Thursday, June 29, 2006

Portlet anyone?

Today I have been trying to get a portlet to work. Without success. I could not believe it could be so difficult to deploy this stuff. How can anyone stand this? It's no wonder people run away to Ruby on Rails.

Example: The error message is "NullPointerException".
Translation: please remove log4j.jar from your WEB-INF/lib folder.

Another example: "The portlet.xml could not be found". I am quite sure the file is there! Cause is yet to be found. Some pointers I found told me to check 4 other files. I did, no idea yet what could be wrong there.

Please spare me from more JCP junk.

(For those interested: I tried to run the Spring MVC portlet example in Pluto 1.0.1. I made one change: the name of the application.)

Update I know, I know. It is not fair to criticize open source projects. There are actually people that put their heart in this kind of stuff, and they deserve appraisal for it. Unfortunately I am now in the situation where I have no choice and actually have to use an under documented Pluto version.

This morning I found I overlooked yet another Tomcat log file (localhost.log) in which there were clear class not found exceptions. These provided enough pointers to get things running pretty quickly.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Spring One

The fast facts:
  • 50 presentations
  • 400+ visitors from over 24 countries
  • Spring 2.0 to be released very soon
    • excellent JPA support
    • AspectJ fully integrated (without special compiler)
    • finally a form tag library in Spring MVC
    • improved xml configuration
    • asynchronous JMS facilities
    • many many small fixes and improvements
  • word count
    • EJB3: 0 times
    • Java Persistence API (JPA): zillion times
  • BEA is building WebLogic 9 series on Spring
  • Spring in use in ultra-safety focused companies like Voca
The last 2 days I have been to the first ever Spring-One conference in Antwerp, Belgium. It was an exciting experience to see all the core-developers of this excellent piece of software in one location. Unlike at the JBoss World conference in Barcelona, Spain half a year ago, I felt a friendly and respectful atmosphere from all speakers. The enthusiasm was actually contagious and let me to believe there is still lots of hope for the Java environment.

Remarkable is that besides the obvious talks about upcoming Spring 2.0 there was also quite some focus on Domain Driven Design or Rich Domain Modeling. Perhaps Interface 21, the company that employs many of the important Spring developers, wants to emphasize that they are very capable in providing advanced architectural consulting services.

The best practical I have seen was the JPA testing demonstration by Rod Johnson. With some black class-loader magic Spring makes in possible to quickly test JPA based DAOs and repositories against a database. And by quick I mean quick: several hundreds of tests in only 5 seconds on a simple laptop.

Though not all presentations were great, most were. I think I got a lot of value being at the conference.

Update: Chris May has a nice and extensive blog on Spring One.

Presentation materials are available from the Spring one website.