Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oracle Transaction Manager integration with Spring

Many moons ago (2004, which now seems like forever), I was somewhat circumspect about the transaction APIs in Spring. Not so much that I thought the model was bad: it seemed like a nice improvement over EJB. But my concern was that since JTA was usually hidden in the bowels of application servers, there may be equally hidden assumptions that the "container" logic needed to be aware of, especially for managing errors.

Whether I was right or wrong (at the time Juergen, I think, disagreed sharply), the fact is that the major application server vendors have made sure this use case works as coded. In fact, Oracle has also provided an adaptive layer to make working with transactions in Spring even more straightforward for OC4J users. This support will be packaged in the Spring core, I'm glad to say.

We're thinking of doing an update to Java Transaction Processing: not only do I want to add a correction on this topic, I very much want to do a chapter on the Spring framework as an alternative to EJB and to provide thorough coverage of the additional transaction control semantics that Spring introduces.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The only television program I watch is HBO's Rome. It is far from perfect (and has some gross inaccuracies): the worst aspect is HBO's insistence on proving how far they can push the limits of taste. Having said that, it is immensely enjoyable. Set in pre-Christian Rome, the series starts with the rise of Gaius Julias Ceasar and is currently looking at the early career of
Gaius Octavius (Octavian or Ceasar Augustus, as you like). The first season performance of Ciaran Hinds was absolutely masterful. I have seen Hinds mostly recently as an assassin in Munich, but I believe he took his craft to a new level in Rome. In fact many of the actors in the first season cast, including Tobias Menzies, James Purefoy, Kevin McKidd, Lindsay Duncan, and Max Pirkis, provide standout performances.

The series also deals with religion as a facet of culture. It is at first shocking then sobering to see the sincerity the Romans paid to the religions that we now call myths. After watching a recent episode which features the rise of (I believe) a Zealot group, I wound up revisiting Norman Cohn's fascinating book on ancient religions. If the series prompts people to actually study the ancient world in a thoughtful way, its overt shortcomings certainly deserve to be overlooked.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Food blog

I guess my biggest weakness in life is food. I put together a blog to track restaurant and dining experiences as a reference for myself and for others in the area where I live. It's a bit rudimentary at the moment, but once I'm done with school, I hope to develop it into something a bit more. If you are visiting the Philadelphia area, you may find it to be a useful reference, at least over time.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Written Languages

You may find the site omniglot interesting, as it has an overview of many written languages. My wife is part Cherokee, but I did not know there was a syllabary for the language.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Jean Ichbiah passes

The creator of Ada passed recently. I never met Jean but I did program in Ada 83 for a while, back when I worked on spacecraft simulation environments. I always thought Ada was clever and useful. I assume it failed due to poor compilers and paid the price for being a higher level than C when hardware was (by comparison to today) slow.