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Reindeer Arm Wrestling

Here's one for the holiday season ...

posted by Geert Bevin in Internet on Dec 30, 2006 7:22 PM : 0 comments [permalink]
At last, an excellent reason to ditch MySQL

For years I've been telling people to not use MySQL, but to go for better open-source databases instead, like PostgreSQL.

The reasons have been many, from them not being an actual relational database until version 5, pestering people with crappy JDBC drivers version upgrades, ridiculous float and double support, and insisting on JDBC connections being closed after x hours of inactivity, ...

Finally it seems that MySQL has dug its own grave since they stopped making recent releases available as binary or source archives. Apparently, version 5.0.27 will be the last one that their own download section will provide and you'll have to rely on commercial support, vendors or linux distributions to ship newer versions. If you want to compile from source, it seems that you can still download that if you happen to know the 'secret location' of the FTP archive.

Anyway, people please, leave MySQL behind and move on to something more serious both in terms of database quality as well as in terms of fair practices. Even Oracle 10g XE now starts to look alluring since you at least exactly know what the limitations are. Personally, I still swear by PostgreSQL.

posted by Geert Bevin in IT on Dec 30, 2006 4:21 PM : 12 comments [permalink]
MVEL support in RIFE templates

A couple of years ago I planned writing a very small boolean expression language for usage in RIFE. None of the existing ones really felt like a good fit, but I ended up adopting OGNL, Groovy and Janino anyway due to lack of time. What bothered me most about these is that they are too powerful for their intended purpose and that users could potentially stuff too much logic inside templates.

Expression languages in RIFE are only used to conditionally assign the content of a template block to a value. This allows you to easily show certain parts of the interface depending on, for instance, the role of the user, an application-wide configuration parameter, another template value, etc. The only function of the expression language is to evaluate short conditions that result in true or false, thus meaning: should this block be assigned to the value or not.

Come MVEL, I saw it being mentioned on the Groovy IRC channel yesterday and had a look at it. It seems that the language supports exactly the feature set that I wanted to implement for our own expression language. MVEL can be very easily integrated and supposedly performs better than the rest. It is still lacking real-world testing by a large user community though and I stumbled into a series of minor issues with it. Chris Brock, the developer, is very responsive and seems extremely passionate about resolving problems as quickly as possible.

Today I committed MVEL support to the RIFE subversion trunk and will most likely be advocating it as the best choice for our blockvalue scripting feature as of RIFE 1.6.

I'm even wondering now if I should not integrate MVEL entirely inside the core RIFE distribution jar, as I've previously done with ASM and PCJ. This would mean that blockvalue scripting will be available to anyone without having to figure out which jar file they need for it.

Any thoughts on that?

posted by Geert Bevin in RIFE on Dec 29, 2006 1:48 PM : 9 comments [permalink]
Error-less error handling : Apple Developer Connection

This has happened to me a few times already after I log into the Apple Developer Connection site. I thought I'd share this moment of wonderful communication with a website user:

Browser screenshot ADC login

posted by Geert Bevin in Internet on Dec 27, 2006 8:22 PM : 5 comments [permalink]
RIFE : 2006 Java Tech Winner (Honorary mention)

RIFE was included as a honorary mention in a 2006 Java technology winner list at O'Reilly for the Java Web Framework/API category. With the de-facto standard JSF being the absolute winner in that area, this is awesome news and shows that our efforts are being noticed and appreciated.

It's also interesting that Groovy is included in this list. Not many people may know this, but RIFE has been a huge Groovy supporter for many years. It is a first-class scripting language for our framework. For example, you can write the entire website configuration or domain model in Groovy and have it reload at run-time, or use it as a boolean expression language inside templates. Of course, your server-side components can be also written with Groovy and even seamlessly integrate with other JVM scripting languages or regular Java in the same web application flow.

posted by Geert Bevin in RIFE on Dec 27, 2006 2:07 PM : 1 comment [permalink]

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