Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A comparison and listing of RIA frameworks

This blog post contains a very good and comprehensive listing of currently available RIA frameworks - a good reference for anyone researching or evaluating RIA frameworks for their current project.

Out of the technologies mentioned, EXT JS has been my favorite to work with - just the amazing number of widgets available and the fact that it is so simple to integrate it with Spring MVC and other Java-based MVC frameworks. 

Flex on the other hand is currently making me bang my head against the keyboard - but the worst part to me is the really steep license fee if you want to use the Flexbuilder GUI or even the Weblogic Workshop with bundled Flex. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

Voice Analysis to Figure out Lies

RealScoop (via Techcrunch) is an interesting software - claiming to be a wedding of voice analysis technology to Web 2.0 - by which means it figures out if someone is lying or telling the truth based on audio of the speech. The software attaches a believability meter to the videos on the site that rate the audio portion's "truthiness". Interesting and innovative though it seems, I can see too many variables going wrong with something like this - audio interference, difference between voices and modulation of men and women, other emotions coloring the voice, etc.

I don't think there can be objective analysis of the truth behind a speech without appropriate visual cues to aid the analysis process. I guess we can judge for ourselves....RealScoop plans to cover the VP debate and release believability meter readings for it. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quick, learn some Cobol!

I got to learn some Fortran and BASIC in my days, but was never brave enough to tackle Cobol. Looks like it might be my next thing to learn for job-security ;) Per this article from Dr. Dobb's Portal (via Slashdot), come these really interesting nuggets - 
Cobol: 1) is the most widely used language in the 21st century; 2) is critical to some of the hottest areas of software development today; and 3) may be the next language you'll be learning?

In 1997 the Gartner Group estimated that there were 240 billion lines of Cobol code in active apps. Something like 90 percent of financial transactions are processed by Cobol code, and 75 percent of all business data processing is Cobol. Merril Lynch reports that 70 percent of its business runs on Cobol apps.

More interesting and possibly horrifying information (if you are like me and not really looking forward to programmingin COBOL for the rest of your life) at the link...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Simple steps to create a portlet and consume it in Oracle Webcenter

There is definitely tons of documentation on this topic - I am not going to repeat it all but I thought a super, simple distilled version always helps ;)

  1. In JDeveloper, create a new web application with "portlet, repository, JSF" capabilities. This creates three projects in your application - "Model" (for your data needs), "Portlets" (where your portlets will reside) and "View Controller" (to build your JSF pages and components).
  2. Right-click your Portlets project, pick "New" -> Web Tier -> Standards-based Java portlet (JSR-168) to lauch the wizard. The rest of the wizard steps are pretty self-explanatory and the requisite files are automatically generated for you.
  3. Right-click on your Portlets project to create a new deployment descriptor (New... -> Deployment Descriptor).
  4. Right-click on your brand new *.deploy file created in the "Resources" folder and deploy. Your portlet is now deployed to your app server. Note: Remember to go to the connections tab and create an application server connection that you can deploy your portlet to prior to the deployment.
  5. In your browser window, type http://<host>:<port>/<context-root>/info to see your portlet's deployment status and to get the links to the portlet's WSDL (wsrp 1 and 2 are automatically generated).
  6. From your View Controller project, right-click to register a new WSRP Producer (New.. -> Web Tier -> WSRP Producer Registration). The URL endpoint to use here is the url of the WSDL from step 5 - either WSRP1 or WSRP2, based on the standard you are using. You will now see the newly registered portlet producer in the Portlet Producer folder in your application. 
  7. Create a new JSF *.jspx page using New...->Web-Tier->JSF page wizard.
  8. If you haven't already, right-click on the View Controller project and in the project properties, add the Customizable Core Components library to the project to have this show up in your component palette.
  9. Drag and drop the "PanelCustomizable" component within the h:form already on the page. Find the portlet producer you just registered in the component palette, pick your portlet in it and drop it within the PanelCustomizable on the JSF page. Note: If you don't find the portlet producer in the palette, make sure you created it from within the project. 
  10. Run the JSF page by right-clicking on it selecting "Run". You can see your portlet being consumed by the JSF page :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Liveblogging the Web 2.0 Expo

In case you have not been able to make it to O'Reilly's Web 2.0 expo in New York (like me), you can still follow along from this live blogging effort.

O'Reilly themselves have provided a few more resources to read along about the goings on...
O'Reilly's Expo Blog
On Twitter

Monday, September 15, 2008

Usability and JDeveloper

Alright, I agree I might not be working with all my brain after a nice and heavy meal of eggplant parmigiana, but Oracle's JDeveloper is not epitome of usability in my experience. This is the first time I have used this IDE (I still "heart" Eclipse!). I am only using it since it integrates well with the Oracle Fusion Middleware and that is my new mission in life to get well-versed in.

As a simple first step (after the not-so simple step of installing Oracle's SOA Suite), I am trying to create a portlet based out of the Oracle WebCenter framework. I relied on the cuecards to lead me through the process. Of course, the second step on the cuecard is to launch the Oracle PDK-Java Portlet Wizard - without explaining how to do so. I had to go to the "Show Me" menu on the cuecards to launch a browser window and an Oracle "viewlet" that actually visually showed me how to launch the wizard - a three-step process in itself.

Not to put the product down or anything, but figuring out how to launch a wizard should really not be rocket science!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Creating word clouds

Here is a cool tool that lets you derive patterns out of any text you provide - Wordle! The idea is to run through the text and form a word cloud that visually represents the frequency of word appearance in the text. A really cool analysis tool with a lot of uses I can see already (some bloggers have used it to analyze the text of the Democrat and Republican convention speeches).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Throwing out some metrics for Social Marketing

Here is a nice discussion of social marketing and metrics that throws out a few ideas for marketing metrics -

Old School Metrics

-Visitors and Page Views: The raw data for daily visitors and daily page views across your domain.
-Optin rate: The number of people who optin to your list vs. total traffic for that day.
-Search engine bots: Which bots visit your site on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
-Referrers: From engines to individual sites. Who is sending you traffic.
-Entry and Exit: The pages visitors land on and exit from your site.
-Paths: The pages or “path” your visitors take through your site.
-Bounce Rate: How many visitors stay on your site less than 30 seconds.

Social Marketing Metrics

-Subscribers: RSS and newsletter subscriptions.
-Stick-Rate: How long social traffic stays and moves around the site.
-Linking: How many people on different social sites are posting, voting, and linking to your site.
-Comments: Average comments generated per post.
-Pickup: How many times across how many social news sites your linkbait, for instance, gets picked up, talked about, and voted to prominent placement, such as the front pages of social news sites.
-Bookmarks: How many people are coming through social bookmark engines like Delicious.
-Link Popularity: How many sites/publishers you are attracting with your content who write about you and link to you in their posts (the best kind of link you can get).
-Social News Tracking: How many visits you get from social news as well as how well individual pieces of content do on each site.

You can tell that most of the recommended metrics are very specific to the marketing and branding domain. A lot of these metrics are also quite difficult to measure - how do you measure stick-rate for a blog post read via an RSS aggregator?

Also, just because someone is talking about you does not necessarily mean they are saying good things about you. In the days of condensed feedback loops, negativity spreads much faster as a meme than positive news. How do you make sure you are being talked about positively, if at all?

The biggest drawback in the above scenario of course.....how do you apply these to a company's intranet? How do you convince a company to invest into something that outside customers might never get a peek at? How do you measure "honestly" how much value your employees are really getting out of the intranet?

These are some of the questions I am currently focusing on in order to come up with a comprehensive set of metrics that one can throw at different situations in varying combinations in order to come up with a good view of the "health" of social media (ROI - Return on Influence) invested into by any entity.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What not to do with Web 2.0

I know I must sound like a cheerleader going rah-rah for Web 2.0. In spite of all my enthusiasm for new technologies, I acknowledge certain technologies are not for everyone. Here is an interesting blog listing some really weird Web 2.0 startups....

I guess there is a market for every silly idea ;)