I’ll be heading to Agile ITX this summer

For a long time my career had me doing a whole lot of product installations and integrations where domain models and agile development didn’t necessarily fit.  Any conferences or training I attended was based on specific product issues Read more ›

Posted in Agile, code, java

Project Breakdown in [Eclipse] Workspaces

Yesterday, I was doing some refactoring on some code in Rational Application Developer (a derivative of eclipse) and I ended up creating a couple of new projects to house some of it.  When I told my colleague he’d need to synchronize with CVS and pull down the new projects he expressed some concern about why I had created the new projects.  It made me revisit why I actually did it.
Read more ›

Posted in java, SoftwareDev

Database: Intelligent (Natural) keys versus Surrogate (Blind) Keys

I’m not a data architect or DBA, but in my current and past positions I, like most software developers, have been responsible for designing schemas for both simple and complex databases.  One thing I always waffle about is whether to compose keys from meaningful data or generate surrogate keys for my tables.

I have always been a proponent of using surrogate, or blind, keys.  The reason is that I have faced scenarios where what is said to be an iron-clad rule about the business meaning associated with a primary key suddenly changes requiring the need to change that primary key – most DBs don’t handle this well.  It’s also cumbersome constructing joins on natural keys when they are composed of several columns.   With that said, I do see advantages to having real meaning attached to the fields used as a composite key.

What do you think?  Is this a matter of preference of the database designer or is there some rule or advantage that I don’t know of that would be a definite answer one way or another?

Here are a couple of articles to refer to for arguments.



Posted in SoftwareDev, Uncategorized

Checking out the dynamic language scene (Briefly)

Here in the midwest we were inundated with a massive snow storm this weekend.  I took the time I was stuck inside to finally give Groovy (and Grails) a day long once over.  Recently I have checked out Scala and JRuby.  I have to say, I like them all at this point.  I definitely haven’t spent enough time with any of them to endorse one over the other, but it is exciting to see that the JVM is being ‘extended’ beyond plain ol’ Java.

If I was pegged down and had to pick one considering the limited time I have spent with them , I’d say I’d go with Groovy.  All other things being equal, I like its closure style and Grails simply rocks.   All the playing I did was really simple, but I tried enough scenarios to determine it would be capable of handling some of the database and domain scenarios I would like to throw at it.

I’m definitely going to get more into these dynamic languages for the JVM.

Posted in code, java

Hibernating with WebSphere and a non-journaling DB2/400 system

A few years ago, I worked as a consultant at a company that used DB2/400 as its main database platform.  The company did not have journaling ‘turned on’ so their database platform did not support transactions/commit control.  This did seem odd to me, but what I’ve found is that its pretty common that DB2/400 shops don’t use this feature. While this seemed like a mere oddity and an inconvenience for commit control, it actually caused a more measurable issue which was that we couldn’t use Hibernate, one of, if not the most common ORM framework. Hibernate requires transactions. This is a problem for anyone wanting to use a non-journaled DB2/400 instance… in particular me. Read more ›

Posted in code, java, OpenSource, Portal, SoftwareDev

Open source application servers. A tough decision ahead for us.

One of the cool things about the new job I will _officially_ be starting in November is that we are going to look to use open source tools first.  The biggest choice we have to make on that front is which open source application server to use.  We have the go ahead to get an environment setup and in-use for some pilot applications that are less mission-critical than most of the apps we have on our primary WebSphere servers.  Now comes the time we need to decide which open source application server(s) we will use.  Read more ›

Posted in code, java, OpenSource, ProfessionalStuff, SoftwareDev

I got a new job!

I have accepted a position at a company in Dayton.  The position is with a company that I have been working for as a consultant off and on (mostly on) for the last three years.  I will be a ‘Technical Architect’ in the ‘Enterprise Solutions’ group at WinWholesale. I am very excited about this new opportunity. In my new position I will be the technical leader of the group that is dealing with newer technologies. We will be making use of open source technologies where they make sense and employing an agile software development methodology. One of the most important things to me is Read more ›

Posted in java, LifeLessons, ProfessionalStuff, SoftwareDev

LinkedIn vs FaceBook? Even for career/professional stuff?

I’ve been ‘LinkedIn’ for several months now.  I’ve made contacts with enough of my current and past colleagues to feel like its useful.  I’ve also gotten several serious employment inquiries.  I am a firm believer in the whole ‘web networking’ thing.  When you replace the ‘web’ with ‘social’ in that statement is where I get a little sketchy – at least when talking about professional relationships. 

There are blog posts out the wazoo talking about FaceBook burying sites like myspace and LinkedIn.  I am certainly not bashing FaceBook because I’m not much of a user – it seems like it has a nicely designed web interface and certainly is getting a lot of pub so they must be doing something right.  I just don’t get the hype from the perspective of saying it will ‘replace’ sites like LinkedIn.  When I created my FaceBook account and started trying to connect to contacts I felt like I was in a dating service.  Maybe its more of a general issue with society, but the pictures of people are almost always in a party mode and most of the people seem to me to be in more of a ‘social mood’ in their profiles and comments.  Maybe I’m just turning into an old guy, but it just seems like the purpose is different, whether the creators intended it to be different or not.  Maybe the new wave is to totally mashup your personal and professional life.  I’m not sure I’m down with that though… that’ll take some getting used to. 

So, again I’m not saying use LinkedIn  over Facebook.  I’m looking for someone to convince me that I should invest the time into FaceBook for professional endeavors.  So… let me have it.

Posted in LifeLessons, ProfessionalStuff

Having a server ‘blip’ and Im at a client site…

… so my site will be down until I can get to the server and check it out.   Another reason to think about paid hosting. 

Posted in Uncategorized

My blog will be down for a little while.

We had some pretty bad storms last night and the power went out.  I forgot to head to the basement to fire the server back up.  I guess that’s one reason to think about paying for a hosted blog.

 It should be back up later today.

Posted in Uncategorized

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