Tuesday Sep 01, 2009

Javadoc meets wikipedia

Many of you are already familiar with jdocs.com and doc.java.sun.com. These are two sites where Javadoc meets web 2.0 and provide a participatory developer resource. What makes wikipedia great is the community of subject matter experts that share with the rest of us their wisdom and knowledge. So why should not be the case for developers? DocWeb brings a new dimension by introducing translations into the Javadoc realm. Of course, this has the opportunity to build a larger more diverse Java developer community.

Thursday Aug 07, 2008

Generation z

Generation z (as in zembly).

I am not going to attempt to define demographically what generation z is, however you should think of folks 16 to 22 who think that email is something their fathers do. Technology is their lingua franca. Many of them are also casual developers. Since most of the gen z folks are highly connected at all times one can easily assume that they'll be looking for a hosted development environment, a place where a browser is both the tool and the platform on which they express their creativity. They will also care about ease of use and virality. Just as the Open Source is the place for most talented hard core developers to earn bragging rights and the respect of their peers, Facebook and the other social networking sites are stages on which gen z technological creativity is on display.

I suspect that many of the gen z casual technologists will use a site as zembly to rapidly and collaboratively build a widget or Facebook app. Moreover, they'll have at their finger tips "handles" to web scale web services (e.g. Flickr, Google, Amazon, etc.) that they could duct tape together. The opportunities seem endless.

Monday Jun 30, 2008

Social web application development

The next generation web application development environments may look a lot like zembly.com. First, no installation will be required and developers will use their browser as a platform. Second, application development will be done in a very participatory fashion, where developers, in your social network, will help you develop and leverage your code. Third applications (widgets, services, etc) will be able to draw into the power of the social graph. Give zembly a try and imagine the future.

While using zembly, I strongly recommend using Firefox 2.0. You'll also have to make sure that the Java is enabled in your browser (it will work without the JRE, however the experience in the editor degrades considerably).

Friday May 09, 2008

Java uber alles

IMHO opinion the '08 Java One had many themes. The event took place right after the OpenSolaris launch and unlike last year when Sun introduced JavaFX, this year the conference had Java + You as its motto. My take is that Java is poised to become more of a consumer brand. It is not hard to see why. Java is part of every day life wether we realize or not. Phones, entertainment devices - PS3 (Blue-ray), desktops, web apps, etc. Basically all the "screen" with which we now interact leverage Java.

NetBeans has been focusing on dynamic languages, especially since there is an opportunity to run Ruby, Python, PHP on the JVM. It is likely for this trend to continue, since Sun is a position to offer optimized deployment for applications that use dynamic languages. This is true now more than ever since most of these languages leverage MySQL and Sun will do its best to tune the database on Sun systems.

The most entertaining session that I attended was Todd Fast's. That were I learned that 1.0 developers are an endangered species :-) Thanks God that I am now in management. I should also hedge my bets and become a casual developer. All I need is a 2.0 development environment and I ready to go.

Wednesday Apr 23, 2008

NetBeans and OpenSolaris

NetBeans is widely distributed nowadays. You can get it from java.sun.com as part of the Java SE or EE bundles, as well as from netbeans.org. Ubuntu makes it available in Universe (starting with Hardy) and the community contributed NetBeans to the Debian repositories (for more details on the Linux distributions that include NetBeans, take a look here).

The latest open source product that makes NetBeans (version 6.0.1) available is OpenSolaris (2008.05). I am in the process of kicking the tires of the RC2, that was recently produced in anticipation of the Community One event which takes place next month in San Francisco. I am still struggling with the OpenSolaris install, however I have an atypical configuration: MacBook Pro, partitioned with Boot Camp; I am trying to install in a partition where I previously installed Windows Vista.

Here are some of the issues that I am running into:

<snip from installation log>
Set fdisk attrs
fdisk: fdisk -n -F failed. Could't create fdisk partition table on disk c5d0
Couldn't create fdisk partition table on disk
Could not create fdisk target
TI process completed unsuccessfully
 </snip from installation log> 


Thursday Mar 27, 2008

Achieving virality

On Tueday I attended the SNAP Summit 2.0 in San Francisco (thanks to Ryan) . The usual suspects (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, RockYou, etc.) attended and either presented or were part of the panel discussions. There was a lot of focus on attracting new developers by making it easy for them to monetize their investment (software). So how does one make money? In a nutshell - facilitating adds in some form. All you have to do is build an application that becomes viral. That sounds simple enough, but how do you achieve the viral growth for that application? Here are some thoughts:

  • Viewer focus
  • Simplicity
  • Novelty
  • Universal Applicability

I heard one of the presenter say that virality is all about action. That thought resonated with me - an application, or feature has to "speak to me" in order to catch my attention.
There was a lot of guidance on how to build applications that are "personable" and have all the attributes that would make users adopt them and share them with others. What, I felt, was missing is guidance for choosing a development environment for building such applications.

On other news, it seems that Yahoo joined the Google's Open Social initiative. Perhaps this is an anti-Microsoft play, since Facebook has Microsoft's backing.


Sunday Feb 10, 2008

XAMPP development

I have not been doing any development on Windows for a while. I thought I'd give it a try and build some web application using different open source technologies to compare my productivity and think of where to invest in toolability. David Van Couvering, recently, mentioned to me the XAMPP bundle, so I decided to start with this Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl.

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