Qbertino (265505) writes "Hi fellow slashdotters. I've got a problem. Basically I'm the regular Type A 80ies computer-geek, starting programming on a Sharp PC (PocketComputer) 1402 back in 1986 and been coding for money since the web-boom back in 2000-2001. There is one thing that has been bugging me ever since, and that is the developer communitys obsession with SQL as a means to automatically access persistance from the app layer. I'm not quite sure if it may just be MySQL, but the strange, human-communication-emulation syntax of SQL and it's ever-present ambiguity never fail to piss me off on a day-to-day basis.
However, I now have a job that requires me to become at least mid-range fluent in MySQL. Modifying the setup to avoid MySQLs SQL, such as adding ORM layers or frameworks, is not an option, for various reasons, some of them silly, some of them quite resonable. One being that we actually do access and analyse data direct and manually — what SQL originaly was built for.
My specific questions: What can I do to get solid results and make measurable progress with non-trivial SQL (JOINs and beyond) whilst not constantly running into MySQL annoyances like, f.i. its bizar error messages to often?
What strategies do you recommend for a born SQL hater to grow a little acceptance and get to learn to handle the strangeness of this PL? Maybe a book of sorts that adresses issues more experience developers may have with (My)SQL? Perhaps you have some personal advice on how you tackled this problem — if you had it?
Finally, what do you recommend to get more firm and less confused with the non-trivial pieces of set theory and day-to-day data analysis... books, online resources, games/riddles or excercises and explanations for pratice? I'd like to get quicker and more fluent at this in general.
Qbertino (265505) writes "Hi Slashdotters. After 12 years of realtive abstinence I'm looking to get my hands dirty with Java again and thought I'd do so by attempting one of the countless non-trivial Web projects on my idea list. I'm looking for something that removes a few layers of the crufty LAMP stack that so many of us got used to, in order to compensate for the Java typical hassles I'll inevitably run into. For this I'm looking for a FOSS Java Product (Framework, Toolkit, Enterprise CMS, Appserver, whatever) that has a certain set of features and attributes (see below). I've allways been keeping an eye on the PHP and Python projects on a regular basis, but couldn't say so about Java, so I need some input from you guys.
The following attributes are a must:
1.) Must be a pro-level/enterprise tool, meaning: When I learn it in the end I should be closer to typical enterprise products like jBoss, Glassfish, Oracle Whatever, SAP Whatnot, IBM Websphere, etc. with the knowledge gained. Ergo: Not some avantgarde experiment that has me crying myself to sleep once I get a gig at some Java shop that uses todays regular products, but something that prepares me for the things to come. At least a little.
2.) I'm willing to use some avantgarde stuff if it is stuff I can easyly integrate into existing enterprise toolstacks later in my career (SAP, Oracle, IBM, ect.) without having to install countless things below the regular Java level. Or obscure Java Libs that are a licencing liability to my employer/client.
3.) This one's a little contradiction with point 1: I which it to have absolutely zero fuss in integrating application and persistance. Think Zope/Plone. If I build a type/entity I want to do that exactly once and only once and I do not want to be manually editing XML in order to do so. Best would be if it had some kind of modeller where I can click together my entities and objects, maybe in some Java Application or a Web/Ajax Backend Interface (very fancy I know). I wish to avoid seperate persistance level logic programming with a specific language (read: No SQL or XML Situps!) entirely. In other words: In terms of persistance/applevel integration I really would like to leave the current state of things which to me appears to have been stuck in the early 90ies. I have no problem if this is all covered by fully automated scaffolding/crud or whatever and tons of autogenerated SQL in the background — I just would like to avoid having to deal with seperate layers alltogether whilst prototyping. Basically I'd like to stick to building my objects/types in Java and nothing else.
4.) The product should be either a one-command install on x86 Debian stable and other x86 Linux distros or should be easy to deploy manually with just a runtime as a prerequesite and a jar or something. Likewise it should be easy to deploy the required runtime environment and sub-libs on Mac OS X Snow Leopard. It should have a webserver option that is production ready and tried-and-true tested. It would be nice if that webserver option would either be an intergrated HTTP thingie inside the Java product or a first-choice integration with a FOSS HTTP Server binary that is *not* Apache, like lightHttpd or whatever the newest hype in enterprise ready lightweight HTTP-thingies is. I'd like to avoid Apache Configuration hassles just as I'd like to avoid SQL hassles.
6.) It should be established as a product — at least in the FOSS community (not just on one obscure mailinglist somewhere deep in the massive Apache Java Project grabbag) or be notably promising with a small company or dedicated team behind it. Something like PHPs ZendFW, Symphony, the Typo3 or Rails community — they've got a hang at pushing their stack in respective markets. (I.E.: Their websites don't look like shit and the projects opinion leaders actually know that marketing is important — even for a FOSS product) If it's a young but promising project I have no trouble helping out once I'm up to speed, so don't hesitate to advertise your own below, just don't ignore the requirements above completely.
Bonus points if the product has a braggable enterprise customer/user list and a real shot at pissing into the soup of the established players (Oracle, SAP, IBM, etc.).
Number 6 and 7 are nice to haves:
6.) Native integration with a well-established seasoned Ajax Toolkit like Sencha/Ext3, jQuery UI, Tipco GI or something of the sort. Perferably with a FOSS interface builder along with it.
7.) Built with zero-fuss Mobile App integration (Android & iOS) in mind, since I think we all agree that that is the next big thing. Perhaps Android/iOS Libs already in place/available or something like that.
Thanks for you input, it's allway a great help." top
Late-ish Career Boost via degree: CS or Business Informatics?
Qbertino (265505) writes "Hoi Slashdotters. I'm in my early 40ies and after a little more than 10 years of web, scripting and software development as a freelancer and some gigs as a regular fulltime employee I'm seriously considering giving my IT career a boost to be more able to move up the food chain by getting a degree. I'm your regular 80ies computer kid and made a career switch to IT during the dot-bomb days. Now I'm with quite a bit of programming and project experience but sans a degree and find myself hitting somewhat of a glass ceiling with maybe a little age discrimination thrown in there — i.e. at my age you're either moving up the ladder or out. Since I'm in Germany, degrees count a lot (70% of IT staff have a degree) so getting one seems fitting and a nice touch to my portfolio. However, I'm pondering wether I should go for CS ('Informatics / Informatik' in German) or Business Informatics.
I'd like to move into Projekt Management or Technical Account Management and am in a little dilemma: CS gives me the pro credibility and proves my knowledge with low-level and tech stuff and I'd be honing my C/C++ and *nix skills and emphasising my tech cred. BI would teach me some bean-counting skills, I'd be doing modelling, ERP with Java or.Net all day (creepy, I know) and give me some BA cred but I'd lose karma with the T-Shirt wearing crew and the decision makers in that camp. Help me make my move with some educated opinions please. I'm leaning a little toward BI because I suspect that's where the money is in my case, but am not quite sure wether a classic CS degree wouldn't still be better — even if I'm wearing a suit. Any suggestions?" top
Qbertino (265505) writes "Heise.de reports (text in German) that the London Stock Exchange will drop its.Net based trading software solution for a Linux/Solaris alternative. Its mostly performance and cost issues that bring Microsofts prime example for the feasibility of.Net for large installations to a grinding and unpleasant halt. What really gives the.Net camp a major blow in the TCO arguement though, is that amoung 20 evaluated solutions the one chosen was buying the entire Sri Lanka based company MilleniumIT that offers the chosen alternative for the equivalent of 30 Million Euros. In comparsion, the mere rollout of the current insufficient.Net infrastructure cost LSE the equivalent of 65 Million Euros.... 'gues I'll continue stearing clear of.Not." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "BlenderNation, a Blender News site, reports that Ton Roosendahl, lead developer and founder of the Blender Project, will recieve a PhD HC at the University in Leeds (UK) today. Blender isn't just a flagship open source project, it also has gained a solid reputation in the scientific community. Honor whom honor is due, i say. He very much deserves it. I'm sure the Blender community as a whole is happy and proud for and with him." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "After 2 Blender Open Movie projects (Elefants Dream and Big Buck Bunny), both of which where huge successes for the blender communtiy and did a remarkable job at achieving the target goals, the blender foundation has announced it's third open movie project codenamed 'Durian' which is to be another animated short film made with an entirely FOSS production pipeline with Blender at its core. This time with an epic setting, an action-oriented presentation and a heroine as main character. The scenario rollout will be provided and overseen by the renowned dutch comic artist Martin Lodewijk. To all artists, blenderheads and 3D programmers: If you want to participate, now is your time to apply. The project team will be finalised and announced by June 20th this year. Shortly after the project will start in Amsterdam and go for the usual 6 to 9 Months. With Blender versions and projects increasing in quality and impact in leaps and bounds at each iteration, this is yet another gem from the Blender crew to look forward too. Especially with Blender 2.5 coming up with a large redo and overhaul of core components and features." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "Hello fellow Slashdotters. I've got a rather unusual problem: I'm a Linux veteran and haven't used Windows for production work since 8 years ago and stopped using it entirely about 6 years ago. However, I'm about to recieve a brand new Laptop as an xmas present from my employer and it comes with Vista preinstalled. I'd like to use the preinstalled OS as a foundation for working with some apps I use at work that only run on Windows, so I'd like to keep the install if possible. And, no, there are no replacements for these on Ubuntu. What can I do to clean up Vista and remove any crap that bogs down the system or gets me angry by nagging me with "Please register this OS and give us your genetic fingerprint" popups and simular shite MS has been pissing off people with lately? I'm even willing to pay 30 Euros or so for Windows cleanup utilities, maybe there is something you Windows guys can recommend? Any free tools I should run before doing anything on Vista? Thanks for any help." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "I am, just as many other slashdotters, the typical Generation X geek. I started programming in my teens in the mid-80s and have done it ever since, with maybe a few year break inbetween. In 1999 I joined the first web craze full-scale and have since then been developing software and contributing to IT projects for a living. I currently have a compareatively safe and fun job in a currently booming market (MMO Gaming) and a chance to yet again try out the newest of technologies in my field and even get paid for it.
However, I've grown increasingly weary of a world embracing IT technologies where I feel they don't belong. IT-Bots deciding wether someone is elligeble to a credit or not or a terrorist or not based on some obscure metadata, indian taxi-drivers required not to smile in order for bots to be able to read their faces, bizar amounts of virtual/digital money being leveraged to unhinge entire economies, ect. pp.... you get the picture.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think the world will end because of this, but I do think people will have to move away from IT in order to reclaim their lives and that this will hurt our field of expertise where it actually *is* usefull and meant to advance humanity.
On the other hand, people are starting to think this is normal. They don't see the nature of computers or the web, but simply take it in without even reflecting it. And the scary part about it is that no matter how ineffective it is, it is actually more effective for everyday life to mostly stear clear of IT and not become to dependant on it. Which — as I see it — only IT experts can actually really do proactively. What I'm saying is that more and more I see it becoming increasingly difficult to actually see the work I do actually benefit the people around me. What I see is a huge machine decoupled from humanity, squeezing the last bit of net gain out of everything and sinking people to mere co-dependant parts of it rather than empowering individuals.
What are your observations? Similar, or is this just some sort of a winter depression I'm having? I don't see myself as overly romantic or backwards — on the contrary — but could it be that we as IT geeks more proactively have to embrace a counterculture? And maybe stand up against a world in which *everything* is ruled by IT? What do you fellow slashdotters think?" top
Qbertino (265505) writes "After a long developement time and massive improvements in functions and featureset the CakePHP project has released RC1 of their Web Application Framework. CakePHP is one of the popular full-scale MVC web frameworks written in PHP. Unlike most others, it still actively supports PHP 4, allthough not with all features and it is officially inspired by Ruby on Rails." Link to Original Source top
Qbertino (265505) writes "The 'Big Eavesdropping Attack' ('Großer Lauschangriff'), a set of german anti-terrorisim laws forcing network and telco providers to store any connection data for 60 days (amoungst other things), is a major YRO/privacy issue in Germany. According to Spiegel Online (Article in German) the German Supreme Court has invalidated substancial portions of the bill in a short-notice arbitration. This is yet another instance in a series of swattings of the German gouverment for this sort of thing from the Judges of the German Supreme Court. A big relief for all whom it concerns. Nice to see the authorities still believe in citizens rights. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "According to the major German news-site Spiegel Online, Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo for $31 per share, adding up to 44 Billion for a majority in shares. Prices for Yahoo shares started climbing after the news. Tricky thing. This would reduce the amount in Microsofts piggybank considerably and could backfire big time if their plan doesn't work out. And this time there'd be not much left to pay off the mistake. It's suprising to see MS announcing such a bold move. Is Yahoo really worth that much? And doesn't this appear a tad desperate?" top
Qbertino (265505) writes "I'm proud owner of an older 12" G4 iBook (1,0 Ghz) from a few years ago, the one many geeks have and liked to use because of it's price/performance ratio for a subnotebook. Many people I met use it to run Debian Linux PPC or some other OSS operating system and do their programming on it. However I mostly do web developement where the OS hardly matter and I've come to like the benefits of running the native OS and the neat and frictionless hardware integration that comes with it. I do quite a lot of Flash developement aswell and need to be able to use the official Flash IDE from Adobe.
The downside is that the desktop bogs down the systems performance which I'd like to use for other things by running a replacement of the Aqua Workplace Shell & desktop enviroment. There are quite a few wps replacements for windows — I've use Litestep with Windows 2000 — but I'm looking for one for OS X. What lightweigth WPS replacements are there for OS X and what other strategies are there to take some weight off an OS X desktop?" top
Qbertino (265505) writes "The high-end open-source 3D engine Crystalspace has reached Version 1.0. From the website: "After almost 10 years of development we finally release Crystal Space and Crystal Entity Layer 1.0!"
Crytalspace has several sub-projects: A game engine called CEL, a scripting exstension for that game engine called Cellstart, and CrystalCore, a single-player FPS Demo-Game built to show off Crystalspaces features. Crystalspace is generally considered a modern and extremely powerfull 3D engine and allready is in use in commercial products." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "A company called Applied Business Technologies Inc. has recently released an open source web RAD system and application server based on Java and Java EE. It's called jVantage and seems to do away with the usual 1995ish grind Java developers have to put up with before having a decent web application ready. The developement enviroment is completely web based and somewhat reminiscent of the way the Python web application server Zope handles things. The screencast demonstrations (front page, bottom right) — in django/rails/cake/yourFavoriteWebFramework style — display an impressive set of features and a developement speed that is nearly breathtaking and faster even than with the aforementioned code-generating frameworks. It's nice to see now that Java has completely joined the OSS world it also is quickly catching up with the goodies other enviroments have to offer. And even picking up the Zope concept. With projects like these and the matureOSSdevelopement pipeline Java has it may even be able to step back into the ring with PHP in the everyday web developement game. They've got me (Python, Zope & PHP Fanboy) curious anyway." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "Apple introduces the iPhone. The Specs go as following: Touchscreen controlled with a patended gesture system, OS X, 61x12x115 mm, 480by320 Screen resoltution, 4 or 8GB storage, 4-Band GSM, Edge Bluetooth, WiFi, 2 Megapixels Camera, Battery Time for Talk, Video, browsing: 5 hrs, Audio Playback 16 hrs., Weight: 135 grams. Looks: Sweeet.... I want one." top
Qbertino (265505) writes "I'm currently working myself into a large web application project (Flash / Ajax / PHP 4 / MySQL 4) for which I'm supposed to become the lead maintainance programmer. Currently I'm trying to wrap my head around an admin area where each user interaction triggers roughly around 10 actions that range from Ajax calling variables from special PHP files, flash components loading subcomponents and those yet again loading stuff from other PHP files — data passing to and fro via GET *and* POST — and all of the server side stuff doing roughly 5 to 10 DB actions via individual class related custom SQL statements, each of which are stored in seperate, class related PHP files (neatly named though, I have to admit). Allthough naming is somewhat consitent and PHP Documentor did a good job at listing APIs, there is no written documetation about which component is supposed to do what and how they relate to one another. [sarcasm]"Gee, thanks a bunch. Yeah, I believe the manager though you were doing a good job at the documentation, since it looks soo neat with the right stylesheet."[/sarcasm]
Needless to say, the thing is living hell to work through and is a prime example of the big downside of web-developement. I'm starting to miss a solid callstack debugger, and web-call-tracer or whatever you call it, to keep track of what's going on if I load template X with Master Flash Component Y.
We use Eclipse with no success so far in getting the debugger to work correctly (still working at it), but that won't be enough anyway. I need to keep track of what's going on between client(browser) and server, what's going on *in* the server (that's the classic debugger, I know) and what's going on between serverapp and DB. And all of that *at the same time*.
Since PHP is the most commonly used server enviroment I expect a measurable set of tools available to tackle this problem, some well-configured Unix CLI "scope-tracker" or watchamacallit or something and maybe a sophisticated logfile-reader or so. Any suggestions on how I can approach this problem? Note: The original programmer is long gone, so whooping his lazy ass for not documenting properly is not an option."