Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

The JHipster Mini-Book The JHipster Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with hip technologies today: AngularJS, Bootstrap, and Spring Boot. All of these frameworks are wrapped up in an easy-to-use project called JHipster.

This book shows you how to build an app with JHipster, and guides you through the plethora of tools, techniques and options you can use. Furthermore, it explains the UI and API building blocks so you understand the underpinnings of your great application.

For book updates, follow @jhipster-book on Twitter.

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.

An Epic Weekend in Estes Park

A couple years ago, a good friend and I headed up to Estes Park for a day at the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Festival. I was so impressed with the venue, views and music that I vowed to return. Last weekend, I invited my super-fun friend Trish for a party in the hills. I'm happy to report it was once again an awesome festival, with perfect weather.

Back to the Future Beautiful View Plane in Sky Nice Backdrop

Happy Refreshing Ride to Stanley Hotel View from The Stanley Hotel

Highlights of the weekend included: dining at The Rock Inn, the parade, riding bikes around town, lunch at The Stanley Hotel, fly fishing along the river, Ed's Cantina and many hours of excellent Celtic music. For more pictures, checkout the full set on Flickr.

After leaving Estes Park on Sunday, we drove back to Denver, hoping to watch the Broncos game in LoDo. At one point, I thought I'd have to listen to the whole game on the radio. Luckily, we got hooked up and got to watch the 4th quarter. My sadness over the Broncos loss was erased within a couple hours as we celebrated Jason Giambi's walk-off home run at the Rockies game. You gotta love that it's already been documented on WikiPedia.

In other news, Jack's turned 6 a couple weeks ago. He's in 1st grade now and currently into Super Mario on Wii, Bakugans, and Transformers. He also seems to have an intense addiction to Angry Birds on my iPhone. We had a blast celebrating his birthday at Chuck-E-Cheese and the Broncos game.

Watch out!

As summer fades and fall starts to kick in, I'll be attending the Great American Beer Festival, the Denver Broncos home opener with my sister, training for ski season and (hopefully) enjoying Rocktober. I love fall in Denver.

Posted in General at Sep 15 2010, 12:13:38 AM MDT Add a Comment

What's New in Maven 3.0 with Matthew McCullough

Last night, I attended the Denver JUG meeting to hear some excellent talks by Matthew McCullough and Tim Berglund. I took notes during Matthew's talk, but my battery ran out before Tim's talk started. Below are my notes.

Matthew started out by described the differences between Maven 2 and Maven 3. As he began, he emphasized it wasn't a beginner talk, but mostly for existing Maven users that understand how to read a pom.xml and such.

The Roadmap
Commits to Maven 3 have been happening for the last 3 years. Matthew is not an employee of Sonatype, but he mentioned their name quite a bit in his talk. Sonatype has hired several committers (7 that Matthew knows of by name) that now work on Maven 3 full-time. For compatibility with Maven 2, the project has 450 integration tests and they test it against 100s of Maven 2 projects. Maven 3 has plugin classloader partitioning and a legacy simulation layer for old plugins.

The main improvement in Maven 3 is speed. It's been performance tuned to be 50% to 400% faster. Benchmarks (guaranteed by integration tests) include better: Disk I/O, Network I/O, CPU and Memory. Another new feature is extensibility so Maven is a better library rather than just a command-line tool. Now there's a library and APIs that you can use to do the things that Maven does. Plexus has been replaced with Guice and it's now much easier to embed Maven (Polyglot Maven and Maven Shell are examples of this).

Below are a number of other changes between Maven 2 and Maven 3.

  • Syntax: pom.xml still uses <modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion> so it can be a drop-in replacement for Maven 2 projects.
  • Validations: poms are heavily validated against common mistakes, warns when plugin versions are not specified (use mvn validate to see issues), blocks duplicate dependencies (examined in same POM only, conflict resolution used otherwise).
  • Help URLs: wiki page URLs now shown for all error messages. One of the first Apache projects to do this.
  • Removals: profiles.xml external file support removed, Maven 1.0 repository support removed <layout>legacy</layout> (it's been 5 years since any commits to Maven 1).
  • Behavior: SNAPSHOTs always deployed with date-stamps, artifact resolution caching has been improved to do less checking (override with mvn <phase> -U).
  • Plugins: version auto-selection favors RELEASEs over SNAPSHOTs (opposite for Maven 2), versions cannot be specified as RELEASE or LATEST, plugins only resolved from <pluginRepository> locations.
  • See the Plugin Compatibility Matrix to see if your favorite plugins are compatible.

Maven 3 hopes to be a drop-in replacement for Maven 2, but non backwards-compatible changes will be happening in Maven 3.1. It's anticipated release is Q1 of 2011 and will likely contain the following features.

  • "Mixins" for direct dependencies
  • Site plugin takes over <reporting>
  • Backwards compatibility by <modelVersion
  • There's a good chance 3.1 breaks compatibility with legacy POMs

Another new thing in Maven 3 is Toolchain. Toolchain a common way to configure your JDK for multiple plugins. There are only a handful of plugins that are toolchain-enabled. User tool chain definitions are defined in ~/.m2/toolchains.xml. To use different toolchains (JDKs), you specify a vendor and version as part of your plugin configuration.

Maven Shell is a high performance console that's a Maven 3 add-on. It's hosted at GitHub to make community contributions easier. It goes on your command line and it offers syntax highlighting and context-sensitive help (by typing ? at the command prompt).

Another major improvement in Maven 3 is Polyglot Maven. Tools like Gant and Buildr have made Maven look ancient, but they've also given it a good challenge. Maven 3 is likely to leapfrog these tools because of its ability to use different languages for your build configuration. Currently, 6 languages are supported. Polyglot Maven is a super-set distribution of Maven 3. It's not shipped with Maven 3 core because it contains all the other language implementations and is quite large. Polyglot Maven also contains a translate tool that allows you to convert any-to-any language. It has a DSL framework with Macros and Lifecycle Hooks. Macros allows for more concise syntax.

After talking about Polyglot Maven a bit, Matthew shows us a demo translating pom.xml to pom.yaml and then running the build. After that, he showed us examples of what a pom looks like when defined in Clojure, Scala and Groovy. Someone asked about file parsing performance and Matthew said different languages would cause a single-digit performance difference as part of your build process. Personally, I can't help but think any non-XML parser would be faster than the XML parser.

In regards to m2eclipse, a new drop (0.10) occurred a few weeks ago and it's one of the highest quality releases to date. It has major refactoring and many performance improvements.

For sample Maven projects see Matthew's Maven Samples.

I very much enjoyed Matthew's talk, both because of his presentation techniques and because he had a lot of good information. While I've tried Maven 3 and Shell in the past, I've been newly inspired to start using them again on a daily basis.

Tim's talk on Decision Making was also excellent. The biggest things I learned were that conflict is good (idea-wise, not personal) and things to look out for between teams (fault lines). Hopefully both Tim and Matthew post their slides so I can link to them here.

Posted in Java at May 13 2010, 03:54:21 PM MDT 1 Comment

My Guest Room Remodel is finished!

On December 5th, I flew home from Orlando (after The Rich Web Experience) and arrived home to the sound of waterfalls in my house. As soon as I opened the door, I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, the pipes had burst in my back guest room and water was pouring out of my ceiling. My guess is that it'd been happening for days.

Waterfalls - a.k.a. Pipes Burst What we came home to: busted water pipes. Soaked through the walls Time for a remodel!

The following week was quite interesting as I juggled a cleanup with lots of fans and a house without water. My water got turned on by Wednesday and I gained a whole new appreciation for indoor plumbing. Initially, I thought I could get everything fixed before my family arrived for Christmas. As their arrival approached, I became less and less hopeful and quickly scrambled to setup a couple ad hoc guest rooms.

After the Christmas holiday, I met with a local contractor (the same guy who fixed my plumbing initially) and discussed my options. The cheapest option (a.k.a. the one my homeowner's insurance would cover) was to put everything back like it was. However, it was readily apparent that if we did this, there's a good chance busted pipes would happen again. Therefore, I made the leap and decided to remodel the whole thing. Major changes made were 1) moving the bathroom to an opposite corner, 2) adding an interior window for light from the skylights and 3) adding a door to the bathroom from Jack's room.

Tearing out walls Old bathroom gone Soon to be better

Digging, lots of it. Cement gone. Framing

The results are something I'm very happy with. I'd like to thank Nu Image for their great work and my parents for flying in to help finish it all up. If you're a friend of mine and looking for some powder runs this winter, I have a nice guest room for you to stay in. ;-)

Remodeled Guest Room Bathroom Sink
Wall Mirror Closet View into Shower View from Jack's Room

For more pictures, see my Guest Room Remodeling set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Feb 16 2010, 07:49:37 AM MST 2 Comments

17" MacBook Pro Stolen from Living Room

Almost 3 years ago, I bought a 17" MacBook Pro. This laptop served me well for several years, mostly as a home computer. A few months after I bought it, I started working at LinkedIn and got a brand new laptop as part of my first day on the job. After working with LinkedIn's 15" for almost 2 years, I grew to love the form factor and purchased another one almost a year ago. I found the 17" was too big for planes and the 15" fits me perfectly.

Fast forward to last night.

I attended the first half of the Ignite talks at DOSUG and left around 7. When I arrived home, I suspected something might be out of whack when my front door was unlocked. Julie had come over to pick up Abbie's dance shoes around 6, so I figured she must've forgot to lock the door on her way out. When I got inside and saw my coat closet open, I justified it by thinking she grabbed one of the kids coats out of the closet and forgot to close the door. When I walked into my living room and saw my space heater's remote in the middle of the floor, busted open with batteries out, it clicked that a stranger was in my house. The first thing that jumped into my head was "Where's my laptop?" As I looked at the bare mini-desk in my living room, I realized it had been stolen.

I called Julie and asked her if she left the front door open. She said no, but when she arrived at my house (and came through the back), the garage's light was on and my back door was wide open. I asked her if she saw the busted remote on the floor or if the closet door was open. She said no. Putting all the pieces together, it appears that the burglar was actually hiding in my closet when Julie came into my house. Naturally, she's a little a freaked out by this, but she also saved the day by scaring off perpetrator before they took anything else.

This isn't a new trend for me and this incident is mostly my fault. I left my backdoor unlocked. Two years ago, my truck's stereo was stolen and there's a good chance I left the doors unlocked (and didn't turn on the alarm). Last year, my bike was stolen and the lock was still there, indicating I missed the frame when locking it up. So getting robbed in the first part of every year seems somewhat par for the course.

With my truck's stereo, it worked out well because the rig needed a new stereo. My bike last year? There wasn't any silver lining to that incident, so I made myself earn a new one. With this laptop incident, there is a silver lining in that I've been thinking about getting a 27" iMac for a home computer. Other options include a Mac Pro for my office (and use my laptop for traveling/home use) or a Mac Mini for home and hook it up to my TV with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The home iMac seems like the best option, but I'd also be interested to hear what others recommend. Of course, I'll be keeping my doors locked from now on. ;-)

Posted in Mac OS X at Feb 03 2010, 09:45:52 AM MST 11 Comments

Consulting, SOFEA, Grails and GWT at next week's Denver JUG

Next Wednesday, I'll be at Denver's JUG meeting to talk about Independent Consulting and Building SOFEA Applications with Grails and GWT. The first talk will be a a panel discussion among local independent consultants, including James Goodwill, Matthew McCullough, Tim Berglund and myself.

This session explores the trials and tribulations of an independent consultant. How do you find contracts? Should you setup an LLC, an S-Corp or just be a sole proprietorship? What about health insurance and benefits? Are recruiters helpful or hurtful? Learn lots of tips and tricks to get your dream job and your ideal lifestyle.

The Grails and GWT talk is a preview of a talk I'll be doing at the Rich Web Experience in December. Below is a rewrite of the abstract in first-person.

Earlier this year, I participated in a major enhancement of a high-traffic well-known internet site. The company wanted us to quickly re-architect their site and use a modern Ajax framework to do it with. An Ajax Framework evaluation was done to help the team choose the best framework for their skillset. The application was built with a SOFEA architecture using GWT on the frontend and Grails/REST on the backend.

This talk will cover how Bryan Noll, Scott Nicholls, James Goodwill and I came to choose GWT and Grails, as well as stumbling blocks we encountered along the way. In addition, we'll explore many topics such as raw GWT vs. GXT/SmartGWT, the Maven GWT Plugin, modularizing your code, multiple EntryPoints, MVP, integration testing and JSON parsing with Overlay Types.

If you're in Denver next Wednesday night (November 11th), you should stop by the Denver JUG meeting. It'll be a fun night and there's sure to be a few beers afterward. ;-)

Posted in Java at Nov 05 2009, 10:52:37 PM MST 5 Comments

Lean Teams: Doing more with less

This evening I attended the Denver Rails User Group (a.k.a. DeRailed) to hear a presentation by Marty Haught. It was titled "Lean Teams: Doing more with less" and the following are my notes from the event.

Today's talk is about "Rocking with Ramen" - a.k.a. working with less funds to make great things. Lean comes from the manufacturing world in that you should Add Nothing but Value. The most important thing you should do is add business value.

The Seven Wasteful Sins for manufacturing are:

  • Overproduction
  • Inventory
  • Extra Processing Steps
  • Motion
  • Defects
  • Waiting
  • Transportation

The key to fighting overproduction in software is to trim features to those that achieve the greatest value. You should do "the simplest thing that could possibly work" and delay commitment as long as you can because YAGNI.

A minimum viable product is a starting place for validated learning with the least amount of effort. It should be embarrassing. Early adopters see the potential. Rails Rumble and Startup Weekend are good examples of promoting this type of development.

Unused and useless features are best solved by feedback-driven development. This is a process for validating value and creating software that people use. The end result is that you create software that people use and you're able to pivot your plan as you learn. The benefit of this is you stay humble and you don't drink the Kool-Aid (e.g. VC's tell you you're going to be the next Twitter).

The first part of feedback is "Pirate Metrics" by Dave McClure. The main things to track are acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue (AARRRR!). The main things you should gather from metrics is they're actionable and should help you make decisions. Vanity metrics like hits-per-month and such should be ignored.

Other feedback options include net promoter score (popup question to ask if users would recommend to a friend), feedback form (make it easy for users to tell you what you think about your product), A/B testing, and usability testing.

The final point is that it's OK to remove features.

To reduce extra processing and waiting, you should implement "Kanban". It's a pull-based system for a continuous flow of work and can be used in software projects to manage/schedule work for cross functional teams. It's an expression of just-in-time and has an emphasis on flow. It's all about getting across the board as fast as possible. In agile development, this is often expressed as a card-based system on a wall in the same room as your development team. Things can only move from the left-to-right as there is space for them. Marty is showing a screenshot of a "Zen" tool he uses on his projects. It has 3 columns (Definition, Work and Verification) from left-to-right that allows you to easily move stuff.

The most important thing about Kanban is it helps to eliminate constraints. The Zen tool only allows a certain amount of items in the "Work" column and it visually communicates blocked items by moving them to the top and highlighting them with a red border. The Zen tool that Marty is showing looks similar to Rally, but is much more visually appealing.

The benefits of Kanban include:

  • simple, less process
  • less inventory of requirements/stories
  • limit work in progress, maximize throughput
  • less time in meetings
  • more naturally represents story lifecycle
  • more easily spot bottlenecks
  • estimate only if it adds value

Kanban promotes tracking how long it takes for a story get across the board and into production vs. tracking velocity of a team.

On my current project, we use Rally, a small team and have two week iterations. Because the things that Marty is talking about seem to be things we're already doing, I asked him how Kanban differs from Scrum with small teams. He explained that this biggest difference is Kanban is most useful when you're pushing things to production with each iteration.

The most controversial practice that Marty promotes is Continuous Deployment. This is the automated deployment of code to production. It includes automated testing and continuous integration, simple deployment/rollback scripts, a successful CI build triggers deployment, and there's real-time alerts in production. When shit goes wrong, you should use the "five whys" to perform root cause analysis. Marty admits that this is only a good idea when there's a high-level of trust in your development team and lots of tests to prove nothing is broken.

The benefits of continuous deployment is there's a lower story cycle time, you eliminate waste in deploying code, you deliver features/bugs fixes faster and you find integration issues quicker and in isolation. It's also a great way to promote not checking in shitty code.

The skeptics think this is a bad idea because 1) it's scary, 2) they believe it causes lower quality and 3) it causes more issues in production. The good news is you can still control production deployments with your source control system (e.g. branches and such). More than anything, it forces you to have a high quality continuous integration system that acts as the gatekeeper for what goes to production.

You can learn more about topics Marty covered in this talk at the following sites:

If you're lucky enough to be attending Aloha on Rails, Marty will be presenting there. I recommend you attend his talk if you're trying to get stuff done quickly and get it into production even quicker. His techniques seem to be invaluable for developers that are trying to maximize their efficiency and reduce the time it takes to get their code into production.

Posted in Open Source at Sep 23 2009, 09:20:28 PM MDT 4 Comments

New Office and New Bike

Back in January, I moved into a new office to work on my current project. The following week, my bike was stolen. The next day I ran to work and decided to do it for a couple months.

My current goal is to run until April 1st or until I lose 20 pounds, whichever comes first.

The next week, my co-worker's bike was stolen and I knew I had to stick with my goal. The significance of April 1st was that our office lease expires on April 1st and we were planning on moving to a new office. While our office is nice, it is a large one-room office with no windows. The previous office was quite a bit cooler, but also cost twice as much.

Raible Designs HQ 2009 A couple of weeks ago, we found a nice office near downtown. I signed a 1-year lease and moved in over the weekend. For folks in Denver, you might recognize the nice location.

I did my final run to work last Thursday, in the midst the Blizzard of 2009. Almost Whiteout While running to work was a great experiment and I enjoyed telling people I was doing it, it wasn't fun. I've been riding my bike to work for many years (first year was 1999). The one thing I've always enjoyed was the thrill of the ride in the morning. On a beautiful spring day, it's really a fantastic experience. It's easily been the best part of any job I've ever had.

New Trek FX 7.5 With the new office secured and the running mission completed, I walked over to my favorite bike shop and picked up a Trek FX 7.5 yesterday. To research and figure out which bike to buy, I asked my network on LinkedIn.

As luck would have it, my first ride to the new office was today and First Ride on New Trek we woke up to a morning snow storm. Even though the ride was cold and wet, I still had a blast. I've enjoyed riding since I traversed the hills on a BMX bike back in Montana. Getting back in the saddle today was simply awesome and I can't wait to ride again tomorrow, regardless of the weather. I know those nice spring days are just around the corner. :-D

Posted in General at Mar 30 2009, 11:51:39 PM MDT 3 Comments

1st Hike of 2009

This past Sunday, the kids and I loaded up our camelbaks and headed out for a hike to the top of Dakota Ridge Trail. We parked in the Green Mountain parking lot next to C-470 and trekked up the west-side of the mountain.

Ready to go Hiking Jack Heading up Dakota Ridge

First of all, I was impressed with their enthusiasm. Granted, it was a beautiful Denver spring day, but still - you know how 4 and 6 year olds are. I'm not sure how far it was, but I'd guess somewhere between 1 and 2 miles. Abbie was gung-ho the entire way up, while Jack kept saying he was tired and wanted me to carry him. I never broke down, kept encouraging him and they both made it to the top without any issues.

While at the top, they did some exploring and Abbie gathered a whole backpack full of rocks for the trip down. By the time she was done filling it, it must've weighed around 20 pounds. Even though it was pretty darn heavy, she carried it all the way down - stopping every-so-often to empty a few rocks out. We weighed it when we got home and discovered it was 10 pounds. I was very impressed with her strength and perseverance.

Well done kids!

Jack on Dakota Ridge Collecting Rocks On the top

How old do kids have to be before you take them up a 14er? ;-)

Posted in General at Mar 09 2009, 10:28:20 PM MDT 4 Comments

Bike to Work Day

My Commuter - Giant FCR3 Today is Denver's annual Bike to Work Day. While I try to bike to work everyday, it's fun to see others trying it. It's also fun to look back in this blog and see what past years were like.

In 2004, I'd just landed a gig with OpenLogic (when there was only 2 employees). The commute was great, but I only rode to work once that whole summer. I never returned to "the office" for the rest of that contract. In 2005, I'd just started working for Virtuas and didn't have a bike. Last year, I rode to The Hive.

This year, I'm riding to LinkedIn Denver (yes, we still need to decorate). I have to say, this seems like one of the best years yet. I've never enjoyed working in an office as much as I have this year. However, with 4 Mac Pros in one room, we might have to buy a window A/C unit. The room we all work in is a good 10-15 degrees warmer than the other rooms.

Posted in General at Jun 25 2008, 07:51:19 AM MDT 9 Comments

It's a beautiful night in Denver

It's a pleasant 68°F in Denver tonight. Rather than working in the house, I thought I'd step out into the backyard. It's quite nice out here - I might have to do this more often.

Working in the backyard

Posted in General at May 18 2008, 10:31:43 PM MDT Add a Comment