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From Richard Monson-Haefel <>
Subject Re: User Friendliness
Date Sat, 09 Aug 2003 19:54:08 GMT

I think your focus on User Friendliness is of critial importance. I also think
that it should be at the top of our priorities, not something addressed later.
This has been my experience with just about all applicaiton servers: they are
just too complex. I hate the fact that I have spend hours learning how to run an
App server before I can use it effectively.  The root of the problem is

Here are some ideas for User Frindlenss
1. Configuration should be done by exception, rather than by feature. In other
words, everything has an assumed value unless its explicitly configured.

2. Configuration files are terse to the extreem and are not hiarchial. Instead
of using XML, use a english like syntax with very simple rules. For example, the
following would set the timeout on a specific deployment.

Set ApplicationA.ejb.Account timeout=3600
Set ApplicationA.container.InstancePool max_count=150

3. Configuration files can be anywhere and can be split up in any way. This
would allow people to centrailize configuration or otherwise use their own
policies (e.g. one configuration file or J2EE application, or funtionality or
something else). The fact that configuration options are flat (all a the same
level) makes it easy to combine many configuration files into a whole.

4. Include a very simple admin cousole that anyone can figure out. What makes
this possible is the fact that only exceptions are configured, so you don't have
to go through and fill out a bunch of fields everytime you want to deploy an app
or start the server.

In my opinion Geronimo should have four axioms that drive every technical

- User Friendliness,
- Conformance
- Performance, and

These are all at the same level, with no one axiom being more important than the
others.  Different groups might be responsible for ensuring that all components
(parts of Geronimo) embrace all four axioms.  These would be gatekeepers to
adding new functionality - I don't mean to create more red tap, but only to
ensure that we stick to the axioms..


Erin Mulder wrote:

> I'd like to see a subgroup dedicated to the overall user experience
> and would be happy to help out in that area.
> In particular:
> 0) A user web site that draws people in and makes it easy to get started
> 1) Friendly, comprehensive and -free- user documentation
> 2) Working examples of all J2EE and value-added features
> 3) An attractive web console that competes favorably with WebLogic/Websphere
> 4) Good command line tools for easy scripting
> 5) Lots of attention to the developer experience, e.g.:
>         - up-to-date DTDs with useful comments
>         - robust hot deploy
>         - useful error messages
>         - preservation of line numbering where possible for EJBs/JSPs
> Cheers,
> Erin Mulder

Richard Monson-Haefel
Author of J2EE Web Services (Addison-Wesley 2003)
Author of Enterprise JavaBeans, 3rd Edition  (O'Reilly 2001)
Co-Author of Java Message Service (O'Reilly 2000)

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