Friday Jun 08, 2007

Deep-Linking Into The Pink Dots

The "pink dots" maps have been getting some special attention lately. First, Jonathan referenced our original Solaris registrations map to make a point about how Sun's embrace of free software is driving adoption of our technologies. Then yesterday, Eduardo mentioned our new GlassFish adoption map on The Aquarium.

Both Jonathan and Eduardo asked readers to look at a particular map view to get an illustration of their point. One thing worth mentioning is that it's actually possible to link directly to such views.

For example, Jonathan (who wanted his readers to look at the map with a blank background) could have referenced this URL:

http://sysnet.sunwarp.net/maps/?lat=39.75&lng=-105&zoom=2&mtype=Blank

Or Eduardo (who wanted users to look at how GlassFish usage had increased in Brazil) might have referenced this URL for February:

http://beta.glassfish.java.net:81/maps/?lat=-12.89748918375589&lng=-51.50390625&zoom=4&mtype=Map&otype=gf_admin_hits_2007_02_exclusive

...and this one for April:

http://beta.glassfish.java.net:81/maps/?lat=-12.89748918375589&lng=-51.50390625&zoom=4&mtype=Map&otype=gf_admin_hits_2007_04_exclusive

But wait, those are complicated URLs. How could anyone possibly know which one to use?

It's easy. Just find the map view that you want and then copy the link referenced by the "This View" anchor in the map page. It's the link which I've highlighted in yellow below:

The JavaScript code in the maps page dynamically updates this link to always reference a URL which would recreate the current view.

So there you have it. If you want to have people look at some specific view of these maps to illustrate your point, you can send them there with just one click.

However, there is one caveat...

These deep-linking URLs guarantee that everyone will see the same map view at a given center point and zoom level. However, the actual amount of territory visible in the map (and thus summarized in the sidebar stats) will depend on the user's window size and screen resolution. So they won't necessarily see exactly the same image and figures that you do (though it should be close, assuming that most people have reasonably-sized screens and windows).

Thursday May 24, 2007

Slynkr on JavaDB

The first question my boss asked after I got the Slynkr code released as a java.net project: where can I file an RFE for it to install with one click using a JavaDB back-end? Then, as if on cue, the first outside message on the project's dev aliases followed suit: "What are your thoughts about other support for other databases (ie, MySQL and/or Postgres)?"

I may be slow, but I think I see the message. People might just want to use a database other than Oracle (which is what we used for our initial development of Slynkr). Well, guess what? You can do it.

It's not yet a one-click install process (sorry, Eduardo). And I personally haven't yet tried things out with MySQL or PostgreSQL (sorry, Nick). But I do now have instructions for running Slynkr using a JavaDB back-end (aka Apache Derby). If you're wanting to get your own instance of Slynkr up and running, this is currently your best bet. After all, Oracle is a nice database but it's a lot of overhead for just trying something out.

So please, give it a shot. If you run into problems, let me know. Or if you see ways to make things better, update the instructions (that's why they're on a Wiki, after all).

Oh, and by the way... I think that at least MySQL support should be pretty easy also. Here at Sun, we actually have an internal Slynkr instance which is using MySQL. I just don't have instructions for it (yet).

Wednesday May 09, 2007

GlassFish @ JavaOne: By The Numbers

486. Could this simple number be stealing the show at the world's largest developer conference?

Maybe. It's getting some help, though. 100, 3, 5, and 2.5 million are also important numbers. Specifically, I'm talking about:

486 Time (in msec) it took for GlassFish v3 to launch in a keynote demo
100 Max memory footprint (in KB) for the GlassFish v3 kernel
3 As in "GlassFish v3"
5 As in "Java EE 5"
2.5 Million Number of GlassFish downloads to date

But again, I think 486 is the one that really caught people's attention. App Servers just don't start in half a second. And they sure don't fit into 100KB. So what's going on here?

Well, in fairness, only part of GlassFish v3 is starting in that 486ms. But it's the core part. Everything else can (and is) only loaded when it's actually needed. So you only pay (in memory and initialization overhead) for what you use. It's kind of like we put Sparky (our beloved mascot) on a dynamic diet so that he automatically shrinks or grows to exactly the size you need.

That really could be a game-changer, redefining how we look at App Servers and where we use them. In the conference sessions, for example, many have asked about the possibility of running GlassFish v3 on small devices like phones. And in the blogosphere, Adam Bien wonders whether it could become common to embed GlassFish v3 inside rich client applications. They're interesting possibilities (and all indications are that both could work well).

Let's not forget the last couple of numbers in our list. Java EE 5 makes similar reductions for the consumption of developers' time that GlassFish v3 will do for the consumption of machine resources. It makes development of EJBs and other EE components much simpler and faster by using quick and easy annotations to replace what previously required a lot of boilerplate code and configuration. And 2.5 million downloads demonstrates just how much traction existing GlassFish releases have achieved. So while we do have to wait for v3 to reach production readiness, we have strong options in the meantime including GlassFish v1 (available in a production-quality final release for over a year and used in high-volume sites such as Wotif.com) and GlassFish v2 (which adds new features such as clustering and scripting language support and has just reached Beta 2--making it very close to a final production-quality release).

Yes, I'm biased because I work at Sun and specifically on the GlassFish project. But I really do think that GlassFish (and specifically the modular v3 architecture) has really been grabbing some attention here at JavaOne. And if you aren't here to see Jerome's demonstration in person, don't worry--you can get similar information from his recent v3 screencast.

Wednesday Apr 25, 2007

Help Duke and Sparky!

Wired is running a feature looking for the Lamest Technology Mascots Ever. Despite its "lamest" title, the feature describes itself as "a tour of the good, the bad and the ridiculously lame of technology mascots." So I suppose I shouldn't be too upset to see inclusions which I think are good mascots--such as the Mozilla Lizard, Tux the Penguin, and Duke the ... (Curvy Triangle?).

They also include a poll where readers can vote on which mascots they like and dislike. So if you're a Duke fan (like me), go vote for him. And while you're there, I hope you'll also share your opinion of Sparky (our mascot for Project GlassFish). He wasn't in Wired's original list, but I submitted him (since I really do think he's a great mascot, capturing the spirit of an open source project like GlassFish).

Note that you may need to hit the "Next" link in the polling page a few times to find Duke and Sparky. Or you can go straight to the raw poll at reddit, which shows more of the mascots at once.

Update -- this note has been added to the poll: "Clarification: Click the GREEN ARROW for mascots you think are LAME and should be moved to the TOP of the list. Click the RED ARROW for mascots you think should move DOWN the list and should be rated LESS LAME. Sorry about the confusion!" So I suppose that we all need to vote against Duke and Sparky if we like them. Lovely. Maybe I should change this entry's title to "Help Wired Figure Out How to Word a Poll!"

Friday Apr 20, 2007

Dell Leader Endorses Ubuntu; Ubuntu Leader Endorses NetBeans

The latest Ubuntu release has lived up to its name, with things getting just a bit feisty in the last couple of days. First came the news that Michael Dell is using Ubuntu on his personal laptop. That's an interesting endorsement (as is his use of OpenOffice).

Then yesterday came the news that a complete Java stack was being made available in the Ubuntu Multiverse. Hidden in one of the many articles on the subject was another celebrity endorsement--with Ubuntu leader (and civilian cosmonaut) Mark Shuttleworth calling NetBeans his "preferred Java development environment."

Pretty cool stuff. Of course, being a member of the GlassFish Project, I'm a little jealous that we didn't get an unexpected celebrity endorsement of our own. I certainly don't think it's due to a lack of product quality or innovation. I'd say these articles and discussions just have more of a desktop focus (which Ubuntu, OpenOffice, and NetBeans all fit nicely).

No matter. Our day is coming. Just be sure you're registered.

And in the meantime, be sure to check out Harpreet's notes on GlassFish in Ubuntu. He was Sun's lead on the effort--so he certainly knows his stuff.

Wednesday Mar 21, 2007

Sun Related Trends

Dan Farber has a post talking about some Q&A with Jonathan Schwartz at a recent "Mashup Event" at a Sun campus.

His last paragraph is what caught my attention:

Sun's stock price has been trending upwards, and would seem to correlate with what Schwartz said he found in checking Google Trends for keywords associated with Sun–such as NetBeans, GlassFish and Niagara–are up and to the right. "Word of mouth is a way more efficient than buying ad words," he concluded. Based on the Google Trends chart below, it's unclear just high and to the right the keywords are trending.
Google Trends Graph for Sun-related Terms in 2006

(The chart that Farber references.)

I think his chart is a bit misleading. For one thing, it only covers 2006. We're almost a full quarter into 2007. So I think it's worth looking at that data:

Google Trends Graph for Sun-related Terms in 2007

(Same chart, but covering 2007.)

If you look closely at the 2007 picture, you'll see that the Sun-related terms (NetBeans, GlassFish, and Niagara) do all trend up. That's better, but this chart still suffers from a second problem: combining so many terms with such different search volumes makes it hard to see the trends. In other words, you shouldn't have to look so closely.

So let's look at charts for each of the Sun-related terms individually. (Also note that these charts use Google's "All Years" time period, since I don't want to run into the afore-mentioned issues with just seeing 2006 or 2007 data.)

Google Trends Graph for "NetBeans"

(Google Trends Chart for the "NetBeans" term.)

Google Trends Graph for "GlassFish"

(Google Trends Chart for the "GlassFish" term.)

Google Trends Graph for "Niagara"

(Google Trends Chart for the "Niagara" term.)

That's better. Both Niagara and GlassFish clearly do demonstrate "up and to the right" trend growth in these pictures. The Niagara picture might be seen as showing a stagnant overall trend, but I think that too can be addressed if we dig a little deeper.

The "Niagara" term is too ambiguous. While we at Sun (and hopefully any of you reading) think of it as the code name for our UltraSPARC T1 processors, most of the rest of the world thinks of it as a waterfall (or, as the dictionary tells us: a river, a fort, or a variety of grape). Searches from people seeking those kinds of "Niagara" are going to clutter up the trend chart (from our perspective).

So, let's instead look at some less ambiguous terms related to this Sun product. How about the actual server models which use the Niagara processor--the Sun Fire T1000 and T2000?

Google Trends Graph for "T1000"

(Google Trends Chart for "T1000" term.)

Google Trends Graph for "T2000"

(Google Trends Chart for "T2000" term.)

A bit better, perhaps. I realize that any true skeptics out there will argue that these show stagnant or even declining trends since 2006. But I think there are a few reasons to give this product line the benefit of the doubt. For one thing, it's likely to have people's searches be spread across many different terms (such as "Niagara," "CoolThreads," "UltraSPARC T1," "T1000," and "T2000"). Second, a throughput server such as this might appeal most to people who will already be familiar enough with Sun that their searches for it will take place directly on sun.com sites more often than on general search engines such as Google. And finally, Sun has publicly released sales figures which do demonstrate a lot of traction and momentum for these servers. For a hardware product, revenue probably trumps Google Trends as a momentum indicator.

By digging deeper, we have seen that there definitely is an up trend for two of these offerings (NetBeans and GlassFish). You may or may not feel that we've also established momentum for the Niagara offering. But even if you do discount that one, two out of three isn't bad. I'd say it's pretty supportive of Jonathan's original statement that we're seeing good momentum for Sun-related offerings.

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