologie Hüttermann. 

He covered:

* Task-based development for aligning activities with tasks, resulting in traceable artifacts

* Advanced continuous integration, which involves frequently and systematically integrating, building, and testing applications

* Agile approaches to release, configuration, deployment, and requirements management

* State-of-the-art-tool chains

The standard criticism of ALM is that it causes vendor lock-in, which increases the overall cost of an application, leaving developers with the challenge of balancing the pluses and minuses of Agile ALM. While Hüttermann admits that this has traditionally been true, his conception of Agile ALM results in flexible, high-quality processes and tool chains that are sufficiently open to change to avoid lock-in. By relying on lightweight tool chains, developers can improve flexibility because they can readily replace small units of the overall infrastructure without touching other parts. One of the main purposes of Agile ALM is to minimize accidental complexity.

Among the take-aways from the session:

* Continuous integration (CI) refers to the automation of the build, test, and release process with the goal of integrating the activities of colleagues and the work items others produce. This can result in a build ecosystem in which a new-code commit directly triggers a continuous build.

* Agile ALM defines task-based activities that are aligned with requirements, which means the activities are linked to requirements and all changes are traceable to their requirements.

* Agile ALM Tools are no longer cumbersome, monolithic vehicles that can restrict development. They need no longer cover all facets of the ALM ecosystem. Mashups of lightweight, focused, service-oriented, customizable tools are gaining momentum. Developers should feel free to switch from one tool to another.

Agile ALM aficionados should check out the forthcoming Java Magazine article by Hüttermann, set for publication in the November/December issue. If you haven't registered for the magazine, run, don't walk. It's free!

And be on the look out for a forthcoming otn/java interview with Hüttermann as well.

Finally, this JavaOne 2011 presentation can also be viewed @ http://parleys.com/d/2666.

Thursday Jun 02, 2011

Managing Resources with Java 7

A very clear and detailed article by Julien Ponge, titled “Better Resource Management with Java SE 7: Beyond Syntactic Sugar,” presents the Java 7 answer to the automatic resource management problem in the form of a new language construct, proposed as part of Project Coin, called the try-with-resources statement.

Java applications frequently manipulate different types of resources such as files, streams, sockets, and database connections that require system resources for their operations. They must be managed with great care or risk having database connections and file descriptors remain open after an exception occurs elsewhere in the code. As a result, application servers may need frequent restarts due to resource exhaustion.

The article provides an overview of resource and exception management before explaining the essentials of try-with-resources statements. It then shows how a class can be made ready to support such statements, and concludes with a demystification of the syntactic sugar behind the language extension.

Ponge concludes that the try-with-resources construct “generates correct code on behalf of the developer, eliminating the need to write boilerplate code that is easy to get wrong. More importantly, this change has been accompanied with evolutions to attach one exception to another, thus providing an elegant solution to the well-known problem of exceptions masking each other.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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