Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Minecraft Modding at Denver's Devoxx4Kids

Devoxx4Kids Denver: Minecraft Modding Last weekend, Denver's Devoxx4Kids gathered at Tuliva to learn about Modding Minecraft. Several kids (ages 7-15) were introduced to programming Java by the founder of Devoxx4Kids USA, Arun Gupta, and his son, Aditya.

They used Java 8, Eclipse, Minecraft Forge and to show you how to create mods that could give you potatoes, skeleton cows, and even launch into different dimensions. The skeleton war was a big hit too. We had a record turnout at this event, and the space was fabulous. The live broadcast from vJUG went very smoothly and Tuliva's large screen and sound served us well. It was pretty sweet when we got shout-outs from the vJUG crew too!

Thanks for the great space Tuliva! Watching Arun and Aditya on vJUG

Simon Maple wrote a great summary of the session that includes the video we watched, as well as an interview with Arun and Aditya. Take a look at Devoxx4Kid's Minecraft Modding Tutorial if you'd like to see what we learned.

We did run into a couple issues while trying to follow along. The first was that the virtual machines we were using wouldn't run the Minecraft client. The error we saw was:

org.lwjgl.LWJGLException: Pixel format not accelerated

We later learned from Arun that virtual machines were an issue and it's better to use Forge on a local machine. The second issue we ran into was when folks tried to build Forge from source, they got a 500 error when it tried to download http://export.mcpbot.bspk.rs/versions.json. We later learned that the firewall was blocking it.

Despite these issues, I believe the kids learned a lot by watching the vJUG broadcast. I spoke with some parents that got things working in the class, as well as a few that tried it when they got home. After the modding session, I showed the class how to create a Minecraft Server on AWS. I also did some research to see if you could automate the server creation. I quickly landed on Thomas Offermann's site and his tutorials:

Thomas created a couple GitHub projects: one to setup a Minecraft server on AWS, as well as a webapp that you can start/stop it with. I haven't tried either project yet, but I hope to soon.

Thanks to all the Denver kids and parents that joined us last weekend! The Tuliva facilities were spacious and comfortable. We owe them a big thanks for sponsoring Devoxx4Kids Denver! We hope to do another workshop this fall, possibly on Raspberry Pi.

Posted in Java at Aug 19 2015, 08:41:52 AM MDT Add a Comment

How do I become a programmer?

Yesterday, I received a message from a friend, asking about how to become a programmer. It's not the first time I've been asked this. In fact, this summer I've been asked by several friends how to get into the field. It seems that as people grow older, they see the lifestyle of working remotely and enjoying their job as an attractive thing to do. In yesterday's case, this friend is a mom that now has her days free because all her kids are in school. Here's what she wrote:

Now that my girls are both in school full day, I've been thinking about taking some programming classes. It's something I started to do while I was working at [ABC Company], but obviously didn't pursue once I quit to have kids. I'm thinking of getting my MIS in web development or specializing in designing apps if that's even a thing? Anyway, what languages would you recommend I concentrate on? JavaScript, Python? Lastly, is there a particular school you would recommend? I can't afford DU on my stay-at-home-mom salary, or even Regis which is where I started when I was getting tuition reimbursement. I was hoping I could do most of my education online while the kids are in school? Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

Since this is a common question I see, I figured I'd publish my answers here, and get some advice from y'all too. Here's my response:

Python would definitely be good, as would JavaScript. JavaScript can be done on the client and server these days, so you could do that and be able to do front-end and backend development.

For programming specifically, I've heard these guys have a good JavaScript course: https://www.codecademy.com. Here's how to get started with Python in eight weeks: http://lifehacker.com/how-i-taught-myself-to-code-in-eight-weeks-511615189. And one of my favorites: http://programming-motherfucker.com/become.html.

I've taken a Scala course from Coursera, it was hard and intense, but I learned a lot. They have lots of courses and give you certifications you can put on your LinkedIn profile: https://www.coursera.org.

I've also recommended https://teamtreehouse.com to folks and https://www.khanacademy.org has always been good, even for kids.

Ultimately, the best way to learn to code is by doing. It's definitely good to study, learn and practice, but it'll probably won't sink in and become real knowledge until you're getting paid to do it. With the plethora of high-priced programmers out there, you can likely find a junior position, show a willingness to learn and come up to speed quickly. If you can couple that with a remote position, I think you'll really enjoy yourself.

Her response was interesting, as she thought she might need a CS degree to even get a programming job.

Coincidentally I looked over many of these coding sites yesterday but wasn't sure if I needed an accredited diploma. It sounds like it's more important that I just get some experience.

From my experience, a college degree matters, but not a CS degree. I told her people skills make programmers stand out and she's a witty person that certainly has those. What's your advice as a programmer? What would you tell people to do if they want to break into the field?

More importantly, if you're on the hiring side, what would it take for you to hire a 40-something person with no programming background? If they've been studying for six months and have really good people skills, would you hire them for a junior position?

Posted in Java at Aug 13 2015, 08:32:43 AM MDT 6 Comments

Setting up a Minecraft Server in the Cloud

Minecraft My 10-year-old son, Jack, is a huge fan of Minecraft. If you let him, he'd play all day, skipping meals and having a blast. It's most fun to hear him playing with his sister or his best friend. I'm amazed it's captured his attention for so long; well over two years. Both my kids loved it when Scott Davis taught a Devoxx4Kids Denver class on Server-side Minecraft programming.

We haven't had any Devoxx4Kids Denver workshops this year, but that's about to change. First of all, I'm happy to announce we're working with the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group to have a Day of Family Coding Fun at Elitch Gardens this Friday. There will be a workshop on Raspberry Pi and I'll be doing a demonstration on how to setup a Minecraft Server in the cloud. Next weekend, we'll be doing a more in-depth Minecraft Workshop at Devoxx4Kids Denver. If you'd like to join us please RSVP. Since having your own Minecraft Server is a fun thing for kids, and useful for parents, I figured I'd document how to do it here.

First of all, let me say that I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. When I first setup a Minecraft server, I used Ben Garton's Setting up a free Minecraft server in the cloud - part 1 as well as part 2 and 3. I also found Aaron Bell's How to run a Minecraft server on Amazon EC2 to be quite useful.

Without further ado, here's you how to setup a Minecraft Server on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015!

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Posted in Java at Aug 05 2015, 03:03:00 PM MDT 2 Comments

UberConf 2015: My Presentations on Apache Camel and Java Webapp Security

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at UberConf 2015. My first talk was on Developing, Testing and Scaling with Apache Camel. This presentation contained an intro to Apache Camel and a recap of my experience using it at a client last year. You can click through the presentation below, download it from my presentations page, or view it on SlideShare.

My second presentation was about implementing Java Web Application Security with Java EE, Spring Security and Apache Shiro. I updated this presentation to use Java EE 7 and Jersey, as well as Spring Boot. I used Spring Boot to manage dependencies in all three projects, then showed the slick out-of-the-box security Spring Boot has (when you include the Spring Security on the classpath). For Apache Shiro, I configured its filter and required dependencies using Spring's JavaConfig. You can click through my security presentation below, download it from my presentations page, or view it on SlideShare.

One thing that didn't make it into the presentation was the super-helpful pull request from Rob Winch, Spring Security Lead. He showed me how you can use basic and form-based authentication in the same app, as well how to write tests with MockMvc and Spring Security's Testing support.

The next time I do this presentation (at the Rich Web Experience), I'd like to see if it's possible to use all-Java to configure the Java EE 7 example. I used web.xml in this example and the Servlet 3.0 Security Annotations might offer enough to get rid of it.

All the demos I did during the security presentation can be seen in my java-webapp-security-examples project on GitHub. There's branches for where I started (javaee-start, springsecurity-start and apacheshiro-start) as well as "complete" branches for where I finished. The complete examples should also be in-sync with the master branch.

If you have any questions about either presentation, please let me know.

Posted in Java at Jul 27 2015, 08:08:48 AM MDT Add a Comment

Grails + Angular vs. JHipster

I recently received an email from a long time follower of my comparing web frameworks research and presentations. He asked some interesting questions:

I am starting on a new venture to build a direct to consumer web application. I am planning to leverage Cloud services to build my CI/CD pipeline. I am very strong with Java Backend/middleware and learning Javascript Front-end frameworks. I love Spring and SOFEA. Having said that, I am wondering if I should use Grails + Angular or JHipster? My primary concern with JHipster is there is hardly any ‘community', there is Julien and whatever he says/thinks goes! Can you give me some pointers?

I imagine there's other JVM developers with similar questions, so I figured I'd publish my response for all to see.

JHipster may have a smaller community than Grails, but remember that it's built on Spring Boot and AngularJS. Both have huge communities. In fact, Grails 3 is built on Spring Boot, just like JHipster.

Even though JHipster generates your code in Java, there's nothing preventing you from writing your code in Groovy or Scala. I dig JHipster, but I've also worked with AngularJS and Spring Boot for a couple years. The fact that someone put these technologies together and makes it easy to work with them is awesome.

I like JHipster so much, I decided to write a book on it. I hope to finish it in the next couple months and have it published in the fall. It'll be a free download from InfoQ. Learn more at http://www.jhipster-book.com.

Yes, I'm probably a bit biased since I'm writing a JHipster book. However, it's been easy for me to introduce and use Spring Boot at my last few clients. They were already using Spring, so the transition to using a Spring simplifier was a no-brainer. I haven't had as much luck getting clients to adopt Grails, even though I've suggested it. That could change now that it's based on Spring Boot.

What's your experience? Would you recommend Grails + Angular over JHipster? If so, why?

Posted in Java at Jul 14 2015, 08:02:01 AM MDT 1 Comment

Life Update: The Bus Project, New Gigs, New House and More

I've written a few Life Update blog posts in the past and it seems appropriate to write another one today. A lot has happened since I wrote about our trip to Syncro Solstice 2015 in Moab. First of all, let's talk about the most exciting one: The Bus Project.

The Bus Project
The last time I wrote about The Bus, it'd just arrived at Sewfine to have the interior installed. From the get-go, I knew this was going to be a good experience. I've been talking with the owners (Carol and Mike) for years about the project. Seeing the knowledge they had about VWs and knowing it was in good hands brought a sense of calmness over me. They estimated it'd take 4-8 weeks to finish and it ended up taking 12. I'm proud to say it left Sewfine yesterday with a completed interior.

Love the color scheme with chrome accents The cockpit

In mid-May, we took The Bus to its first show: VWs on the Green in Littleton. Sewfine had completed the driver's seat and ragtop. I got license plates and insurance and was planning on driving it to the show. However, Mike pointed out that the engine compartment wasn't sealed and the engine might get really hot on the 10-mile drive (because it's an air-cooled engine). I agreed to trailer it instead and rented a car hauler from U-Haul.

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Posted in The Bus at Jul 08 2015, 10:14:56 PM MDT 1 Comment

The Last Day of School

Today marks the last day of the school year for Abbie and Jack. I wrote about their first day of school back in August. It's Jack's last day in 4th grade and Abbie's last day in 6th grade. I snapped a picture to capture the memory as they were rushing off this morning.

The Last Day of School 2015

For summer activities, Abbie is still horseback riding every week. Jack is playing flag football and his team has been dominating. Both just joined a swim team. They competed in their first swim meet last weekend and did great. This is the first summer we didn't sign them up for a bunch of summer camps. We figured their daily 8am swim practice would be enough. I'd love to do a summer Devoxx4Kids class, but I'm having some difficulty finding volunteer instructors.

For summer vacations, we've only planned one: a 4-day road trip through Wyoming, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park. From there, we'll head to my parent's house for a fun-filled 4th of July. Our current plan is to drive the Syncro and The Bus. Yeah, it's a long shot that The Bus will be done after all these years, but one can dream, right? ;)

Posted in General at Jun 02 2015, 08:31:31 AM MDT Add a Comment

Syncro Solstice 2015

Our Syncro has been running in tip-top shape ever since we got a new Subaru H6 engine last August. Since then, we've driven it 9000 miles, most of them on trips during the ski season. To begin the camping season this year, we traveled to Moab, Utah for the annual Syncro Solstice gathering. We attended our first Syncro Solstice last year and it's been on our calendar ever since. This year, Trish and Abbie opted out, so it was a boys trip for Jack and I.

Locked and Loaded My co-pilot and best son

We left Denver on the Thursday morning before Mother's Day weekend. We made it all the way to Grand Junction (about 4 hours) before we stopped for gas. That's where our adventures began.

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Posted in General at May 21 2015, 09:35:38 AM MDT 3 Comments

Farewell to the 2014-2015 Ski Season

My family and I had a terrific ski season this year. Last year was an epic year with 11 resorts and a heli-skiing trip to British Columbia. This year, we skied Winter Park/Mary Jane, Steamboat, Copper, Crested Butte and Telluride. I logged 42 days of skiing, my most ever.

My season started on November 19th at Winter Park. Trish and I skied it again together a few days later. Opening Day at Mary Jane on November 28th was beautiful.

Over Christmas and New Years, we stayed at our Ski Shack near Winter Park and got a number of days in. My buddy Joe Lamont and I skied together on the coldest day, when it was -6°F at the base of Mary Jane. I was pumped when got to ski with Mattias Karlsson and his family just after New Years.

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Posted in General at May 12 2015, 08:19:03 AM MDT Add a Comment

The Bus Arrives at Sewfine

11 years ago yesterday, I bought a '66 21-Window VW Bus using "buy it now" on eBay. 11 years later, it was delivered to Sewfine Interior Products to get the interior installed. When I originally spoke with them last year, they estimated it'd only take two weeks to finish. After seeing how much work needed to be done, they changed that estimate to 4-8 weeks.

After Sewfine, it still needs another week at the body shop to clean it up and install the rear deck lid. After that, I'll probably drive it for a few weeks before taking it to the stereo shop for the sound system.

While finalizing my interior order yesterday, I got to start it for the first time. It sounded like a muscle car. So fricken' sweet! :)

In the first photo below, you'll notice there's two yellow busses. Sewfine had a '62 (the far one) they were just finishing up. It was awesome to see the two together. Sewfine published a whole bunch of pictures of the '62 on Facebook.

Twins! Safari Windows

The paint looks soooo good! I like its smile

My favorite bus... The '62 is a pale yellow in comparison

Air Ride Suspension Power Steering wheel might need to be replaced

If you'd like to learn more about the VW Bus and the Deluxe Samba, see 21 Window & 23 Window Volkswagen Buses.

Posted in The Bus at Apr 11 2015, 11:09:24 AM MDT 2 Comments