Java is dead – long live the JVM

I had an interesting meal last night with the ThoughtWorks delegation to JavaOne. They were in town in support of the news that Mingle is going to be launched on JRuby.

I’ve seen some demos of Mingle and it looks great, but of equal interest to me is the choice to release it on JRuby. This seems to be another step along the road of Java moving down the stack. Java was selected as the delivery platform because corporate IT understands how to deploy, integrate, support and optimize it; Ruby was chosen as the development language because of the productivity and expressiveness of the language.

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Show don’t tell: Consulting with GraphViz

I’ve often found that it’s much more effective to show clients what their problems are, rather than just telling them. Recently I’ve ended up using GraphViz as a great tool for high-lighting complexity that needs to be addressed.

At the client I’m currently working for the complexity of the build scripts was getting out of hand. I wanted to goad the customer into prioritising some simplification work. So I turned to GraphViz to depict how complex the build was. The build we’re using is a large, centralised, Ant script that builds about 10 different applications. It manages everything through the process of compile, test, package and deploy.

I found the handy ant2dot.xsl tool that uses XSL to transform an Ant build file into a DOT format graph representing the flow and dependencies between the various build targets.

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GTD with Outlook

I’ve been looking at the Getting Things Done process for organizing all your tasks and projects for a little while now. Though I’ve only just bothered to pick up the book, rather than just guessing what’s in it via hints from other websites.

I’ve been trying to apply some of the principles to how I deal with work emails and have come up with a technique that’s been working pretty well since January, so I thought I’d share it.

A posting on Getting Things Done with Gmail started me off thinking about this. At the client I’m working for at the moment they use Outlook (I’ve used it for many years and am intimately familiar with the good and bad in it) so I’ve had to work with the tool in hand. I much prefer working with gmail, or before that the Opera mail client, which was probably the best I’ve used, since they have a simpler ability to tag / label mails in multiple ways, but if you combine a few tricks in Outlook you can get to a reasonable solution.

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