Monday, April 19, 2010

Using Maven 2 and Ant's XMLTask to modify XML files

When we are talking about software development, it's not only about writing a code (for sure, high-quality code). It's also about a bunch of supporting processes like automated building, testing, deployment, integration, ... In this blog I am trying to touch every aspect so this post starts a series of articles about building Java projects with Apache Maven 2. The Maven's web site has very good documentation so I will skip introductory part and concentrate on some practical issues which arrive quite often.

Suppose, you have XML configuration files and depending on build profile you have to modify some parameters (database server address, JMS endpoints, ...). How to do that with Apache Maven 2? Quite easy using ... Apache Ant integration for Apache Maven 2. Apache Ant has excellent and very powerful plug-in to work with XML files - XMLTask. Let us make use of it!

           <echo message="Using testing configuration" />
            <taskdef name="xmltask"
            <remove path="//*[@id='<some id here>']" />

What this simple fragment does: for testing builds, it will remove from web.xml all XML elements with id attribute <some id here>. Not very meaningful but gives the idea how it works. XMLTask could do mostly everything you need: insert/removed elements and XML fragments, insert/remove/modify attributes with values and properties, copy/cut/paste XML, and a lot more. I found it extremely useful.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On the wave of RIA, Adobe Flex and Java

This post will be not very technical but I would like to share some of my experience related to Internet applications development.

It's quite a few years I have been involved into web applications development. I started from PHP, then moved to ASP.NET, then to JSF, then AJAX diluted all that stuff, and finally I moved to Adobe Flex. The trend is obvious: web applications must be as closed to desktop counterparts as possible. Adobe Flex is really cool, very coooool ... I didn't play with Microsoft Silverlight and JavaFX too much but it all about the same.

As more reach become web applications, more features are requested from them. For developers it's a whole new world to explore. My current project is built on top of Adobe Flex and Java. It worth-while to say that Adobe Flex and Java integrates very good via BlazeDS (opensource) or LCDS (commercial) bridges. SpringSource provides excellent support for Flex and BlazeDS development by means of Spring BlazeDS integration project.

What all this is about... Development of RIA on top of Java platform is a challenge which requires from developer to engage the whole new technology stack. It's something which couldn't be done using pure Java platform. JavaFX is coming, but too late. Will it be successful?

Nevertheless, I would like to encourage developers to consider Adobe Flex as part of your next web project. It's worthwhile the time you will spend on it.