Archive for July, 2009

Interview with JavaFX Coding Challenge Winner Sten Anderson

July 29, 2009

Reviews Interactive recently sat down with Sten Anderson, developer of the grand prize winning JavaFX Coding Challenge application, Music Explorer FX. Sten has been working with Java since the late ’90s and is currently a Senior Consultant for the software consultancy, Citytech, in Chicago. Sten began working with JavaFX at the time of the preview release, in August 2008. Sten said he learned JavaFX through trial and error, but claimed “I found it fairly easy to get up to speed in the new language, which is more of a testament to the language design than it is my ability to learn new things.”

Through his years of experience as a developer, Sten has grown convinced that applications are “all about end-user experience,” noting that users will not use any application that isn’t perceived as usable. Sten said one of the highlights of JavaFX is its ability to excel “at creating rich, interactive, visual user interfaces which I think are ultimately easier to use.” He described JavaFX as “a DSL for creating compelling user interfaces,” pointing out that “JavaFX makes it easier for a developer to create something good.”

Sten Anderson
Sten Anderson
Sten found that the most useful aspect of JavaFX in developing Music Explorer FX was “its near-seamless integration with the Java language and platform.” Sten also pointed out that he “would not have been able to write the application in the same time-frame without being able to lean on my existing Java knowledge.” Sten noted that as a Java developer he “found the syntax of JavaFX a welcome respite from the more verbose Java language.”

As a career Java developer, Sten noted when comparing RIA platforms, that “Java FX is ‘better’ simply because it’s Java.” He said it all boils down to that fact being JavaFX’s winning differentiator: “Since JavaFX plays so well with Java, its newness is compensated by the extreme age and maturity of the core Java platform.” He said it also gives Java developers a way to utilize their existing skill set when developing RIAs, by letting them stay “closer to home,” giving them the option to stay within the “Java Ecosystem.”

The complete interview with Sten can be found here.

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At a Glance: Last Week’s Reviews

July 28, 2009

NetBeans
Starting off last week’s positive reviews was eWEEK’s Jeff Cogswell, who reviewed NetBeans IDE 6.7, finding that while it’s a .7 release, it “includes so many new features it could rightfully receive a full version increment.” A long-time fan of NetBeans blogged that version 6.7 was “faster than its predecessors,” and also noted its native integration, which he called “impressive.” Blogger Haroon wrote that NetBeans 6.7’s native Maven integration was a “good and productive” feature that convinced him to “shift from Eclipse to NetBeans 6.7.” Lastly, long time NetBeans user Iwan Eising praised Version 6.7’s almost seamless compatibility with older versions, saying that it “makes testing NetBeans a better experience.”

VirtualBox
Jeff James at Windows IT Pro gave top marks to VirtualBox 3.0, calling it “an impressive product with an unbeatable price tag” that “competes well with the likes of VMware Workstation and Parallels Desktop.” Blogger Haroon wrote about his first experience with VirtualBox saying, “I find it really awesome,” and noted that in full-screen mode, no-one could tell that the guest OS such as Vista or XP was actually running over Ubuntu. Another blogger wrote that VirtualBox was the ideal program for a “developer that wants to tinker,” and pointed out that “server consolidation is one great thing VirtualBox can offer.” Rounding out the group was a blogger from Techfuels who posted instructions on how to save VirtualBox to a portable drive to run consistently on any desktop, noting that “these techniques allow you to be completely independent.”

MySQL
Bloggers this week explored a variety of useful MySQL tools, with one from Development GuRu taking advantage of the MySQL Optimize Table command. He called it “very useful for tables that are frequently updated and/or deleted.” Blogger Grig Gheorghiu focused on managing multiple MySQL instances, and concluded that the MySQL Sandbox “does make your life much easier.”

OpenOffice
Linux.com’s Jacqueline Emigh kicked off the reviews for OpenOffice.org this week, recommending OpenOffice.org’s Write program for anyone “seeking a smooth learning curve from MS Word.” Another blogger described the OpenOffice Suite in Ubuntu as “the perfect blend you need for all your office needs.” LinuxJournal’s Bruce Byfield chimed in with a tutorial on using OpenOffice’s DataPilots, which he said offered “convenient ways to perform statistical analyses.” Finally, a blogger got hands-on with OpenOffice.org and created a template and tutorial for making printable flash cards.

JavaFX
Java Pilot blogger Walter Bogaardt reported on his testing of JavaFX, noting that “it definitely gives a face lift to the Java GUI applications from an RIA.” Another blogger, who had read reports of large scene graphs affecting JavaFX performance, re-evaluated a game he had written and offered JavaFX optimization tips along the way. Finally, a blogger decided to experiment with Maven, stating that using JavaFX 1.2 with Maven 2.2 made it “somewhat easy to integrate a build with JavaFX complier.”

French broadcaster builds fast, energy-efficient Web portal on Sun GlassFish Platform

July 27, 2009

RTL France is a radio broadcaster that owns some of the country’s most popular stations. Thanks to the widespread adoption of broadband Internet, RTL France is seeing online listening figures grow across several of its stations. Because of this growth, RTL France decided it needed to completely rebuild its Windows-based portal and ASP.NET-based applications to support a larger audience with new services.

RTL France aimed for a solution that would increase reliability and scalability while also building an infrastructure that would be easier to manage, more cost-effective, and more energy-efficient. RTL France needed to replace all network hardware, acquire space at a hosting center, configure transit and peering connections, set up storage area network connections and consolidate separate databases into a centrally managed one. RTL France also needed an application server, and was only interested in open-source solutions that would be highly reliable in a production environment.

Sun Customer RTL France

(Image courtesy: RTL France )

RTL France evaluated several different technologies, and ultimately chose Sun’s GlassFish Enterprise Server. To deploy the solution RTL France needed to virtualize its servers and chose VMware ESX software running on Sun Fire X4600 Servers. RTL France also added a Sun Fire T1000 Server to test applications prior to deployment and two Sun Fire T2000 Servers to run the applications in the production environment.

The servers are powered by UltraSPARC T1 processors with CoolThreads technology and run the Solaris 10 Operating System. Sun Fire X4100 and X4100 M2 Servers with AMD Opteron processors are used for batch and other back-end processing. Sun StorageTek QFS Software is used for sharing static file across hosts, and the entire solution is backed by SunSpectrum Platinum Support.

RTL France is pleased with the new solution’s performance. Sebastien Thomas, Network and System Manager of RTL France praised the GlassFish solution saying, “Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server delivers a Web infrastructure that can scale easily with demand.” He summarized the value of the Sun solution by saying: “With Sun, we get stability, confidence, and savings in power, costs and time.

Check out the complete details here.

At a Glance: Last Week’s Reviews

July 22, 2009

VirtualBox
Computerworld’s Steven Vaughn-Nichols tested VirtualBox 3.0 on a variety of systems and platforms, concluding that “you owe it to yourself to try VirtualBox… It’s never been easier and VirtualBox has never been better.” Jack Wallen from TechRepublic came to the same conclusion, calling VirtualBox “one of the easiest of all virtualization products available,” and made special mention of its “amazing” Seamless mode. Blogger Tara focused on VirtualBox’s speed when she wrote, “VirtualBox’s disk throughput is phenomenal, in fact, this is the first time I’ve seen almost-native speed disk in [a] virtual machine,” concluding that “it’s an awesome app.” Rounding out the group was a blogger who praised VirtualBox’s seamless mode and noted that “the graphics also feel nicer and run faster.”

JavaFX
Praise for JavaFX this week started with blogger Matt Van Bergen, who discussed how the RIA platform of JavaFX makes Internet based applications much more user-friendly and intuitive. Osvaldo Pinali Doederlein focused on JavaFX 1.2’s overall update, concluding that 1.2 was “a much needed update that fixed important holes and performance bottlenecks.” Blogger Jim Weaver turned his attention to the JavaFX-powered Indaba online recording studio, noting that JavaFX “enables recording high-quality audio directly onto the client platform.”

NetBeans
NetBeans beat out the competition this week starting with a longtime TextMate user who made the switch to NetBeans, calling the IDE’s features “just amazing.” A different blogger wrote, “I’ve tested many, many IDE’s and options for programming and getting your work done. But…NetBeans gets the first prize.” Finally, blogger JJ Behrens, who has been using NetBeans for six months, noted that NetBeans is “way easier to get up to speed with than Eclipse.”

OpenSolaris
Bloggers highlighted a range of Solaris and OpenSolaris features, with blogger Alan Fineberg, a computer science and engineering student at University of Washington, calling Dtrace “awesome.” ZFS Mirror also earned a thumbs up from a blogger who explained how much easier Solaris 10’s ZFS Mirror makes the difficult work of breaking down a large task into smaller sub-tasks. A third blogger then gave a step-by-step guide showcasing how “easy it is to recover your favorite OS after installing” for what he called a “glorious recovery.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice.org won new followers this week, including a blogger who reported his surprise with “the incredible power of OpenOffice.org” writing that “it has completely blown me away.” Blogger Peter Daley described OpenOffice as “a very sophisticated office suite,” and called it “a viable alternative” to Microsoft Office. Finally, blogger Travis Hampton got hands-on with OpenOffice, posting the first part in a series of tutorials on how to prepare an OpenOffice.org document in book form.

MySQL
Kicking things off was a blogger at Rawseo, who explained why developers should opt for MySQL instead of Access, naming features such as MySQL’s attractive free price tag, multiple-user access, better management of large databases and increased security. Other developers focused on making MySQL even better, with one providing a list of the chief principles for optimizing PHP and MySQL scripts, while Linux Magazine’s Jeremy Zawodny, who has used MySQL for almost a decade, offered helpful tips based on MySQL problems he’s seen in the past.

eWEEK: NetBeans IDE 6.7 Provides Effective Integration with Project Kenai

July 21, 2009

eWEEK’s Jeff Cogswell reviewed NetBeans IDE 6.7, concluding that while NetBeans 6.7 is a .7 release in name, it “includes so many new features it could rightfully receive a full version increment.” Jeff spent the majority of his time testing NetBeans’ integration with Project Kenai, a new feature he called “one of the biggest improvements.” NetBeans
The reviewer, who had in the past experienced frequent difficulties with “getting a new project installed on a new developer’s computer,” wrote, “Now, with the NetBeans IDE, you can easily avoid such problems” by creating a project and uploading it to Kenai.

Jeff also praised the ability for developers to access various Project Kenai features such as full support for source code repositories directly through the NetBeans IDE, “without the need to interact with the site itself.” He also made special mention of NetBeans’ convenient chat software, which he called “pretty handy for communicating with the project members in real time.”

After thoroughly testing Kenai integration and running into very few problems, Jeff offered a final verdict: “All-in-all, I had a good experience with the Kenai integration into NetBeans IDE.

Windows IT Pro: “A hearty thumbs up” for VirtualBox 3.0

July 20, 2009

Windows IT Pro’s Jeff James awarded top marks to VirtualBox 3.0, calling VirtualBox “an impressive product with an unbeatable price tag” which offers “a perfect solution for quickly creating dev and test environments.”

Jeff emphasized VirtualBox’s unbeatable free price tag and highlighted user-friendly features like VM creation wizard. He also noted that “from a usability and performance perspective, VirtualBox 3.0 works like a charm,” performing “on par (if not a bit faster) than…VMware Workstation.”

Other notable features included improved 3D Support, Guest SMP and the mini toolbar for full screen and seamless modes which “makes it even easier to switch between VMs.”

The reviewer, who gave VirtualBox 3.0 “a hearty thumbs up,” ultimately concluded that VritualBox 3.0 is “an impressive virtualization product that competes well with the likes of VMware Workstation and Parallels Desktop.”

Sun VirtualBox

Interview with OpenSolaris Enthusiast Octave Orgeron

July 17, 2009

Reviews Interactive recently spoke with OpenSolaris enthusiast and influential blogger Octave Orgeron about the new OpenSolaris 2009.06 release. Octave is a Systems Architect with more than a decade of professional experience in designing, deploying and supporting Solaris solutions for the enterprise. He has been involved with OpenSolaris since the beginning and actively contributes to the OpenSolaris Logical Domains (LDoms) community through blog posts, articles and support.

Octave discussed the new features in OpenSolaris 2009.06 stating "I’ve found that the desktop integration and increasing amounts of IPS packages to be very helpful and productive for me." Octave also said that Crossbow and Xen have been "of great interest to me" on the virtualization front. However, he claimed the biggest enhancement personally was the SPARC support because of the work and testing he does on the SPARC platform.

Octave also gave his opinion on what the future holds for OpenSolaris, noting that although much of the focus has been on the desktop and user experience, he feels more emphasis needs to be placed on the provisioning, server administration, and support of the SPARC platform. He feels that "doing so will help bring OpenSolaris into the Data Center and help the transition from Solaris 10 to whatever the next product version will be named."

Octave Orgeron
Octave Orgeron
Octave is currently writing a book about Solaris/OpenSolaris LDoms and hopes to keep on contributing in this area. He also plans to start work on projects to address system administration needs and concerns with the long-term goal of helping out with Containers and Xen.

The complete interview with Octave can be found here.

French company reduces costs with Sun open-source solution

July 16, 2009
Symeos, a Web services security startup based in France, provides online identity management and federated authentication services to organizations in Western Europe and the United States. Symeos offers innovative single sign-on technologies for customers across multiple industries, helping to protect organizations against e-commerce online scams and identity thefts. Sun Customer Symeos
As the demand for increased security and online identity management and authentication solutions continued to increase, Symeos created a new identity management product called EGO. Symeos quickly needed a completely new virtualized platform to support the more than 10 million expected users of EGO. The company turned to Sun to provide a high performance, low energy consumption solution that was open source, fast, scalable, and secure.

Symeos ordered 8 Sun Blade T6340 Server Modules with UltraSPARC T2 Plus processors and 12 Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules with Intel Xeon processors. The company also purchased two Sun Blade 6000 Chassis to house the machines; and to protect the platform’s data, the company chose a Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System together with a Sun Storage J4000 Array. The infrastructure runs on the Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Operating Systems. The blade servers provide support for Web solutions that include the Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v3, the Sun GlassFish Web Space Server 10, and the open-source offerings of the MySQL Database, the Sun OpenDS directory server, and Sun OpenSSO Enterprise.

Symeos built the finished platform over a period of two months, and after testing, plans to launch the by the end of the year. Because Symeos used open-source and open-standard technology throughout, the business expects to lower future development costs by about 60%. Herve Prot, Chief Executive Officer of Symeos said: “With the support of Sun, we have developed a cost-effective identity management platform that offers customers 99.999% availability and is easily scalable.”

Check out the complete details here.

At a Glance: Last Week’s Reviews

July 14, 2009

Virtualbox
VirtualBox 3.0 received rave reviews this week beginning with Ars Technica’s Ryan Paul, who called VirtualBox his “preferred desktop virtualization solution,” noting its excellent integration between guest and host environments. Rick Vanover, a self-proclaimed fan of VirtualBox, also highlighted the updated functionality of the 3.0 release while the Chicago Sun-Times’ Andy Ihnatko made special mention of the “practically seamless” integration with “your ‘real’ PC.” A blogger at we3geeks couldn’t agree more, stating that VirtualBox “has to be one of the coolest pieces of software I think I’ve come across. Ever.”

JavaFX
Developers highlighted a wide variety of features this week starting with blogger Carl Dea, who noted, “One of the most impressive features that I’ve seen relating to JavaFX, is the ability of an Applet to interact with the browser via JavaScript and HTML.” In a different post, Carl was also pleased with the usability of strings in JavaFX, pointing out that “the added clarity will help people debug better.” Rounding out the group was Jim Weaver, who noted that with the JavaFX 1.2 release, it is easy “to create a ProgressIndicator that reflects the progress of a task such as HttpRequest.”

OpenSolaris
Accolades for OpenSolaris began this week with eWeek’s Jason Brooks, who tested out OpenSolaris 2009.06 and was most impressed with the flexibility and functionality of Crossbow network virtualization. A blogger from Blog O’Matty focused on a different feature, praising Solaris’ “ability to generate a core file when a system panics,” which he felt was more seamless than in Linux.

MySQL
Bloggers focused this week on the excellent troubleshooting tools offered by MySQL. One blogger opted to use the MySQL workbench tool, noting the stability and good overall quality of the program. Another chose a different route, demonstrating how to use Performance Tuning Primer Script in order to tune MySQL, a technique he noted is “easy to use and offers valuable output for MySQL performance optimization.”

NetBeans
Bloggers were active trying out the new NetBeans 6.7, yielding some great results in the process. Blogger Chandika, an Eclipse user, tested NetBeans 6.7 and was “seriously impressed” by its functionality and performance. Blogger James called NetBeans 6.7 “a great effort from the NetBeans team,” citing Hudson integration as his favorite feature. Finally, blogger Antony Du, a recent convert from Eclipse, explained his rationale for the switch: “[NetBeans] has all the languages I develop in on a daily basis built-in, offers additional services like connecting to databases…and most importantly it’s still FREE.”

Sun Speeds Up Daytona 500!!!

July 12, 2009

customer

International Speedway Corporation (ISC), based in Daytona Beach, Florida, manages about 66 motorsports activities at its facilities each year, including the Daytona 500, Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Cup Series, and Camping World Truck Series. ISC sells approximately 100,000 tickets for each event along with hundreds of thousands of souvenirs and concessions. ISC relies on IT from multiple vendors to support its ticketing system, retail system, 54 interactive Web sites and an ERP system. Sun Customer ISC
A third-party vendor hosted ISC’s systems until 2006, when after several years of steady 10-15% growth, ISC started to experience availability issues as end users experienced inconsistent levels of system performance. ISC decided to build its own datacenter and engage a company to remotely manage its mission-critical systems. ISC chose Sun Remote Operations Management because of its in-depth expertise in numerous technologies, detailed problem-resolution policies, and comprehensive services.

Throughout 2007, Sun worked with ISC to restructure its architecture and set up the new datacenter. All three mission-critical systems include a mix of old and new technologies that run on the Solaris 10 Operating System. The ticketing system, which includes an application tier of three Sun Fire T2000 servers running 18 virtual environments and a clustered database tier of two Sun Fire V490 servers and two Sun Fire T2000 servers, makes use of Solaris Cluster 3.2 software. To speed performance, the ticketing system interoperates with a multi-tiered storage area network built with Sun Storage Archive Manager software 4.6, two Sun StorakeTek 6540 arrays, and one Sun StorEdge 6130 array. The ERP system runs on two clustered Sun Fire V490 servers.

The redesigned architecture supports ISC’s varying levels of system traffic better, and Sun Managed Services provides daily reports that have helped ISC reduce their administrative costs. Craig Neeb, Chief Information Officer at ISC said: “Last year was our best year for service levels. We hit 99.9%. Sun Managed Services exceeded our expectations. They are always two steps ahead of us. There have been many times where Sun personnel found a problem before it affected the end user’s experience. Sun then resolved it and let us know what happened. That’s my dream world right there. That’s what I was looking for.”

Check out the complete details here.