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Episode 32 - Grails discussion with Brent Baxter and Gordon Dickens

Grails is a convention over configuration web framework, written in the Groovy dynamic language and based on the widely adopted Spring and Hibernate frameworks.  In this TechCast, I sit down with Chariot's Gordon Dickens and Brent Baxter and discuss the relative merits of developing applications on the platform. We talk about the Groovy language, the productivity of building applications on the Grails platform, available plugins, and overall uses for the platform.

Grails Training at Chariot on May 11
We are running a one-day seminar on Grails at Chariot on Monday, May 11.  Sign up using the promotional code 'techcast' and receive 50% off the cost of the seminar.  Visit the course information page for details.

Groovy key points

  1. Groovy compiler generates Java ByteCode
  2. Groovy collections are easy to work with
  3. Closures - blocks of code that can be passed around anonymously
  4. The each method for iteration, key and value for maps -vs- just lists
  5. Groovy GDK - Groovyized Java library classes (each, etc)
  6. Groovy and XML - XMLSlurper for parsing, Markup Builder for XML emit
  7. Installing Groovy - and the Groovy Console
  8. Groovy 1.6 - Grape dependency management
  9. Groovy is being embedded in SOA/Integration containers (Camel, Mule, etc)
  10. Mounting Groovy scripts in Spring:  the Spring <lang:groovy> namespace

Grails framework key points

Visit the grails kickstart page to walk through many of the topics we've talked about, including:

  1. Grails create-app to build an application skeleton
  2. Domain Classes and dynamic finders
  3. Controllers and scaffolding

    Other topics:

  1. Grails is based on Hibernate, Spring, Spring MVC and other projects
  2. Grails plugins for extending both front end features and backend capabilities
  3. Webflow using Grails closures - see my blog entry on this

Groovy/Grails Books

  1. Groovy in Action - Dierk Koenig et al...
  2. Programming Groovy - Venkat Subramaniam
  3. Groovy Recipes - Scott Davis
  4. Groovy and Grails Recipes - Bashar Abdul-Jawad
  5. The Definitive Guide to Grails, 2nd edition by Graeme Rocher and Jeff Brown (from G2One, now SpringSource - Graeme is the founder of the Grails framework)
  6. Grails in Action, Glenn Smith and Peter Ledbrook (currently a beta e-book, will publish in June/July of 2009)

Chariot Bloggers on Grails

  1. Gordon Dickens writes about Grails on
  2. Ken Rimple blogs about Grails and other technology, music and photography at
Direct download: ChariotTechCast-04-28-2009-Groovy-Grails.mp3
Category:techcast -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Episode 31 - ETE 2009 Keynote - RedHat's Michael Tiemann - Exonovation

This podcast episode is a recording of Michael Tiemann's keynote presentation from the 2009 Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference.  Michael is RedHat’s VP of Open Source Affairs, and has a  long history in working on open source projects.  He is the president of the “Open Source Initiative,” and has served as the CTO of RedHat, and founded the first open source software company, Cygnus.

Michael’s talk focuses on "Exonovation", or innovation from an open community, and how it can make a product even better than a closed, controlled, proprietary effort.  It is a very interesting talk, and for those who want to follow along with the slides, you can go to

Books discussed during the talk:

  1. The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization:  John Hagel III, John Seely Brown - This book questions the zero sum gain theory espoused by Harvard Business School.
  2. Democracy in America: Alexis de Tocqueville (the link is a free transcript download) 
  3. Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the Race to Invent the Airplane by Seth Shulman.  Referred to when discussing the Wright Brothers' assumption that instability was a key feature of flight.
  4. As We May Think : Vannevar Bush, the Atlantic Monthly, 1945 - Vannevar imagined the Internet (or something eerily like it) in this paper.
  5. Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

Web Links:

  1. Michael Tiemann’s blog -
  2. Truth Happens -
  3. The Open Source Initiative -

Show Sponsors:

  1. - A hosted content management and blogging platform that makes publishing your web content easy.  Sign up using the promotional code 'techcast' for a 10% discount on your monthly service.


Direct download: Chariot-TechCast-2009-04-ETE-Michael-Tiemann.mp3
Category:ETE Sessions -- posted at: 4:10pm EST

Episode 30 - Interview with's Anthony Casalena (and sponsorship announcement)

I had been listening to Leo Laporte's tremendous This Week in Tech (or MacBreak Weekly) podcast, and found out about from the show. The crew was raving about how easy it was to use to publish web content, and how it blew away Wordpress in terms of productivity. So I set up a free trial for my personal account and was also suitably impressed. In doing research I found that SquareSpace is a Java-based platform, so, since the Chariot TechCast focuses on successful Java platforms, it made for a great fit. I did an interview a few weeks ago with the creator and co-founder,
Anthony Casalena, who is responsible for the technology backing the site.

You'll hear how Anthony created the site primarily to solve his own frustration with using blogging tools, and how the technologies are applied to serve a large number of customers on a handful of actual servers. During the lineup of the interview, SquareSpace offered us a sponsorship, and we accepted. If you use the keyword 'TECHCAST' during your free trial to register for a plan, you'll get 10% off the cost of any of their plans.

Technologies mentioned in the podcast:

  1. Apache OJB - Object Relational Mapping API for Java
  2. Apache Tomcat - web application server
  3. SQL Server - relational databases
Direct download: ChariotTechCast-04-2009-Squarespace.mp3
Category:techcast -- posted at: 9:47am EST

Episode 29 - Manning Authors Forum with Dan Allen, John Resig, David Black

On today's show, we feature the Manning author's Q&A  forum.  Marjan Bace is the co-founder of Manning Publications, which publishes books on a wide variety of technical topics. 

Last year at ETE, Marjan assembled the web framework shootout (if interested...  part 1, part 2).  This year Chariot asked him to assemble an author’s forum, where he takes questions from the audience on writing books for publication.

The panelists are Dan Allen, author of Seam in Action, David Black, author of Ruby for Rails and the upcoming title, The Well-Grounded Rubyist, and John Resig, author of the upcoming Secrets of the Javascript Ninja.

This is a very interesting look at what it takes to write a book, what it demands of you, and what you end up learning in return.  Marjan, Dan, David and John did a great job.

Direct download: ChariotTechCast-2009-04-10-Manning-Author-Forum.mp3
Category:ETE Sessions -- posted at: 10:18am EST

Today’s show is a recording of the Philly Emerging Tech session by Jason Van Zyl, of Sonatype.  Jason is the creator of Maven, a java build tool that works using a set of conventions and plugins. 

This talk focuses on the current challenges in building OSGi based modular applications using Maven, and how the Tycho project enables easier integration between headless builds from tools such as Hudson, the Maven POM, and the Eclipse IDE.  You may download the presentation at


  1. Sonatype's blog page on all things tycho.
  2. Sonatype's m2eclipse plugin

Direct download: ChariotTechCast-2009-04-09.mp3
Category:ETE Sessions -- posted at: 10:00pm EST

Episode 27 - Blue State Digital Jascha Franklin Hodge on Obama Social Media Campaign

One of the highlights of the 2009 Philadelphia Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference was our afternoon keynote from Jascha Franklin Hodge, from Blue State Digital. 

Mr. Franklin Hodge cut his social media teeth working on the Howard Dean campaign.  Blue State Digital built and managed the Barack Obama campaign website, which provided news, email correspondence, coordination with official and unofficial leaders on events, YouTube and video/audio media, and more.

This keynote highlights the successes of properly using the internet and social media to run a successful campaign including contrasts with the McCain effort as well as discussion of lessons learned.

A copy of the presentation slides is being processed, and will be made available soon.  For now, you can view the slides from an earlier presentation at MIXX Canada, on Slideshare

Direct download: Chariot-Techcast-04-07-2009.mp3
Category:ETE Sessions -- posted at: 10:03am EST

Episode 26 - Andy Hunt on Pragmatic Thinking and Learning

Andy Hunt is co-founder (along with Dave Thomas) of the Pragmatic Programmers.  Their seminal book, The Pragmatic Programmer, gave every developer a nudge, and started their publishing company, The Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Andy's latest book (his seventh) is Pragmatic Thinking and Learning, Refactoring your Wetware.  His keynote at 2009 Philly Emerging Tech covered topics from the book, and was a fantastic walk down memory lane (sorry, couldn't resist).  Seriously, folks, his talk was all about maximizing your ability to learn and retain knowledge.  Here are some great books he mentioned:

  1. Andy Hunt:  Pragmatic Thinking and Learning
  2. Mihaly Csikszent: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (P.S.) 
  3. Dan Pink: Whole New Mind
  4. Betty Edwards: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

You can find Andy's writing on the Pragmatic Bookshelf or on his blog, For a mind map of his key topics, click here.

The second part of the podcast includes audio from the Destruction Zone.  Pictures were posted at our ETE Flickr Group.  The company, Wondergy, allowed us to tear apart old fax machines, printers, computers and cell phones, and worked with Chariot to line up green recyclers to haul it all away.  You'll hear a little audio, although distorted, of the bashing of a copier, as well as an interview with Wondergy's Ken Fink, on how the project came together.

Direct download: TechCast-Episode-26-04-02-2009.mp3
Category:ETE Sessions -- posted at: 11:00am EST

Episode 25 - Emmanuel Bernard on Bean Validation JSR-303 and Hibernate Search

In this podcast, we speak to JBoss's Emmanuel Bernard on the future of validation using JSR-303, the Bean Validation framework. JSR-303 aims to provide an annotation-driven mechanism to mark plain old java beans with annotations, such as @NotNull, @Min, @Max, and can support custom validation annotations as well.

JSR-303 is part of the Java EE 6 suite of JSRs and will be used automatically out of the box by frameworks such as JSF 2.0. Emmanuel also goes into some detail about the current state of Hibernate Search. Useful links:

  1. Hibernate Validator (4.0.0, which is currently in alpha 3, is the reference implementation of JSR-303).
  2. The Bean Validation RI RoadMap, which contains a link to useful resources such as the updated JSR (more up-to-date here than on the JSR page itself).
  3. Emmanuel's Hibernate Search in Action, published by Manning, and co-authored with John Griffin.
  4. Hibernate Search Project Homepage
  5. JSF 2.0 and JPA 2.0 project homepages
  6. Emmanuel Bernard's blog, No Relation To.


Direct download: TechCast-Episode-25-04-01-2009.mp3
Category:techcast -- posted at: 11:05am EST

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