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From "Jeff Ramsdale" <jeff.ramsd...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Concurrency and River
Date Wed, 03 Oct 2007 20:38:25 GMT
Hi Bill,

On 10/3/07, Bill Venners <bv-svp@artima.com> wrote:
> Hi Jeff,

<snip />

> I had forgotten we talked about this several years ago with regards
> to CruiseControl. How did your effort to distribute JUnit tests with
> Jini and CruiseControl work out?

Well, by the time I neared release I realized I'd done a lot of things
wrong, or at least less than optimally. It was my first Jini project,
and it showed. However it did (mostly) work and others have kept the
code current (big thanks to Dan Rollo). My new designs (never
implemented) involved JavaSpaces, but never went so far as to
parallelize the running of TestCases. The goal of the project was
really to parallelize builds on different platforms. Without realizing
it I'd reimplemented some of the features of Rio regarding
identification of a node's capabilities.

> Anyway, the assumption in your response seems to be that if something
> (such as Scala and SuiteRunner) isn't mainstream today that it will
> never be mainstream. If that's true in general there's not much point
> in trying to market Jini, because Jini isn't mainstream today either.

I wouldn't want to suggest Scala and SuiteRunner won't ever be
mainstream, but I don't think we should necessarily depend on their
becoming so. Clearly Jini isn't mainstream and if we want it to be we
should try to minimize the unfamiliar dependencies. (Think Jini
configuration here. As brilliant as it might be many potential users
are confused by it. There should be an easier starting point.)

> My situation is that unlike the old days when I could take a few
> weeks off full time to code up the ServiceUI API if I felt like it, I
> don't have time to do stuff today that Artima doesn't have a chance
> to make money from. I didn't really transform into a greedy person. I
> hired people. I have to meet payroll now and that really changes your
> perspective about what you need to do with your time. Some of you may
> miss the old me, and I do too honestly, but that's how it is these
> days. I have felt bad that I haven't had much time to contribute to
> this project, and have been on the lookout for ways I could
> contribute to River that also had potential to help bring revenue to
> Artima.

I completely understand. I used to have some funding to work on
Jini.org and I no longer do. Time is hard to come by. In any case, I
wasn't meaning to suggest SuiteRunner and Scala be left out of the
loop--I think your argument for trying to position SuiteRunner as the
de facto standard for Scala is a great idea. I was only suggesting
that most Java users wouldn't want be be required to use those
technologies to try out the distributed build technology. I could see
a situation where the most advanced features required some
understanding of Scala and/or SuiteRunner--that would be good for you
and your business. But I'd hook 'em with a straight-up JUnit
connection.

> The missing context in my previous post is that I've made a business
> bet on Scala. Artima will be publishing a Scala tutorial, and later
> possibly other Scala books, and offer other educational materials.
> And we're going to use Scala to write our software internally. I
> started rewriting SuiteRunner in Scala because I want to use it
> internally at Artima, and because I want to use it as a talking
> point, an example, to promote better software practice in the context
> of Scala at conferences.

Sounds great!

> What I realized yesterday is that with multi-core coming, if I
> architected the new SuiteRunner from day one as a Jini-based
> distributed system that can also scale gracefully down to one box,
> then I could also talk about Jini and JavaSpaces at those
> conferences, and help spread the word about River a bit while I'm
> spreading the word about Scala. I think that with multi-core coming,
> it honestly makes a lot of sense to architect SuiteRunner this way
> anyway. How would I parallelize tests if I didn't use JavaSpaces? I
> wouldn't even know where to begin.

I think in the context of this conversation I'd like to make the point
that multi-core is HERE, no longer "coming". You have to work to buy a
machine that isn't multi-core this days. Just saw a number of Brian
Goetz sessions on the No Fluff conference circuit, and he made that
point loud and clear.

I agree with your point above!

> SuiteRunner was always a JUnit runner. It runs JUnit tests. But that
> didn't help make it interesting to folks. Cedric Beust did get some
> uptake with TestNG because he kept adding features and tirelessly
> promoting it. But JUnit has improved since 1993, and I don't see a
> compelling reason for Java programmers to switch from JUnit even to
> TestNG honestly, and certainly not to the Java SuiteRunner. But the
> Scala community doesn't really have a de facto standard testing tool
> yet, and so I think there's a good chance I can get folks to use the
> new SuiteRunner. It is a smaller community than the Jini community,
> even, but to the extent Scala is adopted, SuiteRunner would then ride
> that wave. I do agree with you that SuiteRunner would need to
> continue to run JUnit tests as well, and also should be able to run
> TestNG tests, so people can hook their legacy tests into it if they
> start using Scala for writing tests.

Good to hear. I think there's a lot of interest in unit testing and
TDD currently. Should really help build demand for what you're
offering.

> Another thing that perhaps Artima could help with is I'd be open to
> publishing a Jini book if we could figure out a way to market it. My
> understanding has been that mainstream publishers won't touch Jini,
> and that there isn't even a book that describes Jini 2.0. Is that
> still the case? For example, a book focused on how to exploit multi-
> core processors with JavaSpaces might hit a nerve a year from now. So
> if anyone has a Jini book idea or an desire to contribute to one,
> please contact me privately.

Jan Newmarch did update his book last year:
<http://www.apress.com/book/view/1590597168>

Not to say there wouldn't be a market for another, particularly if it
took a different slant. Might be an opportunity to play on the Apache
River name too.

Thanks for the conversation--good topic!

Jeff

> Thanks.
>
> Bill
> ----
> Bill Venners
> President
> Artima, Inc.
> http://www.artima.com

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