From the category archives:


Peter Ledbrook is an engineer at VMWare and an evangalist for Groovy and Grails.


Peter also gave me these links via email for people to look at:

Groovy website:

Online Groovy console:

Groovy Blogs:

Grails user guide:

Free PDF book!

Introductory screencasts:


Chris Mattmann is a Software Engineer at NASA’s JPL. He’s the VP of OODT in the Apache Software Foundation and an adjunct professor at USC.

OODT is a framework for managing data from multiple sources and adding them to other data sources for different purposes (like a database and a search engine.) It manages hundreds of thousands of job in a day and terabytes or petabytes of data from various sources.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Apache OODT
  • Nutch
  • Hadoop
  • Apache Software Foundation
  • NASA
  • ftp
  • sftp
  • Solr
  • Lucene
  • Hive
  • File Catalog vs Search Engine
  • Tika
  • Goodle
  • Project Management was the hard part
  • Assume that failure happens and recover quickly
  • Ganglia
  • Torque
  • PBS
  • struts
  • IDL
  • CHLA (Childrens Hospital of LA)
  • OODT Contact page (info on mailing lists, etc.)


Today I am joined by Karl Wright, Nokia engineer, ManifoldCF developer and author of ManifoldCF in action. We discuss ManifoldCF, an Apache Incubator project, its beginnings, its purpose and its inner workings.


AppDynamics is a company that provides a monitoring solution for .NET and Java platforms. I spoke with the VP of Engineering and one of the developers of the AppDynamics platform to dig into how they instrument your Java or .NET code and some of the tricks for following transactions from beginning to end.

There were a lot of neat tricks in this podcast episode


Jim Jagielski is the president of the Apache Software Foundation and works for Red Hat. He’s a founding member of the Foundation and has been a developer on the HTTP server for over a decade.

We had an inspiring conversation about the Apache Software Foundation, the origins of the HTTP server, how the Foundation manages projects, and the incubator program. If you manage or contribute to Open Source software, then this is a discussion you’ll want to hear.


Jonathan Ellis is the Project Chair of Cassandra and co-founder of DataStax,  a company that specializes in helping companies set up BigData stacks with Cassandra, Hadoop, and other open source software.

His company just released DataStax Enterprise.

We had a great discussion about the origins of Cassandra, what it’s good at, how it stacks up against relational databases, and how a lot of its different parts work.


Lucene is a terrific tool for powering searches. Solr adds a layer of functionality on top of it that makes things even more easy to use.

In this interview, Grant and I discuss the ins and outs of using Lucene to power searches on your websites.


I got an email from Michael Seely asking about being a freelancer. I emailed him back and asked him if he’d like to interview me for my podcast and ask me whatever questions he had. He agreed. This is the podcast that resulted.



I haven’t done a podcast in about 3 weeks. I’m changing some things around and wanted to let you know what they were.

For this podcast, I plan on foregoing my occasional rants on programming and do interviews every week. If you know someone who I should have on the podcast, then let me know.

I’m going to change the format of the Screencasts as well. I’m going to move from a library demo meme to actually building web apps from start to finish. I think these tutorials are useful and insightful. It’s also a little different from the other things out there. was launched last week. Right now it’s a page listing the courses I’ll be teaching over the next few months. If you’re interested in those courses or something that isn’t up there, then fill me in on what you want. I’d love to provide it for you.

The Ruby on Rails Basics course starts next week.

The newsletter is going to be published every other week. I’ll try to share some insight from what I’m reading, studying and working on. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m also trying to figure out who is interested in a Freelancing community centered around Ruby. If you’d like to be involved, contact me.

Finally, I’m working on some new projects to try to supplement my consulting income. One of them involves Boy Scouts. The other involves online Pay Per Click marketing.



Thoughts on what make good acceptance tests:

  • Don’t write brittle tests
  • Communication between the coder and customer
  • Not being low level
  • Keep them at the same level of abstraction

Thoughts on Cucumber:

  • Jorge likes Cucumber’s Given-When-Then
  • Cucumber’s plain english definitions are extra overhead when your customer isn’t going to read your
  • english definitions.
  • Evan likes Cucumber for:
    • Popping the why stack
    • Given When Then And
  • Evan doesn’t like:
    • It’s an external DSL
    • Boundary between the test language and the code
    • Has loose coupling between step definitions

We need our acceptance tests to run fast too.

How do you test your javascript?

  • Selenium tests on the critical parts
  • Ignore the javascript and test the ajax requests.
  • capybara-webkit

parallel_tests gem