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.

Alta

Had my first Alta experience this week. It was awesome.

A Bluebird Day

Will post pictures from Crested Butte on Monday. :)

Posted in General at Jan 28 2011, 03:47:16 PM MST Add a Comment

Making Code Generation Smarter with Maven

As you might've read in my last entry, I recently started a new gig with Overstock.com. On my first day, I was quickly immersed into the development process by joining the Conversion Team. The Conversion Team is responsible for developing the checkout UI and handling payments from customers. I quickly discovered Overstock was mostly a Linux + Eclipse Shop and did my best to get my favorite Mac + IntelliJ + JRebel installed and configured. Thanks to my new Team Lead, I was able to get everything up and running the first day, as well as checkin my first contribution: making mvn jetty:run work so I didn't have to use my IDE to deploy to Tomcat.

In setting up my environment, I couldn't help but notice running jetty:run took quite a while to run each time. Specifically, the build process took 45 seconds to start executing the Jetty plugin, then another 23 seconds to startup after that. The first suspicious thing I noticed was that the UI templates were being re-generated and compiled on each execution. The UI Templating Framework at Overstock is Jamon, and is described as follows:

Jamon is a text template engine for Java, useful for generating dynamic HTML, XML, or any text-based content. In a typical Model-View-Controller architecture, Jamon clearly is aimed at the View (or presentation) layer.

Because it is compiled to non-reflective Java code, and statically type-checked, Jamon is ideally suited to support refactoring of template-based UI applications. Using mock objects -like functionality, Jamon also facilitates unit testing of the controller and view.

To generate .java files from .jamon templates, we use the Jamon Plugin for Maven. Remembering that the Maven Compiler Plugin has an incremental-compile feature, I turned to its source code to find out how to implement this in the Jamon plugin. I was pleasantly surprised to find the StaleSourceScanner. This class allows you to easily compare two files to see if the source needs to re-examined for generation or compilation.

I noticed the Jamon Plugin had the following code to figure out which files it should generate into .java files:

private List<File> accumulateSources(File p_templateSourceDir)
{
  final List<File> result = new ArrayList<File>();
  if (p_templateSourceDir == null)
  {
    return result;
  }
  for (File f : p_templateSourceDir.listFiles())
  {
    if (f.isDirectory())
    {
      result.addAll(accumulateSources(f));
    }
    else if (f.getName().toLowerCase(Locale.US).endsWith(".jamon"))
    {
      String filePath = f.getPath();
       // FIXME !?
      String basePath = templateSourceDir().getAbsoluteFile().toString();
      result.add(new File(filePath.substring(basePath.length() + 1)));
    }
  }
  return result;
}

I changed it to be smarter and only generate changed templates with the following code:

private List<File> accumulateSources(File p_templateSourceDir) throws MojoExecutionException
{
  final List<File> result = new ArrayList<File>();
  if (p_templateSourceDir == null)
  {
    return result;
  }
  SourceInclusionScanner scanner = getSourceInclusionScanner( staleMillis );
  SourceMapping mapping = new SuffixMapping( ".jamon", ".java");

  scanner.addSourceMapping( mapping );

  final Set<File> staleFiles = new LinkedHashSet<File>();

  for (File f : p_templateSourceDir.listFiles())
  {
    if (!f.isDirectory())
    {
      continue;
    }

    try
    {
      staleFiles.addAll( scanner.getIncludedSources(f.getParentFile(), templateOutputDir()));
    }
    catch ( InclusionScanException e )
    {
      throw new MojoExecutionException(
        "Error scanning source root: \'" + p_templateSourceDir.getPath()
          + "\' " + "for stale files to recompile.", e );
    }
  }

  // Trim root path from file paths
  for (File file : staleFiles) {
    String filePath = file.getPath();
    String basePath = templateSourceDir().getAbsoluteFile().toString();
    result.add(new File(filePath.substring(basePath.length() + 1)));
  }
}

This method references a getSourceInclusionScanner() method, which is implemented as follows:

protected SourceInclusionScanner getSourceInclusionScanner( int staleMillis )
{
  SourceInclusionScanner scanner;

  if ( includes.isEmpty() && excludes.isEmpty() )
  {
      scanner = new StaleSourceScanner( staleMillis );
  }
  else
  {
      if ( includes.isEmpty() )
      {
          includes.add( "**/*.jamon" );
      }
      scanner = new StaleSourceScanner( staleMillis, includes, excludes );
  }

  return scanner;
}

If you're using Jamon and its Maven Plugin, you can view my patch at SourceForge. If you're looking to include this functionality in your project, I invite you to look at the code I learned from in the Maven Compiler's AbstractCompilerMojo class.

After making this change, I was able to reduce the build execution time by over 50%. Now it takes 20 seconds to hit the Jetty plugin and 42 seconds to finishing starting. Of course, in an ideal world, I'd like to get this down to 20 seconds or less. Strangely enough, the easiest way to do this seems to be simple: use Linux.

On the Linux desktop they provided me, it takes 12 seconds to hit the Jetty plugin and 23 seconds to finish starting. I'd like to think this is a hardware thing, but it only get 20% faster on OS X when using an 8GB RAM + SSD machine (vs. a 4GB + 5400 drive). Since Overstock has provided me with a 4GB MacBook Pro, I'm considering installing Ubuntu on it, just to see what the difference is.

Sun over the Snowbird In related news, Overstock.com is looking to hire a whole bunch of Java Developers this year. The pictures of the new Provo office look pretty sweet. Of course, you can also work at HQ, which is a mere 25 minutes from some of the best skiing in the world. Personally, I think Colorado's powder is better, but I can't argue with the convenience of no traffic. In addition to full-time gigs, they've started hiring more remote contractors like myself, so they pretty much have something for everyone. So if you love Java, like to get some turns in before work, and aren't an asshole - you should and I'll try to hook you up.

Update: After writing this post, I received an email from Neil Hartner questioning these numbers. Basically, he was able to get his MacBook Pro to run just as fast as Linux. Turns out, the reason my Mac was so much slower was because JRebel was configured in my MAVEN_OPTS. JRebel's FAQ does state the following:

Does JRebel make the server start up slower?
JRebel needs to do more work on startup (search more places for classes and resources, instrument classes, etc), so some slowdown can be expected. If it's larger than 50% please contact support@zeroturnaround.com.

Since it's right around 50% slower, I guess there's no reason to call them. My guess is the best thing to do is remove JRebel from MAVEN_OPTS, but have an alias that can enable it, or simply run it from your IDE.

Posted in Java at Jan 21 2011, 03:26:43 PM MST 7 Comments

2010 - A Year in Review

2010 was a heckuva year, possibly one of my all-time favorites. It started with lots of anticipated fun and ended with lots of travel, skiing and relaxing and I'm only just now finding time to write this post. I had a lot of goals when I started 2010; the top two being my favorite:

  • Happiness
  • Girl

The rest of my goals involved running, skiing, mountain biking and finishing The Bus. I also had some professional goals that involved open source, conferences, publishing articles and learning new technologies. I accomplished about 75% of my personal goals and 50% of my professional goals. I'm pretty happy with these percentages considering how much fun I had last year.

In December 2009, I started working with Time Warner Cable as their Chief Architect of Web Development. I was hired to help them build a team of hard-working developers that could quickly build their online video presence. In January, we started getting our ducks in a row with some Agile Training in Virginia, followed by hiring some Agile Coaches. The only technical post I had during this process was about development infrastructure stacks. Both at TWC and my current gig, I've found myself enjoying the following stack:

  • Source Control: SVN
  • Source Viewer: FishEye
  • Wiki: Confluence
  • Bug Tracker: JIRA
  • Continuous Integration: Hudson

We tried Git for a couple months at TWC, but ended up reverting to SVN after we had "code deleted" issues during one of our most intense development cycles. When the kids and I weren't skiing, we worked on documenting How to be a Super Hero and The Adventures of Upside Down Man.

In February, I refreshed my Grails knowledge, later learning that it was tough to teach Grails to developers that didn't know Java. First of all, a lot of Grails and Groovy books are targeted at Java Developers. Secondly, the developers I was trying to sell it to had more interest in learning Java. Since I failed to sell Grails, we ended up using Spring + jQuery to build our app. I don't think was a bad decision as most of our development ended up being UI: ActionScript/Flex, Objective-C and jQuery/HTML.

My laptop was stolen from my living room in early February. It worked out nicely in the end since I didn't lose any data (thanks to good backups) and my business insurance covered the loss. My parents came out and helped me finish remodeling my guest room. I posted about My Future of Web Frameworks Presentations and became a proud father when "Jack was flying past both Abbie and I and giggling while doing it".

By the beginning of March, we'd hired a team of 10 at TWC and I took a trip to Jackson Hole to celebrate.

The thing I enjoyed the most about this trip was how well the group jelled. Kudos to Chris for assembling such an awesome group and putting such a spectacular trip together. Can't wait for next year.

Top o' Jackson Hole

The next week, I flew to Las Vegas for The ServerSide Java Symposium and enjoyed sessions on Cloud, Web Service APIs, Flex, Spring 3 and Cameron's Lessons Learned from the Internet Age. I posted my Future of Web Frameworks and GWT vs. Flex Smackdown presentations after the conference.

I ended March with The Trifecta.

You are about to experience Copper's High Alpine Nice ride up Storm King Spaulding Bowl View from Enchanted Forest

For Easter, I purchased an iPad and reviewed it a few days later. Seven months later, I'm not enthralled with the iPad, but I do think it's a heckuva lot better than the Galaxy Tab. I don't use it much, except for movies when traveling. My kids are its primary users, mostly using it for games and Netflix.

We visited my parents in Oregon and celebrated my Mom's retirement.

Huckleberry Aficionado Oregon Garden Brewfest Happy Beer Drinkers Old Friends

The picture I took of my Mom and Abbie that weekend is one of my all-time favorites.

Abbie and Mimi

At the end of April, I said farewell to the ski season, getting in 25 days; a personal best. I'm happy to report I have 10 days in so far this year, so my goal of 30 days looks to be well on track. No helicopter attempts yet, but hopefully soon.

I ended the month with a work trip to Seattle and painting the town red with my sister and Mya.

Sweet Seats at the Mariner's Game Rally Caps! Midnight Wheeeeee!!

I returned to Denver and turned off my TV for a month. I wrote about my experience in early June. For Memorial Day Weekend, I went mountain biking in Moab and had a blast at the Desert Rocks Music Festival. The Porcupine Rim ride took us 4.5 hours and we tracked 26.75 miles. The several points in the trail with "death on the right" were truly epic.

Hazard County Trail Close to The Edge Awesome Singletrack Sweet View

June started with our annual Ride to Red Rocks. I slept six hours and did the 25-mile off-road Elephant Rock ride the next morning. The next morning I hopped on a plane to Ireland for the Irish Software Show. My sister joined me and we had an incredible time with Jamie, Rob, John and Josh.

Straight to the top! Mmmmm, Guinness The Storehouse is shaped like a pint glass Brainwave

Upon returning to work, I got to have an awkward conversation with my client about all the vacation I was taking.

Fire in Background, 100 foot tall flames For Father's Day, my parents drove to Denver and we packed up the camping gear for a fun weekend at The Great Sand Dunes. After The Dunes, my parents and kids drove to The Cabin, camping out and touring Yellowstone along the way. That Thursday, June 24th, I attended my good friend Jason's birthday party in Lodo.

That's the night I met Trish.

I saw her switch from a Martini to a Guinness and I knew I had to talk to her. I introduced myself and quickly found myself conflicted with having a soon-to-expire iPhone 4 reservation at the Apple Store. I rushed out to grab the phone, returning because there was something special about Trish. We talked for a couple hours that night ... me mesmerized, her smiling a lot. I was dumbfounded to find such a cool person existed in the world. At the end of the night, I got her number and drove home with a feeling that my life was about to change.

The next day, I began a road trip to The Last Best Place for a Montana Summer Vacation.

Big Sky Country Ready for the Parade Chris Auchenbach Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls

During that trip, Trish and I exchanged occasional text messages and I told many friends about the kick-ass girl I met. It was another great Montana vacation.

My favorite part of this year's trip to The Cabin was seeing it as a home again. My Mom retired in April and my parents moved back to Montana shortly after. Seeing how happy they are there is truly magical. I especially enjoy the thought of visiting them and all the wonderful folks in the Swan Valley many, many times in the future.

The kids and I drove like bats out of hell and made it back to Denver (950 miles) in 14.25 hours. I quickly scheduled a first date with Trish that Wednesday, and went back to work at TWC with a renewed energy. After our first date, I formed a sort of perma-grin. That Friday was my birthday. I've been having a blast with Trish ever since.

July ended with a trip to the Lost Coast for Jess and Lili's Wedding.

The reception afterwards was a truly spectacular party that lasted well into the evening. Clint and I vowed to go to bed early, but we ended up having so much fun we closed the place down. Jess and Lili were an instrumental part in creating a spectacular night, especially with their wedding dance and infectious happiness.

Lili and Jess

In August, I celebrated this blog's 8th birthday and we started our "60-Day Push" at work. The goal of our 60-Day Push was to re-write our Video Portal, iPad and Sony Blu-ray apps from scratch, without politics dictating their features. We hired Method for design, chose our own features and went to work. I wrote about the success of this effort in October.

I neglected to write about the Denver Cruisers Saints and Sinners ride or how much fun we had listening to B.B. King at Red Rocks.

Abbie and Jack's first day of school was on August 16th.

Pretend like you're playing Wii Jack!

At the end of August, we celebrated Jack's 6th Birthday and attended my Cousin Amy's Wedding in Missouri.

Wheee! Super Mario Bros. Cake Tebow Fan

The Happy Couple Jack and Abbie The Cousins

September rolled in, we finished the majority of the work in our 60-Day Push and Trish and I drove up to Estes Park for an epic weekend at the Scottish-Irish Festival. We rode our bikes in the parade (by accident), enjoyed a few pints and even did a bit of fly-fishing near our riverside accommodations.

Beautiful View Plane in Sky Ride to Stanley Hotel View from The Stanley Hotel

We listened to the 1st 2010 Broncos game while driving back from Estes and slipped into a Rockies game shortly after losing. Our sadness over the Broncos loss was erased within a couple hours as we celebrated Jason Giambi's walk-off home run. Unfortunately, the Rockies didn't make it to the post-season, but the Broncos looked good at their home opener.

Fighter Jets

October came quickly and I wrote How's the ol' Team Doing and defended the Age of Frameworks. At the end of October, we moved into TWC's Lodo Office on Wynkoop. That weekend, we dressed up as superheros for Halloween.

November started off with Abbie's birthday and Trish got to meet the kids for the first time. From there, we went into traveling-like-madmen mode. We enjoyed suite seats at the Broncos vs. Kansas City game, then flew to Amsterdam for Devoxx the next morning (performing an AppFuse release along the way). I presented on Thursday and posted my Comparing JVM Web Frameworks presentation shortly after. I wrote about our trip while at The Cabin for Thanksgiving.

Sunset in Amsterdam Waffles at Désiré de Lille Partying with the Adobe Crew Ghent

I flew back from Montana, stopped in at the Lodo office for a couple days, then hopped on a plane to the Rich Web Experience with Trish. My presentations went well, sparked some controversy, and we raced to Key West to celebrate the end of the conference season.

Dreams do come true. Sunset in Key Largo Piña Coladas in Key Largo Key Largo Sunset

I returned to Denver for my last week at TWC, enjoyed a couple days of skiing, then headed to Utah for an interview with Overstock.com. While I enjoyed my time at TWC, my contract duration was up and being a full-time employee didn't give me the vacation time I tend to enjoy. My interview with Overstock.com was two days, with the 2nd day on the slopes at Snowbird. I was very impressed by the company, people and interview process and agreed to work there on the way to the airport.

I returned to Denver for Trish's Birthday Weekend at Breckenridge, then flew down to Naples on Wednesday to spend Christmas with her family. It was my first time meeting her parents, but that didn't stop us from having a great time talking, beach-going, golfing and relaxing.

Trish and her awesome parents Hot Santa Scotch: Making White Men Dance since 1494. Sunset in Naples

We returned to Denver, I tried to get AppFuse 2.1 finished and then we celebrated New Years with friends in Steamboat.

Good Morning from Steamboat! Sunrise over Steamboat

As I reminisce about last year, I can't help but smile. While I've been a happy person for a while, having someone to share your life with is a special thing. I feel like I dreamed up Trish a couple years ago. I was looking for someone that liked to do my favorite activities: mountain biking, skiing, traveling the world and enjoying good beer. I found that and more in Trish and couldn't be happier.

I didn't write as many technical posts on this blog as I'd like to, but I attribute that mostly to the lack of learning new things at TWC. At Overstock.com, I expect that to change and hope to have more technical articles in the coming year.

At the end of last year's Year in Review, I wrote:

I hope to speak at (or attend) 3 conferences, finish up The Bus and do a whole bunch of skiing and mountain biking.

I accomplished all but one goal: finishing The Bus. In 2011, I plan on doing two main things: keep rockin' it with Trish and finishing The Bus. Everything else is gravy. ;-)

It's gonna be a spectacular year.

Double Rainbow

Posted in Roller at Jan 10 2011, 11:42:01 AM MST 5 Comments