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.

Devoxx4Kids - Denver Chapter Begins!

Devoxx4Kids I'm happy to announce the first meeting of the Denver Chapter of Devoxx4Kids is now open for registration. It's a two hour class titled Introduction to Server-Side Minecraft Programming and will be taught by Denver's own Scott Davis. The class will be held on May 3rd, from 10am - 12pm at Thrive's Cherry Creek location, where we can comfortably fit 20 students. Cost is $10, but you'll get that back in the form of a t-shirt. Age requirement is 9-18 and kids should have basic computer skills (copy/paste, opening applications, etc.). Minecraft experience will certainly help too.

I'd like to thank Daniel De Luca for his initial assistance with getting Devoxx4Kids setup in Denver and Arun Gupta for starting Devoxx4Kids USA. Arun has been a great help in getting things going and answering my questions over the last few months. Of course, none of it would be happening without Scott Davis or Thrive. If you join us on May 3rd, you'll see that Scott is an awesome teacher and Thrive has some incredible facilities.

My initial goal with Devoxx4Kids in Denver is to host a class or two this year. If there's enough demand, we can expand. For now, we're starting small and seeing where it takes us. If you're interested in teaching a future class, please let me know. We'd love to teach the kids a number of skills, from Scratch to NAO Humanoid Robot programming to building things with Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Posted in Java at Apr 08 2014, 10:59:29 AM MDT Add a Comment

Developing an iOS Native App with Ionic

In my current project, I've been helping a client develop a native iOS app for their customers. It's written mostly in Objective-C and talks to a REST API. I talked about how we documented our REST API a couple days ago. We developed a prototype for this application back in December, using AngularJS and Bootstrap. Rather than using PhoneGap, we loaded our app in a UIWebView.

It all seemed to work well until we needed to read an activation code with the device's camera. Since we didn't know how to do OCR in JavaScript, we figured a mostly-native app was the way to go. We hired an outside company to do iOS development in January and they've been developing the app since the beginning of February. In the last couple weeks, we encountered some screens that seemed fitting for HTML5, so we turned back to our AngularJS prototype.

The prototype used Bootstrap heavily, but we quickly learned it didn't look like an iOS 7 app, which is what our UX Designer requested. A co-worker pointed out Ionic, developed by Drifty. It's basically Bootstrap for Native, so the apps you develop look and behave like a mobile application.

What is Ionic?
Free and open source, Ionic offers a library of mobile-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components for building highly interactive apps. Built with Sass and optimized for AngularJS.

I started developing with Ionic a few weeks ago. Using its CSS classes and AngularJS directives, I was able to create several new screens in a matter of days. Most of the time, I was learning new things: how to override its back button behavior (to launch back into the native app), how to configure routes with ui-router, and how to make the $ionicLoading service look native. Now that I know a lot of the basics, I feel like I can really crank out some code.

Tip: I learned how subviews work with ui-router thanks to a YouTube video of Tim Kindberg on Angular UI-Router. However, subviews never fully made sense until I saw Jared Bell's diagram.

To demonstrate how easy it is to use Ionic, I whipped up a quick example application. You can get the source on GitHub at https://github.com/mraible/boot-ionic. The app is a refactored version of Josh Long's x-auth-security that uses Ionic instead of raw AngularJS and Bootstrap. To keep things simple, I did not develop the native app that wraps the HTML.

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Posted in The Web at Mar 27 2014, 04:38:55 PM MDT 2 Comments

Documenting your Spring API with Swagger

Over the last several months, I've been developing a REST API using Spring Boot. My client hired an outside company to develop a native iOS app, and my development team was responsible for developing its API. Our main task involved integrating with Epic, a popular software system used in Health care. We also developed a Crowd-backed authentication system, based loosely on Philip Sorst's Angular REST Security.

To document our API, we used Spring MVC integration for Swagger (a.k.a. swagger-springmvc). I briefly looked into swagger4spring-web, but gave up quickly when it didn't recognize Spring's @RestController. We started with swagger-springmvc 0.6.5 and found it fairly easy to integrate. Unfortunately, it didn't allow us to annotate our model objects and tell clients which fields were required. We were quite pleased when a new version (0.8.2) was released that supports Swagger 1.3 and its @ApiModelProperty.

What is Swagger?
The goal of Swagger is to define a standard, language-agnostic interface to REST APIs which allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of the service without access to source code, documentation, or through network traffic inspection.

To demonstrate how Swagger works, I integrated it into Josh Long's x-auth-security project. If you have a Boot-powered project, you should be able to use the same steps.

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Posted in Java at Mar 25 2014, 01:07:18 PM MDT 2 Comments

The Art of AngularJS

Last night, I had the pleasure of speaking at Denver's DeRailed about AngularJS. Fernand (the group's leader) asked me to speak in December, just after I'd finished a European speaking tour. The Modern Java Web Developer talk I created for that tour included a 20-minute AngularJS Deep Dive screencast. I figured it wouldn't be much work to augment the screencast and create an hour long talk, so I agreed.

When I started creating the presentation last week, I decided I didn't want to make the audience watch my screencast as part of the presentation. They could easily do that on their own time. So I wrote, from scratch, a brand new presentation on AngularJS. I tried to include all the things about Angular that I thought were important and useful for me in my learning process. The result is a presentation I'm proud of and enjoyed delivering.

You can click through it below, download it from my presentations page, or view it on SlideShare.

You might notice the presentation has a whole lot of code in it. Normally, when I copy/paste code into a presentation, I use IntelliJ IDEA and everything works. This time, there was something amiss between IDEA 13 and Keynote 6. I tried using IDEA's plugins (namely Copy on steroids and Copy as HTML), but none of them worked. IDEA 12 resulted in the same problem. Then I turned to other solutions. I installed highlight and copied code from the command line. This worked, but the fonts and colors weren't to my liking. Finally, I decided to try another editor: Sublime Text with SublimeHighlight. This worked great and I'm very happy with the results.

Most of my presentations end with a Questions/Contact slide. For this one, I added a few more: people to follow on Twitter, resources to learn from and projects with useful code. Below are a handful of links that greatly enhanced my AngularJS knowledge in the last year.

One of the audience members at DeRailed recommended thinkster.io as a good resource too.

Thanks to Fernand for inviting me to speak and causing me to write this presentation. Creating it greatly improved my AngularJS knowledge and I learned about some new tools in the process. If you'd like to tap into my wealth of knowledge, I'm available for a new gig in April. ;)

Posted in The Web at Feb 27 2014, 09:44:29 AM MST 4 Comments

Heli Skiing in British Columbia with CMH Gothics

I first learned how to downhill ski in Montana while I was in grade school. A couple times a year, the whole school would go on a field trip to Big Mountain (now Whitefish Mountain). I didn't ski a whole lot in high school, nor in college (at the University of Denver). However, several friends went to DU for the skiing. They'd schedule their classes so they had a couple days off per week, and they'd head for the hills. Two friends in particular, Chris and Chris, were some of the best skiers I'd ever seen. They'd fly through the moguls with legs like rubber bands, upper-body barely moving, legs absorbing the world famous bumps at Mary Jane.

I used to talk about Chris and Chris, long after college, as the amazing skiers with the rubber band legs. I didn't start skiing a lot until I worked for a .com in the late 90s. The VP of Development (whom we now call "The Professor") told us that one of the perks was a "9-inch Rule". The rule was that if it snowed 9", you could take the day off and go skiing, as long as you went to the resort that had the fresh powder. It was crazy how few people took advantage of this, but he and I never missed a day that year. That was likely the first year I'd skied more than 10 days in my life, and I'll bet I skied 20 with him.

I continued to ski a fair bit with my practice wife, then took a couple years off when the kids were born. We got them on skis when they were two years old, and they've been skiing ever since. The funny thing is, I never got really good at skiing until I started taking tips from The Professor. The year was 2010, and I got good enough to be able to ski top-to-bottom bump runs without stopping. Skiing had become a passion for me.

When I met Trish a few months later, I asked her if she skied (hoping to God she did). Her response blew my mind.

"No, I tele."

She went on to explain how she'd started with Alpine, moved to snowboarding for six years and was now addicted to free heeling. I just gazed with a dumb stare and my mouth open.

Last year, Chris M. decided it was high time we did a helicopter ski trip.

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Posted in General at Feb 11 2014, 11:18:39 AM MST 1 Comment

Comparing JVM Web Frameworks at vJUG

A couple months ago, I was invited to speak at Virtual JUG - an online-only Java User Group organized by the ZeroTurnaround folks. They chose my Comparing JVM Web Frameworks presentation and we agreed I'd speak yesterday morning. They used a combination of Google Hangouts, live streaming on YouTube and IRC to facilitate the meeting. It all went pretty smoothly and produced a comfortable speaking environment. To practice for vJUG, I delivered the same talk on Tuesday night at the Denver Open Source Users Group.

The last time I delivered this talk was at Devoxx France in March 2013. I didn't change any of the format this time, keeping with referencing the Paradox of Choice and encouraging people to define constraints to help them make their decision. I did add a few new slides regarding RebelLabs' Curious Coder’s Java Web Frameworks Comparison: Spring MVC, Grails, Vaadin, GWT, Wicket, Play, Struts and JSF and The 2014 Decision Maker’s Guide to Java Web Frameworks.

I also updated all the pretty graphs (which may or may not have any significance) with the latest stats from Dice.com, LinkedIn, StackOverflow and respective mailing lists. Significant changes I found compared to one year ago:

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Posted in Java at Feb 06 2014, 10:54:17 AM MST 2 Comments

2013 - A Year in Review

2013 was an amazing year: Trish and I got married, celebrated on a 'round-the-world honeymoon and invested in a new 4x4 VW Bus. I finally achieved my goal of vacationing 25% and I got to spend more than two months in the presence of my wonderful parents.

For this Year in Review post, I'll use the same format as I did last year:

Professional

For the last few years, I've generally had one client per year. That changed this year when my contract with Oracle ended in May. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to develop a cool dashboard application before I finished. I wrote about it in a four-part series.

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Posted in Roller at Jan 31 2014, 08:53:10 AM MST Add a Comment

You shouldn't have to worry about front end optimization

After writing yesterday's article on optimizing AngularJS apps with Grunt I received an interesting reply from @markj9 on Twitter.

I clicked on the provided link, listened to the podcast (RR HTTP 2.0 with Ilya Grigorik) and discovered some juicy bits at around 27:00. The text below is from the podcast's transcript at the bottom of the page.

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Posted in The Web at Jan 16 2014, 01:49:03 PM MST 5 Comments

Using Grunt with AngularJS for Front End Optimization

I'm passionate about front end optimization and have been for years. My original inspiration was Steve Souders and his Even Faster Web Sites talk at OSCON 2008. Since then, I've optimized this blog, made it even faster with a new design, doubled the speed of several apps for clients and showed how to make AppFuse faster. As part of my Devoxx 2013 presentation, I showed how to do page speed optimization in a Java webapp.

I developed a couple AngularJS apps last year. To concat and minify their stylesheets and scripts, I used mechanisms that already existed in the projects. On one project, it was Ant and its concat task. On the other, it was part of a Grails application, so I used the resources and yui-minify-resources plugins.

The Angular project I'm working on now will be published on a web server, as well as bundled in an iOS native app. Therefore, I turned to Grunt to do the optimization this time. I found it to be quite simple, once I figured out how to make it work with Angular. Based on my findings, I submitted a pull request to add Grunt to angular-seed.

Below are the steps I used to add Grunt to my Angular project.

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Posted in The Web at Jan 15 2014, 12:15:52 PM MST 1 Comment

AppFuse 3.0 Released!

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 3.0. This release is AppFuse's first release as a 10-year old and includes a whole slew of improvements.

  • Java 7 and Maven 3 are now minimal requirements
  • Replaced MyFaces and Tomahawk with PrimeFaces for JSF
    • Removed SiteMesh in favor of JSF's built-in layout support
  • Added Wicket support
  • Migrated from jMock to Mockito for tests
  • Integrated wro4j and WebJars
  • Migrated to Bootstrap 3 and defaulted to Bootswatch's Spacelab theme

In addition, this release includes upgrades to all dependencies to bring them up-to-date with their latest releases. Most notable are Spring 4, Spring Security 3.2 and Bootstrap 3. For more details on specific changes see the release notes.

What is AppFuse?
AppFuse is a full-stack framework for building web applications on the JVM. It was originally developed to eliminate the ramp-up time when building new web applications. Over the years, it has matured into a very testable and secure system for creating Java-based webapps.

Demos for this release can be viewed at http://demo.appfuse.org. Please see the QuickStart Guide to get started with this release.

If you have questions about AppFuse, please read the FAQ or join the user mailing list. If you find any issues, please report them on the users mailing list. You can also post them to Stack Overflow with the "appfuse" tag.

Thanks to everyone for their help contributing patches, writing documentation and participating on the mailing lists.

We greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix, and JetBrains. Atlassian and Contegix are especially awesome: Atlassian has donated licenses to all its products and Contegix has donated an entire server to the AppFuse project.

Posted in Java at Dec 23 2013, 02:31:15 PM MST 1 Comment