Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Second Day at Colorado Software Summit 2008

Yesterday (21 October 2008) was the second day of presentations at Colorado Software Summit and I learned quite a few new things as well as solidifying my understanding of many more topics. As I stated in my blog entry about the first day of presentations, comments here are my own interpretations of what I thought I heard in these sessions I briefly review here. If something is stated incorrectly, it is likely due to my misunderstanding.

Subbu Allamaraju - RESTful Web Applications - Facts vs. Fiction

In Subbu Allamaraju's presentation RESTful Web Applications - Facts vs. Fiction, he outlined problems with commonly used web frameworks that lead to most web applications not being very REST-friendly. For example, Subbu pointed out how JSF and REST approach the web from opposite extremes and stated that JSF can be patched, but not fixed. Subbu similarly addressed two other web frameworks covered at Colorado Software Summit (Google Web Toolkit and SOFEA/Appcelerator).

Dave Landers, a speaker at several editions of Colorado Software Summit, states that this was his favorite session of the day in his blog entry.

UPDATE (28 October 2008): Subbu has posted the slides for this presentation. His bullet that, from a REST perspective, JSF is not fixable has caused some contention, but there certainly seems to be some valid points in his argument.

Denise Hatzidakis - Put Your Feet Up and Take a RESTful Approach

I always like Denise Hatzidakis's presentations. For one thing, they are rapid delivery, a style I happen to like both as a listener and as a presenter. Denise's presentation Put Your Feet Up and Take a RESTful Approach was exactly what I was looking for in a REST presentation at this conference. I have dabbled in REST some and managed to use it to a minimal degree, but Denise's presentation did a nice job of filling in some holes in my knowledge. Specifically, Denise did a nice job of articulating when to use REST versus WS-* web services. Denise provided a thorough overview of REST from including its history, where it fits, its advantages, REST with HTTP, and REST SOA. With so many people taking one side or another in the REST versus WS-* debate, it was refreshing to see a presentation on where each best fits.

Filip Hanik - What the Bayeux? Understanding, Using, and Developing with the Bayeux Protocol

After presenting my presentation Java Management Extensions (JMX) Circa 2008, I attended Filip Hanik's presentation What the Bayeux? Understanding, Using, and Developing with the Bayeux Protocol. As Filip suggested, it would probably have been helpful to attend his presentation on Comet first, but I did have some minimal exposure to Comet conceptually and was able to understand what Bayeux is attempting to do. I appreciated Filip's honesty in discussing the good and the bad of Bayuex Protocol. I think the Comet concept seems promising, but I would like to see more standardized approaches that are easy to use implemented for it. Bayeux has the potential to be concrete implementation that helps to do this. Comet seems to have a small but very enthusiastic following as evidenced at Comet Daily.

Matt Raible - Building Rich Internet Applications with Appcelerator

For the last session slot of the day, I attended Matt Raible's Building Rich Internet Applications with Appcelerator. Matt asked who was developing Rich Internet Applications and what tools/frameworks they were using for these. In this particular session's audience, it seemed to be pretty even between Google Web Toolkit and Flex.

Matt referenced the article Life Above the Service Tier as he explained the history of SOFEA (for Service-Oriented Front-End Architecture) and the history of the closely related SOUI. Matt recognized the many common features of SOFEA and SOUI in the blog entry SOFEA: Also Known as SOUI.

I had not heard of Appcelerator until I saw it in the agenda for this conference. I spent about 10 minutes reading about it at that time, but then decided to wait to let Matt boil down the essentials at the conference. This actually (but not too surprisingly) paid off handsomely as I learned what I believe I needed to know regarding Appcelerator. Matt highlighted many positives of Appcelerator, but I don't think I see enough advantages to move from Flex and OpenLaszlo to Appcelerator. I appreciate that Appcelerator seems to adopt the best features of the various web framework rather than trying to reinvent them. For example, Matt showed how it uses several Flex components for highly fluid visual effects. A useful site that Matt pointed out for us to look at is Appcelerator in Five Minutes. This provides a mechanism for easily seeing how Appcelerator works. It reminds me of Laszlo in Ten Minutes.

Matt summarizes his own session in his blog and includes his slide presentation in that blog entry.

Kelvin Lawrence - BOF - Current Choices when Building a Modern Lightweight User Experience (UX)

This Birds of a Feather session organized and moderated by Kelvin Lawrence was enlightening as we shared experiences with Flex, jQuery, and other approaches to Rich Internet Applications. Several people who are trying to decide on an RIA framework attended and asked great questions that forced me to remember what interested me about Flex and OpenLaszlo in the first place.

Overall Comments for the Day

The main topics that I wanted to learn more about at the Colorado Software Summit this year were REST, OSGi, and Comet/Bayeux. Even with two of my own presentations in the first two days, I was able to see the OSGi presentation, three REST presentations, and the Bayeux presentation. In addition to these, it was nice to learn more about Appcelerator and iPhone development. I am sorry to report that I did not win tonight's raffle for the iPod Nano.

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