Spring and Grails apps on the Cloud

Some very interesting news from SpringSource this morning. They just continue to fire on all cylinders.

SpringSource has acquired Cloud Foundry, which enables you to set up the hosting environment for your Spring Framework and Groovy on Grails applications in minutes.

Cloud Foundry is built from the ground up to be the fastest way to deploy and manage Spring, Grails, and Java web applications in the cloud. Deployment using Cloud Foundry is a quick two-step process with the web application that you have created using the development tool of your choice:

  1. Upload your Spring, Grails, or Java web application to Cloud Foundry
  2. Select your deployment blueprint (topology, instance type, clustering, auto-scaling configuration, etc.) and launch it in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

That’s it. Your application is now live and serving requests without fumbling with Amazon Web Services (AWS) APIs, bare-metal virtual machines, software installation and configuration, file transfers, and other tedious tasks.

So, instead of securing a hosting environment (whether through a third party service or in your own data center) you can provision space on the Cloud to eliminate the system, network, and middleware setup and maintenance steps.

In effect, it’s AOP writ large, abstracting away the cross-cutting middleware dependencies of your application into a separate component so you can instead focus on your business problem rather than many non-functional requirements.

In this way, I see this finally bridging the gap for small to medium sized applications that traditionally would rely on shared hosting for LAMP applications.

That is, as a freelancer or small agency you’ve now removed a major roadblock to deploying a small site on Spring or Grails rather than PHP and MySQL.

As of today, the Cloud Foundry instances for Spring support Apache 2.2, SpringSource tc Server (Tomcat 6) or Tomcat 5.5, and MySQL 5.0.

Though since this is all provisioned via Amazon’s EC2 service that supports DB2, I wonder how easy it would be to bring that data server into an application instance…

Very interesting indeed.

How to pronounce New Haven

09 August 2009 » Opinion, Peeves, Travel

A recent trip on Metro-North reminds me that I need to submit this script snippet to Seth MacFarlane.

Brian: Wait, what did you say?
Stewie: NEW Haven.
Brian: NEW Haven? You mean New Haven.
Stewie: NEW Haven.
Brian: You’re saying it weird. Why are you putting so much emphasis on the New?
Stewie: NEW Haven.
Brian: Say New York.
Stewie: New York.
Brian: Say New England.
Stewie: New England.
Brian: Say New Haven.
Stewie: NEW Haven.
Brian: You’re eating hair!

Sigh. If it’s still not clear, ask your local Connecticutioner / Connecticutlet before you embarrass yourself on the train.

Mobile Metro-North BlackBerry shortcut

11 May 2009 » Java, Travel

I’ve just released a BlackBerry shortcut icon that launches Mobile Metro-North using the default browser on your device.

In the near future, I intend to launch a native BlackBerry application that offers more features over the simple Web interface. It will store station preferences, display the big board of all currently departing trains, and help locate the nearest stop using GPS functionality.

Watch this space for a release announcement, or send me a note if you’d be interested in beta testing.

WebSphere sMash at New York PHP April 28th

Next Tuesday night we’re excited to have WebSphere guru Roland Barcia introduce the latest PHP and Web 2.0 capabilities in IBM’s WebSphere sMash environment (built on Project Zero) to the New York PHP community:

IBM WebSphere sMash is a platform for developing and running agile Web applications using scripting languages and Web 2.0 technologies such as RESTful Web services, JavaScript Object Notation, and Atom and RSS feeds.

It supports the Groovy language, familiar to Java programmers, and PHP for access to thousands of PHP applications and libraries,and the huge PHP developer community.

IBM WebSphere sMash is focused on significant improvement in time-to-value for Situational Applications and Mashups.

Partners and community have found that by combining PHP applications and libraries with new code written in PHP or Groovy for the IBM WebSphere sMash platform, they can achieve significant reduction in development time for Situational Applications and Mashups.

We cover an overview of the PHP support in IBM WebSphere sMash and the support for generating new PHP code before exploring more detailed scenarios demonstrating PHP applications being extended, integrated and mashed up.

The presentation comes on the heels of the latest WebSphere sMash v1.1.0.1 release that includes PHP performance improvements and the new PHP to Groovy bridge (call Groovy classes from PHP).

Here’s a little background on how sMash relates to Project Zero (you can find more info on the about page):

  • Project Zero experimental builds (latest are named LeMans and Sebring). Includes the latest/greatest functional enhancements, tools, and bug fixes that haven’t yet made it into the generally available product. No-charge for development and limited deployments. Support via the Project Zero community.
  • WebSphere sMash Developer Edition – includes tooling as well as the stable, production-ready runtime. No-charge for development and limited deployments. Support via the Project Zero community.
  • WebSphere sMash – same stable, production-ready runtime as WebSphere sMash Developer Edition, but warranted & licensed for full production deployments. Available for purchase from IBM. Support available via the Project Zero community and 24x7x365 voice & electronic IBM support included with each new license purchase.

On a personal level, I’m excited to learn more about the PHP capabilities at this meeting first hand. I had a chance to work with sMash recently on an internal situational application. It used Groovy however, not PHP.

There’s also a slew of articles on developerWorks to learn about writing apps for sMash. In particular, Introducing IBM WebSphere sMash, Part 1: Build RESTful services for your Web application is a good place to start.

Back to the NYPHP meeting, please make sure you RSVP at least 24 hours in advance, by 6pm ET on Monday, April 27th for the meeting Tuesday night.

Hope to see you there!

CommunityOne East roundup

The network is the computer… finally? It seems that Sun’s motto comes full circle, and perhaps confirms their business plan all along.

I attended Sun’s CommunityOne East in Manhattan last Wednesday and cloud was the word of the day. It was also an apt term to describe IBM’s vague overture towards the hardware/software stalwart that morning.

I didn’t walk away from the conference with specifics about the new buzzword, but I do appreciate that it captures some of what IBM has been doing, and therefore reveals a rare bit of consensus among the major vendors:

Other notes from the sessions I attended:

  • OpenESB: Connecting Enterprises: Sang Shin is an excellent instructor and firmly placed three technologies I’m evaluating for some current business needs… BPEL, WSDL, and SOAPui. Despite the compelling demo of NetBeans, I missed the actual server side / asynchronous implementation that is the promise of the ESB.
  • GlassFish v3, OSGi, Java EE 6 Preview and Tools (Eclipse, NetBeans): JEE 6 was introduced in the context of GlassFish 3. There still seems to be some work to get the standards settled any time soon for implementation in WebSphere 8. I look forward to the annotation-based and modular approach of the new standard.
  • Dynamic Languages: The Next Big Thing for the JVM or an Evolutionary Dead End? Chris Richardson reaffirmed some of my observations about Groovy… while cool, it may be the overly rebellious offspring of a middle-aged Java; Brilliant in flashes, but not quite predictable enough to bank on. Scala, however, seems to have lots of promise.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend Hans’ presentation on MySQL and PHP – State of the Union, but it appears to have been well received. In fact, you might expect a reprise at NYPHP’s June 23rd meeting.

Images of Cuba now on Flickr

12 March 2009 » History, Media, Photos, Politics, Travel

I just took a few minutes to copy the photos from my time in Cuba over to Flickr.

I spent three weeks in and around Havana while studying abroad after my junior year in college during the summer of 1998.

The scans have long been available at PlayaGirón, but in the recent spirit of freer relationships between the two nations, I figured I’d follow suit and open them up to a broader audience and to tag them, making it easier for folks to find them.

I’ll probably also post the scans of the Cuban stamps that I collected sometime soon.

Quotas for Women in Politics

11 March 2009 » Politics, Writing

My sister Mona recently published her first book, “Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide,” just in time for International Women’s Day.

And it seems to be out of stock on Amazon already :)

Mona Lena Krook

Cat, my parents, and our family friend Mikey Ward took a trip to The Coop at Harvard for her book signing last week and posted a few of the pics on Flickr.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t record her entire talk on video which is a shame because Mona summarized the book concisely for a general audience.

While the book focuses on the various tactics and strategies that parties and legislatures have followed to achieve better representation for women, I think the end goal is what’s most important:

“A society that is without the voice and vision of a woman is not less feminine. It is less human.” – Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

So, give it a read… it’s just over 200 pages and has great reviews. While you’re at it, buy a few copies for your friends and relatives too!

Best short film ever: Oktapodi

25 February 2009 » Media, Opinion

I hereby nominate Oktapodi the best short film of 2008, or any other year for that matter.

Great title, great characters, great colors, great animation, great plot. All in two measly minutes.

Excellent. See for yourself.

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