Saturday, 8 November 2008

The week in review - 2008-45

When Firefox 3 came out, I remember reading a lot of fuss about the AwesomeBar - a lot of people complained about it. Well, I loved it when I first saw it, and I still love it. Occasionally I have to fire up IE6 to check some rendering and thats when I really notice how much I like the awesome bar.

Last week I mentioned disk performance and my attention has just been brought to this posting about kitting a developer machine out with SSD for great performance gains. The author compares several different machines and concludes that SSD is the way forward. Looking on the Dell site, it looks like 64GB SSD would add AUD$1000 - a bit rich for me, and for some reason you can't have both a hard disk and SSD. I'd be interested to know why, because it would be nice to combine cheap mass storage (7200 rpm hard disk) and expensive small fast storage.

On my personal projects it has become obvious that it isn't just about one language anymore (java, groovy, python, javascript etc). It also seems that with javascript libraries its not just about one library either. I'm currently using Prototype, Dojo, and jQuery in one application. If I spent enough time on it, I could probably drop one of them, but at the moment its not worth the investment.

New CPUs from Intel feature 4 cores and hyperthreading is back (and supposedly energy efficient) giving you 8 virtual cores!

I've just found http://snippets.dzone.com/. This looks like a great resource for those little pieces of code you need now and then. I'm particularly interested in the linux section - subscribing to the RSS feed might be a good way to learn new tricks!

I've been spoilt working on my personal projects using Grails and AppEngine. Back in the corporate world, restarting the app server after the smallest change in compiled code and waiting for JSPs to recompile seems unreasonable. In JSF, Facelets is the way to go, but I'll have to wait for a while before we can switch JSP to Facelets. To get around restarting the application server, JavaRebel might be an option. Anything that lets me build the application quicker would be welcome, and since I doubt I've got enough influence to make the switch to grails I'll have to investigate these options.

Doing most of my work offline (while travelling to/from the office) I appreciate offline documentation. Imagine how happy I was to find out about these cheatsheets.

What happened to http://www.savethedevelopers.org/ ? It used to be a site encouraging users to upgrade to the latest browsers, but now it redirects to a Microsoft site to download IE: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/download-ie.aspx. Is this because of their campaign against IE6?

I was surprised to find that some companies block the SVN propfind requests. To check out from a remote repository you need to configure your svn tool with the proxy details, and use an HTTPS url since the firewall can't read encrypted packets. This makes it a bit difficult to check out opensource projects - looking at other projects code is a good way to learn so I'm surprised companies are this pedantic with firewalls/proxies. Unfortunately Google Code repositories only allow anonymous access over HTTP - but the Jakarta projects have an HTTPS url which doesn't require a username and password to read from (i.e. https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/commons/proper/lang/trunk). Or, failing that you could attach the source jars from a maven repository in your IDE (i.e http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/commons-lang/commons-lang/2.4/commons-lang-2.4-sources.jar). Note, the Netbeans maven plugin makes this easy.

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