Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All I want for Christmas 2008 - Full Featured Eclipse Database plugin

Full Featured Database Plugin for Eclipse.

Definition is vague, and of course dependent on whom you talk to. I, personally, am more of a developer than a DBA, so you could instead call what I'm asking for as a 'Developer Database Plugin' versus a 'DBA Database Plugin'.

So why not use SQLexplorer, DTP, Clay, or the several other Eclipse plugins that, yes, I have tested/used?

Because, they are missing:

*Good Source Control Support
*Stored Procedure Support
*Simplified View Support
*Easy multi database support

Good Source Control Support (specifically Subversion)

For me, I immediately think of us spoiled Eclipse programmers that can:

1) See quickly on the navigation tree what items are different than what is in SCM (3 POVs, only worried about what is deployed to the DB server you are pointing to, and what is in SCM. Active Desktop changes should be deployed to the DB server you are pointing to first, then team-shared to SCM if all goes well).

2) Compare/Diff easily/visually between what is in SCM versus what I'm looking at now. I understand the tricky part is there is 3 POVs -- SCM, active desktop, and what is deployed to the server you are pointing to. From my standpoint, you always pull from the 'deployed db server' environment, compare to SCM, then make changes and deploy back to the 'deployed db server'.

3) Everything in SCM. Everything. Entire schema -- tables, stored procedures, functions, indexes, triggers, etc -- everything. Database specific security will be a bit trickier from an 'abstract' database standpoint, so that's ok, but no excuse on anything else.

Stored Procedure Support

This is so blatantly obvious it scares the heck out of me how many plugins don't support this. If it can be read from JDBC, or, more precisely, can be read via 'EXEC ' that could be a simple project to abstract out regardless of underlying database, it should be available from a plugin.

some caveats though --
1) Whatever mechanism is used to retrieve the deployed stored procedures, the -content- should be the same as what is stored to the SCM for easy compare/diff.

2) Keep the editors simple first. This means don't worry about it being t-sql, pl-sql, java, pgsql, etc -- just use simple text editors first, then work on developing more robust editors depending on the native stored procedure language of the underlying database. Work on it later....get this working for now first.

Simplified View Support

I'm not even going to bullet/number this. How many people raise your hands when you had to use DTP to drill down from the Database->Catalog->Schema-> when you thought you had pre-defined those values already in the connection. I'm all for flexibility, but tools like IDE and IDE Plugins are supposed to be designed for you to work effectively, so give us the ability to just look at what we want to look at (even if we have to configure it first).

Easy multi database support

Yes, we all know you can support any database that has a JDBC driver (one case). Yes we know there are specific features (Execution Plans, etc) that require custom code/integration/libraries for specific databases (second use case). But could you make it a little easier to get setup?

1) --- If you don't want to include the JDBC driver in your distribution, directly point your app to here under the right group id (directory structure) and let the person through your UI just pick a version and automatically download it to the right location for your app. Manually downloading and adding to the /lib, or classpath, is so old-school.

2) see #1. Dont be old school.

3) I really do like seeing more advanced tools like Execution plans, but don't let that be your primary focus unless you are running out of bugs/features. 80% of developers working with databases need all this other 80% functionality first.

Data Modelling

This is not my list above.
-2) I actually enjoy Data Modelling, but unfortunately when it comes to hitting the ground running, sometimes it gets in the way and you need as direct access to the actual database you are working with (the specific MS SQL, specific Oracle, specific MySQL, etc...) to get work done.
-3) Triggers/sprocs with modelling...yeah...
-4) There are some pretty decent Data Modelling out there, so no need to solve a problem that already has several implementations -- but my above list really haven't found a solution yet!

Update: I'm looking at for SCM support, but not sure if I can squeeze in enough time to give them a good test run.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Eclipse on Fedora 9

If you are reading this post, more than likely you already know what I'm talking about.

Fedora 9 comes with their GCJ compiled version of 'Fedora Eclipse'. Nice idea, not well implemented. Trying to use Eclipse update sites do not work correctly, and/or want to use different eclipse distributions.

So, using the normal distribution, or a custom distribution from various vendors, one would just download, untar/unzip, and run, right? get the splash screen, loading modules, then a small grey box. Going to /.metadata/.log shows errors like this:

!ENTRY org.eclipse.ui.workbench 4 0 2008-10-14 15:35:07.364
!MESSAGE Widget disposed too early!
java.lang.RuntimeException: Widget disposed too early!
at org.eclipse.ui.internal.WorkbenchPartReference$1.widgetDisposed(
at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.TypedListener.handleEvent(
at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.EventTable.sendEvent(

org.eclipse.swt.SWTError: XPCOM error -2147467262
at org.eclipse.swt.browser.Mozilla.error(
at org.eclipse.swt.browser.Mozilla.setText(
at org.eclipse.swt.browser.Browser.setText(
at org.eclipse.ui.internal.intro.impl.presentations.BrowserIntroPartImplementation.generateContentForPage(
at org.eclipse.ui.internal.intro.impl.presentations.BrowserIntroPartImplementation.dynamicStandbyStateChanged(
at org.eclipse.ui.internal.intro.impl.presentations.BrowserIntroPartImplementation.doStandbyStateChanged(

The fix is simple...once you know what to fix. The last part, the Mozilla error, was the key. Not intuitive, but this is what you do to get an external Eclipse distribution to work on Fedora 9 with Sun or OpenJDK (not GCJ):

yum upgrade firefox

Yup, that's it. Just upgrade your Firefox install.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Freemarker CamelCase to underscore

Quick blog -- as always, the last 20% usually takes up 80% of the time.

This time, it was trying to simply convert Camel Case into equivalent underscore Enum values.

Ok, not that 'simply', but still -- I'm using Hibernate Tools to reverse engineer from JDBC some JPA entities, and that part is working fine. Now, UI and some processes prefer to use a Model that is on top of the entity/dto. So, I thought I would be nice and auto-generate the Model's that some other programmers swear by to make their job easier.

Hibernate Tools just went to FreeMarker, which I was excited for, and I wrote most of the .ftl up for my Model. Until I hit Camel Case.

You see, what they are trying to do is create an ENUM version of each field; I'm not going into detail why, but simply that code-generation wise --

fieldOne -> FIELD_ONE
myReallyLongComboField -> MY_REALLY_LONG_COMBO_FIELD

After a lot of messing around in Freemarker and regular expressions, finally got the solution in two lines in the .ftl file (very important the < /#macro> is where it is now):

<#macro toUnderScore camelCase>
${camelCase?replace("[A-Z]", "_$0", 'r')?upper_case}< /#macro>

Then, make calls like:



I've had quite a bit of experience in the past with Velocity, and put in some work in code-gen tools like Middlegen (now defunct). Once you have a process/template for commonly used code pieces, code generation really helps enforce consistency and good practice.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

EJB3 Seam GWT - part II, GWT 1.5m2

Short blog --
Working with Seam 2.1-SNAPSHOT and GWT 1.5M2 (with EJb3/jboss 4.2 backend).

To start off with a bang - JPA (hibernate) annotated beans are working!!! Yes, you can now use annotated entity beans as regular POJO's with Seam and GWT.

p.s. I really do *not* like the annotation approach and preferred the orm.xml deployment descriptor approach to keep the POJO truly clean and free from decoration with annotation behaviours -- but there are some problems with the hibernate orm.xml implementation that they 'lack resources' to correct, so whatever; use the actually supported annotation approach.

I unfortunately still not sure how to post code to blogger (need a full project, just sharing snippets is insufficient), but before you start jumping in too far here are the caveats:
  • Long and Date fields do not work as of 5/1/2008. GWT changed the behaviour of Longs in Milestone 2 of GWT 1.5, and the Seam guys haven't modified to support this yet -- it is, afterall, still a milestone release of GWT.
  • Arrays do not work as of 5/1/2008. This confuses me - Seam 2.0.0.GA and GWT 1.4.60 arrays worked fine, not sure why this is now broken.
  • Lists (genericized) now do work, and can be used as an alternative to the broken array implementation.
  • You can implement entitybean/pojo/DTO's that use the Long and Date fields, but when you RPC those fields you will get errors. You can test with your DTO and List as long as you do not actually use Long and Date fields (leave them blank/null).

Someone reminded me about something I've taken for granted - no, I am not using JNDI lookups. This is direct, session bean with Seam annotation exposed directly with the Seam-GWT remoting implementation to the GWT client. No middle JSF layer or JNDI layer or tomcat/servlet layer -- GWT web talking to EJB3/Seam server.

Still working on a more full example, have fun till then!