John Topley’s Weblog

Back In Business!

As you can see I’m finally back in the blogging business, after ten months on sabbatical! What an earth have I been up to in all that time? On the positive side, I’ve moved house, gone on holiday to Cuba, acquired a lovely cat named George, bought lifetime Web-hosting and fallen in love with Ruby on Rails. On the negative side, I lost my father to cancer. Life goes on, but it will never be the same for me again. I’m not quite the same person as I was before the 6th February 2006, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have a new sense of purpose in life.

The observant amongst you will have noticed that I’ve redesigned this site too. And yes, that guy in the top right-hand corner is me—it was a caricature that was done in Cuba. Not only has this place got a new look, but the stuff behind the scenes is new for me too. I’ve abandoned CityDesk and am now using WordPress, because the convenience of being able to run this blog with nothing more than a Web browser and a decent Internet connection was too great to resist.

I put my original blog (2003–2005) in a time capsule where it’s available as part of this site. I did it that way because—

  • I didn’t much fancy spending hours importing all the old content and getting it to look right.
  • I put a lot of work into it and wanted to preserve it just how it was.

I still have the same day job and still spend it wrestling with J2EE, although I now recognise it for the bloated, tedious and over-engineered behemoth that it is. So if you’ve been holding out all this time for the conclusion of the “Jakarta Struts De-Mystified” series then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. You’ll just have to look over the source code I provided and read some of the other Struts tutorials out there. Ruby on Rails has made developing Web applications a pleasurable experience for me for the first time. I haven’t felt this excited about a development environment since I first tried Delphi 1.0, which was probably a decade ago actually. If you’re a frustrated Web application developer I urge you to check Rails out. Struts does nothing for you in comparison.

So enamoured am I with Rails that I recently attended the Carson Workshops one-day event on the framework, which was very enjoyable and educational. It was great meeting all those like-minded people. I shall be attending the workshop being held by CSS and markup God Eric Meyer next month, so if you’re going to that I’ll see you there!


There are 7 comments on this post. Comments are closed.

  • avatar John C
    13 April 2006 at 21:35

    Let me be the first to welcome you back to the world of blogging so welcome back, it's been far too long! :-)

  • avatar John Topley
    15 April 2006 at 08:59

    Thanks John, it's good to be back!

  • avatar Neville Franks
    15 April 2006 at 12:52

    Welcome back John. I lost my dad on Apr 26, 2004 and still have the occasional tough time. We had a 2 month break in Europe late last year, which was great and increased the desire for more. Some pictures at:

    I'll be interested to read more about your experiences with Ruby. I'm a hard core C++ (ex. C) guy myself.

  • avatar John Topley
    16 April 2006 at 20:57

    Thanks Neville. I'll certainly be blogging about my experiences with Ruby, so stay tuned!

  • avatar JD
    11 May 2006 at 14:15

    You should have at least updated your old feed stating that you restarted your blog!

    Anyway, welcome back to blogging. I am myself on hiatus for quite some time and I will be rebooting my blog soon! :)

  • avatar John Topley
    11 May 2006 at 17:24

    Thanks JD!

    Actually the old feeds should have redirected to the new ones but it's obviously not working very well. As well as fixing that I also need to configure Apache so all the old permalinks work again. I will get around to doing this stuff!

  • avatar John Topley
    03 June 2006 at 12:31

    The RSS feeds are available under "XML Syndication" in the sidebar on the right of the page.

I’m not quite the same person as I was before the 6th February 2006, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


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