Most webapps have drop-downs (a.k.a. pick lists) that users select from when filling in forms. Spring has a nice referenceData method on its Controllers that you can use to populate these, but I prefer a different way. In AppFuse, I populate these using a ServletContextListener. However, one of the problems with using this is that your drop-downs won't get refreshed unless you have admins screens or a way to reload the attributes set in the listener.
In short, I think it's a good idea to load drop-down options in a listener and also have an action or servlet to refresh these options. For examples, see StartupListener.java and ReloadAction.java. Got a better way? I'm interested...
At my current client we're going to migrate our application from Tomcat to WebSphere 5 in May. I'm dreading the move and really don't see the point, but alas - the client is always right. However, since my client reads this website, I thought maybe they'd be interested to see that Weather.com recently migrated from WebSphere to Tomcat.
"It was hard to run WebSphere and an IDE [integrated development environment] because of all the resources WebSphere took," recalls Jeff Cunningham, who leads the Internet application development team at Weather.com. "You had to run an instance of DB2 on your machine because WebSphere stored its configurations in DB2, so you had to have all that overhead. It was just really slow. I just started using Tomcat for development because it was so much faster."
The article goes on to say that they evaluated other app servers as well, but chose Tomcat because of the team's preference. They also discovered that Tomcat served up pages significantly faster than WebSphere.
Weather.com is also working on swapping out its Oracle database for the open-source MySQL.
"Now when I talk to senior management about moving from Oracle to MySQL they don't ask me, 'Are you sure?'" he says. "They ask me, 'When?'"
It's a great time to be an Open Source Consultant. ;-)