Farewell PaceMetrics

April 23, 2006

In a few days time I’m finishing up at PaceMetrics, the company I’ve been with for the last three years. Leaving Pace was a tough enough decision for me. I joined on an up curve just as the company was starting to build its fourth generation BAM (Business Activity Monitor), and winning a huge deal with a tier one investment bank. To deliver that project and productise it, I was lucky enough to quickly assemble one of the best software development teams I’ve ever had. This team was world class, all experienced, seasoned, innovative, agile engineers. We had a really stellar project manager and business architect in Colm Toolan, and a super professional services team, and the result was PaceMaker 4:

– fully Java, J2EE (POJOs of course!) and JMS based, leveraging best-of-breed open source components and tools
– loosely coupled components communicating asynchronously using XML-based messagess
– a simple maven based build
– a super-scalable, fully reliable, and architecturally innovative BAM engine – thanks James πŸ™‚
– a scalable web front end built on some pretty cool caching technology
– enterprise ready monitoring and management through JMX from our own custom web based admin console
– Eclipse based tooling (courtesy of yours truely)

Its been a great few years, but in the end I’ve been tempted away by the shimmering lights of SOA and ESBs. I’ll post more on that in a couple of days.

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One of Groovys key use cases is unit testing. Groovy has the potential to save us all a lot of time (and typing) and encourage us to write more test cases than we are now, just because its so quick to do powerful stuff. With the JSR work now quite advanced, and the first book, Groovy in Action, due out in November, its almost time to seriously consider ditching Java completely for unit testing.

Happy laptop days!

April 3, 2006

For a long time I ve been planning to swap my two desktops (office, home) for a high end laptop I could develop on. I have the same desktop in the two locations: a 3 year old Dell Dimension with a 3.3Ghz P4. It was an ok machine, but never quick enough and I really wanted the flexibility of a laptop.

So I finally decided on the Dell Inspiron 9400. I ve had it a few days now and I am very impressed. I speced it to the max with a 17 inch UltraSharp TrueLife WUXGA wide screen display, 2.16Ghz Core Duo, 2GB RAM, 100GB/7200rpm drive, 802.11g, ATI Radeon 256MB graphics, bluetooth + wireless mouse! The LCD at 1920×1200 with 96dpi is crystal clear. The difference from my 21 inch CRT is incredible.

I am really happy with the performance. It rocks, IO in general, and compilation in particular is 6 or 7 times faster than my desktop. Its just excellent – Eclipse starts in about 5 seconds, compared to 30 seconds on my desktop … ripper!

I have often heard people say that traditionally Dell don’t have a reputation at the high end, that you buy Dell for middle of the road stuff. That has not really been my experience and the 9400 compares very favorably with equivalent Sony and Toshibas, way better value for money in fact. I guess I will have to see how it wears, lugging it between home and office every day on my back (on my bike), lets see how it holds up over the next 12 months. I will be taking a lot of care with it, its not going to get knocked around, I bought a Targus 17 inch XL Notebook Backpack.

My only concern is whether I will get it into an aircraft cabin. May have to do a Tardus with my Targus πŸ™‚