Skip to main content Why It's Good if You're Not Noticing Much Change

Posted by editor on August 26, 2009 at 9:14 AM PDT

There is some understandable confusion over the changes that have taken place on the site starting this past weekend. The changes consist primarily of switching significant portions of the underlying infrastructure from a platform that was custom built by O'Reilly quite a few years ago, to a much more modern, modular, widely used platform. Stage One, which got underway this past Friday, is to make the platform switch and successfully migrate more than six years of content from the old O'Reilly platform to the new infrastructure.

It's a big undertaking, that required lots of developer time (building migration scripts to convert data from the O'Reilly database structures into the structures in the new database, customizing the user interface in the new CMS to "be" the we've had previously, etc.). If you're not noticing many differences between your circa this week compared with your circa last week, then the migration and transition has largely succeeded.

So, then, it's proper for you to ask: "So, what's in it for me? Why are you making such a big thing out of this, when nothing's changed for me?"

Well, first, I can assure you that we didn't do all this work just to entertain ourselves, and provide us with lots of overtime hours for months on end! We are doing this, indeed, for the community. That's the only reason it's happening.

The entire point of this infrastructure change is to facilitate changes that will make more useful for the community. As we all know, a big problem with a large custom built software system is that a large developer team is needed to maintain and update it. As I said recently, O'Reilly Media is not a software engineering firm. We developed a CMS platform that met a need starting six years ago. Would any of us expect that platform, which hasn't changed all that much over the years, to be ideal for's needs today? I certainly wouldn't.

So, the choice was to either continue with an old platform that cannot be readily updated, or migrate to a new, modern platform. The latter option was chosen by the managing team (which, by the way, does not include me -- though I completely agree with their decision).

The chosen method for migrating to the new platform is exactly the one I would have chosen, had I been in charge of the effort: first, move to the new platform and migrate all the content from the old servers, keeping the site as much intact as possible. Don't lose data, don't lose functionality. In a few spots (communities, for example), some new features were put into place during the initial transition; but for the most part, the objective was: move to the new platform and migrate the old content without breaking the site.

So, now we've basically accomplished that (though we're still working on multiple outstanding issues). There are new, faster servers now, with additional hardware still in the near-term pipeline. This, combined with tuning of the new infrastructure instantiation, should ultimately lead to much better site performance. Once we and the more active members of the community are satisfied that the site is stable and usable, we'll be able to move ahead with enhancements.

Speaking of which: now that is hosted on a much more readily adaptable platform, are there specific changes/improvements that you'd like to see? Let me know. Many things that were not possible a week ago (because they would have required an inordinate, budget-breaking software engineering effort) are now possibilities that can realistically be considered for's future.

In Java Today, Peter Varhol announces that TheServerSide Java Symposium Call for Papers is Open:

TheServerSide Java Symposium (TSSJS), a community event focusing on current and emerging technologies in the Enterprise Java space, has opened its call for presentations for TSSJS Vegas 2010. TSSJS Vegas takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on Wednesday-Friday, March 17-19, 2010.

TSSJS's mission is to advance the Enterprise Java platform, propagate industry-wide best practices, and provide a forum for the Java community to engage in forward-thinking discussions...

Java Champion Alan Williamson provides analysis of some significant news in "Amazon Virtual Private Cloud Is Announced":

Amazon is again moving the cloud world forward a number of notches. Just as soon as the competition catches up, they hit the TurboButton and shoot forward leaving the rest of them in their dust. Today they have announced one of the biggest features to date, I believe, of their AWS offering. The ability to run a virtual private cloud within their public cloud offering...

Danny Coward looks "Under the hood with Garbage First" in his latest post:

There's an interesting article over at
Dr Dobbs
about the new Garbage
First collector
, scheduled for prime time
in JDK 7
, and currently available to try out as an optional
collector in the Java SE 6 update releases
. Published experiences
with this new memory management technique for Java are rare, though some
have had good results

In today's Weblogs, Kumar Jayanti talks about Configuring Non-JKS KeyStore with GlassFish V3: "The Java KeyStore API supports multiple keystore formats which include JKS( the default Java KeyStore), PKCS12, PKCS11 etc. By default when GlassFish V3 is installed the default Keystore Type is JKS and the server keystore (keystore.jks) is located in the domain config directory. With latest GlassFish V3 builds it should be possible to define a different KeyStore Type such as PKCS11 or..."

Jean-Francois Arcand provides Tricks and Tips with Comet part 1: The Browser difference: "Writing Comet application is more and more simple, thanks to framework like LIft and Atmosphere. On the Client side, the difference between Safari, Opera, Firefox, IE and Chrome can make your application completely unresponsive or broken. Of course, there is some tricks to make it work. First, if you are new to Comet, I recommend you take a look at this introduction. For this serie, I will use my..."

And Fabrizio Giudici is offering instruction on Mercurial Best Practices: "I've prepared a document that describes how to work with my projects and Mercurial. It is available here. While it is not meant as a replacement for Mercurial tutorials, it has been written also for Mercurial newbies. Comments welcome - also here (so I can see how comments work with the new Java.Net platform ;-)."

In the Forums, mobility has a ComboBox Issue: "HI. am new to LWUIT. Using 1.2. My combobox doest seem to be rendering correctly. I have 2 items and is vertical. But the i can only see one item when i click on the combobox. the gap between two items seems to be more than..."

m_santh has questions regarding the Network interface on OCAP: "Hi, I am new to writing OCAP applications. I am currently trying to understand the specs. Wanted to check if I have a server running on my Windows PC, can I write an Tru2way applications which can talk to server on PC. From my initial study..."

And benus_ying asks how to connect to a private RDV?: "Hi all. I have come across a problem. the scenario is that there are a public rdv in internet and i want to create a private rdv in my private subnet. this private rdv is for a sub peer group and communicated with the public rdv. then. i want a..."

In the current Spotlight, Danny Coward invites us to participate in a Deep Dive on JDK 7: "The Janitor joined Ed Ort for a Deep Dive on JDK 7, check it out here. Really given how much is going into JDK 7, its perhaps more of a flyover and swoop, but, if you need to catch up with the plan, take a look."

The next Poll will be posted soon, once the dust from the infrastructure transition has settled.

Our Feature Articles include Jeff Friesen's article Introducing Custom Paints to JavaFX, which shows how you can leverage undocumented JavaFX capabilities to support custom paints in JavaFX Version 1.2. We're also featuring Biswajit Sarkar's Using the Payment API for Microcredit and Other Applications, which describes how to apply the Payment API (JSR 229) in JavaME applications.

The latest Java Mobility Podcast is Java Mobility Podcast 85: Migrating Your Midlets to JavaFX Mobile Technology: "Highlights from the JavaOne session TS-4506 with hints & tips on migrating your Java ME applications to JavaFX Mobile."

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