Advice for jumping into Java Web Services?

So I’ve landed on a new project. We’ve been asked to port a well-studied
scientific algorithm into a Web Service, hoping to link the calculated
results into a networked client for visualization (likely Google Earth).

Now, porting the algorithm (from MATLAB) should be relatively
straightforward. What I’m unsure about is where to start building the Web
Service! I’ve previously just used ColdFusion for anything that needed to serve a
data feed (like sending RSS or feeding a Flash or Flex app), but the requirements from the
contracting agency really point to something more portable like Java, Python or Ruby. Since I’m most familiar with Java, and there have been a few articles here and there on Java Web Services, that seemed to be a likely path.

I’ve read about SOAP, REST, and XML-RPC, and the Apache Axis library. Then I found Axis2, and heard about CXF from a colleague. Can anyone
offer any advice as to where to start? Does anyone even build Web Services by hand anymore?

Oh, and Barry… I know I still owe you those 8 things you asked about.

Adobe MAX ’07 Day Zero: Hands-on AIR for Flex Developers

Sitting in the hands-on session on AIR for Flex Developers. Things got off to a rocky start — the trial version of Flex Builder on my workstation was expired! What made this especially crazy is all of the workstations are imaged with VMWare Windows systems… why just me? We figured it out pretty quickly; somehow my system clock got set to September 2nd. uh, ooops.

- Brian P.

Which JVM for ColdFusion development on Mac?

I’ve been having a lot of UI freezes lately on my MacBook Pro. The system will lock up for 20-30 seconds, with mouse movement, but no responses to clicks or the keyboard.

I’m suspecting that this is something to do with CF 8 and/or Eclipse on Apple’s Java 1.5 JVM. The freezes happen most often when one or the other of these applications are running.

Things seem a whole lot better when I roll back to Java 1.4, but CFEclipse stops working.

I’ve also found references to running CF 8 on Java 1.6. Maybe that’s the next thing to try.

Problems (and a Few Solutions) Installing Adobe CS3

So we got our media for Adobe Creative Suite 3 last week, and I’ve been fighting with the installs on various systems for the last few days. Some notes from the battlefield:

That popping sound you heard was sudden obsolescence

Adobe Premiere Pro and Soundbooth are only supported on multicore Intel Macs. So much for our “multimedia lab” of 2GHz Dual G5 PowerMacs.

You want how much RAM and disk space?

Be prepared to clean up your hard disks, especially on notebooks — CS3 Master want’s almost 20GB of disk space to install. Web Premium for Windows also complained on our XP systems, which have only 512MB of RAM. I can’t really fault them for that, though… XP alone takes that much RAM to function. ;)

Blank Popup Window on Mac Pro Install

I fought with installing Master Collection on my Mac Pro for a few days. The install would get to the end of disc 1 and pop up a blank alert box, mutely asking me to put in the second disc. There were no buttons to click on, and nothing I did could get the install to continue. I had to force-quite the Setup app and clean up my system.

I was eventually able to complete the install by copying the contents of all four discs to a single “payload” folder on my hard disk and running the install from there, as described here.

Turns out the culprit may have been the Safari 3 beta.

Web 2007 Conference Followup

I made it through another Penn State Web Conference! Each year I threaten to cut back on the number of presentations I’m involved in, but it never seems to happen… and in fact my total commitment increased this year by one Lightning Talk.

The main conference was bookended by two excellent keynotes: Jared Spool from UIE and Kimberly Blessing from PayPal and the Web Standards Project. They both hilighted aspects of the Read/Write Web from the podium — Jared by Photoblogging to Flickr and Kimberly by Podcasting. It’s nice to see people who get it.

I also had the pleasure of taking in an excellent presentation on Day 2 by Dan Frommelt on Universal Design. I’ve got some reading to do.

A day of software best practices

Dating back to my days as a consultant in the waning hours of the dotcom era, there were two truths I came to view as fundamental:

1) Once you get to a certain point in your development as a programmer, the actual functioning of software ceases to be a mystery. The only mystery that remains is what to do next. You can pretty much build anything you can imagine, but how do you choose *what* to build next?

2) You can only do so much as an individual developer. To create something really meaningful, you need to work with a team. The whole is *truly* greater than the some of its parts.

These two beliefs fuel my interest in the software development process – tools, methodologies, processes and practices – particularly those that deal with development teams and collaboration. I’m always on the lookout for ideas that will help me choose my next project, and help me go about building it through collaboration and teamwork with my colleagues.

To that end, when I heard about the Software Best Practices Conference, I was intrigued. The title is actually a bit misleading… it’s more of a roadshow, with different speakers scheduled to be at different cities on different days.

I went ahead and registered for the Pittsburgh conference, which takes place tomorrow. I’m going to try to summarize some of the more interesting ideas here throughout the day.

If the conference lives up to my imagination, I may see about attending some of the dates in other cities… several of the upcoming conference dates are in cities within a reasonable driving distance.