Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Book Review - Wicket In Action by Manning

I just finished reading Wicket in Action by Manning. The book is well laid out; I particularly liked how the simple example web site (cheesr) is grown through the book in line with the topics of the chapter. In addition to the stuff that you expect (such as how to work with/customize components, models, etc) there is also good coverage of important topics like I18N, testing, integration with frameworks like hibernate and spring, and integration with JavaScript engines (other than the wicket JavaScript engine).

Regarding Wicket itself: I really like this framework (we use it in my current team and it produces nice UIs that are pretty easy to maintain and change). Why do I like Wicket? Well for the following reasons:
  1. Its Java based, and since I'm strongest in Java it suites me. 
  2. There is a nice separation between the UI in HTML/CSS/JS and the java code that backs it. This clear separation between the presentation/design aspect and the coding is useful because it separates along the common skill groups. JavaFX (can you say "designer/developer workflow") may change my opinion on this but right now I see advantages over say the JSP approach. 
  3. Testing is well covered (with WicketTester) over and above just using something like Selenium (also mentioned in the book). 
  4. The AJAX support seems solid and flexible. It even leaves you open to using other 3p JavaScript frameworks for your fancy UI components. In particular there is lots of support for request/response queues and falling back to full page refreshing that is particularly attractive.     
I suspect (but cannot confirm) that Swing programmers will really like Wicket.

BTW...I love manning books. The fact that you can get a free ebook when you purchase the print copy is excellent and in general everything I read from the publisher is superb.

Checkpoint VPN Client Tray Icon Disappears...how to get back

One of the issues I sometimes have is that the Checkpoint VPN Client Tray Icon (the yellow key) sometimes disappears from my windows xp start bar. If I try to re-run checkpoint it says its already started. I just found out how to get it back without restarting my laptop - kill the SR_GUI.exe process. Things will automatically restart and the tray icon re-appears again.
BTW...I hate Checkpoint VPN...compared to Cisco VPN its an unstable horrific piece of software. I guess you get what you pay for.