Author Archives: Lonnie Harbour

Lonnie Harbour

About Lonnie Harbour

I'm a software developer by vocation. When I'm not spending time playing with the latest new technology, I enjoy travel, riding my Kawasaki Vulcan, reading about history, listening to music and sometimes even trying to hack my way through a song or two on various stringed instruments.

Inject Grails Service class into generic Spring Bean

Having gained some measure of working experience with, and become an advocate of, the Grails framework of late, I thought I’d post some occasional tips that may help others along the way.

To help maintain a clean separation of concerns within your Grails application, you might find it desirable to maintain complex business logic outside of the context of Grails service and controller objects. Grails service objects can support transactions at a per-instance level and are maintained by the Grails application context in a way that make them great for a DAO-style pattern implementation. In fact, I prefer to keep all of my GORM-related interactions isolated to service objects rather than sprinkling them between controllers and services. Still, I believe you should avoid weighting service objects down with with complex business logic and calculations. Instead, traditional Spring Beans can be leveraged to aid comprehension and maintenance.

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Moving on to new challenges!

“The times they are a changin’.” – Bob Dylan

The last 5 years have been some of the most personally and professionally rewarding of my career. It was by no means an easy decision but I’ve decided to take the plunge and move on to the next phase of my professional life. It’s always a bittersweet experience to go through a transition of this type but as a colleague once told me “you know when it’s time.” What helps is knowing that in my new position, I’m going to get to experience some exciting and fun new challenges and meet lots of interesting new people. I’m really looking forward to it!

Many thanks to all the wonderful and talented people I’ve worked with over the past few years. I’ve learned a lot, had a LOT of fun, and got to participate in the delivery of some great and interesting products! I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors and perhaps our paths will cross again one day.

Groovy/Grails as an application solution

I’ve been having some interesting conversations with a colleague concerning the Groovy/Grails stack as a solution for web-based applications. Although I’ve become a Groovy believer, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve embraced Grails as a strategy for rapid application development. I certainly understand the attraction, but using one doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use both.

A word about dynamic languages. I know the controversy surrounding this debate but while I have some reservations, I’ve never been categorically opposed to dynamic languages.  I’ve used ActionScript in the past, have fooled around with PHP, am cool with Javascript and like I said, I’ve become a Groovy convert.  I would advocate using it in any JVM-based app.

As far as Grails, there are many positives. In addition to being great for quick prototypes, it’s also great for situations where plug ins already afford a great degree of desired functionality, or super fast development in scenarios without a lot of disparity in functionality between different facets of the application.

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SpringOne 2GX is in the books

I returned from SpringOne 2GX in DC last week. Lots of good exciting stuff being talked about.

Adrian Colyer, CTO of VMWare, did the intro. There was a great deal of emphasis being placed on the next generation of applications. Mobile applications (big surprise) and the increase of sophistication around clients (impact of tech like HTML5, web sockets (push notification), device agnostic applications, the cloud, high performance infrastructure, big data, and more) where hot topics. Had a couple of speakers get up next and talk about Spring and Groovy/Grails. Interesting to see a little thinly-veiled (but good natured) rivalry between the two camps.

I spent a lot of time talking to people and listening to presentations in the Groovy/Grails space. I admit that over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve gone from a Groovy language semi-skeptic (dynamic typing? Egads!) to a convert. AST transformations are way cool mysterious magic and deliver A LOT of power to POGOs at no or very low cost. Groovy is also great for ad-hoc scripting. Groovy and Java can be intermixed easily. Creation of new DSLs (Domain Specific Languages) is manageable although it seems like there’s a little bit of a learning curve associated with doing it “the right way”. Oh, did I mention closures!?!  And I haven’t even mentioned the syntactic sugar Groovy provides yet.

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Unlock sequence for Coleman Horizon & Spectrum spas

We have an older Coleman Horizon 208 spa which we hadn’t used in a while and recently got back into working condition. After inadvertently locking the panel, I realized I had forgotten how to unlock the darn thing and searching on google showed that apparently other people have run into this too. Anyway, I thought I’d share the solution here just in case it might be useful for someone.

This works for both the panel lock and temperature lock features.

To unlock either, press the following 3 buttons in rapid sequence. Program, then Mode, then Set Down. The manual says you have 2 seconds but the timing actually appears to be quicker which is the issue I was having.

Macbook Air

I decided to take the plunge and turn in my windows desktop for a Macbook Air as my primary development machine. After reading some pros and cons, I figured I’d give it a try and so far so good. Mostly for development work, I run Eclipse (the STS variant) but also have been running XCode on a Macmini at work, so it seemed like a natural progression. I’m going to post some of my impressions here as I get more experience with it. So far, I’ve been pretty impressed. Mine has the sandy-bridge 2.0 GHz processor and 8 gigs of RAM. With the blue tooth keyboard, mouse and external monitor, it’s hard to tell I’m not working on the desktop. We’ll see if it can keep up as I start adding more projects to Eclipse and install some additional supporting tools.

HTML5 Localstorage

I have been recently developing mobile applications using a combination of HTML5, CSS3, Phonegap, and jQuery mobile. This is an amazing stack for developing portable mobile apps without the need to write native applications for each platform. The HTML5 spec, although not finalized is gaining wider and wider adoption and looks to transform mobile application development as well as the traditional web experience.

One of the great features of HTML5 is the ability to store data in the local browswer cache that’s much more robust then that previously afforded by HTTP cookies. There used to be a couple of ways to accomplish this. One was by using the WebSQL concept allowing data storage accessible thorough an SQL type syntax and hierarchal data structures. This method has been deprecated by the W3C (at least for now).

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Looking silly for a good cause

I have a friend who recently decided to get a hair cut. This may not sound all that unusual, but in this case, it was the first venture under the stylist’s scissors in almost 3 years. Yet there was a very important reason he decided to do it. He decided to trade in his biker meets OpenGL developer style-sense after watching a television news report about the Locks of Love organization, which helps financially disadvantaged children who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. These children generally cannot wear artificial hair pieces due to the chemicals in the manufacturing process; it can create reactions for their sometimes compromised immune systems. The kids CAN wear natural hair pieces on the other hand, but the problem here is one of expense as natural wigs are very expensive.

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Subversion tip

I use subversion for source control. There may well be better options out there (git anyone?) but it works fine for me 99% of the time. Someone I know was recently wondering how to retrieve a directory he’d deleted from his subversion repository, so thought I’d post this.

Since there is not a general “undo” in subversion, you have to copy the directory (or files, which this also applies to) from the revision before the commit which removed the directory or file to the “head”. This allows you to retain the original history. You can actually do this all in one step, however doing it as a multi-stop process using a local working copy allows you to review and validate that you’re doing the right thing in between steps.

The basic process is that you first copy the revision with your deleted directory or file down to a local working copy, then copy the directory or file up to the original location in the remote repository.

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Homeless pets

My wife and I are big advocates and supporters of animal shelters and pet rescues. Two we support in particular are located on the First Coast. One (which is organized and run by friends of ours, Janet Sydor and Gloria Conner of St. Augustine Florida) no longer has a dedicated web site but some information is available here.

We also support and volunteer for Pet Rescue North here in Jacksonville.

Both organizations are no kill shelters that are worthy of any support you can see fit to give them.