Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

Part 2: Does the Microsoft Outlook process not die when you close Outlook?

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on June 10, 2010

Sometime back I had blogged about the Outlook process not exiting when I closed Outlook, and while that posting covered one scenario (corrupted PST files) that can cause this issue, for the last few weeks I had been afflicted by this issue and scanpst was not the answer. I had suspicions about my Avast anti-virus add-in as in the past I have had issues with Outlook failing to exit due to an add-in, and that was an AVG add-in. However, turning off the Avast add-in did not help. Today, I just about had it with this issue and decided that I absolutely had to get to the bottom of it. So, I started disabling each of my Outlook add-ins one by one, and sure enough found the culprit!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Java | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Getting started with Liferay Portal 6? Check out this book …

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on June 8, 2010

Recently Packt Publishing sent me a copy of a new book by Jonas X. Yuan titled “Liferay Portal 6 Enterprise Intranets” for review. I must admit that I have not been through the book end-to-end in depth, but in the general skimming that I have done so far, it looks to be helpful for newbies/intermediate users of the Liferay Portal platform. The back cover of the book straight out states that it is NOT targeted at programmers and that shows in the content. For example, it is totally missing information on portlet development and Liferay development environment setup that can be found in Jonas’s other Liferay book titled Liferay Portal 5.2 Systems Development. With all the changes in Liferay Portal 6 related to the EXT/Plugins environment, those are certainly areas that Liferay Developers would benefit from, and maybe there will be an updated developer oriented book that will cover those topics.

In a nutshell, if you are a Liferay Portal administrator just getting started with the platform, or a technical evaluator/do-it-yourselfer working with Liferay for the first time, this book could be a handy tool in helping you getting a jumpstart with Liferay. The book has What’s Happening sections scattered throughout the content that give you a deeper insight into what you can achieve or what is happening behind the scenes. All in all – a good book if you fall in the target audience!

Check out the Packt site for more details on the book …

Posted in LiferayPortal, Portal | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

A controversial topic – exception handling approach …

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on April 27, 2010

Recently a client asked me to put together a short write-up on my preferred Java exception handling approach, and I figured I could blog about it as it has been a WHILE since I wrote anything on my blog! Now exception handling is one of those controversial topics that has the Java world split on checked/unchecked exceptions, and I certainly have an opinion about it. So here come my opinions! 🙂

  • Prefer unchecked versus checked exceptions in general

More often than not, clients are not in a position to handle exceptions, and either end up declaring all checked exceptions in their “throws” clause, or catching them generically and converting them into one “throws Exception” clause, or catching and converting them into a single “throws CustomCheckedException” clause. In none of these scenarios, do checked exceptions lend additional value. Checked exceptions do introduce some “versionability” issues – an earlier version of a method throws exceptions A and B, and now when you add new functionality to this method, it can encounter exception C which it cannot handle either; since checked exceptions are part of the interface, this method should not throw a checked exception C or else it breaks its contract with existing clients. Now you are stuck either converting C into an unchecked exception or modifying all clients – neither of these is a good option. Additionally with checked exceptions you can run into issues with needing to throw many exceptions because you cannot handle them within the method you are writing; once you get to a client that calls 3-4 methods each of which throw 3-4 exceptions each, you now have a client method that potentially needs to throw 12-15 exceptions – not good!

In general, most clients are unable to deal with exceptions, and hence it is preferable to make exceptions unchecked so that you do not require your clients to check for each exception. The client can choose to handle the exceptions that it knows how to handle.
  • If we encounter a checked exception in any code that we write, if we cannot handle the exception, we should in general convert the checked exception(s) from other libraries or base java libraries into an unchecked custom exception. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Java | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

A feather in the cap for the Xtivia team! Top honors in vendor survey …

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on December 21, 2009

A quick plug for Xtivia and all its employees including yours truly, and above all our customers! We just received the exciting news that we have been ranked the number one top rated IT consultant for customer satisfaction in The VendorRate 2009 Year End Report that was recently issued.  You can read more about Xtivia’s rankings on the Xtivia website.

VendorRate users evaluate vendors’ performance confidentially on ten specific performance criteria that include customer service, reliability, integrity, budget and effectiveness. The VendorRate quarterly report summarizes customer satisfaction ratings entered by technology professionals at the VendorRate website, trade shows, professional conferences, and virtual events. VendorRate is vendor neutral and accepts neither vendor sponsorship nor advertising.

This is certainly a reflection of our efforts in doing the right thing by our clients – we deliver quality service and results through our exceptional consultant team.

A big thank you to our customers for taking the time to submit the surveys and for giving us this recognition.

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IBM’s launches a new Information Led Transformation Initiative

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on October 26, 2009

I am in Las Vegas for the IBM Gold Consultant Briefing 2009 that is being held in conjunction with the IBM Information On Demand (IOD) 2009 conference. I am well into the Gold Briefing (4th day), and am suffering a wee bit from information overload as part of the IBM Information Led Transformation (ILT) initiative! 🙂 Today IBM announced its impressive ILT initiative which I see as another evolutionary step in the Information On Demand journey that was kicked off 4 years back. IBM certainly has made huge investments in this space over this period – $12B with $8B in some major acquisitions and $4B in organic R&D. And the IM portfolio certainly looks quite comprehensive with a broad range of capabilities.

The Information Stack in IBM’s words has the following pieces –

  • An Information Infrastructure comprised of software, servers, and storage that provides a foundation for your information.
  • Trusted Information gives you a single view of data through offerings that enable you to transform silos of information into a trusted, strategic asset that is shared across your organization.
  • Business Analytics and Performance Management enables you apply analytics to optimize your business through better decisions by providing planning, budgeting, forecasting, measuring, monitoring, reporting and analysis capabilities.

With IBM, you can never have enough brand names and enough churn in product names, to make staying on top of things a challenge! IBM has it all – the newer Optim, FileNet, InfoSphere, Cognos, SPSS, ILog solutions; the more traditional Db2, Informix, CMOD products; and the cloud and mashup buzzwords. I think technically very impressive but I sure do wish that it was easier to stay connected with all the brand/product names!

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