This week was an eventful one for me. We did loads of business at FDM and I even made it out to a client to do some programming. Our guy there had to take off for a couple of weeks because his mother is ill and we needed to keep moving as well as show the client we care (which we do). So in between everything else and being Spring Break at GMU I spent 5 hours gettings some pieces working.

One of the system components we had discussed but not yet decided how to handle was the charting for the system. I had read about JFreeChart several times but hadn’t really had time to evaluate it. Well I have now and I am sold, beyond sold. One thing you will find is I rarely cover products, frameworks etc I don’t like so this will be full of compliments. If it is not good it won’t be mentioned here too often.

I started by downloading the framework, playing with the sample application and showed it to our client. All OK so far. Then I paid the $40 or so for the complete developer handbook and source code to the demo. I figure the demo has every chart that we will need and with the source code we will save way beyond $40 of time. I will keep you updated but it is really good.

Do you want to learn J2EE, check out the course from Sang Shin at the JavaPassion website. I looked at his content and he has basically added some exercises, structure and provides guidance on the Sun J2EE Tutorial. If you have time enough to do it then take and see if it is what you might like.

By the way a couple of my friends have looked at ThinkFree Office that I mentioned last time. So far thumbs-up from all parties. I had a problem with downloading of the applet the first time I used it and sent an email to support and had an answer within a few hours.

On my links I have the e-magazine from Mark Collins-Cope called ObjectiveView. This is another great read and one you can view online in the PDF or download the entire PDF for later reading (my preferred method). I ran across it researching information on Ruby of which the last issue (Issue #9) has two good articles. There was also a good article about Ajax as a bonus.

News on a new open source SE version of Java. It is explained here. Supposedly Eclipse is running on a version of it, but would it work if Eclipse was using Swing? Interesting question I think.

As you may have noticed I like reading Joel On Software. I found one of his archived articles with tips on making realistic schedules while managing a project. I actually cover most of these in my IT Project Management class at GMU (in the middle of 1000 other items over 15 weeks). I did see a couple of extra ones like number 9) Put Debugging Time Into the Schedule that I will add in there.

Currently perusing the Java Cookbook by Ian F. Darwin. Books like this are an excellent Sunday read and give you loads of ideas and tidbits to use later. I am already using parts in the current development project.

OK, enough for today.  Check out the interview with Steve Ballmer on Channel 9.   That guy has some energy.