February 18, 2024

February meeting

Our February meeting promises to be an interesting one, discussing the "LJUG project". Proposals for this project have included
  • Sharing business information in spreadsheets with mobile clients (smartphones etc.)
  • Crossword creator
  • Weather tracker
  • General purpose spreadsheet
and we're still interested in discussing more ideas!


  • Wed 18 Feb (3rd Wednesday of the month)
  • Time 7:30pm
  • Location Philharmonic Dining Rooms (pub), Liverpool
  • (possibly moving onto the Everyman bistro at 8pm for dinner, to be discussed)
  • If you don't already know us, please get in touch before hand so we'll look out for you. I will try to remember to take a Java book to put on the table at the Phil pub (forgot last month...)
  • Rough agenda
    1. Discuss (and possibly choose) the LJUG project
    2. Our name (LiveJUG, MerseyBean, NWJug etc.)
    3. Promotion (universities and colleges, SUN, newsgroups, etc.)
Posted by osfameron at 07:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2024

LJUG Project: call for proposals

As mentioned in the writeup for last meeting, we are proposing to do a software project as an activity for the JUG. A good project might:
  • have opportunities for newbies and experienced programmers
  • be useful or fun (or both)
  • not too small to be trivial ("Hello World")
  • ... and not too big to get bogged down (new Operating System)
  • have scope to work on a smartphone/PDA
  • have scope to have some sort of Database/Web backend (for example to share and collaborate)
(any more thoughts?) A successful and interesting project will be a nice way to raise our profile, develop our skills, and have a bit of fun at the same time. We can also tailor our next meetings (talks, workshops etc.) to specific areas of expertise needed for the project. Please feel free to send in a proposal: this could be
  • some sketchy ideas
  • an abandoned project with some documentation or skeleton code
  • a formal project brief
and do pass this on to anyone you think might be interested in getting involved in this sort of project. Depending on the speed of response, we might be able to decide on a project at our next meeting on Wed Feb 18th. Let us know what you think by commenting here, or posting to the discussion list.
Posted by osfameron at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2024

ONJava's review of 2003

ONJava's review of 2003
Posted by osfameron at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2003

Review: Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 days

As I mentioned earlier, SAMS generously provided a large box of Java books to the group. We're pleased to present our first book review, by Ricky Hardy:

Currently I am studying for an MSc in Software Engineering and Java is the core Object-Orientated (OO) language that is being taught on the course. To support my studies I’m always looking for Java books which start from a basic to intermediate level, are easy to get into and give, quick, easy to find explanations about key concepts in Java. I have browsed through many Java books until I came across SAMS Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days. I’ll briefly cover what is taught over the three weeks:

Week 1, Day 1 begins by introducing the reader to the fundamentatls of OO programming discussing; objects, classes, inheritance and multiple inheritance. Days 2-7 then procede to cover variables and data types, creating new objects, lists, logic and loops, creating classes and methods, packages and interfaces and finally threads and exceptions.

Week 2, Day 8 covers data structures and strings, Day 9 introduces the user to Swing and covers step-by-step how to create a graphical user inteface (GUI) with labels, text fields and scrolling panes etc. Day 10 builds on the GUI introduced in day 8 and covers an Info application example which requests information from the user which is then outputted to text boxes in the applcation’s main window. Days 11-13 builds on the GUI further explaining how Java responds to user input events (mouse events etc) and colour, fonts and graphics. Week 2 really comes together when you learn how to create a Java applet including embedding an applet on to a web page.

Week 3 focuses on how Java reads/writes to and from internal and external files and how data inputted can be saved and retrieved by using object serilization. Most of week 3 is dedicated to how Java communicates across the Internet and writing data using JDBC and XML. Day 21 concludes by teaching the user how to write Java servelets and Java server pages.

I found SAMS Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days met all the criteria that I initially specified when trying to find an introductory Java text. I believe that if and only if you have a spare 21 days with absolutely nothing else to do then you can definitely come a long way in Java using this SAMS publication. There is plenty here for complete novices and the more advanced topics introduced in week 3 will keep advanced Java users interested. If you wish to become a professional Java software developer SAMS helps you prepare for the exams by providing certification exercises.

For my current MSc studies SAMS Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days has already been very useful and I highly recommend the book if you are currently learning Java from scratch.

  • Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days Laura Lemay, Rogers Cadenhead (SAMS)
  • Reviewer: Ricky Hardy
  • Rating: ****
  • amazon page
  • publisher's page
Posted by osfameron at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2003

October meeting writeup

Update 10 Nov: Susanne sent some excellent digital photos at the end of November, but I've only had chance to update now... (see below) Update 24 Oct: Added photos. (Not very good ones, as the light wasn't really good enough for the camera on my P800)

We've had some very positive feedback already about yesterday's event... but first, thanks to

  • Our speakers, Alastair Armstrong from LIBeLIS.com and Martin de Jode from symbian.com, who were so generous with their time and experience to support our new group!
  • My company, Unilever, who provided a data projector.
  • and everyone who turned up to make it an event...
The audience was a nice mix of students (postgrad and undergrad), professionals developers (J2ME development, content management, digital media) and hobbyists.

Java Data Objects

Alastair's talk on JDO was well received though the audience for the most part hadn't had any experience with it: apparently it's a very mainstream technology in mainland Europe, but less popular in UK. Essentially, it's a way of writing classes (in standard Java code) that allow you to do something as simple as
employee.setName("John Smith");
and with a minimum of boilerplate (database setup, and transaction management) have this automagically transformed into database code without having to write a single SQL statement. This is very cool, and though I'd have assumed that the extra abstraction would slow things down, because all the database code can be optimized and cached at the JDO level, apparently some queries can in fact be up to 20% faster (though I'd like to see the figures ;->).

More information on JDO at JDOcentral.com

Symbian and Java

Martin's talk was very topical as about half the audience was familiar with J2ME including the developers of the CrazyWarp application, and J2ME games developers/trainers. We discussed Java on mobile phones and why the Symbian Operating System considers it to be a complement instead of a threat. The irritations of working with a stripped down Java like MIDP 1.0 (and the joys - apparently it is much easier to teach! And it's very improving to get back to basics and develop your own Floating Point library...)

There are still a lot of APIs on the phone that aren't accessible to Java (SMS, Camera, Vibrator...) or which you can only just about use with the Java Native Interface. But the situation is improving, and developing for mobile phones with Java is very exciting right now. Update 10 Nov: Martin sent some clarifications:

Although MIDP (1.0 or 2.0) doesn't provide access to SMS or the camera itself, the optional Wireless Messaging API provides a MIDlet with SMS capabilities and the optional Mobile Media API provides a MIDlet with the ability to take snapshots using the onboard camera.

Both these APIs are part of the Java Technology for the Wireless Industry specification and as such will be available on an increasing amount of MIDP phones (and of course are available on the latest Symbian OS phone, the Nokia 6600).


By great good fortune, the last planned round of drinks was cancelled due to last orders... but headache aside, it was a great evening. Got to have some great conversations with some very interesting people. We're very keen to showcase the 'members' of LJUG, their companies and projects on this site, to show the extent of what's going on in Java in the NorthWest, so look out for some more postings soon!

Free books!

We've been accepted into SAMS Publishing's User Group program, and they kindly sent an enormous pile of books and other goodies a few days before the meeting. We've already had people borrow these books:
  • Teach Yourself Java in 21 days
  • XQuery
  • Java APIs for XML
and we're hoping to get some reviews of these for this website. If you'd like to borrow a book, please get in touch with us (we'll post the complete list soon), or if you've already reviewed any Java book, send it to us and we'll post it here.

SAMS are also offering a 30% discount on their Teach Yourself x in 21 days series, give us a shout if you'd like one of the vouchers!



Posted by osfameron at 01:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2003

October: guest speakers

Update 22 Oct 2003: See you tonight!

Update 11 Sep 2003: Confirmed venue.

  • Wednesday, October 22nd. 7pm
  • Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub (map) (pub info) - function room
  • Martin de Jode (symbian.com) Symbian and Java

    Through our friends at symbiandiaries.com we have arranged for Martin to talk about:
    • Why Java?
    • Evolution of Java on Symbian OS
    • A look into the future
    • Examples of Java in action
    Martin joined Symbian as a Java Developer Consultant in 2000. He works in Symbian's Developer Network providing support, technical content, example applications and general evangelism to Symbian's Java developer community. His particular interest include J2ME MIDP and PersonalJava.

    Alastair Armstrong (LIBeLIS.com) Java Data Objects

    • the problem: mapping complex Java Objects to Relational databases
    • the solution: JDO
    • an implementation: LiDO
    Alastair is LIBeLIS Sales Director for UK & Ireland. Before joining LIBeLIS in 2003, he was European Sales Leader in IBM Global Services for Websphere Enterprise Edition (then called Component Broker) followed by Global Solutions Manager for Wireless Solutions. He has also previously held Senior Management positions both in Europe and in Silicon Valley, including IBM, Taligent (the IBM/Apple/HP joint venture) and at Planit, the Kitchen Design Software Company. He holds a Diploma in Software Engineering from the University of Kent.

    Malcolm Sparks - Cancelled

    Update 15 Oct 2003: Sadly, Malcolm has had to cancel his talk: we are still hoping he will be able to speak at a future meeting! (jcoverage.com) XP & unit testing Unit testing, code coverage, and Extreme Programming. The talk will include live demonstration of techniques and tools.

    Please contact us, or leave a comment to this entry to let us know if you would like to attend.
    Posted by osfameron at 07:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2003

Bookshops for IT books

  • Waterstones, Bold Street Good selection of computer books, including Java.
  • Bluecoats, School Lane This oasis just off Church street houses a gallery, cafe, art shops and other cultural amenities, as well as a discount bookshop which has a surprisingly good, cheap, if somewhat random, IT section.
  • News From Nowhere, Bold Street Though the selection of computer books isn't massive, the ordering service is good, and you get the warm fuzzy glow of buying your books from a non-profit making collective.
  • Borders, Ellesmere Port (Cheshire Oaks) Out of town retail park. A nice big Borders bookshop with a huge IT book section.
  • University bookshop...
Posted by osfameron at 10:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2003

Java community sites

  • javablogs.com A simple but effective idea. It's a more or less free for all aggregator for people with Java blogs. Sounds boring? But it's a genuine community full of bloggers controversies, rants, reviews, and interesting thoughts.
  • Artima buzz Inspired by javablogs, a set of blog aggregators focusing on areas of technology (including Java, J2ME, J2EE).
  • javajunkies.org Based on the popular Perl site perlmonks, this is so far an underused site, with a lot of potential.
  • java.net Sun's (rather belated) Java community site. It's big, complex, and rather corporate, but has a lot of useful stuff and some great resources for hosting your own Java projects. In particular, it's being touted as an alternative to sourceforge.net for hosting Java specific projects.
  • The Server Side. Community site focused on Enterprise Java.
  • javalobby.org
Posted by osfameron at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2003

O'Reilly Java sites

java.oreilly.com: Most of the books featured have sample chapters for download.

ONJava.com: OreillyNet site for Java.

Posted by osfameron at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free Java Books

Free books . Can't say fairer than that

  • http://www.mindview.net/Books
  • www.javaranch.com
  • http://www.netbeans.org/about/index.html
  • IBM ...Don't forget to check out their onlineJava tutorials: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/
  • Supporting site for Java for the world Wide Web www.dori.com
  • Supporting site forTeach Yourself Java in 21 Days http://www.cadenhead.org/book/21java
  • The Daddy of them all: http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/getStarted/cupojava/win32.html
  • http://www.middleware-company.com/
  • http://www.debreuil.com/docs/ch01_Intro.htm
  • Liverpool University's Java Course http://www.csc.liv.ac.uk/~frans/COMP101/comp101.html

Free book chapters

  • http://www.osborne.com
  • http://javaboutique.internet.com/
  • http://maththinking.com/boat/javaBooks.html
Posted by markhobson at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack