Open Eye

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, January 24. 2007 in Programming

A refreshingly honest and accurate look at REST from a SOA perspective: REST Eye for the SOA Guy I feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway when, that one day, the winds shift...

Why so complex?

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, January 23. 2007 in Programming

Now first of all I want to start off by explaining that my intent is not to criticize anyone, or their skills or anything like that. I certainly do NOT have room to talk, since I've made my fair share of bone-headed mistakes before (long ago, after several months of intense Pascal programming, I went back to some C programs that I'd been meaning to update... I made some really stupid mistakes due to still thinking Pascal-like, especially with regards to NULL and pointers, instead of C-like). And, of course, I've designed and coded things based on Requirements From On High, which resulted in a finished product that, although I was proud of how it worked, I wasn't happy with the overall design. Anyway, I was reading this tech-magazine a few days ago and one article was about how they upgraded their auto-update service to SOAP. The small code segment they listed, and the explanation behind the technique, indicated that, basically, they were calling a URL and getting a string back, and then taking actions based on the value of the string. And I thought, Huh? All the overhead of SOAP for that? Now sure, I don't know the full story: maybe the designer/architect/coder had to create something "that uses SOAP" (for whatever reason, likely not good). Or maybe this small example isn't representative of the whole design, where SOAP is used "as it should be." But whatever the reason, all too often designs are way too complex, certainly more than they should be. Instead of elegant, simple solutions, there are too many Rube Goldberg-like setups. Why? And more importantly, what can we do to stop it...

Simple GUI Apps

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Thursday, January 4. 2007 in Programming

To help out with the schools or other organizations I'm involved with, I volunteer to write small little applications that basically make simple administrative tasks easier: handling grades, tracking attendance, things like that. Up to now, most of them have been more "traditional" GUI apps, using widgets and the like to create the interface... After all, I wanted these to be as self-contained as possible. But now I'm moving away from that setup and instead making all of these "traditional" web applications. I can assume that a browser, after all, will be available, and so I can easily dispense with all the hassle of GUI and use XHTML. Open a browser, point it to localhost port whatever and bang! Simple. Being self-contained is still an issue, of course, so I'm doing these completely in Ruby or Python and using a simple web server (like WEBrick, natch). And as these apps grow, I can easily migrate them to something more robust and Apache based. In fact, for the ones that I use myself, I just use my iBook running Apache and PHP/mod_python. Don't know why I've resisted this for so long... Yeah, I know I could do all this in Java, but for these tasks, it's just way too much overkill. Plus, it's much easier for their own computer people to add stuff and extend features this way.

Sometimes vacation is for relaxation

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, January 3. 2007 in Personal

I had off the week between Christmas and New Years, and I had hoped to get some work done, both personally and professionally. Instead, we decided to go to upper New York and visit my wife's sister (and her husband and kids) in Watervliet. I took my laptop but I'm actually proud to say that I only opened it twice, and "worked" for a total of maybe 6-7 hours or so. It was great. We took day trips, hit a few cool places (including Man of Kent and Red Lion Inn) and just relaxed. It was everything a vacation should be. If I have one New Year's Resolution, it's to make more time to slow down.

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