Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 Books I Read In 2009

All these years I used to have an article or a blog entry about the Top 5 books I read. The one I wrote last year can be read here at Javalobby. On an average, I used to read at least 13- 15 book a year. Last year, was not a good one for me and I really feel embarrassed to say that I just read 5 books in 2009. It's not even one book in 2 months. Really bad, no?

However, the books I read were quite interesting and good ones. So, below is the list of 5 books(only) I read in 2009.

1. JBoss in Action. You can read the review for this book posted on Javalobby here.

2. Stripes:...And Java Web Development Is Fun Again. Review posted on Javalobby can be read here.

3. Agile Testing : A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams by Lisa Crispin and  Janet Gregory. A must read book if you are following Agile, and if you are a tester. By the time I finished reading this book, I had completely lost focus, and never managed to write a review.

4. VMware Cookbook - A Real-World Guide to Effective VMware Use. You can read the review for this book on my blog here.

5. Spring Enterprise Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach. I started reading this a couple of days back. Just like the previous one from Gary Mak, Spring Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach
 for which I did write a detailed review at Javalobby, this is also an excellent book. I read in detail the first few chapters, just awesome. If you are planning to use Spring 3.0 along with the latest  like Spring Batch, Spring Integration or Distributed Spring you have to get this book. I am hoping to write a detailed review for this book. Stay tuned.

I also hope to double the number of books I read in the coming year 2010, and write detailed reviews as well.

What books did you read in 2009? Any interesting ones you would like to share?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book Review : VMware Cookbook

VMware Cookbook - A Real-World Guide to Effective VMware Use is written by Ryan Troy and Matthew Helmke. The book has around 255 pages, and 7 chapters.
I have been using VMware products for many years now. It was always a challenge to administer some of these products. Especially, the ESX Servers.

If you are using any of VMware's products like the ESX, ESXi, or the vSphere, this book provides you with tons of useful tips and makes life easier for you as an administrator.

The book has 7 chapters, and each chapter includes several recipes for a specific problem.
Chapter 1, VMware Infrastructure Installation 
As the chapter name suggests, it covers installation for ESX and ESXi. The authors cover both 3.x and 4.0 versions. This chapter also has almost 17 tables showing different configuration maximums for ESX 3.x/4.x which is really going to be useful if you are planning your virtual environment.
Chapter 2, Storage 
In this chapter, the authors discuss about the different types of storage and how to configure and use them within the ESX servers.
Chapter 3, Networking
If you want to configure your virtual switches, software and hardware adapters, Ethernet frame sizes or simply knowing the differences between ESX 3.5 and ESXi 3.5 in network support, this chapter provides recipes for all these items. Also, if you need to create a service console network using the CLI, or you need to know how to use Multiple Gateways, these recipes are included as well.
Chapter 4, Resource and vCenter Management 
If you have used VMware products, than you will be familiar with terms like clustering, HA(High Availability), and DRS(Distributed Resource Scheduler). This chapter discusses several recipes for all these, and also recipes to configure, setup and maintain these resources as well.
Chapter 5, Useful Command-Line Tools 
If you like using command line tools, than this chapter and the recipes here will get you started with those as well. You will learn how to enter maintenance mode using the command line, display server info, emptying a large VM(Virtual Machine) logfile. Also, recipes for monitoring CPU usage, memory usage, storage performance, network usage are also included. There are 46 recipes just in this chapter.
Chapter 6, General Security
Ok, this is the most important chapter if you are concerned about securing your virtual environment. Most are Linux-related, since ESX server uses Red Hat Linux. A few of the recipes in this chapter are as such:
  • Allowing or Denying Users the use of SSH
  • Recovering a lost root password
  • Tracking users via the CLI
  • Configuring Active Directory Authentication
  • Disabling Copy and Paste
Chapter 7, Automating ESX Installation 
This final chapter has recipes which introduces you to configuration files which are needed for networking, startup, which you would want to automate.

If you are a network administrator using the most latest VMware products, than this book is the ultimate guide for you. That said, I am not a network administrator, but many recipes in this book helped me. So, if you are using VMware products; especially ESX servers, go get this book. Highly Recommended.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hudson + Sonar = A Perfect Match!

Last week, I blogged about "Continuous Quality Using Sonar". It requires just 5 simple steps if you have Hudson running as your CI(Continuous Integration) server to install and use Sonar. Yes, 5 simple steps is all you need to get a neat and intuitive dashboard from Sonar. So, lets see what those 5 simple steps are.

Step 1: Download, install and start the Sonar Server. 
Download the latest Sonar release from here. Unzip the distribution to your favorite location, mine was in C:\dev\projects\sonar-1.11.1. Based on your platform, run the batch file or the shell script from within the bin folder. On windows, it is C:\dev\projects\sonar-1.11.1\bin\windows-x86-32\StartSonar.bat.
Open a web browser and browse to http://localhost:9000. The default login and password is admin/admin.

Step 2: Install and Configure Sonar plugin on Hudson.
Open your Hudson dashboard. Mine is located at http://localhost:7223. Click on Manage Hudson - Manage Plugins. Click now on the Available tab, you should see the Hudson Sonar Plugin. Check this plugin and click on the Install button at the far right hand corner.
Restart Hudson and you should be able to see the plugin in the Installed tab as shown below:

Next, configure the Sonar plugin from within Manage Hudson -> Configure System. I am using the default database, and so didn't make any changes here. However, if you are using a different database server, you need to provide the database URL, username, password and so on as shown below.

Step 3: Configure your Hudson Job 
In order to activate Sonar on a project, click on Configure, and within the Post-build Actions, check Sonar and you should see the following properties. Fill those properties and Save this configuration.

Step 4: Build your project
Even though you don't require Maven to be used as a build tool for your project, Sonar does still require Maven to run. If Maven isn't installed, you can download and install Maven from here.
Force a build on your Job on the Hudson dashboard. If Maven is installed, you should be able to see the following output in the Console Output on Hudson dashboard.

Step 5: Browse to Sonar Dashboard
Once the build succeeds in the last step, browse to http://localhost:9000. And you should be able to see the Sonar Dashboard as such:

That's all it is to download, install, configure and get continuous quality updates from Hudson and Sonar. The above steps took me less than 15 minutes.

I am sure many of you are already using Sonar. I haven't used it with any of my clients yet. Hopefully, will do so soon. Share your thoughts if you are using Sonar.

P.S: In case you are using other CI servers, no need to panic. You can read a detailed documentation here for all the CI servers Sonar supports here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Continuous Quality Using Sonar

The first time I looked at Sonar was almost an year ago. At that time, Sonar worked with just Maven and most clients I was working were using Ant. The other reason I didn't dig deeper into Sonar was because we already had written a Plug-in to generate a dashboard using FuseMetrics. You can read more about FuseMetrics and what it does and an article I wrote for Javalobby here.
Last week, one of my colleagues asked about Sonar, and that's when I decided to have another look. Sonar now has a Hudson plugin, and in just a few minutes I was able to download Sonar, install the Hudson plugin, make some changes within my project in Hudson, run a build. Within minutes, I was able to browse my project and look at the dashboard from within Sonar. Awesome.

Yes, it took just a few minutes. Of course, you should have Maven installed on your machine.

Sonar and Hudson are a perfect match if you are conscious about the quality of your code.

Stay tuned for a detailed post about Hudson and Sonar in a few days.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meera Subbarao - Recent Nomination Into The Global Directory of Who's Who

I guess this a new type of scam from these spammers. The email was of course in the quarantine summary I received. But, I decided to post it just in case people who have no clue might click on the link they provide and get scammed.

Attached below are the contents of the email.

Dear Meera Subbarao,

It is my pleasure to inform you that on July 23rd, 2009 your information was reviewed and accepted for inclusion in the 2009/2010 edition of our registry.

The Global Directory of Who's Who each year, recognizes and selects key executives, professionals and organizations in all disciplines and industries for outstanding business and professional achievements.
This recognition is shared by those who have reached a distinguished level of success in their chosen profession.
Please take a moment to complete the invitation by clicking on the link below. We ask that you complete it carefully, as it will be reviewed by our editorial department.

The link provided here has been removed.

** Please complete the online link by August 15th.

The Global Directory of Who's Who is pleased to inform you that there are no fees or dues to be included in the publication. On behalf of the publishing department and our esteemed staff, we wish you continued success.

John Franklin

In case you received any such emails just delete them. Don't even bother to read the same.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How Did I Lose focus?

I was a master multitasker. Working a full time job, writing blogs, writing articles, reading a lot of books, and writing detailed reviews for all the books I read. To top this all, take care of my family, drive my teenage daughter everywhere, cooking which of course is my hobby. I did all these with great interest and a perfect timing.

However, from the past 7-8 months, not sure what happened everything changed. Not one blog entry for months. Didn't write one article for Javalobby. Wasn't able to finish the two books which came my way. I keep grumbling while cooking. Can barely walk for a few yards because of the foot problem.

Is it because of the hectic travel schedule within the job? Is it because of my persistent foot problem which has become chronic? Is it because I am getting old? Or is it just a temporary phase which everyone goes through? Haven't excercised in almost a year now.

I have no idea. I don't like this phase at all. I really want to get back on track. But, have no idea where to start.

Why am I not able to work effectively as I did earlier?Has this happened to you? How did you get back on track?

I hope I will get back my focus and mutltitasking abilities soon, and be more active within the community.

Wish me luck.

Friday, April 3, 2009

STP Conference - Won Olympus Stylus 1050 SW

I talked yesterday at the STP Conference held at San Mateo, CA. My session was from 2.15 - 3.15 p.m. The hall was packed. The audience was very communicative and enthusiastic about knowing how to test web services. Oh yes, I spoke about testing web services using SoapUI.

Here are the details about my talk as posted on the conference web site:

805 Web Services/SOA Testing Made Easy
By Meera Subbarao
Learn how SoapUI can be used to write functional tests by creating and executing test cases against your Web services. Includes a demonstration using Groovy scripts for assertions, properties setup and tear down for each test case. Also covers use of the tests in a continuous integration environment, with the Hudson Java servlet as an example of integration and execution of the tests, breaking the build when tests fail and generating reports.
NOTE: A laptop is strongly recommended for this class.

BTW, I didn't write this blog entry to mention about my talk. I actually won an Olympus Stylus 1050 SW Digital Camera. The camera is worth $300. Just awesome. It is the first time I have ever won anything. And that too a digital camera when the one we had just broke last week. Amazing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hudson and Doxygen

I wrote an article last year for Javalobby and couple more blogs on Doxygen called "Javadoc or Doxygen". Doxygen is a documentation tool for many languages such as Java, C, C++ and so on. In that article, I show how to use Doxygen for generating technical documentation based on your source code, keep this up-to date by adding additional tasks to Ant build files, and run them from your CI Server(Hudson in my case) on commit and nightly builds, and also publish the results.

It sure was easy and needed just 3 steps. However, while preparing for my presentation for SD West next week, I saw that Hudson has a neat plug-in for Doxygen. So, here is another way of generating your documentation on a daily basis in 3 simple steps.

1. Download the Doxygen plug-in for Hudson. This is quite easy if you already have Hudson up and running. Just click on the '"Manage Plugins" link, and in the available list check Doxygen and install. Restart hudson for this plugin to become available.

2. Next, configure the plug-in within your Hudson job. As shown below:

3. Finally, if you have configured the Doxygen config file earlier, just force a build and see your updated docs on the dashboard of your project. No XML file, no Ant targets. Isn't it cool?

Just 3 simple steps, how much easy can generating documentation be? Now you know why I am so crazy about Hudson. Don't you agree?

As always, keep me posted if you need any help. You sure won't. But, in case....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Review : Stripes:...And Java Web Development Is Fun Again

It has been a hectic 2009. I was working in San Francisco for the past 7 weeks. Back after a long time. I read several books while traveling to and from San Francisco, so you will see many more book reviews in the coming weeks.

Just yesterday, the review for "Stripes:...And Java Web Development Is Fun Again" was posted on Javalobby. Stripes is an amazing framework, and this book with quite funny quotes and excellent working examples makes web development really fun.

You can read the chapter-wise review in detail here.

Are you using Stripes? Have you read this book? Mind sharing your thoughts about Stripes or the book?

Stay tuned for many more reviews for some very interesting books coming soon..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book Review : JBoss in Action

The detailed chapter-wise book review for JBoss in Action has been published on Javalobby yesterday. I am really really surprised by the comments that review has received; 123 comments in less than a day. Of course, DZone has partnered with Manning to give away a free book. Most comments are for the free book giveaway.

I have been getting free books for almost 5 years now. It is not actually free, I do spend a lot of time reading and writing detailed reviews. And, of course I pick and choose which books I want to read.

However, I was surprised to see so many using JBoss AS. So, fellow developers, if you are using JBoss and want a free copy of the book, leave a comment. You might be the lucky one to get the book also.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

JBoss in Action : A Sneak Peek

Since this is my first post for 2009, WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!.

I started reading the book "JBoss in Action" in October 2007 just before I did the interview with the authors of this book for Javalobby titled "An Interview with JBoss in Action authors Javid Jamae and Peter Johnson. I kept asking the authors and also the publishers every few months if the PDF I was regularly getting the final version. It took almost 1 and 1/2 years from the day I started reading this book. Anyway, the book is finally out.

The book is just amazing. The authors have packed so much detail in this book. JBoss in Action is the first book I have read to focus in detail on how to use the JBoss 5 application server from installation to configuration to production development. The topics on security are also very well covered.

This book is divided into four parts, containing 15 chapters and two appendices. This books covers 5.0.0.GA version of JBoss AS, the chapters on the portal are based on the 2.6.4.GA release running on JBoss AS 4.2.2, and were later verified with JBoss AS 4.2.3 and Portal 2.7.0.

Part 1 covers JBoss AS basics like configuring the server, deploying and undeploying applications and a brief overview of security.

Part 2 shows how to configure, deploy Java EE technologies. There is a complete chapter messaging and web services as well. Very interesting chapters.

I wasn't sure why the authors decided to dedicate Part 3 entirely to JBoss Portal. I did evaluate JBoss Portal long time ago, no real experience here. I would have loved to see this part replaced with two chapters on JBoss Seam. The earlier version of PDF I read had JBoss Seam, I guess the authors had their reasons to remove those chapters.

Part 4 : Going into Production was very interesting. Especially the topics which cover Clustering and tunning the JBoss AS are very well written.

I was a big fan of JBoss until 2007. Once we switched to Java 6, I had big trouble using JBoss and EJB3 with Java 6. So, I haven't used JBoss since than. But, I have seen many of my clients using JBoss.

It is very simple to rate this book: everyone who uses JBoss AS should own and read a copy.

Stay tuned for a detailed chapter wise review and the rating on Javalobby.