New blogger on the block

June 27th, 2003

I just noticed this guy in my referals. Seems like another great ex-collegue of mine has joined the blogging world. Vincent, as you can see, is a bit more educated in the art of generating something sweet to the eye than me. Enjoy.

XML overview

June 27th, 2003

Before boasting "I know everything there is to know about XML!!!", please check here first. Makes you kind of humble again, doesn't it? :-P (Hmm, I should look into getting proper smiley pics for this blog...)

Via Cedric


June 26th, 2003

Since I've only recently returned from holiday, I'm excused for being late in congratulating the Orixo members (you'll find most of them in my blogroll). Congratulations. Knowing these people (well, some more than others of course), I'm sure they have the necessary intellectual mass and business ethics to carry such an undertaking to great heights. And I'm convinced they'll have a great time doing this.


June 26th, 2003

One is now supposedly obliged to blog when he's back from vacation? Well, I am. 2 weeks of France. One week in the oven of the Provence (37C is not a laugh with a one-year-old), and one very nice week in the Jura region (Rougemont, which is "near" Besanon, which is "near" Dyon. Funny how distance is relative. I would never tell somebody that Brussels, Belgium is "near" Antwerp, Belgium, although the distance in kilometers is probably smaller than Rougemont-Besanon. Anyway...)

The little one has learnt to walk a few hundred meters holding hands, and crying "mjamjam" when he's hungry. Now we only have to teach him to say "Daddy, can I have a sandwich please?" to ease the communication a bit more. Well, maybe we should start in Dutch.

As for the future: we're going back to France in October. The west side this time (Marmande, "near" Bordeaux). We're looking forward to it. Not in the least because we'll stay in a house instead of a motorhome, which might maybe convince Lowie to keep sleeping when daddy turns around in bed, and thus gives us more than 6 hours sleep a night.

Interview questions

June 6th, 2003

This site claims to give "answers to technical interview questions" (and wants to sell you some book in the progress). I wonder which of those are actually posed in interview sessions. I know that, if I would get questions like that to assess my person, I would dash out as if a bee stung me in the lower part of my back. These questions either rely on probability math, or finding some obtruse loophole in the question. Nothing that tells how technically skilled I am. And if a company thinks that it does tell something about my skills, then that's a company I don't want to work for.

'nough said, I guess. I would love to get some reactions from believers, and try to understand what I am missing.

CVSSource project

June 5th, 2003

In reaction to my cry for help for a Java-based WebCVS, Sylvain pointed me to CVSSource. It's weird how small and how big the world has become at the same time these days: this weblog is probably interleaving inodes with that project, but I wasn't really aware of its existence. It could as well have been on a server in Australia, with no notifiable difference for me. Which actually reminds me that I have no idea where the machine physically resides. Maybe it is Australia.

Anyway, CVSSource is a Cocoon-based CVS viewer. It could still use some extra features (which, as Sylvain told me, are in the pipeline), but it does what it has to do: show the contents of a CVS repository in your browser. Even the indentation of the .java files is taken care of. Very nice job overall. If you want a Java-based browser view on your CVS repository, definitely recommended.

CVS on the web

June 4th, 2003

So we're looking for a CVS servlet. Basically, we want to be able to browse a local CVS repository over a web server. "Aha!", you'll say, "just use ViewCVS!" There's one problem though: it has to run on IBM's WebSphere, and AFAIK that doesn't support Python. Moreover, I've never tried to run Python on any sort of web server, so I have no idea where to start.

"Aha!", you'll say again, "let's google it!". Yes, thank you. This gave me 2 projects: jCVS and Alexandria. Both of them seem to be a little dead. I actually tried to install jCVS, but it left me with the feeling that it would only run on un*x. Alexandria, I didn't even bother, given the big red warning box on its front page.

I only see a few options left:

  • Figure out a way to run Python on WebSphere
  • Figure out a way to run Python scripts inside a servlet
  • Write my own application (hopefully I can find at least a Java-based CVS client engine somewhere)
  • Beg you for your knowledge and help. That's actually the one that I like best. Have you done something similar? Are there ways that I don't see (yet)? I would very much appreciate your comments.

Six degrees of weblog

June 4th, 2003

Eei, nifty tool. Apparently, that CamWorld blog (which I've never heard of before today) links to mine in 6 steps. Maybe Bacon was right after all...

Via Erik

Forrest CSS skin

June 4th, 2003

Announcing the birth of a new Forrest skin. Forrest is a great way to generate (non-API) documentation. If you try it, you will be amazed of how much you actually put in documentation if you don't have to worry about font size and stubborn images at the same time.

It works like this: you type documentation in your favorite Notepad. You select a layout. You press "generate". Et voil, all your content appears professionally laid out in HTML and PDF. It even impressed some project managers around here, who immediately wanted to play with it.

And now, you can take advantage of the power of CSS too!

You can see the result here. And the code is already assimilated into the Forrest CVS, so it shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on it. Enjoy!

Andy is coming to Belgium

June 4th, 2003

Andy states that he might come to Belgium, and even give a presentation. This makes me want to go, even if it was only to be able to put a face on this chain blogger.

On an unrelated note (discussing the Sun vs JBoss issue), he states

Suddenly, .NET is cheaper than J2EE.
Perception not to be underestimated. I've heard at least one company state that they would go for .NET, because J2EE was too expensive for their business. While I didn't do any calculations on the matter, it amazed me. Apparently, they were developing some machinery that included an app server, and they would sell that machinery. So every machine would have to be licensed with one app server. And they perceived that they had to buy a full-scale J2EE compliant commercial package. But if you're into machines with only a couple of users per time, I would think that even a simple Tomcat would do. No licensing costs whatsoever. The point is: this another area where the Sun marketing machine is doing weird things, and achieves the exact opposite of what they want to achieve (sell!).

Moving right along...

I picked up my copy of Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture again. I just finished the first part, which describes the design patterns in relation to each other. The main difference with all the other "pattern" books? Martin Fowler doesn't have the "I know it all so you should listen" attitude, but more the "From my experience, I think this and that is worth considering". And a wide experience he has, so you might very well want to follow his advice. He even has a non-dogmatic view on the EJB story. Very good read. Recommended for everybody who has ever written (or has to write) an application with a Web interface and a database backend (aka "Enterprise application").

The rest of the book goes into the various design patterns in more detail, but without loosing the oversight. It looks very promising. I will be a less dogmatic person in the end (as far as I was one).


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