Friday Apr 11, 2014

vJUG

The six month old virtual Java user group (VJUG) has now 1,200 members. London Java Community leader and technical evangelist Simon Maple created this user group so Java Developers could connect virtually. The group organized 10 sessions, all available online: 
  • Design is a Process, not a Document by Trisha Gee
  • Drive by Contributions A GitHub session by Brent Beer and Matthew McCullough
  • Don't be that guy! Developer Security Awareness by Markus Eisele
  • Getting Started with Java EE 7 by Arun Gupta
  • How To Do Kick-Ass Software Development by Sven Peters
  • 55 New Features in Java SE 8 by Simon Ritter
  • Comparing JVM Web Frameworks by Matt Raible
  • WebSocket Applications using Java EE 7 by Arun Gupta
  • Project Lambda: Functional Prog. Constructs and Simpler Concurrency in Java SE by Simon Ritter
  • Java 8 Parallel Streams Workshop by Stuart Marks

The purpose of the group is to provide content to developers who cannot attend JUG meetings. It will never replace the experience of a face-to-face meetup.  Simon is looking for ideas to best help existing JUGs.  


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 Feb 27, 2013

Java EE 7 Open and Transparent

In his blog titled "Transparency and Community Participation in Java EE 7", Java Evangelist Arun Gupta explains the "high level of transparency for all of the Java Specification Requests (JSRs) under the Java EE 7 umbrella" and the increase of up to 7.5x participation by Java developers from previous releases. 

Since October 2011, JCP 2.8 has set eight new transparency rules for all new projects. The rules require the disclosure of such information as Expert Group member information, technical discussions, public feedback, JSR schedule, RI and TCK processes, and public documentation. Arun shows how the transparency rules apply to the JSR 342 project. 

About 20 Java User Groups (JUGs) from around the world contributed to the fourteen Java EE 7 JSRs. In many cases, the JUGs involved contributed to several JSRs via the community run initiative Adopt-a-JSR.

Arun lists JUGs events, their presentations and the code they contributed as a results of those events. They are great examples for other JUGs to get involved. Java EE still has projects open and Individuals as well as JUGs can contribute in three steps: join a JUG, participate in Adopt-a-JSR, choose a Java EE 7 JSR.

Friday Feb 22, 2013

Arun Gupta on Higher Productivity from Embracing HTML5 with Java EE 7

Oracle’s Java evangelist and noted Java EE expert, Arun Gupta, presented a session at the annual IOUC (International Oracle User Community) Summit, held January 14–16, 2013, at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California, where more than 100 top user group leaders from around the world gathered to share best practices, provide feedback, and receive updates from leading Oracle developers.

Gupta’s talk, titled "The Java EE 7 Platform: Higher Productivity and Embracing HTML5," presented a glimpse into the rich possibilities that will be available in Java EE 7 upon its release in the spring of 2013. He covered several major developments, including:

* Java API for RESTful Web Services 2.0
* Java Message Service 2.0
* Java API for JSON Processing 1.0
* Java API for WebSocket 1.0
* Bean Validation 1.1
* Batch Applications for the Java Platform 1.0
* Java Persistence API 2.1
* Servlet 3.1
* Concurrency Utilities for Java EE 1.0
* JavaServer Faces 2.2

Gupta focuses on ways in which Java EE 7 offers higher productivity; less boilerplate; richer functionality; more default options; and HTML5 support in the form of WebSocket and JSON. He also observed that the cloud is in need of more standards. From the article:

"There are not enough standards in the cloud with W3C and other standards bodies. More standards are needed so that we can define a Java API for the cloud. Premature standardization can also be a problem if not enough innovation has taken place. So what is the right thing for the platform? We have reached out to the community, the core group members, and the executive committee of the Java Community Process and have focused on providing higher productivity and on embracing the HTML5 platform more closely. We are going to use dependency injection a lot more, which will give developers the ability to write less boilerplate code and offer richer functionality such as batch applications and caching. Similarly, for HTML5, we are embracing WebSocket functionality and the ability to parse and generate a JSON structure. We are providing support for HTML5-friendly markup as part of JSF.”

Gupta summarized the strengths of the various JSRs and closed by encouraging developers to participate in Adopt-a-JSR, a project that enables them to, “pursue their interest in particular Java EE 7 JSRs and download code, play with it, report bugs, and offer feedback to Java EE 7 specification leads.”

Check out the article here.

Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

JavaFX Open Source Update!

Oracle has started to open source JavaFX, the rich client platform for Java applications. The list of open sourced projects will be growing in the next couple of weeks with an additional 7 projects. "We are also going to open source our iOS and Android implementations over the next couple of months" announced Richard Bair, architect of the JavaFX platform, in his blog.

Friday Oct 19, 2012

An Interview with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg

An interview with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg, by yours truly, titled “Challenging the Diabolical Developer: A Conversation with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg,” is now up on otn/java. Verburg, one of the leading movers and shakers in the Java community, is well known for his ‘diabolical developer” talks at JavaOne where he uncovers some of the worst practices that Java developers are prone to.

He mentions a few in the interview:

* “A lack of communication: Software development is far more a social activity than a technical one; most projects fail because of communication issues and social dynamics, not because of a bad technical decision. Sadly, many developers never learn this lesson.
* No source control: Some developers simply store code in local file systems and e-mail the code in order to integrate their changes; yes, this still happens.
* Design-driven design: Some developers are inclined to cram every design pattern from the Gang of Four (GoF) book into their projects. Of course, by that stage, they've actually forgotten why they're building the software in the first place.”

He points to a couple of core assumptions and confusions that lead to trouble:

“One is that developers think that the JVM is a magic box that will clean up their memory and make their code run fast, as well as make them cups of coffee. The JVM does help in a lot of cases, but bad code can and will still lead to terrible results!

The other trend is to try to force Java (the language) to do something it's not very good at, such as rapid Web development. So you get a proliferation of overly complex frameworks, libraries, and techniques trying to get around the fact that Java is a monolithic, statically typed, compiled, OO environment. It's not a Golden Hammer!”

Verburg has many insightful things to say about how to keep a Java User Group (JUG) going, about the “Adopt a JSR” program, bugathons, and much more.

Check out the article here.

Friday Oct 12, 2012

JavaOne 2012 in Review

Noted freelance writer Steve Meloan has a new article up on otn/java, titled, “JavaOne 2012 Review: Make the Future Java” in which he summarizes the happenings at JavaOne 2012.

Along the way, he reminds us that if the future turns out to be anything like the past, Java will do fine:

The repeated theme for this year's conference was ‘Make the Future Java,’ and according to recent stats, the groundwork is already firmly in place:

    There are 9 million Java developers worldwide.
    Three billion devices run Java.
    Five billion Java Cards are in use.
    One hundred percent of Blu-ray Disc players ship with Java.
    Ninety-seven percent of enterprise desktops run Java.
    Eighty-nine percent of PC desktops run Java.

This year's content curriculum program was organized under seven technical tracks:

    Core Java Platform
    Development Tools and Techniques
    Emerging Languages on the JVM
    Enterprise Service Architectures and the Cloud
    Java EE Web Profile and Platform Technologies
    Java ME, Java Card, Embedded, and Devices
    JavaFX and Rich User Experiences”

Meloan artfully reminds us of how JavaOne makes learning fun.

Have a look at the article here.

Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Martijn Verburg

JavaOne Rock Stars, conceived in 2005, are the top-rated speakers at each JavaOne Conference. They are awarded by their peers, who, through conference surveys, recognize them for their outstanding sessions and speaking ability. Over the years many of the world’s leading Java developers have been so recognized.

Martijn Verburg has, in recent years, established himself as an important mover and shaker in the Java community. His “Diabolical Developer” session at the JavaOne 2011 Conference got people’s attention by identifying some of the worst practices Java developers are prone to engage in. Among other things, he is co-leader and organizer of the thriving London Java User Group (JUG) which has more than 2,500 members, co-represents the London JUG on the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process, and leads the global effort for the Java User Group “Adopt a JSR” and “Adopt OpenJDK” programs.

Career highlights include overhauling technology stacks and SDLC practices at Mizuho International, mentoring Oracle on technical community management, and running off shore development teams for AIG. He is currently CTO at jClarity, a start-up focusing on automating optimization for Java/JVM related technologies, and Product Advisor at ZeroTurnaround. He co-authored, with Ben Evans, "The Well-Grounded Java Developer" published by Manning and, as a leading authority on technical team optimization, he is in high demand at major software conferences.

Verburg is participating in five sessions, a busy man indeed. Here they are:

  • CON6152 - Modern Software Development Antipatterns (with Ben Evans)
  • UGF10434 - JCP and OpenJDK: Using the JUGs’ “Adopt” Programs in Your Group (with Csaba Toth)
  • BOF4047 - OpenJDK Building and Testing: Case Study—Java User Group OpenJDK Bugathon (with Ben Evans and Cecilia Borg)
  • BOF6283 - 101 Ways to Improve Java: Why Developer Participation Matters (with Bruno Souza and Heather Vancura-Chilson)
  • HOL6500 - Finding and Solving Java Deadlocks (with Heinz Kabutz, Kirk Pepperdine, Ellen Kraffmiller and Henri Tremblay)
When I asked Verburg about the biggest mistakes Java developers tend to make, he listed three:
  1. A lack of communication -- Software development is far more a social activity than a technical one; most projects fail because of communication issues and social dynamics, not because of a bad technical decision. Sadly, many developers never learn this lesson.
  2. No source control -- Developers simply storing code in local filesystems and emailing code in order to integrate
  3. Design-driven Design -- The need for some developers to cram every design pattern from the Gang of Four (GoF) book into their source code

All of which raises the question: If these practices are so bad, why do developers engage in them? “I've seen a wide gamut of reasons,” said Verburg, who lists them as:

* They were never taught at high school/university that their bad habits were harmful.
* They weren't mentored in their first professional roles.
* They've lost passion for their craft.
* They're being deliberately malicious!
* They think software development is a technical activity and not a social one.
* They think that they'll be able to tidy it up later.

A couple of key confusions and misconceptions beset Java developers, according to Verburg.

“With Java and the JVM in particular I've seen a couple of trends,” he remarked. “One is that developers think that the JVM is a magic box that will clean up their memory, make their code run fast, as well as make them cups of coffee. The JVM does help in a lot of cases, but bad code can and will still lead to terrible results! The other trend is to try and force Java (the language) to do something it's not very good at, such as rapid web development. So you get a proliferation of overly complex frameworks, libraries and techniques trying to get around the fact that Java is a monolithic, statically typed, compiled, OO environment. It's not a Golden Hammer!”

I asked him about the keys to running a good Java User Group. “You need to have a ‘Why,’” he observed. “Many user groups know what they do (typically, events) and how they do it (the logistics), but what really drives users to join your group and to stay is to give them a purpose. For example, within the LJC we constantly talk about the ‘Why,’ which in our case is several whys:

* Re-ignite the passion that developers have for their craft
* Raise the bar of Java developers in London
* We want developers to have a voice in deciding the future of Java
* We want to inspire the next generation of tech leaders
* To bring the disparate tech groups in London together
* So we could learn from each other
* We believe that the Java ecosystem forms a cornerstone of our society today -- we want to protect that for the future

Looking ahead to Java 8 Verburg expressed excitement about Lambdas.

“I cannot wait for Lambdas,” he enthused. “Brian Goetz and his group are doing a great job, especially given some of the backwards compatibility that they have to maintain. It's going to remove a lot of boiler plate and yet maintain readability, plus enable massive scaling.”

Check out Martijn Verburg at JavaOne if you get a chance, and, stay tuned for a longer interview yours truly did with Martijn to be publish on otn/java some time after JavaOne.

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.



Thursday Mar 01, 2012

Laying Out a User Interface with JavaFX 2.0

Java Champion and JavaFX expert Jim Weaver has a new article up on otn/java, titled “Laying Out a User Interface with JavaFX 2.0,” in which he shows developers how to use the layout capabilities of JavaFX 2.0 to make nodes in a scene graph appear where they belong and with the appropriate size.

He provides an overview of the LayoutSansTearsSolution application, shows how to make use of the SceneBuilder and BorderPaneBuilder classes, and helps readers understand the behavior of resizable nodes. Weaver explains the distinction between clamped and unbounded nodes and, finally, shows how to use CSS style sheet properties to modify the layout.

From the article:

“JavaFX has very powerful features for laying out a user interface... These features enable your applications to appear the way you want them to appear, regardless of the size of the scene or the type of platform. Understanding the behavior of each type of layout class, as well as concepts such as clamped versus unbounded nodes, will go a long way toward helping you make the UI appear exactly the way you want it.”

Read the complete article here.

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