Monday, June 19, 2006

Anyways...or should I say Anyway...the Beta is a hit!

The title of today's blog requires a little background knowledge to fully understand it. Not so much on the Beta release being a hit, as that is pretty self-explanatory (over 1400 downloads in the last 2 weeks!), but rather the use of Anyways vs. Anyway. I happened to be at a cocktail party this past Saturday with the likes of Tim Lang (actually it was his place) and James Thomas, both fellow contributors to the Crystal Reports for Eclipse blog. At one point during the night the topic of conversation found its way to my blog posts. Apparently, my use of the word "anyways" has been slowly driving JT to the brink of insanity. This in itself, however very amusing (and somewhat enjoyable), is not that entertaining if it wasn't for the fact that my wife chastised me on my use of "anyways" only a few months back. I began to realize that maybe this was a serious thing. Maybe other people found it extremely irritating whenever I used this term (8 times on the current posts alone).

Now, I am the first to admit that the use of "anyways" may be considered slang or non-standard, however it's not like I am confusing my use of there (or their, or they're). I would imagine that JT would have a coronary if I started throwing in a few misuses of these words (or perhaps mispell definitely now and then). Such is the plight of a Marketing person who is forced to read a blog which allows Product Managers to post! However, doesn't the entire nature of blogs present itself as a forum to communicate on a less formal platform? The use of slang should not be shunned but instead encouraged as we open ourselves up to our readers. So in essence, every time I use "anyways" in my blog posts, it is my way of inviting everyone of my blog readers into my inner circle...my circle of trust so to speak.

Regardless, I still understand that their (yes this was on purpose...sorry JT) are Directors of Marketing or people with English Lit. degrees (aka "my wife") who feel a large amount of discomfort when reading incorrect English grammar. Unfortunately, my search for support groups in the Vancouver area which cater to the misuse of English slang in the written word proved fruitless. So, instead I thought I would do my bit to help alleviate some additional stress these people may encounter by reading the word "anyways" in a sentence. I have compiled a list of classic literature which includes the word "anyways" (thanks to www.thefreelibrary.com for the search engine). I would suggest that James, my wife, and anyone else who is easily offended by the use of "anyways" not read the following classics:

Charles Dickens
  1. Hard Times
  2. Great Expectations
  3. Bleak House
  4. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
  5. A Tale of Two Cities
  6. Barnaby Rudge - A Tale Of The Riots Of 'Eighty
  7. Little Dorrit
  8. Our Mutual Friend
  9. David Copperfield

Mark Twain
  1. Pudd'n'head Wilson
  2. Tom Sawyer
  3. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Herman Melville
  1. Moby Dick

Anne Bronte
  1. Agnes Grey

Rudyard Kipling
  1. Captains Courageous
  2. The Mutiny of the Mavericks

Joseph Conrad
  1. Heart of Darkness

George Eliot
  1. Silas Marner
  2. Adam Bede
By the way, for those of you keeping count, aside from the references I never used "anyways" once in the body of my blog entry....yet!

Anyways, until next time... :)

Sean

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Beta Release is now available!

Hello everyone,
I apologize for the lack of communication over the past few months, but it has been extremely hectic here. With all the conferences I have been to (EclipseCon, MySQL UC, JavaONE and the Rational Software Development Conference) plus the required work finishing off the loose ends around the Beta release I began to feel like I post to this blog almost as often as I talk to my mother (which is not really a good thing on both accounts). I expected to start receiving flame posts talking about how I never call, or bring the kids around anymore, etc., etc., etc.

Thankfully, hopefully this post will buy me some more time, especially with the great news I have. We have officially released the Beta build of Crystal Reports for Eclipse. The process to download it is the same as the process to download the Tech Preview...just go here to register and you will be sent an email with the required instructions. I apologize ahead of time if you have already filled out the survey, however we want to do some tracking on our end to see how many of the Preview users are coming back to try out the Beta...hopefully all of you!

You should note that the Beta will not upgrade over top of the Tech Preview release. The Beta is actually built on an RC build of Eclipse 3.2 and has a number of the 3.2 plugin dependencies. However, once again we have provided an all-in-one build to make the process of downloading and using the beta as easy as possible.

What can users expect from the Beta, well there are a number of new features (too many to list here) but I will do my best to highlight the top ones:

  1. Set Datasource location is now a menu item - users can easily convert datasources stored in a report to a new connection using a menu driven wizard (e.g. ODBC to JDBC)
  2. Guideline indicators are now available - the guidelines will provide an indicator when fields are aligned, both horizontally and vertically, making the report layout process extremely easy and powerful
  3. POJO support is now available - Drag and drop a Java class from your project workspace onto a report to begin using your class as a datasource
  4. Custom SQL is now supported - create your own SQL text using Eclipse's built in SQL editor to write your own queries
  5. Browse Data - users can browse data from the Field Explorer off a specific field object or even a table object - this is very useful when using the graphical UI to create your database links
  6. Deployment wizard - new wizards extend the project's build event in an attempt to ensure that all of the required drivers are present. Users will alerted if specific libraries (e.g. database JAR files) are not present when the application is deployed
  7. New JSP page wizard - Drag and drop a report onto a JSP page and users will be prompted with a new wizard which will offer the ability to add customized code, such as passing in database credentials, populating parameter values, etc. all specific to the report that was added to the page
Anyways, there are a number of other features that have also been added, but unfortunately I am running out of time. I have to get back to the conference floor :)

I am planning on doing a webinar soon so keep your eye out for an invite, as well as updating the content on our EclipseZone to include a number of video presentations demonstrating some of the key features in the Beta release.

I look forward to talking with you again soon,
Sean

P.S.
Mom, I will call you when I get back in town. :)