What I’ve Been Doing

Apologies that I haven’t posted much recently – mainly due to lack of time and inspiration.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Writing some unit tests to test the object-relational mapping part of a project I’m working on (in PHP) to allow me to back up my contacts by SMS. I plan to implement a subset of the functionality in mod_python and Ruby on Rails to figure out what works best, and get a feel for the issues.
  • Downloaded Flex and started going through the documentation (comments from Peter Nixey and Bruce Eckel have piqued my interest). My initial impression from looking at this through my Java glasses is that from a programming perspective it is vaguely reminiscent of the early AWT/Swing-based thick client builders (with panels, layout managers etc.); we’ve gone through a cycle of thick client to thin client and now back to thicker client again. I had to install the Flash Player plug-in for Firefox on my Ubuntu Linux install, but otherwise it is pretty ubiquitous so I believe it has a promising future, even with the challenge from Microsoft’s Silverlight. The Flex download doesn’t like Ubuntu 6.06’s default JRE, but you can get around this by downloading the latest JRE. Also, I see that there is an online compiler you can use.

These activities are part of my figuring out which technologies to focus on given my current background in JavaEE. I’ve considered the Spring/Hibernate option but feel that more lightweight approaches based on PHP/Python/Ruby are the way to go (for greenfield projects, at least).

Also — in my day job at Lloyds TSB — I am looking at the design process and figuring out (with others) what deliverables we need; this is for a large programme of work, involve deliverables across a number of strategic platforms so we need to do the design up-front.

I’m reading two books at the moment: Rebecca Blood‘s Weblog Handbook (to get me thinking about how to improve this blog), and Derek Powazek’s Design for Community (because there will be a community element to the project I’m working on). As an alternative to daily newspapers I have started buying “The Week“, which is recommended. It gives a somewhat more varied round-up of UK and world news than seems to come out of the mainstream newspapers.

Finally, in a gesture of pure altruism I’m leaving work early today so I can take the children to see Spiderman 3.

Have a good weekend!


One Response to What I’ve Been Doing

  1. Peter Nixey says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Glad to be of influence. I’ve said it before but I think that for the right job (i.e. a web-based rich app), it’s difficult to beat the dev time and deployment ease of flex. It’s not right for everything but I’ll be interested to see what your more experienced take is on it.


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