Archive for October, 2009

JFXStudio ‘Time’ Challenge Winner talks JavaFX

October 26, 2009

Software architect Mark Nankman was the winner of the September JFXStudio challenge, which required developers to build an application with 30 or fewer lines of code in a single JavaFX file (30 lines as counted by actual lines, or 3,000 characters), with a ‘time’ theme. Mark’s Pacman clock application took first place and caught the attention of many because of the creativity and complexity demonstrated within the small file. Mark has several years of experience in Java programming, and has recently turned his focus to Web 2.0 and RIA development, which is how he became interested in JavaFX. He said he used to develop Adobe Flex front-ends to interact with Java back-ends, but didn’t like the fact that it required 3 programming languages! Turning to JavaFX Mark found that the programming language "makes developing maintainable rich web applications a lot easier."

Mark began using JavaFX in October of 2008, and said that he relied primarily on online tutorials to learn the programming language. Among the top sites he utilized are: JavaFX.com, JFXStudio, and Jim Weaver’s JavaFXpert blog. When learning JavaFX, Mark set himself a goal to build a complete application, which resulted in his TweetBox Twitter client. To build the application Mark enlisted the help of the JFXtras site as well as the advice of other JavaFX developers. The project is open sourced and Mark is actively looking for other developers to join the project, so be sure to contact him if you are interested!

When discussing Mark’s winning Pacman clock application, he noted that it was relatively easy to build, and said he had a functioning product within 30 minutes of starting, stating that with JavaFX “you can do a lot with just a little code.” Mark said he needed to use just a few simple manipulations to keep the code within the 30-line limit, such as using compact SVGPaths, along with several other tricks he listed on his blog. Overall, Mark noted that he was “amazed at just how powerful JavaFX is.” He reported only having to sacrifice one feature in his application – the ability to dynamically resize the clock – which he said simply couldn’t be crammed into the 30-line application.

Mark Nankman
Mark Nankman

Mark said his favorite feature with JavaFX is "the fact that all three dimensions of the MVC model can (and must) be programmed and specified in the same, clean language." Mark has already been hard at work on his entry for the October JFXStudio challenge, which has the same 30-line, 3000-character size constraints, with the theme ‘five.’ For this challenge Mark developed and published a Mayan calculator, based on their ancient counting system, which can be found here. He noted that when developing this application facing the same constraints as last month’s challenge he was "yet again amazed by how much you can do with just a few lines of code" in JavaFX.

Read the written Q&A with Mark here.

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Sun Unified Storage Helps Elanders Reduce Costs and Increase Performance

October 23, 2009
Elanders is a global publishing company based in Gothenburg, Sweden that packages and distributes information in a variety of formats to include manuals, brochures, and magazines, as well as online content and multimedia for international brands such as IKEA, Nokia, and Volvo. Elanders archives these documents and images on its systems at its main office, and at two remote sites for up to ten years following publication. Until recently, Elanders used technology from EMC for day-to-day storage, archiving, and back up, but this technology was quickly approaching the end of its lifecycle. Sun Customer Elanders
Sun Customer Elanders
Elanders needed to decide between upgrading the existing system or selecting a new approach. In addition to adding storage capacity, Elanders was also looking to improve performance, reduce the burden of administration, and cut overall costs. Elanders selected a system provided by Sun partner Konsulthuset MMI, because of the highly scalable solution it proposed along with the support provided by Sun.

Konsulthuset MMI set Elanders up with the new open-technology based Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System, because of its cost-efficient industry standard components as well as a robust software stack built from OpenSolaris TM and running Solaris ZFS. Elanders deployed a 66TB Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System at the Gothenburg datacenter, with additional systems at the two remote offices, handling 23 TB each. The new solution can easily be scaled to accommodate up to 576 TB of information, and is able to quickly and easily add capacity in increments.

With its new solution in place, Elanders is not only free of licensing fees for protocols and data services, but is also reducing costs by lowering power consumption and cooling requirements, consuming up to 500% less power than with its previous solution. Magnus Befwe, Manager of IT Operations and Infrastructure at Elanders said: “We were really impressed by the commitment of Sun and Konsulthuset MMI. The technology that they recommended offers us advantages on so many levels, from greater simplicity and reduced energy consumption to reducing the costs associated with storage data services licensing.”

Check out the complete details here.

Tips & Tricks from OpenSolaris Enthusiasts

October 22, 2009

opensolaris

1. Setting up OpenSolaris Extras Repository for VirtualBox, True-Type Fonts, Flash & JavaFX SDK –- thushanfernando.com, 10/16
The blogger demonstrated how to install and configure the OpenSolaris Extras repository in this tutorial, specifically focusing on the repository for VirtualBox, true-type fonts, and the Flash and Java SDK.
OpenSolaris
2. [Level 2] File ACL… –- stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/15
Stanley Huang responded to a question asking how to copy/backup files with acl, noting that in OpenSolaris “there are several ways to do so,” which he demonstrated in this tutorial.

3. Drupal packages available in OpenSolaris Repositories – at last! –- wcmwire.com, 10/14
The blogger announced the availability of new IPS packages in the OpenSolaris “Contrib” repository, and described how to install them into OpenSolaris 2009.06 in this tutorial.

4. Add OpenSolaris Extras Repository from pkg.sun.com –- rachmatfebrianto.com, 10/13
Blogger Rachmat Febrianto gave instructions on how to access the OpenSolaris repository from pkg.sun.com, as well as how to “see” the available package from the extra repository in this tutorial.

5. [Level 2] How to share screen within 2 sessions -– stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/12
Blogger Stanley Huang gave a step-by-step breakdown of how to share screens with a vendor ssh in order to “monitor” the commands for the vendor keyins using OpenSolaris.

6. Expanding your OpenSolaris NAS –- irrationale.com, 10/11
The blogger followed up on his guide to setting up a Solaris NAS by demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, which he also said mimics changing out smaller disks for larger ones, as well as the addition of disks to the NAS pool.

7. Create tar.gz in OpenSolaris –- .rasyid.net, 10/11
The blogger demonstrated how to make a backup for a public_html directory in OpenSolaris using a tar.gz command.

JavaFX Reviews and How-To Articles

October 21, 2009

1. Should there be a DB API for JavaFX? –- nick-software.blogspot.com, 10/14
The blogger said he believes that the lack of a DB API is “a possible gaping hole when it comes to developing mobile JavaFX applications.” He stated “it would make sense” to have a database available to run on the high and mid-range mobile devices and gave his argument for why the JavaFX team should develop one.
JavaFX
2. Silverlight vs. JavaFX vs. Flex/AIR -– vinaytechs.blogspot.com, 10/12
The blogger compared three different RIA development platforms (Silverlight, JavaFX, and Flex/AIR)said that even though JavaFX was initially marketed as a Flash-look-alike creative media delivering platform, “the rich UI components allow develop[ing] complex RIA applications.”

3. Creating a Simple Game in JavaFX (Part 1, 2, 3) -– blog.exprimeit.co.uk, 10/15, 10/16
The blogger published a step-by-step account (with code) of how he re-wrote a game originally developed with JavaSE and Java2D in JavaFX since he wanted to see “how much easier writing the game would be using the graphic oriented JavaFX script language.”

4. javax.accessibility for JavaFX –- jfxstudio.wordpress.com, 10/14
Ubivent posted their newly-developed javax.accessibility package with a Swing component now included in the JFrame so as to make up for the lack of native accessibility support in JavaFX “for assisting visually impaired people.” The team described how to use the support and shared the source code for the new solution.

5. Enterprise JavaFX for the Web Platform -– InfoQ.com, 10/12
Peter Pilgrim posted a video presentation he gave at QCon in which he introduced the JavaFX platform, presented the scripting language as well as the standard deployment method of applications, and client applications with the server.

At a Glance: Last Week’s VirtualBox, OpenOffice, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews

October 20, 2009

VirtualBox
Positive VirtualBox buzz was bountiful this week in the blogosphere with a new VirtualBox user who commented “so far, VirtualBox is AMAZING in my testing process,” noting that it “opens up some amazing possibilities.” Another new VirtualBox user said, “I like VirtualBox so far, it appears to be a useful tool in the toolbox.” A blogger from Tech-Week described VirtualBox as “by far the best free virtualization program on in the Internet,” and gave a tutorial that described how to install and set up VirtualBox, something he noted “is fast and easy.” Finally, blogger Bob Jones reported on his new experience with VirtualBox saying, “I was extremely happy with what I got,” and posted his detailed installation steps on an Ubuntu host.

OpenOffice
There was a bounty of praise for OpenOffice this week starting with a blogger from Frugal in Virginia who said OpenOffice is “super easy to use,” and “allows you many of the same capabilities as Microsoft Office without the cost.” Ghacks.net’s Jack Wallen recommended OpenOffice to Mac users as an alternative to iWork saying that although it may look different, “you will find it is just as easy to use AND it includes more features and applications than iWork.” Peter Wayner from Network World also recommended the office suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office noting that “the software reads all major document types.” Finally, a blogger from The eBook Agency called OpenOffice “the real deal,” and said of his experience “so far, OpenOffice is passing with flying colors.”

NetBeans
Praise for NetBeans was easy to find this week amongst the IDE’s users. A blogger at Tech-how.com claimed with NetBeans “you get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web, and mobile applications,” for a variety of programming languages in an IDE that “is easy to install and use straight out of the box.” A blogger from JavaSign said NetBeans is “the best tool to configure your environment,” and demonstrated how to create dynamic libraries in NetBeans stating that “in 10 minutes spent you can do much more than before with the best GUI ever.” Finally, a blogger from Ruby for Scientific Research said “NetBeans is a great development platform,” and demonstrated how to write and run a jRuby script with a library file from NetBeans.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris and Solaris bloggers had plenty of commendations and user tips to share this week, starting with blogger Martin who reported that he regularly uses Solaris at work and recently uploaded OpenSolaris to use on his home system stating: “I always really enjoy OpenSolaris when I run it in a virtual machine under Linux.” Another blogger listed the top 10 reasons to try the Solaris 10 OS, noting that the constant innovation of the OS pays off for the user: “innovation matters, because it saves you money.” Finally, a blogger from Irrationale.com followed up on his recent OpenSolaris NAS guide with a tutorial demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, how to change out smaller disks for larger ones, and how to add disks to the NAS pool in OpenSolaris.

City of San Antonio consolidates servers with Sun virtualization technology

October 19, 2009
The City of San Antonio, Texas (CoSA) is home to more than 1.5 million people, and provides multiple online services to its residents including bill payment, career assistance, licensing, permits, and public safety information. CoSA employees also rely on access to applications and data for use in daily work activities including financial systems, HR software, and public safety applications used by the police and fire departments.

Over time, the city’s server infrastructure had struggled to keep pace with its service delivery, and CoSA was running out of room in its data center. The CoSA IT department needed to also upgrade its IT infrastructure to reduce maintenance costs and enhance services. CoSA already had a long-established relationship with Sun and felt that leveraging Sun’s SPARC servers as a platform for the Solaris 10 Operating System and Solaris zones provided the best opportunity for ROI with its virtualization technologies and energy-efficient mainframe-class servers.

Sun Customer City of San Antonio
(Image courtesy: City of San Antonio)
The city, managing several separate environments, decided to consolidate its SAP NetWeaver systems on Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 and M4000 servers. CoSA also migrated from the Solaris 9 OS to the Solaris 10 OS to take advantage of Solaris Zones and allow multiple applications to run in isolation from one another on the same physical hardware. The solution also includes Sun Blade 6000 Modular systems and multiple Sun Fire T2000 servers with energy-efficient CoolThreads technology. Finally, CoSA replaced 80 physical Windows servers with 12 Sun Fire X4600 M2 servers as a VMWare virtual infrastructure platform in its Windows environment.

Sun’s server and virtualization solution allowed CoSA to consolidate from 16 to 4 racks of servers, and reduce the datacenter footprint for these workloads by over 85%. The solution has also helped CoSA reduce the maintenance overhead, giving administrators more time to deploy new systems that benefit the city and its residents. The consolidation has helped the city achieve considerable cost savings and CoSA expects to realize a full ROI within two and a half years based on the reduced support costs alone. Kevin Goodwin, the assistant director for CoSA IT department said: “Sun’s enterprise-class virtualization technologies have served the City of San Antonio well. They’re a critical component of our overall IT transformation and optimization strategy, allowing us to rapidly deploy highly available server capacity to meet the city’s changing business needs while saving money in the process.”

Check out the complete details here.

At a Glance: Recent OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews

October 9, 2009

OpenOffice
New and experienced OpenOffice users wrote about the office suite this week with blogger Nikki reporting that she has “found it to be very user friendly,” saying “it is a great alternative for those who either don’t have or cannot afford MS Office.” Another blogger focused his attention on OpenOffice Draw, calling it “a powerful graphics package,” and highlighting the connectors feature between shapes. And finally, long-time OpenOffice user Jack Wallen published a tutorial demonstrating how to install extensions in OpenOffice, with which he said “you can expand the capabilities of this outstanding office suite.”

VirtualBox
VirtualBox users were abuzz this week, posting dozens of reviews and tutorials for the popular program. One blogger posted a short introduction aimed at new VirtualBox users and said, “it’s in my opinion the easiest to work with on all platforms and likely the easiest for the beginner,” when compared to other virtualization technologies. Another blogger reported that VirtualBox saved the day by giving her the ability to read .vhd files natively, “without any conversion hoops to jump through,” after setting up Windows with a Cisco VPN running on Linux in VirtualBox. Finally, a blogger excited to have access to Magicjack exclaimed: “Hooray for VirtualBox! I can have my Linux and Windows too!”

NetBeans
NetBeans bloggers had commendations for different features of the IDE this week, with a blogger from Edmonds Commerce Blog working on a project with heavy Javascript requirements reporting that “the excellent jQuery support in NetBeans (my IDE of choice) is making this a real pleasure to work with.” Adam Bien wrote about kenai.com this week and said: “The integrations with the NetBeans IDE is unique – it is very easy and convenient to find and check-out an existing project and nicely integrated chat.” Other NetBeans users focused on helping others, with a blogger from totalprogUS describing how to create your own shortcuts with the NetBeans macro and a blogger from XLAB tech discussing how to access classes and resources from multiple modules in the NetBeans classloader system.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared praise and tips for the operating system this week with a blogger from IT knowledge Indy applauding the OS saying it “is perpetually ahead of the curve in the computer world,” and that it demonstrates Sun’s “ability to be innovative and flexible.” Regular OpenSolaris aficionado Stanley Huang described how to decompress rar files in OpenSolaris on his blog this week. And finally, a blogger reported on his successful installation of the 2009.06 release on a “still powerful” Sun V40Z, and gave tips for anyone else looking to install the latest release on an older system.

Now available: Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System

October 8, 2009

Today we announced the availability of the Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System. In this update, Solaris 10 has been extended with new performance and power efficiency enhancements, more streamlined management of system installations, updates and fixes, new updates for ZFS and advancements to further leverage the functionality of the latest SPARC(R) and x86 based systems.

I talked with Larry Wake, Group Marketing Manager, Solaris Software, about what is new and exciting in this Solaris 10 10/09 update. Listen to the short podcast for the details.

Last Week’s JavaFX Reviews and How-To Articles

October 7, 2009

1. FXStudio small is the new big, challenge submission – Java Development and other BS, 10/1
The blogger said, “it is amazing what you can do in 30 lines of JavaFX script,” when reflecting on his entry into the JavaFXStudio challenge, and also said JavaFX Script is (more) efficient than Java, particularly given the limitations for the challenge.
JavaFX
2. WidgetFX Experiences – JFXperience.com, 9/27
Blogger Yannick reported on the development of his RadioFX Widget entry in the WidgetFX contest saying that he only began working on the widget one week before the deadline which he said, “shows that JavaFX allows for pretty fast application development; with little time you can still make cool things!”

3. Born out of Boredom – Sumit Bisht, 9/26
Blogger Sumit Bisht reported that he is studying JavaFX and admitted that while he was initially skeptical about the technology, a little experience has allayed his fears. He said that his initial impressions with “playing around with this yet-another-scripting-language for the JVM” have him thinking the programming language “is nicely done (especially the integration with NetBeans).”

4. When to use timelines – The JavaFX Journey, 9/26
The blogger stated that “timelines are a critical part of JavaFX,” noting that “the structure of JavaFX’s is very concise and robust,” yet too many timelines in a complex system can be tricky and present problems. He gave an example describing his new Clash game and how he successfully moved the timelines to the infinite game loop for better logic and UI performance.

5. Social Networking in Telematics – lodgON, 9/25
Johan Vos described his company’s new JavaFX mobile client, which uses GPS data through JSR 179. He said “I was extremely happy and positively surprised when I discovered that JavaFX supports JSR 179,” before continuing to say “this is one of the reasons I believe in JavaFX: easy support for real devices.”

6. Webcam with JavaFX – JavaFX by Kuldip, 9/25
The blogger said that despite its progress, JavaFX “still misses key features like recording of audio or video, accessing of native devices right from within JavaFX.” He acknowledged that it could be done using JMF but noted, “if I have to use Java then why do I need JavaFX…JFX is supposed to be making developers lives way more easier and that is the reason I love it.”

7. Yet Another Simple JavaFX Time-Based animation – JFXStudio: sketch, hack, share, 9/30
Muhammad Hakim posted his JFXStudio challenge time-based application noting how easy it was to create with JavaFX by saying “a half hour I think is enough to create something like this.” He also shared the source code for his application and posted a demonstration video.

8. 30 Lines of JavaFX – Steve on Java, 9/29
Steve Chin discussed his entry into the JFXStudio contest and showed the full code for the application as well as the shorter version he edited to meet the 3,000 character limit (something he noted is not a recommended coding practice). He also noted that all elements were rendered using JavaFX Shape and Text primitives with Perspective Transform effects.

9. JavaFX location example with GPS – lodgON, 9/26
Johan Vos stated that “one of the cool things about the JavaFX Mobile platform running on my HTC Diamond phone is the easy integration with GPS.” He posted a simple JavaFX example with the GPS that demonstrates how to obtain your position in JavaFX.

10. Pickin’ and grinnin’ with the JFXtras Picker control – James Weaver’s JavaFX Blog, 9/25
Jim Weaver demonstrated the newest enhancement to his SpeedReaderFX that now takes advantage of the Picker control created by David Armitage in the JFXtras project. Jim described how the Picker control helps users to quickly choose different entries of a specific feed type.

Spanish Postal Service Reduces TCO for Email Storage Platform by 40% with Sun Solution

October 6, 2009
Sociedad Estatal Correos y Telégrafos, S.A., also known as Correos, has been providing postal services across Spain for more than 300 years. However, because of the recent steady decline in traditional postal services usage, Correos realized it needed to create a business proposition that would appeal to citizens and businesses alike. Correos ultimately found a way to add value to Internet-based communications and began working to create a highly secure e-mail service that includes data encryption and time stamps, so users could receive certification that a message had arrived at its destination. Sun Customer Correos
(Image courtesy: Correos)
Correos needed to provide up to 140,000 mailboxes for citizens and businesses to send e-mail and attachments to government offices. The technology behind the new “Electronic Post Box” service Apartado Postal Electrónico (APE), had to be reliable and scalable enough to handle new offerings in addition to being expertly managed to maximize performance. Correos looked at several IT solution providers but ultimately selected Sun because it was able to guarantee the reliability of the e-mail service.

With the support of Sun Professional Services, Correos developed and implemented a fully redundant data storage and backup platform. A Sun Fire T2000 and a Sun Fire T1000 server, both featuring UltraSPARC T1 processor technology and running the Solaris 10 Operating System, work as load balancers on the front end. Sun Fire V490 and Sun Fire V890 servers, running backup software, sit at the back end of the platform. Two Sun StorageTek 6540 arrays store e-mail data, which is archived onto a Sun StorageTek SL500 modular library system. Finally, to maximize availability, Sun Professional Services deployed Solaris Cluster software to protect the integrity of the application data and services across the cluster’s nodes.

Today, APE is delivering a secure and reliable e-mail service to citizens, companies, and government offices throughout Spain. With the Sun-based storage infrastructure, Correos is providing 5 MB worth of storage for its 140,000 mailboxes. Correos also has peace of mind knowing that the infrastructure is protected by a Sun Spectrum Platinum support plan and storage and backup systems are being well maintained by Sun Remote Operations Management. José Marcelino Pérez, e-business manager at Correos says: “APE and Sun technology are helping Correos meet the challenges of a transition from paper correspondence to Internet-based communication.”

Check out the complete details here.