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More than 3 years have passed since I started writing blog items on http://www.gridshore.nl. The first post is dated the 11th of may 2005. This was about the time when I was still working for Capgemini and my colleague, coach and nowadays friend Freddie told me he was about to leave for Accenture Technology Solutions. Together we had some ideals for work environment and doing projects. We were talking about bringing the open source way of working to the enterprise. Freddie made me think about this stuff suggested some books to read and now he was leaving. Since he was leaving, we were looking for a way to stay in contact with each other and to start sharing knowledge. That was the moment we decided to buy the gridshore domain and to start blogging.

Now, three years later, Freddie is working for ISIS Papyrus, I moved from Capgemini to Accenture Technology Solutions and now JTeam.B.V. and we got two new writers (Allard and Ben).

After these three years and more than a 100 posts, it is time for some reflection on what has happened, what we wrote about and maybe some statistics. Let’s just start and see where it gets me.

So, if you want to read about my history and the history of gridshore.nl, read on, if not, skip this post, no hard feelings.

Let’s start with the first posts. In the beginning the website consisted of three main parts, the blog, a wiki and a forum. The forum was not used at all, so I took it of after a while. The wiki was used, but I found it hard to keep the content up to date, which is different for blogs. Blog items are just a moment in time. As time passes by, you just create new posts. The wiki is still available via the homepage. I am using pmwiki as the wiki engine.

I was using a blogging tool called bblog. After a few posts it turned out to be cumbersome to use and therefore I moved to serendipity. The old posts are still in serendipity, you can find them under the tab old posts. After a few years of use I started to have problems with the blog. Especially using separate tools for editing, the upgrading and skins was not optimal. So again I decided to move to other blog software. Nowadays I am using WordPress which I am pretty happy about. Good tool integration and very nice update mechanisms.

But what were these first posts about? I started of with some book descriptions: The inmates are running the asylum, Pragmatic project automation and Extreme programming refactored. The first technical post was about an apache ab tool, which you can use to call a url to do some basic performance testing.

The second technical post was about continuous integration using luntbuild. Good to see this post was from june 2005. I used luntbuild for a long time, also in projects and wrote a few more posts about it. Nowadays I am still working a lot on improving continuous integration and I wrote an article in the book Java Power Tools about this topic.[amtap book:isbn=0596527934]

Next post was my first post around testing, or better, unit testing. I explained the general use of the Easymock framework. Testing is one of those other topics that will come back regularly. I continued with two posts about using linux on my IBM laptop. I am always interested in other operating systems than windows. Started using suse on my first 486dx2, did a lot of open source evangelism within Capgemini, so I wanted an open source environment to work on the laptop as well.

Since programming is more in my blood than operating systems, the next posts were about programming again. One post about commons-pool and again a post about continuous integration, this time about integrating cobertura and luntbuild.

logogooglecode.pngAnother post I’d like to mention is the very short post about google cache, back than I was so thankful for google cache. By accident I dropped the complete content of my website, using google cache I could restore it, nice nice nice. The next post show me that I was doing more with database access. A review of the hibernate book and some thoughts about using an in memory database hsqldb.

September 2005, my first spring framework related post. I was in the need for an rss feed object. I found the project Rome, which enables you to create rss feeds. Since i was learning a lot about spring, I wanted spring integration, so I created a base class for a Spring Controller. The improved version was even included in the spring modules project. You can find the class still online. A nice detail is that this was my first contact with Bram Smeets. Nowadays he is my colleague at JTeam.

In october I had my first on stage experience for a group of around a 100 people, talking about Acegi, or spring security. And of course I blogged about some of the details. The next post were dealing with the upgrade of my blog, introducing some google tools, book reviews about ajax technologies. I also did my first blog about an autocomplete using ajaxtags. The project I used it for is still live and still using it without real problems. Don’t think I would use it nowadays, but still it does work.

In November 2005 something weird happened, Freddie wrote his first three blogs, on the same day. So now we had two writers for the blog. The same month I wrote some items about acegi again and integration of springframework with mail. In december I got reunited with Freddie, I left Capgemini for Accenture Technology Solutions. Luckily I still made enough time to keep on writing. The next post were about another ajax framework, called extreme components, a nice library for integration for spring as well. This library is not supported anymore and has moved into a new project called jmesa. I closed januari 2006 with book reviews for again an ajax book and a book about extreme programming.

Next up were articles about cobertura, maven and luntbuild and there combinations. Then for some reason there were no items coming for a few months. I came back with my first article about web services. I was doing a project with apache axis and the integration with springframework. A lengthy article about the integration of the two frameworks, I still feel pain when thinking about this project, boy what a problems we had.

August 2006, i wrote my all time favorite blog item. Even now it still often is the most visited page of my blog. I am afraid it is a bit outdated, but it shows autocomplete in web forms is still one of the most hot topics. The article without my second point of contact with Bram Smeets. He created a nice blof item about the DWR and spring integration. I just wrote a long item with how to do this yourself at home steps. it is great to see I have 26 comments, there are people commenting this item that I know have more knowledge about it than I do. In the same month I also opened my google code project, so now everybody was able to see the sources I used in my blogs. In august I also created a post about a spring framework based archetype. Nice one to generate a default web project with acegi and spring configured all over. Was read a lot as well.

nljug_logo.pngThe remainder of the year 2006 was more quiet. There was an interesting post around using vmware and apache http server as a proxy to two other services. Januari 2007 was my first post around OSGi. I now know this would become a big influence for the year to come. I became very busy with work and I got Allard interested into OSGi as well. We decided to give a presentation about webservices and OSGi at the nljug. We made it through and we created a new website http://www.osgisamples.com . Due to our cooperation Allard was added to the author list of gridshore.nl. So we had three authors now. In June and July 2007 I wrote two of my other very successful blog items. They were both talking about spring-ws, one for the client and one for the server side of it.

In august 2007, Allard wrote his first item for our blog. Of course this was about webservice versioning in the java world. In october I started using Google Web Toolkit, got myself an Intellij license

product-15in.jpgNovember 2007, why is this date in bold letters. Something very good happened to me in this month. I finally got my long desired Macbook Pro. My software engineering word would never be the same again. Some people do not understand this, but really, using the mac felt like coming home after a business trip of two months and seeing your wife and kids on the airport. Fantastic. Still today I am sometimes really amazed how nice this machine is. (haha, it is just an expensive laptop that I could use to make other jealous).

The final few topics for this blog were about generics, jpa, tomcat, jndi and not to forget, the best business trip I had ever. Guys, this Miami Experience was really great.

Januari 2008, did my last upgrade of serendipity and installed WordPress which is just more pleasant to work with. I do keep my serendipity around, google knows where my pages are, so it is better not to change it.

logo_jteam.jpgThis article has become long enough, so to speed up I am going to skip the remainder of 2008. I’ll probably post an item at the end of the year to describe this year. Some highlights of 2008. Freddie left ATS for ISIS, I left ATS for JTeam and Ben was added as a writer to the blog. So now we have four writers. Together we get around 1600 visits every week, of which I am very proud. In 2008 we wrote a lot on web services, OSGi and felix in specific, Adobe flex and ….. (I do not know yet).

I hope you liked reading this recap, if not do not say I did not warn you. See you next time with a more technical article again.