Monthly Archives: November 2007

Fun in Boston

I’m sitting typing this from my hotel room in Boston looking out over MIT, having just finished my morning conversation with my wife (skype is great), and thinking back over the past couple of days. I’ve had a great time in Boston, really enjoying the city. It’s a nice old town with an enjoyable skyline, and the rivers are beautiful.

For the interested, I ran a workshop at the CMPros workshop held on the Monday. It was titled “Open Standards and the Convergence of Wikis and Content Management Systems” (slides), and after a brief introduction the workshop focused on discussion around wikis and content management systems. We had some good discussions with people sharing their experiences with both content management systems and wikis. I’ll be running a webinar with Ephox talking about this, and soem of the coming directions in Content Collaboration in the next week. Drop me a line if you are interested.


The Gilbane Boston conference itself has started in earnest now. Tuesday night was the big kick-off for us at Ephox, as we were the proud hosts of a cocktail party, held in the hotel (picture taken by Marco). It was a good night with some really great conversations with some interesting people. Conversations ranging from geography to business (even touching on WYSIWYG editors and content management systems), to obscure technical jokes about metadata and tags.

Yesterday and today have been spent in a combination of manning the Ephox booth, and talking to some of the other vendors ont he floor. My focus has been looking for opportunities for future collaboration, and there looks like some great opportunities.

It has also been great meeting some of the San Mateo based Ephox team face-to-face, getting to know Antony and Marco as more than a voice at the other end of a phone line. They are great guys to work with, and have been doing a great job at helping to make sure that people get to see and know the great products that Ephox has.

WordPress Everywhere

WordPress is a great product1, and I’m really liking it a lot, using it pretty much for most small sites that I am working on. The current list includes:

  1. This blog.
  2. My church website (Bayside Baptist)
  3. My hobby website.

I’ve been using WordPress because it has the following key features in its favour:

  1. Simple to use.
  2. A great community, providing plugins, themes, and hooks to lots of web 2.0 goodness. See
  3. A rich interface, and doesn’t try and limit content creators too much.
  4. It has grown to be a nice lightweight CMS, not just a blogging platform, including support for pages (non-date based content) and posts (date based blog entries).
  5. Nice simple friendly URL support. Easily settable through the admin interface (using apache mod_rewrite, giving guidelines for how to do it).
  6. Simple HTML based back-end. My content isn’t locked away. If I decide I want to move it won’t be too hard (wordpress is actually the third different blog engine that I’ve used—I started with Movable Type, had a brief stint with typo 2 before ending up with wordpress).
  7. AJ uses it and has developed an EditLive! plugin, which means I get to use the most familiar WYSIWYG that I know :).
  8. php based, making it easy to deploy anywhere in a language that is well known and easy for people to edit and write.

Overall wordpress is a great little product that makes for a good starting point for a website.

1 – Ironically I'm posting this while sitting in the middle of a CMPros conference. I've had this sitting as a draft for about 9 months, and the time to post has come. ?

2 – while going through a heavy ruby on rails stage, and trying to use it everywhere.?

Account for Apple

A question for the Mac gurus out there.

Is there an option in mail to stop it from automatically choosing the account for you, instead forcing you to choose what account you want to send the message from.

I'm using mail actively at the moment, and would like to be forced to choose to stop me from sending mail using the wrong account (which I have a bad habit of doing).

Please give suggestions in the comments.

ps – yes I am too lazy to work out which list I should post this question to.

Oracle Goes Flex (a trip down memory lane)

The Blogosphere has been pretty excited this week with Oracle showing off many of their applications running on Flex at OpenWorld this week (including these announcements blogged by James Ward: support system Meta Link, Enterprise Manager database tool, Siebel CRM and more). It has made for interesting viewing, and been a nice trip down memory lane for me, after having worked at Oracle (back in Web 1.0 days), and having sat in on the first flex 2.0 training offered in Australia when working for OmniEffect.

It has also been interesting because of the involvement of Mike Wise (Founding Director of OmniEffect and former Lead Architect at Oracle) with Flex and Oracle.

Mike is a real fan for cutting edge technologies. When he was at Oracle his job comprised of finding cool cutting edge technologies, and building awesome proof of concepts. He left Oracle to form OmniEffect and build rich internet applications back in 2004, before they became cool. Those were the days before Adobe had bought MacroMedia, and Mike was building RIAs using the MacroMedia suite.

One of his early projects was to build a front-end to the Oracle Self-Appraisal systems using Royale (the precursor to flex). He did a great job of putting together an application, and the video footage still doesn’t look out of date (almost 4 years later).

Take a look at the video presentation of this great job by a true RIA pioneer:

Mike hasn’t been one to rest on his laurels, and has been continuing to innovate. More recently he’s put together some presentations on Flex(video, ppt), and he’s been delving into the world of Microsoft.

Take a look at his blog, and think about OmniEffect for RIAs. Mike’s been building solutions to real business problems using this technology stack for years and has a great team of people ready to help you solve your technical and business needs.  OmniEffect has the answers that come from experience, and it's well worth getting in touch with Mike

Storing Large Strings with Hibernate 3

If you want to store a large string in hibernate 3 in a relatively transparent way, the text mapping type is your friend.  This will allow you to map a java String type to a database clob type, and store arbitary length large content items.  In previous versions (according to google) this took a fair bit of fiddling around, and required custom types (which required much magic to work in a cross platform manner).  Thankfully the text mapping type exists, making life much easier.


So in the old school pre 1.5 annotation world, we can take the class with a long string and map it using the code and mapping below:

class Profile {
  private String bio;
  public String getBio(){
    return bio;

  public void setBio(String bio){;


and the mapping file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE hibernate-mapping PUBLIC

    "-//Hibernate/Hibernate Mapping DTD 3.0//EN"
    <class name="Profile" table="profiles">
        <property name="bio" type="text" length="

This will let you store a large string in hibernate, automatically handling the mapping between clob data and string data.  The important parts of the xml snippet above are the type and length attributes.  Both are required to ensure that the clob will be created of the right length.  The default for the length is 255, which is great when you are storing shortish strings in a varchar, but not so good when you want a large string in a clob.