Posts Tagged ‘Apache web server’

Post 5 – The basics – Software for SAAS development

August 20, 2012 1 comment

The following is a list of programs I’ve played with.  It is by no means a complete list of the software you’ll need, simply describes some of the stuff I’ve looked at.


SVN repository: Subversion source control, used to manage your code versions.  Your life can not be complete without having one of those, be it SVN or Git (see a separate post on the topic)
Tortoise SVN client: A very good and free subversion client, don’t look anywhere else.  I know there’s one for windows, don’t remember seeing one for Unix.
Maven 2: THE right way to manage your java dependencies, run your tests, and even manage the whole product packaging life cycle.  Downloading JAR’s yourself takes time, you need to look for them, and upgrading a version is a pain, not to mention managing the different dependencies.  With maven, you simply say what your project needs, and maven takes care of it.  It’s as simple as that.  If you’re building a product from scratch, don’t even think of working any other way.
Maven Artifactory: used to host maven artifacts.  When maven builds your war, you can host it in your artifactory for easy access by developers, production, or other projects using maven which depend on your project.
Tomcat: one of the best application servers out there.  Very light weight, works on all OS’s, old and mature, and constantly under development.
Jetty: Another very good app server, I use it mainly as a maven plugin because of a very nice feature it has of real time resource reloading, which means I can change a JSP or even a class and it will immediately reload it and reflect my changes. 
Apache web server (httpd): One of the best Web servers out there, I’d say it’s the Tomcat equivalent of a web server (some will say it is the other way around, but w/e).  The question of whether or not to use a web server as an app server front end is too deep for this blog post, but if you do decide to use one, Apache is one of the two top options.
ngineX: The other top web server on the market, said to be x50 faster than Apache.  It is still rather new, but quickly making its way up, with usage levels raising.  I haven’t looked at the statistics but if the trend continues it will eventually take over and become #1.
Teamcity: A Continuous Integration server by Jetbrains (if the name sounds familiar it should, it’s the same guys who made Idea).  Considered to be one of the best of its kind, it is free to use for small startups with limited deployment requirements, and will cost about $8k for standard use.
Jenkins: Built from the ruins of Hudson, the open source Continuous Integration project taken over by Oracle after their Sun acquisition, this is considered the best open source CI project, used widely by many.  A while back I had to choose between Jenkins and Teamcity, we did a wide research  on the subject (also looked at Bamboo, from Atlassian, the guys who also make Jira).  We finally went with Teamcity after realizing that support costs for Jenkins will be around the same price that Teamcity costs, and Teamcity is a little bit better in some ways, with a better interface and smoother integration with Jira.  But honestly, if you don’t need the full support package, Jenkins has all you need to get going, and it’s free.
MySQL DB: well, not much to say here, free, small, easy to use and manage using PhpMyAdmin.  Unless you want to spend millions on Oracle, this is a very good choice for SQL based databases.
PhpMyAdmin for MySQL administration: Used for administrating MySQL.
Eclipse: The best open source IDE out there, with an incredible number of plugins and fully featured to the level that it is a fair competitor to Idea, the #1 IDE on the market made by Jetbrain.  See a separate post on this subject.
Idea, Community Edition: For those of us wanting to save some $$$, this version of Idea has almost all you need, the limited functionality which makes it a little bit of a problem to use for development of certain types of applications is server support (can’t officially run it from Idea, you need to do it on your own, although you can run Tomcat as a standard program (not as a “server”) and so if you use maven or ant to deploy your war and configure it correctly you can have it run within Idea, and even debug.  Haven’t found a way to overcome the JSP limitation, so if you need that one you’ve got a problem.   If you want to buy the full version, they have a “personal” license for 200$, which is more affordable than the 500$ they ask for  in their so called “company” license.
I’m a big fan of Idea, can’t say I’ll spend 200$ on it for now though.  Perhaps when I get some funding 🙂
Puppet Enterprise 2.5: For those of us fortunate enough to need deployment to a large number of servers, PuppetLabs has a fine product for automated deployment.  I know there are open source products out there which are pretty good, haven’t done the research on that one yet.
SpringI’m not going to talk too much about Spring here, there are very good resources out there and springsource have a fine web site you can explore.  
Besides, I have a feeling I’ll be talking about it extensively in future posts.  For now I’ll just say that if you’re building something from scratch, taking Spring as your container will make life simpler and force you to build your code in a way that is organized and supportable in the future.
Tiles 2: Tiles (2) is a framework for building web pages from fragments, so for example you can have a header, a body, and a footer each in their own file, and within each you can inject different content based on what you need.  I have a feeling I’ll post something on this subject later, since I’ve done my research trying to decide between Tiles, Spring MVC, and Struts.  I eventually picked Tiles 2, more on that later.
jQuery: A very popular Javascript library built to make life easier when dealing with the different browsers on the market.  Writing browser compatible javascript code is difficult, and requires extensive testing, if you can limit yourself to a 3rd party library which promises full browser compatibility, you’re set.  It also has a very wide range of plugins to do really cool stuff.
MongoDB: The trend nowadays is moving away from SQL databases into the so called “No-SQL” DB’s.  Mongo is one of those light-weight No-SQL databases which lets you store your data as a “document”, actually in a JSON format.  Compared to its size, this database has really strong capabilities.
Logback: Once upon a time there was log4j, a very popular logging framework for java.  Then the creator of this framework came up with slf4j, an interface for using logging engine in a standard way.  And finally there was Logback, the latest from this very capable developer, and what you should now use to do your logging in java.