Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BGG takes top honors at CapJug Meeting!

Last week at the August meeting of the Capital Java User Group, we had several excellent books to give away. Apress had sent us a copy of Beginning Groovy and Grails: From Novice to Professional, which Shawn Hartsock has dubbed "BGG". The Pragmatic Programmers sent us several of their recent titles (special thanks to Jared Richardson, author of one of my favorites: Ship It!) and we had one left from an earlier supply from O'Reilly.

When we have this many books to give out we like to treat it like a poll. So, I'll describe each of the books and then start drawing names. Each winner can take their pick from the books remaining. I am happy to announce that Beginning Groovy and Grails was the first pick! Congratulations to Christopher, Joseph and James! The CapJug pick of the months is quite an honor. We still have another copy to give away next month so we'll see if they can hold the record for a second month.

It is great to see the growing interest and excitement in Groovy and Grails at our Java User Group and I know that ours is not unique. Java User Groups all over the world are beginning to embrace the next generation of Java!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Out of the Box

I'm beginning to think that the term "out of the box" has jumped the shark.

Anyone involved in software development has heard, read and probably used this term at one time or another. If you are involved in Groovy and Grails development you probably hear it all the time. I think Scott Davis holds the record for most uses of the term in a single presentation. In the book "Beginning Groovy and Grails: From Novice to Professional" (an excellent book, by the way, which I am almost done poring over and will write a review on soon), this term appears about a dozen times. It's easy to understand why since Grails does come with so many features and so many things that just work right out of... well you know what I mean.

So, you ask, what's the big deal? It's just plain wrong, that's what. It's difficult these days to find software or software development tools that were ever in a box to begin with. This is especially true with open source tools like Groovy and Grails. And I am worried that using this kind of inaccurate term is going to affect the way others look at our profession. I mean, as programmers we're supposed to be at least somewhat intelligent, but what are people going to think when they hear us talking about features and benefits coming out of a box that never existed?

I think this is a serious problem and not an easy one to solve. How else can we express the magic of things like GORM without using so many words that we get jaw cramps. Nonetheless, it's a problem that must be solved. If we do not want people to start lumping us in with the likes of used car salesmen or, even worse, lawyers, we had better get started looking for another, more accurate, term.

I think we can do it if we all work together and if we're willing to think outside the box.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

No Fluff in Green Bay

Well, I guess there might be fluff in Green Bay, but not here at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center where the Northern Wisconsin Software Symposium is being held. Here there is no fluff just stuff and good stuff at that. There's just a bit less of it than usual. Green Bay is not a big town so the NWSS is not a big conference. It's kind of like a No Fluffette.

But what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality! The speaker lineup, though limited, is top notch. Yesterday (Fri) Jeff Brown was extolling the goodness that is Groovy and Grails, Venkat Subramaniam was covering Agile development, mocking for unit testing, and testing our Java kung fu, and capping off the lineup was Mark Richards who gave a two-fer on Enterprise messaging with JMS followed by an SOA class.

Then after we'd all finished up our steak dinners Venkat treated us to a brand new keynote that was eye-opening, inspiring and hilarious all at the same time.

So far, so good. Now to head downstairs for day two. Today Jared Richardson, Brian Sletten and, local boy, John Carnell will be joining us. It'll be great as long as my head doesn't explode.