The joy of open source software development

At the moment I’m almost finished with the first release of a concurrency library I’m working on: Prometheus. The library is released under the MIT license and I hope to make a release very soon. The code almost is finished, but a lot of time goes in the details (one button release, site, documentation, setting it up with Bamboo etc). The cool thing is that I’m able to play with all kinds of very cool technologies that were granted because Prometheus is open source.

  1. JIRA: great issue and feature tracking system. I have used others (Rational ClearQuest, Trac) but JIRA is a still my preferred choice.
  2. Confluence: great wiki environment
  3. JProfiler: great profiler. I haven’t used it on the Prometheus library (yet)
  4. Yourkit: also a profiler I heard great stories about. I’m certainly going to give it a try.
  5. Clover: a test coverage tool. It really is amazing, it have found some untested code and unused testcode after checking the Clover report. Another cool thing is that it is safe to use in a multi threaded environment (this is quite handy for a multi threaded library like Prometheus). I also was granted a license for Clover 2 beta: it looks great and provides a lot more information. So I’m certainly going to give it a try.
  6. IntelliJ IDEA: what is there to say, it is my preferred editor. Would you spend $500 for Eclipse? But personally I don’t care much what other developers are using: if you can program as fast in vi as I in IDEA, I have no problem with vi.
  7. Bamboo for continuous integration. I normally use Cruise Control, but it appears that Bamboo is taking it to the next level. I’m going to integrate Prometheus on Bamboo as soon as I have time. There are some issues I have to work out, for example: repeated execution of tests to increase the chance of finding concurrency problems.
  8. Structure101: a tool for structure analysis. I have asked the guys from Headway Software if they have plans for an open source license, and luckily they do. So I’m going to play with it on Prometheus. If I’m able to extract relevant information from it, I plan to use it within Xebia the company I work for to assist with quality assurance.
  9. Fisheye: great for extracting information from Subversion. I haven’t played with it on Prometheus much, but I can imagine it is very useful if there is a large code base.

It almost feels like Christmas 🙂

There are also a bunch of open source products I use that can’t be left unmentioned:

  1. JUnit: what is there to say?
  2. EasyMock: easy when I just need to mock something for testing purposes. For the Prometheus library I decided not to use a mocking approach in most cases because I want to know if a component is functioning correctly and not if I have recorded correctly. For most standard objects mocking is good enough, but for something as complex as concurrency control, I didn’t want to trust on my recording abilities.
  3. ANT: After 2 years I still don’t care much about Maven 1 and 2. I think they are straitjackets and as long as you can obey the Maven rules, you are a happy guy. But as soon as you need something special, you are on your own. So ANT still is my preferred choice even though it takes more time to set up a script.
  4. Groovy & Gant. Ant provides a great infrastructure but it was a very bad choice to use XML as syntax (it always was a bad choice, but XML isn’t as hot as it used to be and now you are allowed say that it should not be used for anything else than data exchange. I have switched from ANT to Groovy ANT (Gant): the convenience of a DSL, but the power of a full blown language. I also use Groovy to generate the Prometheus site. It is great to have a scripting environment that integrates perfectly with Java.
  5. FindBugs: it is great for finding bugs. I have run it on Prometheus and immediately it discovered some bugs (not calling the super in TestCase.setUp in quite a few cases for example). Checkstyle also is something I’m familiar with but spending more time to make it shut up than I get value from it.
  6. Subversion: next to CVS it is ‘the’ Code Version Control system.

And last but certainly not least: I have to thank Codehaus. A lot of licenses were provided by Codehaus and I’m also happy I can make use of their servers (although I have backed up my code not only on their machines 😉 )

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