Code Retreat GR Recap

17 02 2010

On February 6th I hosted the first Code Retreat to hit West Michigan, and we really couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for a Code Retreat. Well, maybe a little bit warmer weather, but hey, it’s February in Michigan, what do you expect? So after a quick stop at Panera Bread to get some bagels, scones and muffins, I made my way down to Atomic Object HQ to start the coffee brewing in preparation for the attendees. Shortly after sunrise, Nayan Hajratwala showed up to help with any last minute preparations before everyone else showed up.
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JetBrains Open-Sources IntelliJ IDEA

21 10 2009

Been awfully quiet lately as I am concentrating on finishing my book (, but this was some great news that I had to share.

The makers of the best Java IDE have just announced that they are open-sourcing their IntelliJ IDEA product and offering a community edition for free now. You can read about it here (The Most Intelligent Java IDE — Now Free and Open Source).

Flex on Java update

18 04 2009

Over the past few months my co-author and I have been working hard at reworking much of what we have already written for our book in order to hopefully result in a much better book for our readers. Earlier today Manning released a letter explaining the delays in any updated chapters to those who have purchased a MEAP subscription to our book. The letter reads as follows:

We would like to take a minute to personally update you on the progress of our book. Although we are running behind the originally estimated release date, the end product will be a much better learning experience. From the beginning we have been continually refining the book and have taken the great feedback we’ve received to align the book more closely to your thoughts and insights. If you are receiving this letter and were part of the reviews, THANK YOU! Much of the feedback received, all helpful, really matched with how we (the authors) were feeling and helped us to really home in on what we felt would be important to include. Here are just some of the things that can be expected out of the new and improved Flex on Java.

Developer accessibility
When we started the Flex on Java journey we wanted to write a book that would assist Java developers in refactoring Java applications with the richness of Flex. Unfortunately, the sample application wasn’t a good fit for everything we wanted to teach and was absorbing too much of our time trying to make it work properly for the readers. The sample application was an open source product that was not easy to download, build and go. This issue caused us to rethink our approach and we turned to Matt Raible’s AppFuse framework that is aimed at helping developers build applications quickly and efficiently. AppFuse makes deployment and creation of the sample application a breeze and also opens the door to developers who are new to Java. It allowed us to focus more on the topic of integrating Flex with Java while broadening its audience to those who are not Java or Flex gurus.

Hit the ground running (faster pace)
The free chapter available will become an introduction to the book and chapter 1 will now get readers rolling with development on the first page. Chapter 1 will begin with developing the server-side application with the AppFuse framework and then quickly begin integrating Flex in chapter 2.

Deepening focus on Flex integration with Java
The faster tempo and more narrow focus on the topic of Flex and Java integration allows us to quickly go deeper in that topic. We will discuss how to use BlazeDS to connect to the Java server-side including POJO services, Spring services and Spring security in more detail. We will also include working with real-time JMS applications utilizing the Flex and Java APIs.

More focus on scalable frameworks
Good developers move from technology to technology and look for frameworks that allow them to avoid the common problems when designing an application. Frameworks for doing both dependency injection for creating loosely coupled applications and Model-View-Controller (MVC) will be explored in more detail. Frameworks such as Spring ActionScript, Cairngorm, and Pure MVC (and possibly others) will be demonstrated.

House cleaning
There are other topics like building the application with Ant and setting up continuous integration that are important but not part of the main gist of the book, so we moved those topics into the Appendices of the book. There are other housecleaning items that are being performed to make this the best book possible on integrating Flex with Java.

We hope that you will be delighted with the upcoming changes to the book. Please feel free to provide us with any feedback you may have for us. Thanks again!

BJ Allmon and Jeremy Anderson
Authors of Flex on Java

New issue of GroovyMag

3 04 2009

April’s issue of GroovyMag has finally been released, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that my article “Get Rich Quick with Flex & Grails” was to be the feature article for this issue. Please help support this very awesome magazine and purchase a copy of April’s issue here (

Exploring Groovy at GRJUG

16 03 2009

I’m going to be presenting at the GRJUG meeting this week giving a whirlwind tour of Groovy. Not sure how I’m going to fit as much as I’d like to in a one hour bite sized chunk, but it’ll be interesting nonetheless. If you’re in the Grand Rapids, MI area on March 19th around 6:00pm, stop on by. Here’s the announcement…

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years you’ve probably heard of Java’s much hipper cousin Groovy. In this presentation we’re going to begin to explore the Groovy language from the ground up through a series of unit tests. We’ll start with some of the very basic concepts such as Strings, collections, looping, conditionals, exception handling, truth and introduce you to closures. With any luck we’ll cover enough of the basics to prepare you for future presentations where we’ll start to dive into the Grails framework and look at more advanced Groovy features such as meta- programming and building DSLs.

Presenter Bio: Jeremy Anderson is a software craftsman for Pillar Technology Group, an Agile consulting firm in the Great Lakes area. He is a self- proclaimed autodidact, constantly tinkering with cutting edge technologies such as Groovy, Grails and Flex. He’s been developing web-based applications on the JVM in one shape or another for over 5 years. He’s currently co-authoring a book on integrating Flex with Java for Manning Publications due out later this year, and even occasionally finds time to write on his blog. When he’s not sitting behind a keyboard hacking away at code you can usually find him out on the single-track on his mountain bike or sometimes even on foot.

GroovyMag article finished

13 03 2009

Earlier this year at CodeMash, my co-author BJ had lunch with the editor of GroovyMag, Michael Kimsal, and discussed writing an article for his magazine, unbeknownst to me.  Ironically at the same time I had been scheming and sending emails to Michael as well pitching the idea for an article on integrating Flex with Grails.  Long story short we landed a 2 part article for the upcoming April and May issues of GroovyMag.

If you’ve never heard of GroovyMag, I strongly encourage you to check it out.  It’s a very reasonably priced magazine for Groovy and Grails developers available as a PDF for the low price of $5 per issue.  Considering there are almost no advertisements and each issue is packed with great content from authors such as Chris Judd, and of course now yours truly.

It was a very good weekend…

24 02 2009

This past weekend was big for me.  It marks two milestones for me that I’m very proud of being able to achieve and to have both of them occur on the same day just made it even better.  First I weighed in at less than 200lbs for the first time in several years.  Bringing my weight loss total to over 50lbs since I quit smoking.  I was on track last summer to hit this milestone, but got sidetracked with a 3 month contract away from home, and ended up gaining 20lbs back.  Somehow eating restaurant food 3 meals a day doesn’t gel well with a weight loss plan.

The other goal that I’m excited about is that I was able to run a 5K finally without walking.  I used to run 5 miles everyday in high school and when I was just out of high school, and was in pretty good shape back then.  As the years progressed, I got lazy and put on about 80lbs.  While I’m nowhere near the speed I was in high school, I’m pleased with my ~26:00 5K times that I’m running now.

Looks like I’m on track to hopefully be below 190lbs in time for the Yankee Spring Time Trial coming up in April.  Hopefully my weigh loss will help me to shave a couple of minutes of my race time this year.


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