Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Code Shack Redemption - Trailer

I always wanted to create a trailer.

With uniPaaS always in mind and remembering one of the greatest films of all times - The Shawshank Redemption, I had to create a trailer based on both creations.

This video is a tribute to both masterpieces, each in its own realm.

If you haven’t seen "The Shawshank Redemption" yet, you must buy it or rent it ASAP. You can do that at Amazon.
One of the best things in doing this trailer was having the chance to see this movie once again.

This is truly how I and my fellow developers who use uniPaaS on a daily basis feel.
That uniPaaS can and does free you from the nasty shackles of coding. Developing complex applications in uniPaaS is a breeze, compared to other development tools.
So, if you haven't tried uniPaaS yet, you must check it out as well at Magic Software web site.

The music score used in this clip is taken from the movie's soundtrack - The Shawshank prison [Stoic Theme] and from one of the sample trailers of iMovie.

One of the greatest inspiration for this clip was the comedian
Pablo Francisco and his Previewman segment. He does it much better than I do.

And both of us do not get even close to the real thing, The voiceover king, Don LaFontaine.

All the newly added voice over, images, editing and titles I made myself.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

“And So You Code” Scrapbook - Page 3 - A Short Remake

I have invited all coders out there to send me their own pictures in scenes similar to the original "And so you code" clip so to create a whole new clip with real-life pictures.

So far I did not get enough pictures for a whole clip, but it seems that someone has beat me to it, and posted a new clip with new images. - Is he intercepting my inbox!? ;-). I guess reality is that he does a better work in collecting pictures.

Too bad it is just 30 sec long.

Here it is:

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reaching IT Nirvana without Losing Touch with Reality

The idea of completely detaching from solid grounds to hover in a new, virtual and somewhat amorphous state is inherently a deterring idea for any human being. Evidently there is something quite morbid about this idea.

Though the state of Nirvana is consciously or unconsciously aspired by many, very few dare to actually reach such a state. Essentially, the promise of Nirvana is to reach the state of being detached and free from the shackles of human suffering. Essentially, the promise of Cloud Computing is to reach a state of being detached and free from the shackles of IT infrastructures – i.e. IT suffering.

One way of reaching IT Nirvana
It is obvious why many fear a transition of such magnitude.

Many enterprises whether still contemplating on moving to the cloud, or even those who already began their journey to the cloud are very much concerned with the many risks and challenges that cloud computing entails:
  • Privacy\Security – Is there any true privacy in the cloud?
  • Availability – Can I trust a cloud infrastructure to be operational all day, every day?
  • Reliability - When disaster occurs, is the cloud vendor resourceful and skilled enough to recuperate?
  • Vendor Lock - Will it be possible to easily switch from one cloud infrastructure to another?
All these risk and challenges that everybody talks about these days have one attribute in common. They are all external risks. They are out of the direct control of the organization or the software vendor. It is a very natural and expected behavior to focus on external risks, especially for managers and leaders who usually exhibit strong internal locus of control. The more one tends to be in control of things, the more hesitant one becomes when things are taken out of one’s control.
CIOs and CTOs fear losing control over their IT infrastructure
When so much external challenges at hand, many overlook one internal challenge, which is regarded as trivial, and that is the transition of the existing application from client\server application to an internet application.
It is quite clear for many how the external risks may lead to project failure and unplanned costs, but as the cloud infrastructure maturity grows, the risks of moving to the cloud lie mostly in the successful transition of the application at hand.

Cloud means Internet and for many Internet means Browser and a whole new UI opportunity for their revamped applications, forgetting the fact that the application users have not changed.

One of the overlooked high risks when moving to the cloud is the risk of hindering the application usability and by that loosing the buy-in of the most important stakeholders - the application end-users.
Usability is achieved not just by adhering to general heuristics and UI design guidelines. Optimal usability is achieved (and most importantly maintained) by Familiarity and Consistency.

In a new application, UI familiarity and consistency is achieved by adhering to the same patterns, mental models, and terminology throughout the application.
In revamped applications, where the motivation for the application revamp is not its user experience, but its architecture) UI familiarity and consistency is achieved by maintaining a similar user experience (UX), so end-users do not get lost in a whole new user interface and do not need to spend days in learning the whereabouts of the new imposed UI.

For most organizations and projects, the cloud infrastructures maturity is strong enough to mitigate the risks of being an external infrastructure. The true risk nowadays lie in the capability of revamped applications to continue serve existing customer base without losing an ounce of end-users productivity.

When venturing into the cloud, do not lose sight of those who will eventually adopt or reject the new cloud-based application, thus deeming the project a success or a failure – your end-users. Your end-users did not choose to go to the cloud, it is the choice of the company. The end-users do not need nor want to sacrifice anything of their productivity for the sake of new infrastructure efficiency.

CIOs and CTOs should fear this much more than they fear cloud-infrastructures
Detaching business applications from solid grounds (on-premise) and losing touch with reality (end-users) will result not in IT Nirvana but in applications miserable demise.

CIOs and CTOs are at a crossroad, needing not only to choose the right cloud-based infrastructure but also the right RIA technology. The major criteria for that RIA technology is the ability to keep the end-users  productive at least as before the transition by providing them a true desktop experience over the internet.

Microsoft, described it beautifully in their recent Cloud-Power video: “I can change how everyone works, without changing how everyone works!”. This sums it all up.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BI Reports Integrated in uniPaaS Live RIA Demo System

The uniPaaS RIA live demo was enhanced today with embedded BI reports and dashboards.

Once the application is running you will notice a new menu option titled “BI Report”.
Click this option to open the BI Reports and Dashboards window.

The new BI Reports menu option

In the newly opened window you will see a list of reports on the left-hand side of the screen.
Scroll through to select the report or dashboard you desire and click the large push button in the center of the screen, or press the F5 key.
The Display Report button appears whenever you switch from one report to another

The selected report is displayed in the center of the screen.
Once the report is displayed you can press the “Open as PDF” button at the bottom to display the same report in a PDF format.

An example of an embedded BI dashboard

Run these reports as part of a whole rich internet application, anytime, anywhere.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“Application Development Teams Must Find A Better Way To Develop Apps”

In his recent blog post, “Java Is A Dead-End For Enterprise App Development”, Mike Gualtieri, a Forrester Analyst, describes the reasons for which Java, though still firmly planted in enterprise IT shops for custom-developed applications, has served its purpose, and that now it is time for Java based development teams to move forward and that “Application development teams must find a better way to develop apps”.

Java’s success can be contributed essentially to two of its basic characteristics: Cross Platform and Open Source.

Though open source proved to be successful for commercial companies selling commodities such as Linux, MySQL, and JBoss, as Peter Yared writes in his guest blog post “The Failure of Commercial Open Source Software”, it failed to provide companies any significant advantage over proprietary software. “Commercial open source companies have the same cost structure as the enterprise software companies that preceded them” says Yared, and he further explains that “many open source companies exhibit at tradeshows, have salespeople, systems engineers, customer services departments, and on top of that employ the vast majority of developers that are working on their open source project.” and he adds “ the headache of maintaining a community and integrating random code patches is just as expensive as fixing reported bugs with your own people.”

However, with all its merits, Java was and still is a 3GL coding platform, which haven’t really resolved the coding complexities that many organizations wish to avoid. “Java development is too complex for business application development” says Gultieri. And he is absolutely right. Big, complex enterprise business applications become a coding nightmare when based on Java (or any other 3GL for that matter).

Gualtieri concludes his blog post by stating that “Development platforms are not the only items to consider. Cloud computing and mobile, to name a few, are other trends that must factor into your new strategy”. Indeed! Many companies are now at a significant cross-road, where turning their applications into cloud-enabled application becomes imperative and new, apt technologies and platforms are required. Companies realize that they need much more than a development platform, they need a cloud-enabled, mobile-enabled application platform that will enable them to make this dramatic shift with minimal risk, shortest time to market and with a significant, rapid and positive ROI.

Ttrend trains are moving faster than ever
uniPaaS is exactly what companies should be looking at right now. These are critical times, where trend trains are moving faster than ever, and companies need to get their act together and move fast. Decisions need to be taken now. Decisions should not be based on past glory, or fondness of past platforms. Brave decisions should be made for the near and far future. The chosen platform should be such that covers all angles: Cloud-ready, Mobile-ready, Super Productive, Super Flexible, an Completely Open to enable companies to rapidly ascend to the clouds in the shortest time possible without throwing away past investment in legacy applications, and while preserving the option to move between on-premise to off-premise deployment at any given time.

Cloud and Mobile are very disruptive trends, luckily uniPaaS is able to sooth such disruptions and overcome them with great success. As Gualtieri sums it up “You must transform to a Lean, Mean Change Machine”.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

RIA Security – From Blazing Livestock to Solid Platform

The web is still buzzing over Firesheep and the easiness of hacking that it demonstrates.

Firesheep serves as a good wake-up call for many end-users and application developers, reminding us, again, the great vulnerability of web applications.

In a short and concise explanation in his recent blog post, Jeff Atwood shows that except for properly packaged UI, intended for the novice hacker, Firesheep brings no actual technology news, and in fact it just surfaces part of the web vulnerability which hasn’t changed much in the past years.

A web session hijacked by FireSheep

Firesheep is one more example of how browser-based web applications can be easily hacked and intruded by malicious third-parties.
Firesheep is based mainly on packet sniffing done over unsecured wireless connections. But the same principles can be employed also on LANs.

Many organizations that choose to developer their in-house applications as RIA, sometimes overlook the fact that even though the application is not exposed to the outside world, malicious interventions are still a threat.

Organizations who are about to develop their new internet applications must consider the following:

To be (Browser based) or not to be (Browser based) – The browser open and standard nature suggests that web application developers who chose to go “browser based” (which is still the default choice for many) must go into many security considerations and preemptive design to circumvent the browser default vulnerabilities. Though for many “browser” is very much a synonym for “Internet”, more and more developers and IT Managers realize that an internet application does not necessarily need to be confined to a browser. Considering the security vulnerabilities of the browser and many other factors (Desktop UX, Client Side Interaction, etc) an independent RIA client would be a much more secured and suitable solution.

Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet

To Code or not to Code – Coding your own infrastructure means that one takes upon oneself a very big load of responsibility and work to cover all security issues. If you want your RIA fully secured, and enable your end-users to log-in your internet application, even over unsecured lines at the airport, you must cover all issues yourself.
On the other hand, a comprehensive RIA platform, dedicated for business applications, which covers all security issues for you and protects your applications from phising, impersonation, script injections, session hijacking and more, allows you to peacefully concentrate on the business requirement of your application, and spend little, if no time at all, in resolving all the security issues yourself.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

The Corporate On-Premises Power Plant

Every second person that attempts to explain to a newbie what Cloud Computing is all about uses the analogy of Electricity as a utility we all consume as a service. This analogy emphasizes the economical benefits of utilizing electricity that is generated at a huge power plant: The costs are much cheaper by leveraging the economy of scale, usage fluctuations are easily addressed, you pay for what you use, etc.

Like many other analogies, also this one is limited. I very much agree with James Urquhart who
wrote in his blog post “In cloud computing, data is not electricity” that while I do not care which electrons are being served to my refrigerator by the power plant, I do care very much which data bits are served to my PC from the remote data center that I am using.

Some use other utility services as an analogy to Cloud computing. For example, office services, car leasing, or water supply.

Nevertheless, Electricity is still the best analogy, especially when it comes to businesses.

Software and Electricity are two services without them most enterprises cannot work. Being out of toilet paper, or without water for a few hours would not make much difference for most enterprises (putting aside the time wasted in complaints of frustrated employees) but business continuity is not affected. Once software or electricity goes down, business continuity is gone, and money is lost.

For this reason many organizations that cannot afford to have their business continuity disrupted invest in their own, small-size, on premise power plant - aka an Electric Generator.

On-Premises Power Plant

It is clear for many that in order to insure business continuity; enterprises must have an on-premise backup option to cope with unexpected power-failures.

In this respect the Electricity analogy still stands. When it comes to cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service, enterprises realizes that an on-premise option of their software and local replication of its data is a must-have requirement.

Cloud computing is far from being at the maturity stage of nation-wide electric grids. This is why a hybrid deployment capability (off-premise and on-premise) is imperative.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"And So You Code" - Join the Clip Remake

This is an invitation to all "And So You Code" fans out there.

I am creating a new clip with the same song using real-life images of real programmers.

If you wish to take part in the new clip, just take a picture of yourself or friends depicting one of the images in the current clip (e.g. frustrated in front of the computer, juggling your mouse and keyboard, looking very boss-like, crying, passing out, etc) or another image that could fit the clip.

You can use a self portrait arm or just ask your friend to take a picture of you
Send the pictures to the following email: andsoyoucode@gmail.com

By sending your pictures you state that 1) The pictures are yours, 2) you and the people that appear in the picture agree to have the picture used in the remake of "And So You Code" (using the same music and lyrics and some of the original images)

Credit will be given to every picture owner (unless that person request to stay anonymous).

With your pictures we can create a very authentic programmers clip.

I cannot guarantee that every submitted picture will be included in the clip.

Here is the clip once again: