Devoxx 2010

The Devoxx week is over, time to decompress. As in previous years, this was a great conference. The organization and accommodation are hard to beat (these comfortable cinema seats are just great).

So what will I remember from this year?

  • Don’t use the car to go to the conference. I got stuck in a serious traffic jam on the first day. Not fun. Train on the other days was way more comfortable.
  • There was a lot of attention to NoSQL. While I really digg this technology, and would like to have an opportunity to use it, I fear this may lead to too many people using it, even in cases where a normal SQL database is equally suited. That said, it it very interesting to keep in mind that other options exist, even though this will currently result in more system administration and the need for lots of low level code (like custom indexing code).
  • Sun’s OpenSSO solution is now OpenAM from ForgeRock. More details here.
  • Infinispan is the BPM framework to watch in my opinion. If they aren’t the best now (they haven’t reached the first stable release just yet), they will be in a couple of months. I wrote a separate blog about that session.
  • There was an interesting talk on Hudson by John Smart. He showed a lot of interesting Hudson plug-ins including a plugin to build deployment pipelines (allowing you to do actions based on the result of dependent builds), a dashboard-like plugin which shows build status (lava-lamp like), release plug-in,…
  • At the keynotes there was an impressive demo where plugging in a iPhone to Parleys (an online application), you can use the device as remote for the site.
  • There was also a nice talk about Infinispan. Not much new content for me, but still a good reminder. Read more here. One take-away message was that it may be better to use “cache.putAsync()” then just “cache.put()”.
  • When using CI, make sure it builds as soon as possible. Better to have SCM polled every minute than every hours (need to change that on a couple of Hudson projects).
  • HTML5 : really great, has great support on mobile devices but for business applications IE is too prolific for it to be usable. Then again maybe tools like Modernizr and excanvas may help for backwards compatibility (and maybe some Google Gears for location and offline).

iText in Action

  • My first session was about iText. It was an interesting session which explained how PDF forms can be used for reporting (not really how it was presented, but that is what I remember as use). You can fill in the form fields and then flatten the PDF. Such forms can for example be created using OpenOffice (or should I now say LibreOffice).
    When using a XFA form, you can even have repeating fields. You can use Adobe Lifecycle designer to create these forms. Unfortunately such forms cannot be flattened for now.
  • For PDF signatures some things are goind to change. ISO32001 gives details. There is work ongoing for long term validation of signatures (beyond the certificate deadline).
  • PDF content can be tagged. This can for example make it easier to know the purpose/semantics of a piece of text. There may be some problems though as the standard conformance is not so clear.
  • Dynamic PDF: you can add flash in a PDF page (though you should set “scaleMode” to “exact mode” to assure it works). You can even create buttons in your PDF which interact with the flash components and vice versa. It seems the PDF viewer if turned into something like a browser.
  • PDF documents can support different layers which are made visible or invisible by the viewer. This could be an interesting addition for Geomajas printing. This now lets the selection of layers be done before producing the PDF, so it cannot be changed.
  • When your CI build takes long because of tests (eg JIRA tests took between 30 and 60 hours to run), it becomes useful to split your tests. You could let the build be done on several systems (possibly auto created on EC2 or similar) and let each system run part of the tests. Also optimizing test code can be important (but as always when optimizing, measure first).

Spring Roo

  • Roo has an interesting way to incrementally build applications. I owuld like to investigate how pluggable this is and whether this can be used as a more advanced variant of the Maven Archetype.
  • SprintSource Tool Suite is an eclipse configuration with a selected set of plug-ins. This sounds like an interesting starting configuration for Geomajas as well.
  • There is a Maven plug-in for generating the Roo stuff to allow this to be used in continuous integration as you should not check the generated code into the source repository.
  • Features for making entities easier/more readable look interesting – though Lombok may also be an option here.
  • Roo uses a background application to monitor changes, but also the code generated plug-in for java 6.
  • Roo has a add-on creator add-on.

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