Monday, January 21, 2008

I finally made up my mind

Those who read this blog more often may have noticed the minor change in the sub-title. It now reads:
Experiences from a hard core Java programmer that finally decided Ruby is a very very nice language, but rather stays on the JVM.
Compare it to the previous text:
Experiences from a hard core Java programmer that struggles with the question of switching to the world of Ruby and Ruby on Rails.
So how did I come to this conclusion? Here are some random considerations:
  • I have only once in the last 2 years used Ruby professionally (to do some counting in a site dump).
  • I do have 3 Ruby sites running (one Camping and two using Radiant). So I am not going to stop using Ruby anytime soon.
  • ActiveRecord totally kicks ass and is hugely impressive. Rails for the rest not so much (totally old school request response based, with like JSP code in the templates). It may be just my lack of experience, so don't base your opinion on this.
  • I am very addicted to correct refactoring and code completion.
  • As I wrote before, we now have Scala.
  • Update 2008-01-23: This one needs to be added. Since I recently became a father, it is simply too much to keep track of 2 worlds at the same time.
So if you expected me to be on amsterdam.rb right now, here is why.

GWT in action - Book review

I recently joined JTeam, a self declared GWT specialist. Of course I do not want to stay behind so I started reading GWT in Action.

That was a mistake. There is nothing wrong with GWT, I think it is a very nice component oriented technology in the spirit of Swing and Wicket, which makes it a lot easier to build very complex applications.

But back to the book. Reading the book is a lot like looking at an extremely knowledgeable professor. The kind of professors that know so much that they don't know where to begin. And like with the professor you will eventually get it if you hang on and are able to sort it all out in your head.
Well, I was fed up with it in chapter 5, half way through the 17 chapter book. Here are my mischiefs: 1) the text was constantly referring to chapters further away in the book, 2) it was continuously repeating itself (I had to read at least 4 times that it is okay to use something else then Eclipse), but worse, 3) the text was almost continuously on a different conceptual level then the reader could be. For example implementation details are mentioned (for example the event_bits attribute in the generated HTML) while they have nothing to do with making you understand the API (writing an event callback class). Or the other way around, at places where a simple examples would do wonders there is only some broad goal description.

Since there are many other books on GWT, you are probably better of with another one.