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.

Spring Break in Florida: Golf, Beaches and Boats!

Florida is a beautiful state, with sandy beaches, excellent fishing, fun people and a great enthusiasm for golf. When I dreamed up Trish, I knew she'd have an awesome family, but I never expected her parents to have a house on a golf course. Trish's grandma, Claire Stanley, is a legend in her own right. I've never met her, but I knew I loved her when Trish's dad first told me about her "layered shots". When I saw Claire's name listed several times on the walls of the The Country Club of Naples, a deep respect came over me. Claire picked out her house on the 17th hole (Trish's favorite number) of the Country Club in 1966, when the establishment was founded. My bus was born in 1966.

Today, Trish's parents have turned it into a golf and relaxation oasis, complete with beautiful orchid gardens, a sweet pool and Japanese decorations from the country where they first met.

As a golf enthusiast, I'm embarrassed that we've only visited her parents in Naples once before. We bought Abbie and Jack golf clubs last year for Jack's birthday, and they both like to play the game. To make up for our lack of visiting family in Florida, we took our kids on a golf vacation for this year's Spring Break.

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Posted in General at Apr 14 2014, 08:34:59 PM MDT Add a Comment

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

Around The World Honeymoon: Last Stop, Fiji

In August, Trish and I journeyed on a 'round the world honeymoon, to Ireland, Italy, Thailand and Fiji. Trish had a Fiji poster on her wall when she was a little kid and has always dreamed of visiting its islands. Our first view of Fiji from the plane was stunning.

Fiji Land Ho!

We left Thailand on Saturday, August 17. Yes, our flight from Thailand to Fiji was long. It was only a few hours from Koh Samui to Hong Kong, but Hong Kong to Nadi, Fiji was 10 hours. Our layover in Nadi lasted a few hours on Sunday morning. When we boarded the "Island Hopper" for Taveuni, Trish turned into a kid in a candy store. Trish earned her pilots license a few years before I met her and something about a 1960s-era plane excited her greatly.

It took about an hour to fly from Nadi to Taveuni. After we landed, a driver from our hotel greeted us and and drove us to our water taxi. The resort Phil booked for us was Qamea Resort and Spa, which we later found out was on an island with no roads.

As we were arrived at Qamea, we immediately noticed the Padi 5-star Diving Resort sign. We'd both been scuba diving certified in the past, but we hadn't planned on diving in Fiji. When we saw it was 5-star diving, we both looked at each other, smiled, and thought "why not?"

Qamea is a 5 star Padi resort!

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Posted in General at Nov 04 2013, 07:10:31 AM MST Add a Comment

Around The World Honeymoon: 3rd Stop, Thailand

In August, Trish and I journeyed on a 'round the world honeymoon, to Ireland, Italy, Thailand and Fiji. Thailand is somewhere I've always wanted to go, and we were looking forward to some beach time as we boarded our flight from Turin to Istanbul.

Flying over Istanbul Turkey We had high hopes for leaving the airport in Istanbul and grabbing dinner. With a six hour layover, we figured it wouldn't be too difficult. After waiting an hour in line to get out, the security guard told us we'd need a visa, which were available for $20 and another hour wait in line. We gave up and headed for the a lounge to relax and do a bit of writing. In fact, that's where I started writing the blog post about our wedding month. The flight to Bangkok started around midnight and arrived in the early afternoon on Monday, August 12. The Bangkok airport was massive and impressive, and we grabbed a bit to eat before boarding for Koh Samui.

Our hotel was the W Retreat Koh Samui and it was spectacular. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the General Manager (Brian Segrave) as we marveled at the view. Shortly after, a driver whisked us up to our bungalow in a "buggie" (golf cart). Our accommodations were exquisite, with a rose petal-filled bathtub, fondu, an outdoor shower and our own private pool. Basically, everything you'd want in a Honeymoon Getaway Suite.

After 2 days of traveling we make it to our room at the W in Thailand, whew!

And rose petals in our tub..I'm in heaven. They had fondue waiting for us in our room - sweet! Outdoor shower in our room!

No way!  We have our own little pool and veranda!

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Posted in General at Oct 31 2013, 06:49:39 PM MDT 1 Comment

Around The World Honeymoon: 2nd Stop, Italy

In August, Trish and I journeyed on a 'round the world honeymoon, starting in Ireland and taking a train to Italy. The train ride from Paris to Turin, Italy was amazing. After a few hours, we passed through the Alps, where scenery was steep and plentiful. We drank wine and gazed out the window as we flew through the countryside. We arrived in Turin just before dark and our first official honeymoon tiff began.

Upon exiting the train station, I realized I didn't have any cash, having spent it in transit on vino. Phil had mentioned the hotel was "a short walk" from the station, so I figured we could walk a few blocks and stumble upon it. This only worked for a few blocks before Trish asked me if I had the address. I admitted that I did not, though it was on TripIt and I'd left the printout on the printer at home. Of course, with no phones or internet, TripIt did us no good. We stopped in at a bar to get the address from someone with a cell phone, then proceeded to walk for several blocks in the wrong direction. Then things got a lot better. We found an ATM, caught a cab and landed at our hotel (the NH Santo Stefano) 10 minutes later.

The next day, Tuesday August 6, we slept too late to feast on the hotel's breakfast. Just before noon, we strolled through the heat to Piazza San Carlo. A shaded cafe presented itself as appetizing and we sat down for a bite to eat.

San Carlo Royal Square Turin Italy

Trish at Piazza San Carlo First meal in Italy!

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Posted in General at Oct 24 2013, 02:33:36 PM MDT 3 Comments

Around The World Honeymoon: 1st Stop, Ireland

When I asked Trish where she wanted to go for our honeymoon, she suggested "Ireland, Italy, Thailand or Fiji". They all sounded like wonderful places, so we decided to visit them all! To book the trip, we contacted the Travel Guru, Phil Overton. Phil does all the travel arrangements for No Fluff Just Stuff, so I'd worked with him a bit in the past. Phil agreed to help us out and I sent him an email with countries and dates to get the ball rolling. We asked him to book us a flight out of Denver on July 31, returning on August 23rd, just in time for Jack's birthday party.

The week before we were scheduled to depart, I received our travel book (with itineraries and tickets), and confirmed everything looked good. At that point, all we knew was the dates were correct and we had hotels booked. That weekend, Trish and I got married. On Monday morning, July 30th, we drove back from Montana, arriving in Denver late that night. The next morning we had our first fight as a married couple.

Me: "You can't bring your phone."
Trish: "I'm bringing my phone! What if there's an emergency?"
Me: "There's not going to be an emergency! Besides, everyone knows our hotel information."
Trish: "I'M BRINGING IT!"
Me: "NO!! If you bring it, I can't tell the story about traveling the world without phones!"

-- Deadlock stare for 15 seconds without blinking --

Trish: "Fine!"

Rather than having checked luggage, we took carry-on bags only. No phones, no computers, and backpacks that only fit a few days worth of clothes. We dressed up in hopes of getting better seats on our flight to Ireland. It worked for getting drinks bought for us in Denver and Boston (our layover), but the guy sitting between us refused to swap seats.

Yep, these are our bags for our around the world trip.

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Posted in General at Oct 17 2013, 02:35:32 PM MDT 3 Comments

The Trifecta 2013!

The last time I pulled off a Trifecta (3 ski resorts in 3 days), it was in 2010. I hadn't met Trish yet and DU Hockey had started their we're terrible in the playoffs streak. Last weekend, I decided to go for it again, this time with fiancé and kids in tow. We originally intended to ski Friday afternoon, but Abbie had an important "Mayor Election" at school and we were unable to leave early. By the time we arrived in Winter Park, the lifts were closed.

When we drove to Steamboat on Saturday, we only intended to ski 2 days. We dressed up in our outfits and got ready for the warm, mashed-potato conditions on Steamboat's closing weekend.

We love closing weekend at Steamboat!

The conditions weren't great, so we only skied for a couple hours. Then we hung out with Trish's friends (Jenn and Todd) for the rest of the afternoon, swimming and frolicking with our kids like good parents do. On Sunday, we woke up and checked the ski report. While Steamboat did get 8" of fresh powder, Copper had 13 inches! So we packed up the car, puppies, and kids and drove 2 hours to Copper. When we arrived, we weren't disappointed. The kids were loving it and the conditions were great.

13" Powder Day at Copper!

When we stopped for lunch, I was a bit disappointed that our ski weekend was about to end. Then I checked the Winter Park forecast, was pleasantly surprised, and asked "Hey, kids - should we complete the Trifecta and skip school tomorrow?" Of course, they said "YES" and our plans were set. We did a couple more runs, listened to some good live music at the base, then headed to our mountain views in Winter Park.

Sunday night is when the fun started. I didn't call the kids in sick for school, nor did I call in sick for my current client. I simply told them both we had a unique opportunity to complete a Trifecta and the snow was too good to leave.

Monday morning we woke up to 7" of fresh powder and by the time we got to Mary Jane, it was knee-deep. The runs were unbelievable. I skied several bump runs on Mary Jane without ever hitting bottom. It snowed hard all day long and by 2pm, they'd closed Berthoud Pass. This meant we had to stay another night. Some friends were stranded, so we offered them to stay with us and we enjoyed a nice evening reminiscing about all the fluffy snow and face shots. The first photo below is the snow accumulation on Monday morning; the second is from Monday at Happy Hour.

Happy Powder Monday! The whole family took the day off to ski and it's DUMPING in Winter Park. Yeeee hawww!! Best. Monday. Ever. Snowed in with Berthoud Pass closed. This snow is just from today!

Skiing a Trifecta with my family seems like a perfect way to end the ski season. However, it's been snowing all week and I've had several powder runs since Monday. It's snowed 37 inches in the past 7 days and there's more snow in the forecast this weekend. Winter Park's Springtopia starts tomorrow. Live music, fresh powder, the Nuggets in the playoffs and a place at the base with good friends.

The fun ain't over yet! :)

Posted in General at Apr 19 2013, 10:25:09 AM MDT 1 Comment

Paris and Iceland, A Photographer's Paradise

In February 2012, Trish and I traveled to Stockholm on Icelandair. We were immediately impressed with the airline's excellent service. Trish was also a bit miffed that we had a layover in Iceland without an opportunity to get out and see the sites. You see, Iceland is a Photographer's Paradise, and she's the best photographer I know.

This year, when planning our trip to Devoxx France, I set out to correct this missed opportunity. Since Icelandair now flies direct from Denver, and offers free stopovers, our planning was easy.

The conference was in Paris; one of the most magnificent cities to photograph. Trish has some great photos from 2011. She'll be showing many of these photos at an upcoming exhibit at Paris on the Platte in Denver. However, she wanted more.

We arrived in Paris for Devoxx France on Tuesday, March 26th. The first day's excursion started with visiting the Latin Quarter, the Panthéon and Notre Dame.

Panthéon in the evening Panthéon with Bus

Notre Dame Paris along the Seine River France

We had a nice dinner that evening while watching the Fútbol match between France and Spain. On Wednesday, we hung around the hotel in the morning, then took the metro to La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre and Moulin Rouge.

La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

From there, we journeyed to the Eiffel Tower for a hike. We climbed the stairs to the second floor and enjoyed the spectacular view.

View of Paris from Tour Eiffel

Wednesday evening, we attended the Devoxx Speakers Dinner. We had a great time chatting and drinking wine with Martin Odersky, Guillaume Bort, the many Nicolas', James Ward and Josh Long.

Nicolas' Martin and Nicolas

Guillaume Bort and Martin Odersky Shenanigans :)

On Thursday, I delivered my talk on Comparing JVM Web Frameworks in the early afternoon and did Play vs. Grails Smackdown with James Ward in the evening. I published an article about these talks the next day.

James Ward and I at Devoxx France

While I was talking about frameworks, Trish was galavanting around Paris taking some amazing photos.

Our Lady Liberty and Eiffel Tower Boats Seine River Eiffel Tower Récipon Quadrigas France Statue Of LaFayette Cours La Reine Paris Frances Pont Alexandre III Bridge Paris

Thursday night, we had a wonderfully authentic French dinner with many of the folks from the conference. Around midnight, Trish captured the beauty of Les Invalides.

Les Invalides by Night

On Friday, we slept in a bit and then headed to the airport for our flight to Iceland. A few hours later, we were snuggled into the cozy bar at Hotel Reykjavik Centrum. A few hours after that and we were bouncing up and down on a Super Jeep tour to see the Northern Lights. Our driver kept telling us "if you believe, it will happen". And boy oh boy, did it ever. The green and purple lights dancing in the sky overhead were mind-blowing!

Northern Lights 12 Northern Lights 13

Northern Lights 19 Northern Lights 20

Saturday came quickly after a late night, and we opted for a scenic tour of the area by helicopter.

Bird's eye view of the Reykjavik Iceland Opera House overlooking the bay and Mountains Glymur Falls

Matt and me and our Pilot Eggert with our Bell

Saturday evening, we journeyed through the ages with a tour and tasting at the Icelandic brewery Ölgerðin. The Grillmarkadurinn restaurant afterward was delicious.

Easter Sunday was our last day in Iceland and we enjoyed most of it at the Blue Lagoon. Despite the plethora of tourists, the hot springs, saunas and cold beer were a lovely way to prepare for the long road home.

Blue Lagoon Rocks! Great Road in Iceland

Visiting Iceland and photographing the Aurora Borealis was an awesome experience. Speaking at Devoxx France, photographing Paris and having lots of good times with new (and old) friends was equally delightful. For more pictures of our travels, see my Paris and Iceland Album or Trish's Devoxx France, Iceland or Northern Lights albums.

Posted in General at Apr 12 2013, 10:31:24 AM MDT 3 Comments

Devoxx France: A Great Conference in a Magnificent City

Red Eiffel flowers 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.

The Paradox of Choice Comparing JVM Web Frameworks
Both talks required a bit of updating. For Comparing JVM Web Frameworks, I started reading The Paradox of Choice and found many parallels to the agony that developers experience with choosing a web framework. I described how I didn't think good framework decisions were based on the many, many features that frameworks have, but often on pre-defined constraints. There's those lucky developers that get to choose a Full Stack Framework because they're doing greenfield development. Then there's those that want a better Pure Web Framework that replaces something (e.g. Struts) that's not satisfying their needs. And lastly, there's those that've found it possible to leverage a SOFEA and use a JavaScript MVC framework with an API Framework on the backend. I don't think it makes sense to compare all web frameworks and I tried to use these pre-defined constraints (language, platform and application type) argument to separate into categories and help make choosing easier.

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.

History of Web Frameworks 2013

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.

However, Apache Bench only tests until the first byte is received. Since I've done a lot of browser optimizations recently, I fired up whichloadsfaster.com, captured a screenshot and added it to our presentation. The next day, James added a CDN and a bunch of caching to his app and re-ran his AB tests.

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.

Summary
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!

Posted in Java at Mar 29 2013, 01:14:30 PM MDT 1 Comment

Magnificent Mexico

On October 30th, 2012, shortly after I'd woke up, I received an email from my old friend Jess (of Jess and Lili's Legendary Wedding). Its subject: "Wanna go to Mexico?"

We are taking a trip to Mexico Feb 16-24 with some friends from here and have one spot that just came open in the house we are all renting together. It's a sweet spot, 1 hour north of Puerto Vallarta. It has seven bedrooms each with own bathroom, a cook, private beach and nice pool, link below. Works out to about $1100 per week per couple.
...
http://www.laspalapas.tv/home.html

As you can imagine, I was immediately enticed by the opportunity. I checked my schedule, verified they had high-speed internet and responded We're IN! a couple hours later.

A couple weeks ago, we embarked on this journey and had a great time. The house was awesome, the company was fantastic and the views were spectacular. Not only that, but the town we stayed in (Chacala) was very authentic. No resorts, hardly any paved roads and nary a tourist in sight.

The Pool My Love and I Julie at Sunset

Chacala Sunset

We didn't take our kids, but a few families did, resulting in 19 people total. Everyone got along swimmingly, the home-cooked meals were wonderful and the weather was beautiful.

What a great posse! The Chacala gang! YAY Chacalas!

Sweet nap spots in the hammocks Heaven!

!Salud!

Volleyball on our beach For the most part, we didn't do much throughout the week. I had to work, so I spent my days on the computer with an occasional break to play a game of volleyball. I experienced the same issue I did in Maui and Kauai last year, where my MacBook Pro couldn't find my hard drive. Yeah, it's a first-world problem: my laptop tries to stop me from working when I'm on a beach. ;) Luckily, I had a backup (external) hard drive that I could plugin and work from.

We did a whale watching and snorkeling trip on a Catamaran one afternoon. We didn't get any good whale pictures, but we had many sightings.

Kai surfing!
Love this pic of Leif kayaking with Alaia!

I only ventured into Chacala once, but found it to have a lovely beach, good music, and tasty restaurants.

Mariachi Josh with a tasty Sangria

Thanks to Jess and everyone else for inviting us to this magnificent place in Mexico. We had a great time, made a lot of new friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Me and My Love

For more photos, see my Mexico 2013 Album or Trish's Mexico Trip 2013!

Posted in General at Mar 05 2013, 10:53:53 AM MST Add a Comment