Developing Great Software

Saturday, December 26, 2009

UIComposer On Project Kenai

UIComposer v0.4a Now On Project Kenai

I have created a new project on Project Kenai to house UIComposer which is currently at version 0.4a. 

UIComposer is a Wicket custom control that provides similar functionality as Facebook's "What's On Your Mind" page widget. It is composed of an optional image which can be associated with a link, a data entry field for user input and a button that posts the user's data back to the server using AJAX.

UIComposer comes in many flavors but using it in your applications is easy. All its resources and dependencies are fully self contained. So adding UIComposer is as simple as adding its lib to your project, importing it into your source files and creating the control:
import UIComposer.Wicket.Component.UICompositeWithImage;
add(new UICompositeWithImage("uicomposite", "What's on your mind?") {
UIComposer's use of abstract methods allow tailoring the controls' behavior at run time making it suitable in situations that are specific to each application.

Access to the project's source code is available using Subversion at the following url:
Anonymous access to the repository is allowed but if you aren't already I would recommend you create your own account on Project Kenai to reap the greatest benefit as it affords many resources to developers.
Included in the distrobution is a Wicket application, UIComposerTestApp, for testing its various flavors and ways of using UIComposer.

You will need to install Subversion on your system in order to obtain the UIComposer source code.

If you use Netbeans then you are in luck. Netbeans has excellent integration with Subversion and Project Kenai. In Netbeans, once you are logged in to Project Kenai, you can effortlessly download the project directly into Netbeans, all without leaving the Netbeans IDE.

Please down load UIComposer. Play with it! Try to break it! Provide lots of feedback! Bug tracking is supported via Jira which is accessible from the project's home page on Project Kenai. The more feedback the better UIComposer will be.

Currently UIComposer is covered under the GPL-2.0 source license. I am entertaining loosening the licensing restrictions with the lesser version of GPL but only after considerable thought has been given to doing so.

In the new year I will contribute numerous articles that deal with creating custom Wicket components and UIComposer will serve as an example for many of them. But UIComposer is more than a tool for future articles, it is my contribution to the Wicket community. I hope users of the Wicket framework who need the features that UIComposer provides will take advantage of it, work with me and provide their feedback.

Oh, and one more thing, that mug in the picture at the top of the page is mine :)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Some Musings About This Year & Next

Oracle's pending purchase of Sun seems appropriate in the sense that it seems to add to the year end anxiety. Oracle will, I imagine, be able to alleviate the EEC's concern over MySql and will eventually see the EEC approve the deal. But developers have their concerns about where that will leave Netbeans, the free and open source Java IDE and rich client platform. Hopefully, Oracle will fully embrace Netbeans and provide the assets that are needed to move Netbeans along. And there is much to do.

Recently released Netbeans v6.8 has lots of new features. It is very good but at times it is too memory hungry and brings my HP laptop (Vista OS with 2 gigs of memory) to its knees. The project scanning/indexing issue seems to have reappeared in this release for who knows why. Current support for Groovy and Grails, which I believe will see a tremendous growth in the coming year, is nowhere near where it could be. Intellij Idea, for example, really shines here and sets the bar that Netbeans will have to aim for in the coming year if it wants to attract and keep Groovy and Grails developers. The Zend framework needs to be among the PHP frameworks that are supported and Wicket support needs to be folded into Netbeans.

Wicket has seen much improvement in 2009 and I am confident that it will continue to do so in 2010. Its developers are top-notch and its developer community is alive and well. Hopefully, the new year will see improved support for Java EE/EJB along the same lines that Wicket currently has for Spring.

Cloud computing became a reality in 2009 and should see healthy adoption in 2010.

Apparently the Intype editor project isn't dead after all and its developers seem to have a renewed determination towards putting out a new release. For all of us who have wished for a TextMate like editor for Windows, well we seem to be a few steps closer to that end.

In the few remaining days of 2009 I will place my custom Wicket component on Project Kenai which will serve as the subject for numerous future articles. I am very excited about this. I was going to postpone putting the project on Kenai because it needs some minor refactoring and there is one api that I haven't even touched on yet. After some thought, though, I decided that it was more important to get it out there, that the remaining tasks should be visible and hopefully will attract developers' input and contributions to the project.

And, finally, a voice on the radio just told me that this was the most dangerous time of the year for people to experience heart problems. I imagine this year will be even more severe than most due to the state of the economy and the prospect of a long and protracted recovery. Hopefully, those who found themselves struggling in 2009 will see better things coming their way during the coming year.

A very happy holiday and new year to you all.


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New York, NY, United States
Software Developer