Curriculum Vitae Online

It’s taken two years, but I’ve finally updated my Curriculum Vitae. After dusting it off and reading over it again, I’m surprised by how many different technologies I’ve managed to play with so far in my career. I still have the sneaking suspicion that I won’t be stopping learning new things yet, and the holes in my knowledge leave plenty of room for improvement.

Introduction To CruiseControl

I’ve been preparing a slide show to present to the “Best Practice” group at work. I was looking for a simple way to do the presentation, when I came across Eric Meyer’s Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System (S5 for short). I’m really impressed with how simple and easy it was to create a new slide show, and adapt the look and feel for the company style. Kudos to Eric!

My Introduction to CruiseControl presentation is now available on-line. If anyone has any feedback, or feels that they can use the presentation themselves, please let me know.

CruiseControl In Vogue

I’m a big believer in the benefits of Continuous Integration, and so I have become a user and then contributor of CruiseControl.

I find the continually increasing awareness of CruiseControl in the development community quite exciting. Mike Clark’s new book has been receiving a lot of attention , which has been translating directly into a lot of new users. I find the CruiseControl project statistics graph at SourceForge very interesting indeed. I expect that this month will break page view and download records again, especially if version 2.2 gets released on time.

Why am I excited about this? Besides the fact that Continuous Integration is a fantastic development process, I also have a personal stake in CruiseControl. I have been making contributions to the website and documentation, an area that is traditionally quite weak in open source projects. In helping out and assuming ownership in a relatively unmaintained area, I’ve become quite connected with the success of the project. Marking out my home in the noosphere, I guess.

AFP Renderer

As part of a project that we’re working on together, my friend Pete Townsend developed some library code to generate prints for insurance policy applicants. Input data comes from an XML document, and is converted to an AFP print stream (AFP is a MO:DCA print format used on mainframes). Leveraging available open source tools, Pete created a plugin output renderer for Apache FOP.

There’s nothing unusual about this type work, any developer working for a large corporation will do similar tasks. The amazing thing is that Pete managed to convince our management that donating this project back to the Apache Foundation would be a good idea. The result of this is the AFP Renderer project on SourceForge. In a fit of madness, I told Pete I could help out with creating the AFP Renderer Homepage.

The ultimate aim is to get the AFP Renderer source code integrated directly into the Apache FOP codebase. In the meantime, SourceForge has (yet another) project.

Signs of Life

It’s been a long month. I’ve learnt more than I wanted to about Linux hardware compatibility, but I’ve finally managed to get Fedora Core 2 up and running. Configuring mail, web, etc has been interesting, as it’s all slightly different from what I’ve been used to with Debian. Over the next few weeks, I’ll tweak things into usable shape, but it won’t be quick.

Smoking Crater

A blackout last Friday did a pretty good job of killing the server. It looks like a power spike got through the surge protector and left a smoking crater where the CPU normally sits. I’ve got a new one on order, but with limited time it could be a few weeks to get back to normal.

In the meantime, I’ve only really got the homepage back up on external hosting. The rest of the site will have to wait.

Two Column Layout

I’m in the middle of updating the site to try and get a more three dimensional and less blocky look and feel.

Phase one of this project is to convert to a proper two column layout (now complete). I borrowed design ideas from Dan Cederholm’s SimpleBits to come up with a right floating content div, with the navigation and sidebar part of the regular layout on the left.

The next task is to work on some background graphic elements to enhance the “lush” look and feel of, and to mask the blocky effect that the use of div elements brings.