Skip to main content

My excuse for not blogging the last month

Recent activities eating away blog-activity include mostly JAFS - our annual internal weekend getaway. JAFS essentially means hauling our ~40 Java-programming colleagues off to a desolate hotel for a weekend, doing not so much else than having fun programming (and shooting some paintball).

The concept of the weekend's tasks are based on the following:
  1. Divide the gang into 5 groups
  2. Present some technologies that are core, meaning everyone of us should know by heart (for instance Spring and Maven)
  3. Present some new technologies that are hot, and might come in handy in the near future (for instance JRuby and OpenESB)
  4. Do some cool programming competition that makes use of above technologies
These points demand a mass of preperations. We've been 5 people spending evenings and weekends planning the event for the last month.

First we spent a whole load of time settling on which tehcnologies to focus on. See we've got four different camps of technology groups in Objectware, each of which are tugging in different directions, mainly core, web, integration and enterprise design & architecture. I like to believe we achieved doing a fair divide between the different camps, since these four camps are paying for the whole ordeal ;)

We also spent alot of time agreeing on the programming competition. Well, we actually settled on not doing a programming competition, instead focusing on cooperation between the 5 teams. Instead of having different teams compete over who could do the best implementation using different technologies (like we did last year), each team were to implement parts of a larger system which would cooperate using services across an ESB.

The system itself was sort of a collaboration suite framework, based on Subversion commits, Continous Integration and a robot. The ultimate functionality of the system: If you break the build, lil' Timmy here will come driving into your cubicle and steal your beer.

To be honest the solution will not be used directly, but the codebase does contain alot of good reference implementation of the various technologies we involved. We also got a good heap of discussions regarding among other things:
Oh, another thing we had to do in advance: we spent a whole lot of time implementing Proof-of-Concepts on each tecnhology to help the teams get started once they got up there. Now there was a learning experience :)

Aaand, the number one rule of bringing 40 programmers to a hotel: DO NOT TRUST THE NETWORK! Excactly. Even if the hotel has promised you full wireless, it ain't gonna work with 30 people who are trying to connect to the Maven repository, Subversion, etc etc.

So, we set up a mighty fine Ubuntu box with the following:
  • DHCP-service for allocating all the teams an address on our subnet (
  • DNS/bind for all the interal addresses on the domain
  • Subversion repo on
  • Continous Integration server on
  • Maven repositories on (snapshot-repo, release-repo and site-repo)
  • IRC server (of course!) on
And of course we brought along 40 TP-cables and a handful of switches to provide each contender with wired network.

Now it might seem like a bunch of uneccesary mumbo to setup all these wires, aliases and services, but believe me we all appreciated being able to just hook into a 100/1000-MBit network and be up and running. Zero network problems, I tell ye :)

So that was JAFS... Right after we were done I had to get ready for delivering my 10 minute lightning talk on Smidig 2007 (the Norwegian Agile-community's first conference). The conference was as impressive in implementation as was its lack of up-front planning (taking about two months to prepare, was it?).

The conference left me inspired and hungry for more. If I remember, the next post will be about distributed continous integration.


Popular posts from this blog

Open source CMS evaluations

I have now seen three more or less serious open source CMS reviews. First guy to hit the field was Matt Raible ( 1 2 3 4 ), ending up with Drupal , Joomla , Magnolia , OpenCms and MeshCMS being runner-ups. Then there is OpenAdvantage that tries out a handful ( Drupal , Exponent CMS , Lenya , Mambo , and Silva ), including Plone which they use for their own site (funny/annoying that the entire site has no RSS-feeds, nor is it possible to comment on the articles), following Matt's approach by exluding many CMS that seem not to fit the criteria. It is somewhat strange that OpenAdvantage cuts away Magnolia because it "Requires J2EE server; difficult to install and configure; more of a framework than CMS", and proceed to include Apache Lenya in the full evaluation. Magnolia does not require a J2EE server. It runs on Tomcat just like Lenya does (maybe it's an idea to bundle Magnolia with Jetty to make it seem more lightweight). I'm still sure that OpenAdvant

Encrypting and Decrypting with Spring

I was recently working with protecting some sensitive data in a typical Java application with a database underneath. We convert the data on its way out of the application using Spring Security Crypto Utilities . It "was decided" that we'd be doing AES with a key-length of 256 , and this just happens to be the kind of encryption Spring crypto does out of the box. Sweet! The big aber is that whatever JRE is running the application has to be patched with Oracle's JCE  in order to do 256 bits. It's a fascinating story , the short version being that U.S. companies are restricted from exporting various encryption algorithms to certain countries, and some countries are restricted from importing them. Once I had patched my JRE with the JCE, I found it fascinating how straight forward it was to encrypt and decrypt using the Spring Encryptors. So just for fun at the weekend, I threw together a little desktop app that will encrypt and decrypt stuff for the given password

What I've Learned After a Month of Podcasting

So, it's been about a month since I launched   GitMinutes , and wow, it's been a fun ride. I have gotten a lot of feedback, and a lot more downloads/listeners than I had expected! Judging the numbers is hard, but a generous estimate is that somewhere around 2000-3000 have listened to the podcast, and about 500-1000 regularly download. Considering that only a percentage of my target audience actively listen to podcasts, these are some pretty good numbers. I've heard that 10% of the general population in the western world regularly listen to podcasts (probably a bit higher percentage among Git users), so I like to think I've reached a big chunk of the Git pros out there. GitMinutes has gathered 110 followers on Twitter, and 63, erm.. circlers on Google+, and it has received 117 +'es! And it's been flattr'ed twice :) Here are some of the things I learned during this last month: Conceptually.. Starting my own sandbox podcast for trying out everythin

The academical approach

Oops, seems I to published this post prematurely by hitting some Blogger keyboard shortcut. I've been sitting for some minutes trying to figure out how to approach the JavaZone talk mentioned in my previous blog-post. Note that I have already submitted an abstract to the comittee, and that I won't publish the abstract here in the blog. Now of course the abstract is pretty detailed on what the talk is going to be about, but I've still got some elbow room on how to "implement" the talk. I will use this blog as a tool to get my aim right on how to present the talk, what examples to include, what the slides should look like, and how to make it most straightforward and understandable for the audience. Now in lack of having done any presentations at a larger conference before, I'm gonna dig into what I learned at the University, which wasn't very much, but they did teach me how to write a research paper, a skill which I will adapt into creating my talk: The one

Managing dot-files with vcsh and myrepos

Say I want to get my dot-files out on a new computer. Here's what I do: # install vcsh & myrepos via apt/brew/etc vcsh clone mr mr update Done! All dot-files are ready to use and in place. No deploy command, no linking up symlinks to the files . No checking/out in my entire home directory as a Git repository. Yet, all my dot-files are neatly kept in fine-grained repositories, and any changes I make are immediately ready to be committed: config-atom.git     -> ~/.atom/* config-mr.git     -> ~/.mrconfig     -> ~/.config/mr/* config-tmuxinator.git       -> ~/.tmuxinator/* config-vim.git     -> ~/.vimrc     -> ~/.vim/* config-bin.git        -> ~/bin/* config-git.git               -> ~/.gitconfig config-tmux.git       -> ~/.tmux.conf     config-zsh.git     -> ~/.zshrc How can this be? The key here is to use vcsh to keep track of your dot-files, and its partner myrepos/mr for o