Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Groovy and Grails

Since I'm interested in increasing my RAD repertoire, I've decided to spend some of my research time on Groovy and the associated Grails web app framework, in addition to Scala. One nice thing about Groovy for an experienced Java developer is that its syntax is closer to Java than Scala's, while still running on the JVM and integrating nicely with Java. While familiar syntax isn't everything, it definitely can make your first steps into a new language a little easier. Grails follows a similar philosophy to that of Ruby on Rails, a well-known "coding by convention" web app framework, but integrates with established Java technologies like Spring and Hibernate. I wish they hadn't chosen a knock-off name like that, but it still looks pretty interesting. In order to learn Groovy, I decided to buy the book Groovy in Action, after seeing a lot of positive reviews for it on Amazon. I'm also checking out various articles I can find online, including the following: Any other suggestions for me?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Firebug and Ajax

Last night, I attended a NEJUG (New England Java Users Group) meeting which featured a talk titled "Designing for Ajax" given by Nathaniel T. "Nate" Schutta who has apparently spoken at several No Fluff Just Stuff conferences and co-authored the book Foundations of Ajax. It was an excellent talk, one of the best ones I've seen at a NEJUG meeting. He discussed a few Ajax JavaScript libraries/packages (Prototype, Scriptaculous, YUI, and Lightbox, for example) and coded several examples in front of the audience. He definitely made Ajaxifying what were previously flat web pages look quite simple. There were always caveats (to paraphrase, "In a production environment, you'd need to add a delay here so that you wouldn't get tool-tips popping up all over the place."), but the libraries seem to handle that mostly with sensible defaults. Although it wasn't directly related to Ajax, he also pointed out while doing the coding demos that he was using Firebug and YSlow for Firebug, very cool add-ons for Firefox that help you tune your web pages. Firebug includes a JavaScript debugger, powerful CSS helpers, and a bunch more. If you haven't used them before, you should check it out.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting rid of junk mail

A while ago, I read a Joel On Software blog entry called "Stop the catalogs" in which he mentioned a non-profit organization named Catalog Choice that helps you opt-out of paper catalogs. I've since signed up for the free service and so far explicitly asked to no longer receive about 5 catalogs. I'm sure I'll be adding more catalogs to that list. While I had some momentum, I thought I'd work on reducing our volume of junk mail generally. It turns out that you can opt-out of both ValPak and SuperCoups mailings (you know, the envelopes filled with hundreds of coupons that are mostly irrelevant) and take yourself off of the Direct Marketing Association's mailing list. Here are some links you might find useful:

Update: If you live in an area where you get weekly fliers in the mail from GlobeDirect (perhaps just the Boston area - since the company is associated with The Boston Globe), I discovered that you can call the number listed on the front of the outer flier (508-871-1900 for me at least) and request to be taken off of their mailing list. Since they normally send out materials once a week, this should make a huge difference!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scala Links

Well, I said I'd have more Scala links, so here they are: If anyone else provides links (that aren't already on the first page linked above), I'd be happy to add them.