Friday, August 31, 2007

Do you care about software?

You should.

RichFaces - it just works

At my current gig, we are using JSF, which is a pretty complicated framework, IMHO. I've recently enjoyed playing with the RichFaces libraries. We had a need come up to put a popup date picker on one of our pages (itself, embedded inside a popup). I scoured the web, looking at various implementations and didn't find one that satisfied me. The various *Faces implementations were overly-complicated to get working in our current tech stack. I found an okay JS implementation, and was about to wire that in, when I noticed that the new version of RichFaces (which I found mentioned in the user forums) had a calendar component. So, I grabbed the latest snapshot, dropped the jars in place (okay, I deleted the old jars and dropped the jars in place, since the new version of RichFaces was merged with Ajax4JSF, which we were also using). Put in a single line: <rich:calendar />, and voilĂ , I had a working calendar component. Slick.

I just want to say thank you to the RichFaces/Ajax4JSF team(s), this library has been great for doing rich UI in our JSF app. With the Red Hat Developer Studio coming along nicely, this could turn into quite a nice environment for developing web apps.

Of course, I plan on doing Rails development next month; but there is hope for the Java guys.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Werewolf, Ruby Hoedown '07 edition

The Ruby Hoedown was cool. But it's over now, and a group of us are in a swanky hotel lounge playing Werewolf.

Here's the cast of characters:
Chad Fowler
Marcel Molina, (Jr!)
Rick Denatale
Ryan Daigle
A special shoutout to Stu & Justin who were unable to join us this evening.

Chad, Marcel and Joe are all expert players, and it's fun just to watch them. I've played many times before (but we called it Mafia). Everyone else is noobs.

First game I was the Seer. I found out early on that Joe was a Werewolf. Watching him closely, I easily deduced Ted was the other Werewolf. Unfortunately, I was nominated the next round by an easily misled Villager (Lyle!) and lynched in the town square. However, during my defense, I pointed out who the lyconthropes were. Chad picked up on this, which unfortunately, doomed him that night. After yet another killing, the Villagers finally found the evil in the village.

Round two, I'm a villager; and the first one killed off during the night. Giving me time to discover that this hotel provided wireless, and to write this blog.

Round three. I get to play another dead villager. This time Marcel & Chad are still in the game - and it is fun just watching the two of them. One thing that's really cool is that they are giving so much advice while they play. I've played with people that don't care about improving the other people they play with, they just want to be the best out of the group, which makes no sense to me. This remind me of the days I first jumped into Java and I got to pair with Adam Williams & Matthew Todd and learned I wasn't as good of a programmer as I thought I was. I'd say this is the best game of werewolf/mafia I've ever played. If only I could make it to the end of one. Maybe next time.

Finally, Round four - werewolf. This time I actually made it to (nearly) the end of the game. We whittled the villagers (or Visitors, in Chad's case) down to a Seer and 3 villagers, against me and Cody. The Seer says I am a werewolf, I try to defend it back to him, but no good, I go down in a unanimous vote. However, Cody was able to finish off the Seer, and get Evan lynched the next round. Victory for the werewolf!

Now I have to look forward to RubyConf 2007 for my next game...