Thursday, April 21, 2011

GWT + GAE presentation at Austin GTUG

I had the pleasure to make a presentation to the Austin Google Technology User Group. Here it is:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From building an online typing app to writing a book on scalable web apps

Now available at Amazon
One year and a half ago, I was looking for looking for a typing application we could use for our typing championship. There were few that I like and I approached their authors to try to buy them. Unfortunately their asking price was too high and we could not afford any. So I decided to develop my own: Typrx - Typing Races. I had to choose a highly scalable platform that minise - Google App Engine - which is the only platform that scales automatically in real time based on user load. Furthermore, I wanted to have a non-flash UI, so I selected Google Web Toolkit (GWT) which generates smooth Ajax UI based on Java code (! crooked I know but so awesome: you work in Eclipse with all the Java debuging tools).

Making a real-time online multi-player typing game is not trivial to say the least. I was able to fight network and App Engine latency with some tricky time synchronizations. Other challenges were undertaken: datastore concurrent updates, large scale schema changes, overall UI responsiveness and so on and so on.

The result was awesome. Multi-player typing races are smooth. The typing championship when well and Sean Wrona won the crown. Little known fact: Sean did an unrecorded practice race topping 213 wpm with 100% accuracy. This is unreal.

Using GWT with App Engine has a steep learning curve even for experienced programmers. At that time, I wish there had been a book that would have explained how to build scalable apps like this. There was none. I had to discover all best practices by Googling, asking forums, and creating some myself after bumping into problems. I acquired valuable experience. I thought I could write that missing book. I contacted Amy, a friend and software wizard (after all she is a Stanford Computer Science Ph.D) and she came on board as a co-author. Packt publishing trusted us as first time writers and sent us a contract. And voila - we were on our way to spend depressing nights and weekends over the blank pages of a book that was not going to write itself alone...
After a year of hard labor it finally came out (post). Today, our book Google App Engine Java and GWT Application Development is now available on Amazon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Book: Google App Engine Java and GWT Application Development

The authors, Amy Unruh and Daniel Guermeur are proud to announce the availability of their new book. This book is designed to give developers all the information they need to develop their own GAE+GWT applications, with a particular focus on some of the technologies useful for building scalable social-media-oriented applications. It is an easy-to-follow guide that shows you how to get the most out of combining the powerful features of GAE and GWT. It provides you with solutions to many of the problems that arise in developing, maintaining, and scaling web applications. Learn more - Buy at Patck Publishing - Buy at Amazon

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks "history insurance" file on BitTorent

Wikileaks posted what they called "history insurance" file on BitTorent. The file is encrypted and can only be decoded with a special password key. In case 'something happens' to Wikileaks, they will release the decryption key for the world to unlock the file.
  • Tweet from @Wikileaks on Nov 25 2010: Now is a good time to download some "history insurance" - BitTorrent link
Pretty awesome idea to use BitTorrent. BitTorrent downloads are nearly impossible to stop once initiated because it is a peer-to-peer protocol.

According to this informal poll on CBC News site, as this post is being written, 71 thousand people voted, with 81.95% in favor of Wikileaks publishing sensitive information. However, Wikileaks may not be able to uncover and release much more in the future as Julian Assange is now wanted by Interpol, the International Criminal Police organization and soon probably by many more organizations. Here is Julian Interpol page.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Coming soon: Google App Engine Java and GWT Application Development

I am happy to announce the release of my first book I wrote with Amy Unruh. The title is
Google App Engine Java and GWT Application Development. I will be available at Packt Publishing in November. An overview of the book could go like this:
  • Comprehensive coverage of building scalable, modular, and maintainable applications with GWT and GAE using Java
  • Leverage the Google App Engine services and enhance your app functionality and performance
  • Integrate your application with Google Accounts, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Safely deploy, monitor, and maintain your GAE applications
It is a a practical guide with a step-by-step approach that helps you build an application in stages.