Oh Where, Oh Where is Rick?

Does time fly or what? I can’t believe it has been over a year since my last post! Many things have changed in the fifteen months since I’ve last posted an entry. This post will briefly highlight these changes and a few things that I’ve learned along the way.

Most of the development I’ve done since September 2004 was using Java based technologies. I had the opportunity to work with JSPs, Servlets, WebLogic Workshop, Web Services, Struts, Tiles, Hibernate, Spring, Axis, and WebSphere. Whew. So many cool technologies to work with in the Java space. What I learned during this period of time is a couple of things.

First, doing Java struts development by hand is insane. It takes way too long to hook up all of the pieces of the puzzle. Granted it is good to know how all of the pieces work together, but it is very tedious and prone to errors. Using WebLogic Workshop definitely hid all of these pieces, but the environment was slooowwww and I had frequent crashes. I’ve heard that WebLogic Workshop works best with 2GB of memory, I just wish someone told me that while I was still using it!

Second, Spring rocks! I love the way I can use an XML file to change configuration parameters, set properties, and even specify what classes to use. It’s an incredible tool and I haven’t even begun to completely understand everything that it provides.

Third, Eclipse is the best CVS tool I have ever used. Forget WinCVS, or Tortise CVS. The CVS support in Eclipse is incredible. Highly recommended.

More recently I’ve been working with .NET technologies. I had the opportunity to work with .NET Compact Framework, Encryption, ASP.NET, Web Services and WinForms. If you’re writing Compact Framework applications and haven’t seen Smart Device Framework, check it out. It adds a ton of functionality that has been left out of the compact framework. If you are going to be writing any code that needs to work on the compact framework and the desktop framework, write the code first for the compact framework. It is much easier to go from the compact framework to the desktop framework then the other way around.

Another thing I learned is that developing web services and web sites with ASP.NET is incredible. Microsoft has really outdone themselves this time. For pure developer productivity on web-based applications, ASP.NET blows struts development out of the water. Similarly, developing web services with the .NET Framework kicks Axis’ butt all day long. Anytime I start talking to hard core Java developers about ASP.NET web development, the first thing I hear is something along the lines of “Well ASP.NET doesn’t scale”. Well I bet that there are some struts applications that don’t scale very well either. The point I want to make is that scalability is more of a design issue, not a framework issue. When you look at development from a business perspective, wouldn’t you rather have an application deployed quicker and cost less? Granted, there might be additional costs such as licensing, but at the end of the day, technology is to help the business achieve its goals.

Finally, after over seven years with Pillar Technology Group, I decided it was time to move on. I interviewed with several companies during my search, and I am now architecting and leading a global team of developers at a startup called Atomynet, Inc.. I can’t say what I’m currently working on, as we are still in “stealth mode”. But suffice it to say that I am excited to be working on a tangible product that has the potential to change the world. Exciting times are ahead, including traveling “over the pond” 😉

So that’s what I’ve been doing and where I am at. I’m going to do my best to post to my blog more frequently than once every fifteen months or so. 😀

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