After reading this blog post I realized I am very similar in mindset as the author. I pretty much always have a side project, whether it is for my real job or one of my hobby projects I have written about on this blog. I do think the “best” employees in a technical role are the ones who are always playing. Playing with technology, concepts, API’s etc. The idea is the breadth of the individual grows and has ancillary benefit to their primary job. This has certainly been true for me throughout my entire career.
I remember I was in a client meeting and they expressed the desire to use Drupal as a content management. Because of my several side projects with Drupal, going through several versions of the system, and knowing in depth what it can and can’t do I was very prepared to argue both for and against the idea.
My latest project is something that has also had great benefit in my current job – mainly because I knew there was “a better way” to do this when I started creating demos. I started a project called PET (product extractor tool) that can pull products from an existing web site and then import those products, images, prices, etc into a WebSphere Commerce database. This allows us to create proof of concepts for customers using a familiar product set, product attributes, and terminology in scenarios the customer can understand (ie. speak their language). Prior to PET it could take days if not weeks creating products and all of the surrounding data around them – it really depended how detailed your scenarios were. A heavy focus in the commerce space is navigation and specifically faceted navigation (those options on retail sites down the left that let you narrow down your search results). As you can imagine, creating a full product set with many attributes could be daunting. Not to mention price lists and then inventory – if you have to show that.
I have recently modified the tool to export a set of XML files for Sterling Order Management. This means the same PET model can now be used for both WebSphere Commerce and Order Management – essentially making integrated proof of concepts between the two systems seamless (at least that is the current theory). I am still working on it but it is getting there. Because I used object oriented programming I simply use the same object model PET built from the HTML and pipe that model out as XML versus comma delimited files.
I still have a bit to go with this tool but the point of this post is I am now getting extremely familiar with the Sterling Order Management side of the equation. Diving on the underlying data model and the service API’s to get information in and out of the system.
The insanity of the Marketing Technology landscape!
Tue, May 14th 2013 7:20a Bob Balfe A very interesting graphic from LUMA Partners (LUMAscape) was recently published. You will notice pretty much all of IBM’s recent acquisitions (in the last 3 or so years) are on this graphic. This is in my opinion a validation of the IBM’s Smarter Commerce strategy as their products become more and more integrated. Having a single company with best of breed technologies integrated and supported by one company makes this landscape a bit more consumable and less daunting.
Many of IBM [read] Keywords: ibm
Make sure you check out CrossViews booth at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit!
Wed, May 8th 2013 7:50a Bob Balfe CrossView is a premier provider of cross-channel commerce solutions and services that enable a smarter, more personalized shopping experience. You can see their sponsor listing on the Smarter Commerce Global Summit page here. One of CrossView’s customers is Moosejaw - a fast-growing Midwestern retailer specializing in extreme outdoor equipment and apparel. Moosejaw’s site, based on IBM’s WebSphere Commerce is often considered the poster child of social commerce. They have a br [read] Keywords: ibm
Book Review: Creating an MP3 Player with HTML5
Creating a custom build with Dojo Toolkit Web Builder
Fri, May 3rd 2013 7:20a Bob Balfe Do you want to use only a small piece of Dojo? Does Dojo have a really cool feature you want but you don’t want to take the entire library?
Then the Dojo Toolkit Web Builder is for you. I recently created a desktop web application where I wanted to use the Swipe function in the Gesture package of Dojo. I am not using a lot of Dojo at all in this application so I really only wanted the dojox.gesture.swipe package. The web builder allows you to select the packages you want and it builds a s [read] Keywords: ibm
My first day with the Microsoft Surface – this is no tablet
Thu, May 2nd 2013 7:00a Bob Balfe I now see the attraction of the Microsoft Surface. While it has been documented, written about, reviewed, etc by many and in a sense does not get the recognition some of the other tablets get I think it is clearly getting short changed. And the reason is…
This is not a tablet, its a PC. It does pretty much everything my laptop and desktop can do and a whole lot more. The “tablet” is very thin and compares nicely against the other tablets on the market. I have the 128GB model an [read] Keywords: desktop
How to add swipe support to your web application
Wed, May 1st 2013 2:10p Bob Balfe Are you creating a web application that you want to be able to be used on a tablet? Then you might want to check out the Dojo toolkit. Dojo provides a very simple way to handle swipe events in your web application. In this post I used the dojox.gesture package. Why would you want to use Dojo? Here are a few good reasons from the documentation:
dojox/gesture has been designed with the following rationale:
Device neutral – The target is to be compatible with most popular devices(single tou [read] Keywords: application
What are your thoughts on Worklight?
Tue, Apr 30th 2013 1:10p Bob Balfe I have been playing with Worklight over the past several weeks and its definitely a very cool platform to do your development on for web and devices. I am really interested to hear some real world experiences around creating applications based on Worklight. If you care to share them here I would appreciate your feedback. Or if you have a review on your own blog or know of one please share! [read] Keywords: applications