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Last one of 2003

Hello Atlanta Java Enthusiasts

The Atlanta Java Users Group (AJUG) has had a tremendous 
2003.  We have had several fantastic presentations from 
some our very own Atlanta-based Java gurus as well as big 
name speakers such as Dave Thomas and James Gosling.  The 
number of participants in AJUG events has grown over the 
last 12 months and we?ve had some huge audiences for some 
of the more popular topics.  James Gosling?s Q&A brought 
in over 300 members in November!    We have also signed up 
several new sponsors such as Compuware, Spectrum Software 
and Sun.  Plus we have found several new volunteers to 
serve on our board of directors and various committees. 
 All of our current directors and committee volunteers are 
Java software developers themselves.   In addition, we 
spent time on discussing the state of the job market and 
we allowed open announcements from recruiters and hiring 
managers. While the first part of the year was quite bleak 
it seems the market has really picked up in the closing 
months of '03.

AJUG?s purpose is to be the focal point of Java evangelism 
in Atlanta by offering the Java community opportunities to 
network and collaborate.   Our mission is to provide our 
membership with educational events on topics that you wish 
to know more about.  AJUG is a membership driven and a 
volunteer run organization. 

December?s Meeting (12/18):
Overview of J2EE Rapid Application Development Tools
Developing your first and often your subsequent J2EE-based 
applications can be frustrating and time-consuming as you 
overcome the multiple complex learning curves of 
web-based, object-oriented, patterns-based programming, 
plus the complexities of Java APIs such as JDBC, EJB, JSP, 
JavaServer Faces and important frameworks such as Struts. 
 Several vendors have recently rose to meet this challenge 
by developing new IDEs that are not software engineer 
focused but targeted at the enterprise corporate business 
application developers.  These new IDEs focus on the 
programmers who have been using Visual Basic, PowerBuilder 
and Delphi for building database-driven client-server and 
web applications.   
We already have a commitment from Sun to show off their 
new drag-n-drop visual tools for building JavaServer Faces 
applications called Java Studio Creator (aka Project 
Rave).   We are open to other participants such as Oracle 
with the latest JDeveloper, IBM with the latest WSAD and 
BEA with Workshop, all of which support drag-n-drop visual 
Struts development.  At this time I don?t have commitment 
from those vendor representatives. If you know of anyone 
in those organizations that might like to participate 
please have them contact me (sutter@bravepoint.com).  And 
if you are a user of these tools and have a story to tell 
please let us know about that as well.

Planning for 2004:
We are in the process of prioritizing and organizing our 
monthly meetings for 2004.  As always we really need and 
appreciate your input.  We tend to prioritize from a topic 
perspective and try to take advantage of Atlanta?s local 
experts and AJUG members as much as possible.  The 
following represents our current thoughts on possible 
topics (and we?ll then need to go find speakers):
-We will continue our efforts to get Josh Bloch (Effective 
Java, spec lead on J2SE 1.5 Tiger) and Craig McClanahan 
(Struts, JavaServer Faces, Tomcat), however these fellows 
are hard to come by. 
-JavaServer Faces ? MVC Framework UI framework for 
building web-based applications
-Web Services: this topic remains one of the hottest of 
?buzzwords? in our industry and vendors, open-source 
community and standards-bodies continue to grow and evolve 
this technology
-Portlets:  a new specification that allows a developer to 
built web applications that are portable across vendor 
portal implementations. 
-Swing, SWT and other Rich client development techniques, 
best practices and design patterns.  Did you know 
Macromedia is coming out with a new technology for allow 
J2EE-based applications to server/render rich-client 
applications using Flash in the browser?  Check out 
-Java on mobile devices ? J2ME:  Developing for portable, 
wireless devices continue to grow.
-Guru Night:  We first ran with this concept in 2003.  A 
panel of speakers who collaborate on the overall 
presentation and provide numerous insights in to practical 
and applied J2EE development tools, techniques, best 
practices and design patterns.
-Java game development techniques and tools.  As James 
Gosling recently suggested, it seems that the game 
development community is pushing the state of the art in 
hardware and software.
-Open Source in enterprise (Corporate America) business 
applications:  How about a presentation that talks to all 
the open source products that a typical enterprise 
developer might use?  It would be nice to hear from some 
local companies that are successfully deploying with open 
source ?products?.
-Eclipse: This IDE continues to gain market share and a 
presentation that demonstrates the reasons why it 
continues to grow in popularity.
-Exception Handling ? NullPointers, who needs ?em but we 
all got ?em:  One of our members has volunteered to talk 
to this issue and any code-level presentation (not only 
PowerPoint but show us code) is always valuable.
-Persistence with Hibernate and/or iBatis:  This topic 
continues to generate excitement in the Java community. 
 Various O/R ?tools? have sprung up over the last year or 
so.  Hibernate and iBatis seem to be catching on.
-Model Driven Development:  One of our sponsors, 
Compuware, provides tools that enable this approach for 
J2EE software generation.   MDA ? model driven 
architecture is a topic of interest to many.
-Designing for Security:  It seems the concepts of 
authentication, encryption, identity management, single 
sign-on, directories, LDAP, etc. are all very hot topics 
in enterprises today.   A presentation on how a Java 
developer identifies the use cases, business requirements, 
tools and techniques to address this area.
-Designing for Scalability:  Often requested but we rarely 
have a volunteer who is willing to take on such a topic. 
 Typically scalability is in the context of a specific 
application server or a sales pitch from a J2EE monitoring 
software vendor.  It might be a trick to find a suitable 
presenter on this topic.
-JMS and message-based, asynchronous application 
development: A MOM (message-oriented middleware) is often 
the underlying technology for many large-scale, 
high-transaction volume systems, especially one that 
incorporates legacy system integration.
-Java and XML:  Various techniques and strategies for 
using XML and Java together.
-The latest and greatest from the Open Source community, 
Apache and SourceForge.  The community continues to 
innovate and provide new tools, utilities and frameworks 
for Java developers. Keeping abreast of what they do and 
how to use these tools is a challenge.

Other ToDos in 2004:
-Our website has been and continues to be refurbished, 
reorganized and given a face-lift.  We have a group of 
volunteers being lead by Justin Meads working on this 
project now. 
-We have often talked about providing more sessions than 
our 12 monthly meetings.  One concept that has been talked 
about relates to BOFs (birds of a feather) sessions where 
a sub-group that is specifically focused on Java-related 
and/or software engineering-related topic such as Swing, 
J2ME, Gaming, design patterns.  If you have any ideas in 
this area please let us know. 

I would like to thank our corporate sponsors who allow 
AJUG to execute our regular meetings without a cost to 
you, the member.   Our sponsors are:  BEA (www.bea.com), 
BravePoint (www.bravepoint.com), Inflow (www.inflow.com), 
Spectrum Software (www.spectrumscm.com) and Compuware 

AJUG President