Two weeks ago, Trish and I boarded a flight for one of our favorite conferences: Devoxx. After a brief layover in Frankfurt, we arrived in Amsterdam and took a train to Antwerp. Within hours, we'd settled into our hotel near the center of Antwerp and strolled over to the
dungeonous, yet cozy, Pelgrom restaurant. We were hoping for a delicious
dinner, but found much more. We
ran into James Ward, Dick Wall and a number of other enthusiastic speakers from the conference. Since I had to speak
the next day, we didn't stay long, but we did share a number of laughs with some great people.
Tuesday (November 12), was a University Day at Devoxx, and I had my talk that afternoon. I spent a couple hours
finishing up my talk
that morning, then grabbed a taxi to head to the conference. I was honored with the opportunity to speak in Room 8,
which is a huge theater that holds several hundred people.
I presented a lengthened version of The Modern Java Web Developer presentation I did early this year (at Denver's JUG and JavaOne). Based on your feedback, I chose to do deep
dives on AngularJS, Bootstrap and Page Speed. I've always enjoyed speaking at Devoxx because attendees are so
enthusiastic and passionate about the conference. I received an immense amount of feedback, both in praises and
criticisms. The critics indicated there were too many buzzwords and not
enough substance. Others complained that the AngularJS Lipsync that I did was too
I made sure to review and process everyone's comments, and then used them to improve the presentation throughout the
following week. I learned to elaborate on the fact that many of the technologies were important to know about, but
not important to know through-and-through. I made sure to mention that the use of CoffeeScript and LESS is often
limited (or embraced) by team members and their willingness to try new things. If you're not writing thousands of
reminded people to be skeptical of new technology, but also to be open-minded and give everything a chance. The
10-minute, download-and-try test, is a great way to do that.
At this year's Devoxx, I'll be delivering my first University session. University talks are in depth presentations of 3 hours (= 75m + 30m break + 75m). I'm calling it The Modern Java Web Developer Bootcamp and my goal is to teach people some new concepts and techniques that'll make them more valuable developers. My session's hashtag is #dv13-javaweb$ to exemplify the important takeaways: Java is back, web development is fun and you can make more money.
Three hours is quite a bit longer than I'm used to, but I'm confident I can fill the time with lots of knowledge. My plan is to enhance my presentation from JavaOne and add a few demos. Currently, I'm thinking of developing the following additional content:
HTTP Overview (with SPDY)
Polymer and Web Components
Bootstrap 3 Overview
API Framework Comparison (Play, Grails, Dropwizard)
Performance Monitoring (including RUM)
Internal Cloud Options
For demos, I'd like to show a few that provide real value to attendees and teach them how to do something they haven't done before. The ones below are candidates I'm thinking of, and I'd like to pick three for the final presentation.
Browser Tools Demo
Developing with Bootstrap Demo
Refactor an app from Spring to Java EE, no XML, all Java 8
Page Speed Improvement Demo
Security Demo (add LDAP to Angular app + OWASP ZAP)
If you could pick three real-time tutorials from the choices above, which ones would you choose?
I'm also thinking of adding some stories about impressive loads served with very little hardware and real-time dashboard development. If you have a story about either of these, please let me know. I'd be happy to credit you (or your company) and talk about any technical implementation details you're willing to provide.
After that brief interaction, Charles and I started talking about the possibility of writing for InfoQ. I said I'd be interested and things have been progressing steadily from there. Today, I'm proud to announce that my first InfoQ article has been published. If you missed JavaOne, or attended but didn't see the keynotes, you might enjoy reading JavaOne 2013 Roundup: Java 8 is Revolutionary, Java is back.
If you did attend JavaOne, or simply watched the JavaOne Keynotes and found something particularly intriguing, I'd love to hear about it.
I flew into San Francisco this past Monday to speak at JavaOne 2013, and to meet with my new client. I made sure to wear a Broncos shirt since I was riding the train through Oakland and had some co-workers that were Raiders fans. My trip started off nicely as the Broncos dismantled the Raiders on Monday Night Football. My new team and I watched it during a team dinner at Havana in Walnut Creek. Historically, the Broncos and Raiders have had a heated rivalry historically, so the win was the perfect start to the week.
On Tuesday, I worked from my hotel in the morning, then met James Ward to do some last minute prep for our smackdown. The prior week, we both upgraded our respective apps to use the latest versions of Grails and Play Framework. I ran into afewissues when upgrading, while Play required some API changes.
We both added Memcachier to our apps (to share caching between dynos) and ran some Apache Bench tests. The results showed quite a bit of slowdown compared to last time, which we attributed to caching needing to make network hops. Other than that, we both had to make changes to our framework's buildpacks to get the latest versions running on Heroku, and when we headed for our talk, my instance of Grails wasn't running (60 second boot timeout on startup). The good news is it somehow solved its issues during our talk and was up and running when I checked it after, as it is now. Below is an embedded version of the presentation we delivered. You can also click here to see it in a new window, or view it on SlideShare.
After completing my talks, I journeyed to my client and practiced what I preached, successfully finishing a spike that reduced page load time from 8 seconds to 2 seconds. That evening, I attended the Oracle Appreciation Event at Treasure Island, had some cold beer and listened to some loud music.
I had a great time speaking at JavaOne this year, and look forward to my next speaking engagement. In November, I'll be traveling to Devoxx where I'll be giving a 3-hour University session on The Modern Java Web Developer. Hope to see you there!
I've been to JavaOne many times in my life, starting in 2004 and continuing in 2005, 2006 and 2008. I have fond memories of the first couple years, meeting all the Java open source guys and having a lot of fun.
You might notice that the aforementioned blog posts no longer show pictures. That's because they were originally hosted on Apple's HomePage, which they shut down years ago. I haven't bothered to republish the photos and fix the links, but I do still have them. For those looking for a blast from the past, checkout Mike, Howard and James or Bruce and Marc. I also have a set of photos from our Geronimo Live party in 2006.
As many of you know, JavaOne used to be a huge conference, attracting 15,000 attendees back in the day. Numbers have dwindled a lot since Oracle bought Sun and I've heard recent years are more around 1500. Since I've spoken at a lot of conferences, but never JavaOne, I figured I'd try this year. The good news is I got accepted and I'll be there next week!
Whenever I do a talk, I get requests for a recording of it. It's rare that recordings are made, but when they are, I like to share them. In March of this year, I traveled to Devoxx France and had a great time. One of the talks I delivered was Comparing JVM Web Frameworks, with a bit of a twist from prior versions.
The good folks at Parleys have published the video of this talk. If you haven't heard of Parleys, it's an awesome platform for watching conference talks. As their Mission Statement says: If YouTube and Slideshare would make a baby then it would be named Parleys.
Below is an embedded video of this presentation - I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did delivering it!
10 years ago yesterday, I released the first version of AppFuse. It started with XDoclet generating ActionForms from POJOs and became very popular for Struts developers that wanted to use Hibernate. The project's popularity peaked in 2006, as you can see from the mailing list traffic below.
It's possible the decrease in traffic is because we re-wrote everything to be based on Maven. It's also possible it was because of more attractive full-stack frameworks like Grails and Rails. However, the real reason is likely that I stopped working on it all the time due to getting a divorcebecoming an awesome dad.
Below is a timeline of how the project evolved over its first 4 years.
AppFuse has been a great project for me to work on and it's been a large source of my knowledge about Java, Web Frameworks, Spring, Hibernate - as well as build systems like Ant and Maven. We started with CVS, moved to SVN and now we're on GitHub. We've experienced migrating from Tapestry 4 to Tapestry 5 (thanks Serge Eby!), upgrading to JSF 2 and enjoyed the backwards compatibility of Spring and Struts 2 throughout the years. We've also added REST support, a Web Services archetype and kept up with the latest Spring and Hibernate releases.
This week, my lovely fiancé and I traveled to the City of Light. Our journey was designed around some speaking engagements at Devoxx France. Devoxx is one of my favorite conference franchises and Devoxx France has been special to me ever since the Devoxx (Belgium) I spoke at in 2011.
2011 was the year I spoke about my experience with Play, Scala, CoffeeScript and Jade. I wrote the presentation on my flight over, composed the demo video the night before and made it all happen in the nick of time. Of course, this was after 120 hours of research and preparation, so the presentation composition process had all the data I needed. You can imagine my sense of relief after pulling off that talk and getting an enthusiastic applause from the audience for my efforts.
One of the first audience questions I received was from Nicolas Martignole, asking if I'd speak at Devoxx France the following year. I whole-heartedly agreed to do it and was excited for the opportunity. It was with great disappointment that I later found out I couldn't attend Devoxx France in 2012. My client didn't like me taking so much time off and I agreed to scale my two week vacation back to 1 week. This year, I was determined to go, so I submitted some of my favorite talks: Comparing JVM Web Frameworks and The Play vs. Grails Smackdown with James Ward. I was extremely pleased when they both got accepted.
Side Story: I met Martin Odersky shortly when he sat down next to me for the Java Posse presentation in Belgium in 2011. After shaking his hand and introducing myself, I had to politely ask him to leave because it was Trish's seat. Talk about awkward; but Martin was very gracious and promptly found a new seat close by.
Comparing JVM Web Frameworks
I took out the parts of the presentation that've pissed people off in the past - particular the JSF bashing by James Gosling, the Rails gushing from Craig McClanahan and the Pros and Cons sections of each framework. I added the history of web frameworks and research from InfoQ and devrates.com.
The best part of the JVM Web Frameworks talk was the audience's reaction and enthusiasm. Devoxx always seems to attract passionate developers and Devoxx France was no different. Developers packing the room, clapping after your intro, laughing at your jokes, signifying that they agree with you about JSF. As a speaker, it's an unbelievable experience.
You can view my Comparing JVM Web Frameworks presentation below or on Slideshare.net.
Play Frameworks vs. Grails Smackdown
To prepare for James Ward and my Play vs. Grails Smackdown, we had a number of goals. First of all, we wanted to update our apps to use the latest versions of each framework. I documented what it took for Grails, James just checked in his code to GitHub. It was interesting to see that Grails 2.0.3 -> 2.2.1 caused a number of issues with testing, while Play 2.0.3 -> Play 2.1.0 required API changes, but nothing for tests. Secondly, we updated all the stats for our pretty graphs and ran load tests again.
This is where the fun started. On Tuesday evening, I decided to challenge the notion that Play was twice as fast as Grails. James had proven this with Apache Bench tests. With Play 2.0 and Grails 2.0 (last summer), we clocked Play at 251/requests per second and 198 for Grails. After upgrading each app to the latest releases, we found the numbers to be 233/second for Play and 118 for Grails.
Now he was smoking Grails, so I added a CDN and caching as well. However, the best I could do was just over 1000/requests per second, while he was around 2200/second. When he ran live tests during our talk, Play was around 2800/sec and Grails was around 900.
It was great to see how much better performance we could get with caching and a CDN. The best part is this should be available to most applications, not just these frameworks. By adding a CDN (we used Amazon CloudFront) and caching, we were both able to 10x the performance of our apps. You can find our presentation here or view it below.
This was a very enjoyable conference to attend as a speaker. First of all, it was in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it's also a very special place for Trish and I. We got engaged just outside of Paris in Versailles after the last Devoxx conference I spoke at. Trish has some amazing photos from that trip. Secondly, the Devoxx conference attracts a special kind of developer - one that is passionate about and eager for knowledge. Lastly, speaking with my good friend James, in an exotic city about something we love - that was special. Asking for beers and having them brought to us at the start of our Smackdown. That was magical (thanks Nicolas!).
To all the Devoxx organizers and crew - well done on a great show!
Fixing the source The first issue I ran into was Spock and Groovy 2 incompatibilities.
| Resolving plugin JAR dependencies
| Error WARNING: Dependencies cannot be resolved for plugin [mail] due to error: startup failed:
Could not instantiate global transform class org.spockframework.compiler.SpockTransform specified at jar:file:/Users/mraible/.grails/ivy-cache/org.spockframework/spock-core/jars/spock-core-0.7-groovy-1.8.jar!/META-INF/services/org.codehaus.groovy.transform.ASTTransformation because of exception org.spockframework.util.IncompatibleGroovyVersionException: The Spock compiler plugin cannot execute because Spock 0.7.0-groovy-1.8 is not compatible with Groovy 2.0.7. For more information, see http://versioninfo.spockframework.org
At this point, I also moved all my plugin dependencies from application.properties to BuildConfig.groovy.
The next problem I ran into was a unit test and functional tests failing. The unit testing issue was caused by my Direction model not being in the tests @Mock annotation. After I added it, validation kicked and I recognized my test was invalid. I added @Ignore and continued.
The functional test seemed to be seemed to be caused by Geb and it trying to use the Chrome Driver. One of my tests didn't work with the default HtmlUnitDriver, so I used the ChromeDriver for the one test.
| Running 11 spock tests... 6 of 11
| Failure: signup as a new user(happytrails.AuthenticatedUserSpec)
| org.openqa.selenium.WebDriverException: Unable to either launch or connect to Chrome. Please check that ChromeDriver is up-to-date. Using Chrome binary at: /Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome (WARNING: The server did not provide any stacktrace information)
Command duration or timeout: 45.66 seconds
Build info: version: '2.27.0', revision: '18259', time: '2012-12-05 11:30:53'
System info: os.name: 'Mac OS X', os.arch: 'x86_64', os.version: '10.8.2', java.version: '1.7.0_04'
Driver info: org.openqa.selenium.chrome.ChromeDriver
at happytrails.AuthenticatedUserSpec.signup as a new user(AuthenticatedUserSpec.groovy:25)
Even when running "grails -Dgeb.env=chrome test-app", this still happened. This was caused by the fact that I had GebConfig.groovy in test/functional/happytrails. Move it to test/functional solved the problem. I also discovered that I know longer needed Chrome to get this test to pass. Apparently, the HtmlUnitDriver has issues with Grails 2.2, but it seems to work for me.
After getting the Geb configuration fixed, I ran into a functional test failure:
| Running 11 spock tests... 5 of 11
| Failure: click signup link(happytrails.AuthenticatedUserSpec)
| org.openqa.selenium.ElementNotVisibleException: Element must be displayed to click (WARNING: The server did not provide any stacktrace information)
Even though I could see the "signup" link when I ran "grails run-app", I could see that it didn't show up when running tests in Chrome. This turned out to be caused by an extraneous <div class="nav-collapse"> I had in my main.gsp. Removing it solved the problem. It's strange that this never showed up with Grails 2.0. My only guess is that Geb someone didn't look at the visibility of the element.
The last testing-related issue I ran into was a InvalidElementStateException:
| Running 11 spock tests... 7 of 11
| Failure: add new route to region(happytrails.AuthenticatedUserSpec)
| org.openqa.selenium.InvalidElementStateException: Element must be user-editable in order to clear it. (WARNING: The server did not provide any stacktrace information)
I was able to fix this by changing AddRoutePage.groovy from:
And then referencing name, distance and location accordingly (form.name, etc.) in AuthenticatedUserSpec.groovy.
After I had everything working locally, I logged into Jenkins on CloudBees. Since I hadn't used it in a while, I had to wait a bit while my Jenkins server was re-commissioned. Once it was up, I tried to select Grails 2.2.1 to build with, but found it wasn't available. After a tweeting this, I learned about Grails Wrapper, found that the latest Grails Jenkins plugin supported it and got everything working. I later discovered that CloudBees does support Grails 2.2.1, I just needed to setup another Grails installation to automatically download and install 2.2.1.
The last two issues I ran into were with Heroku. Since I was upgrading everything, I wanted Grails to build/run under Java 7 and use Servlet 3. I changed the appropriate properties in BuildConfig.groovy, configured Heroku and deployed. No dice.
Sidenote: I tried building with Java 8 on CloudBees, but discovered the searchable plugin doesn't support it.
Compile error during compilation with javac.
/scratch/jenkins/workspace/Happy Trails - Grails 2/work/plugins/searchable-0.6.4/src/java/grails/plugin/searchable/internal/compass/index/DefaultUnindexMethod.java:94: error: reference to delete is ambiguous
both method delete(CompassQuery) in CompassOperations and method delete(CompassQuery) in CompassIndexSession match
As far as Servlet 3, it was pretty obvious that the Jetty version Heroku uses for Grails doesn't support it. Therefore, I reverted back to Servlet 2.5.
I sent the Java 7 issue to Heroku Support a few days ago but haven't heard back yet.
While upgrading Grails from 2.0 to 2.2 wasn't as easy as expected, it is understandable. After all, Grails 2.2 ships with Groovy 2.0, which has a bunch of new features itself. All the issues I ran into were fairly easy to solve, except for Java 7 on Heroku. But hey, what do you expect from a free hosting service?
If you're at Devoxx France next week, I look forward to sharing our research on Grails 2.2.1 vs. Play 2.1.0.
David Díaz Clavijo sent me an email a couple weeks ago asking me about comparing web frameworks.
David is a computer engineering student at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) in the Canary Islands, Spain. His FYP (Final Year Project) is a web frameworks comparison focused on high productivity frameworks. He's started a blog to help facilitate his work and has been writing some interesting posts.
Four frameworks will be compared. The comparison test is composed by four fixed time tasks for each framework:
Learning the programming language: 5 hours
Making exercises in the programming language: 15 hours
Learning the framework: 25 hours
Developing the website: 50 hours
After all process is done, it can be seen which framework presented a higher productivity and smaller learning curve.
We have decided a cross-language set of frameworks which are: Ruby on Rails, Grails, Django and Code Igniter.
Sorry it took me so long to respond. I think your approach as far as learning the language, making exercises, learning the framework and developing the website is good. As you know, the last one you develop with will likely do well because you're repeated the steps so much with the other ones.
However, there's one thing I think you're doing wrong. In the real world, I don't believe that an architect would look at *all* the available web frameworks and choose one. I believe most of them already have a language bias or there's a target platform (e.g. LAMP, JVM, etc.).
I believe the majority of development happens today where a platform is already in place. Even moreso, the backend may already be in place and the company is simply trying to find a more productive front-end framework. In the first instance, where the platform is already chosen, the chooser's options are immediately limited. For example, if it's the JVM, Django might be eliminated because JPython isn't that up-to-snuff or widely used (this could be changing). However, it could be said that all the frameworks you've chosen (including Code Igniter) can run on the JVM.
I just don't see people identifying web frameworks across such a wide variety of languages. I think folks generally choose a platform, then a language, then a framework. It's possible that startups will do it differently by choosing a language first. However, I imagine most startups have a technical founder that already has some preference towards a particular language.
Now it's your turn, dear readers. Have you ever been in a situation where you've been able to pick a web framework across all languages? Did any of your biases enter into the equation?
How would you recommend David go about choosing web framework candidates?