Java Groovy
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If you haven’t yet read about Groovy, here is an article on Sun’s web site about it. I like the idea, as you should probably have guessed from my complaints about Java. Just looking at some of the examples reminds me of the fun years I had developing simple things in Perl. No, this won’t replace Java development in general, but it could be used for some very simple applications, from Unix scripts to simple web sites.

Just Because It's Free, Doesn't Mean It's Free
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Just a thought for Internet Web Development departments. Many times a department will make a decision to use another technology (for example, an open source Java library) which is free. Its quickly implemented, but the department and the company never stop to calculate the true costs. When adding any new technology, there will always be a learning curve, not only for the current employees but also for any new employees brought on in the future (whether out of growth or for replacement). As well, now that an additional skill set, or API knowledge is needed, it might increase what the company has to pay to hire an employee.

The added technology may solve a real problem, and may not cost the department anything up front. But the question is, how much company time and money will it cost down the road? Will it be harder to replace any employees who have this new knowledge? Will other employees in the department need training? How quickly will they be able to pick it up? Will it unnecessarily complicate your application?

All important questions to ask.

Web Services and Service-Oriented Architecture
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In a previous post, I suggested I’d like to see a much looser coupling between the front-end, or GUI portion, of a web app, and the back-end, which handles data persistence, business rules, and all other types of data processing. Really, what I’m suggesting, is that these areas be broken down into separate unique services. The further we break components down, the easier it is to design them, code them, test them, and maintain them (at least to a point, you can go too far with this).

If you aren’t yet familiar with Service-Oriented Architecture, then read this post from several years ago on webservices.xml. It’s a good introduction to the concepts. So far in my experience, I think the GUI is being asked to do far too much; to be far too smart for its own good. I’d rather all the brains of the user interface be provided by services, and the front end simply stick to the role of providing a visual interface to those back-end services.

Automatic Enkoderform
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Tired of posting your email on a web page and then getting tons of unsolicited email from engines that scrape web pages to find email addresses? Try Automatic Enkoderform. I did and it works great!

Row Count within a Group
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The report I’m working on now requires a running count for each line item within a group. Fortunately, Jasper has an easy way of doing this, by simply using $V{groupname_COUNT}, where groupname is the name of your group.

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