Thursday, April 24, 2008

Welcome to Viet Nam! in Bangalore

I mentioned earlier that I would blog on this subject from my India trip. So I had a very unusual situation in Bangalore. One of the attendees (Madhu) who attended the Jax conference requested that I visit his company during my stay in Bangalore. This became difficult based on a number of reasons, which resulted in Madhu and 10 of his co-workers coming to my hotel. The lobby was too noisy, so we ended up upstairs in my hotel room. The picture below is just half of us that are sitting around a bed talking tech.

We discussed a number of technical details... it started with a discussion around ORM tools and the problem they had mapping to a complex and highly normalized data store. They were creating a web admin tool which for simplicity sake I'll characterize as a content management system (CMS). In this space they don't know all the "columns" of data to store. The columns or metadata is stored in a row of a table, then there is an association table which associates the column to a 3rd table, the table of values. They didn't have to get to far in the description for me to know exactly what they were talking about. I have seen it before a number of times... it is the kind of thing a really out of touch architect, or a green DBA would suggest. I shared some horror stories of my past to try to sway them from this approach. I then discussed all the negatives to this approach.. such as:
  1. No indexing
  2. No join capabilities
  3. Very complex queries
  4. Did I mention no indices? This data structure just isn't tunable.
The conversation led to putting an ORM tool on top of this :) If anyone knows of ORM tool that does this kind of mapping I would love to know. I explained that I was unaware of a ORM that would handle this situation.

While I was speaking at JAX on the topic of Spring and JPA, an attendee reflected on Ted Newark's article relating ORM to Viet Nam. I was amazed!! People around the world are reading Ted's Blog...

So as we were sitting around the bed discussing alternatives, I mention Ted's article which I just re-read that week ... of course I had to explain a little history regarding the meaning that Viet Nam has for most Americans. We got to the point were I was describing how a project gets so far done the road and the team has invested so much, that when anyone suggests that we are tapped out and need to rethink the projects technical approach management comes in with statements like "Come on guys, we have so much invested. Can't you just get it to work". At this point they were all smiling, looking at each other and someone spoke up and says that is exactly where we are at... to which I said "Welcome to Viet Nam" :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Speaking at OSCON 2008

I will be speaking on Spring 2.5 at OSCON 2008 this year! The next tid bit of fun will be fitting my 1 1/2 hour talk into a :45 minute talk... should be fun.

Speaking in India at JAX

Just finished speaking in Bangalore at the JAX conference. The experience was very unique. I'll hit some highlights on a later post. There are 2 remember experiences from the trip. First is the driving there. A friend of mine from a previous trip capture what I'm talking about. Second, my last day I had 10 indians from a local company sitting around my hotel bed talking tech... the statement which capped the conversation was "welcome to vietnam"... I'll explain later.