More Anecdotal Evidence of Low JSF Adoption

I came across yet more anecdotal evidence that actual JSF adoptions are coming along pretty slowly, from some commentary by Greg Luck. During a session on web frameworks with Craig McClanahan and Matt Raible at O’Reilly’s Open Source Conference apparently a question was asked about who in the audience was using JSF:

It is a little unclear what will happen with JSF. It has been coming for a long time, but only one person in the audience was using it.

This points again towards the idea that despite all the talk about JSF, there are still few people using it. And I’ll probably get flamed about this since the technology has some hardcore true believers. For me it’s on the wait and see list of new technologies. I’m still not convinced its worth the effort to adopt and that something better is likely to come along.

Microsoft Finally Updating VSS?

Read through a few posts over on the Subversion site after someone pointed to it. So apparently VSS will finally follow the Dodo bird off a cliff. It’s about time!

VSS had always been an amazingly bad version control system. I worked for an ecommerce dotcom back in 2000 where VSS was the default source control system. After one of our uber developers wrote his own proxy service for a client with about 500 classes he tried to check it in. Since VSS assumes it’s on a local network share and we were actually on a VPN with limited bandwidth to the corporate office in SF it took 8 hours and failed on the initial attempt. Just getting a directory listing in VSS took minutes sometimes.

Anyway after he had to fly out to the SF office to successfully check it in, the company considered moving to CVS. The final nail in the coffin were the explanations from our handful of ex-Microsoft developers. As one of them put it, “Oh, we never used Source Safe at Microsoft, it doesn’t scale.”

First Steps with Mac Version of OPML Editor

I got around to downloading and running a Hello World example with Dave Winer’s OPML editor which has now been ported to the Mac. I like outliners in general, and there seems to be some promise this new outliner.

Anyway these are just first thoughts:

  • The OPML icon is ugly and pixilated, typical developer stuff.
  • The directions assume there is only a Windows version after step 1. Instead of the saving the first document to <div class="codecolorer-container text vibrant overflow-off" style="overflow:auto;white-space:nowrap;">
    C:\My Documents\OPML\www


    it should go to

  • After creating a test outline and looking at it in a browser, I’m not seeing any magic, but heh I only spent 10 minutes tops.

Now to look at the Instant Outliner functionality. Dynamic outlines shared among a project team, interesting idea.

Enterprise Rules Engine versus Drools

Before I came onboard at my present company I was fairly impressed with their use of a rules engine. It seemed better than most places that on a major application they had tied all of their business logic into the rules tier, theoretically for reuse.

Of course you don’t necessarily see reality in an interview. The realities included:

  • The rules engine was brought in house to solve the problems with a wonderful ‘Big Bang’ project.
  • The rulebase had a few thousand rules organized into rulesets, and then we implemented workflow, or ‘rule flow’ in the rules engine.
  • The software was so expensive we only had a few licenses for developers, and only two developers worked with the rules engine product at all.
  • Debugging the rules engine is difficult, and unit testing it is a nightmare.
  • And finally the business analysts were supposed to write the business rules in the tool. I’ve never seen this work where the programing interface is easy enough to use for the business side. Lots of tools promise it, I don’t know of what that delivers it.

One of my developers is looking into Drools, after a brief look it appears to be a much better match for our requirements.

Another example of a simple rule I try to follow, ‘Always avoid Enterprise Software where possible.’

Formalization of Features in Feature Driven Development

I came across a slightly more detailed explanation of how to write feature titles in FDD, basically:


So an example would be, Add an Item to the Shopping Cart or Calculate Total Registrations for Class. Having just gone through an exercise of planning out some features and estimating ‘story points’ on a project, this makes a lot of sense. It seems to reinforce that they are small task level items instead of things like full Use Cases such as Manage Customer Orders or Build Giant Report. I’ll have to try this out with the next Scrum product backlog list I develop.