Practical JRuby on Rails Web 2.0 Projects

Are Java's days numbered as a web development technology? With buzzwords like Ruby, Rails, and Web 2.0 zipping around the web development community, one may begin to wonder. Could Java's lifespan be extended by finding synergy between Java and Ruby? On the scene comes JRuby, the definitive implementation of Ruby for the JVM. In his new book from Apress, Ola Bini guides the reader through the development of four Web 2.0 projects using JRuby on Rails. I think that Bini does a masterful job of always using the right tool for the right job. Read my review for complete details.

Mid-Year Review: My Professional Development Goals for 2007-2008

Back in July I posted my professional development goals for the year (My performance review is annually in July, so it's a good time to set goals.), and it seemed like a good idea to take a look at my progress while doing the "New Year's Resolution" thing.

  1. Learn Groovy and Grails

    Andy and Dave suggest learning a new language every year, so this seemed like a good goal for me. I can't say that I've truly learned Groovy and Grails in depth, but I did learn them enough to do a presentation on them (as well as Ruby, JRuby, and Rails) at our Java User Group meeting in October, so I've effectively touched on two languages and two frameworks for those languages. I've since gotten interested in Scala as well. At any rate, I'd like to go deeper w/ Groovy and Grails as I have time, which is scarce!

  2. Release HallKeeper v1.0 as part of #1

    This project seems destined to fail. I haven't worked on it in any meaningful way since the summer. I've thought about it in the past week, and I'd actually like to try doing it in straight Java POJOs with Spring and Hibernate since I'm more well-versed in that area. At any rate, it really is my lack of spare time that keeps this one on the perpetual back burner.

  3. Read and LEARN the following books:

    • The Definitive Guide to Grails - Rocher
    • The Pragmatic Programmer - Hunt, Thomas
    • Computer Algorithms: Introduction to Design & Analysis - Baase, Van Gelder
    • Concepts of Programming Languages: Sebesta
    • Groovy in Action - Konig

    I've pretty much finished #1, got started on #2, and haven't really touched the last three. Again, the needs of the moment have necessitated I focus on other areas, particularly other books. Recent projects have pointed me to three additional books I'd really like to cover this year, so I may not get to my original list. Here are the titles:

    • Working Effectively with Legacy Code - Feathers
    • POJOs in Action - Richardson
    • Domain Driven Design - Evans

  4. Review two books for the JavaLobby/DZone book review team

    This is one I've hit the nail on. I just completed my second book review, which will be published some time in the next few weeks. My first review, Ajax Construction Kit: Building Plug-and-Play Ajax Applications, was published in October 2007. These have been rather time consuming and have kept me from other projects, so I don't plan to take any more reviews this year.

  5. Pass the Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 5.0 Exam

    Haven't touched this one yet. Preparing for this will be one of my foci in the coming weeks.

  6. Write one Java/software development blog article per week

    I haven't done so hot on this one. OK, let's be really honest. I haven't come close. However, my recent flurry of entries on The Spring Experience 2007 have gotten me into a bit of a groove. I'm going to try to keep up the momentum and finish this year strong.

  7. Attend JavaOne 2008 or similar conference

    I've actually traveled twice since my original post. My first trip was to the Northeast Life Sciences Core Directors Meeting last November at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The purpose of this trip was to present and generate interest around our open source shared resource management system for core facilities, STJUDE-SRM. The trip was a great success. My second trip really fulfills this goal, as I attended The Spring Experience 2007 in Hollywood, FL. This proved to be one of the best technical conferences I've ever attended, and also one of the most fun!

  8. Start a Memphis/Mid-South Area Java User Group

    I don't think this goal could have gone any better than it has. In late July I started a Google Group and a small Google Page Creator website to attempt to drum up interest in a Java User Group for the Memphis, TN and surrounding Mid-South area. On July 23, 2007, along comes Diane Tabulog, a technical recruiter with local company Vaco Technology, who convinces her company to throw its support behind our JUG. All of a sudden we have an offer for a meeting location, food budget, giveaways, etc. Later, Clayton Naeve, our CIO at St. Jude, agreed to let us use our awesome conference room at our division's new offices at 160 Shadyac Avenue to meet, as Vaco's facilities were a bit small. On August 15, Carol McDonald, a Java Technology Evangelist from Sun Microsystems, offered to speak at our JUG, and we signed her up for the first meeting. Little by little, all of the necessary pieces started to fall into place, including additional free giveaways from Sun, O'Reilly, Atlassian, and JetBrains. The first meeting was a great success, and since then we've had two more successful meetings. Our next meeting is Thursday, January 17, 2008. Find out more at http://www.memphisjug.org.