Every week here and in our newsletter, we feature a new developer/blogger from the DZone community to catch up and find out what he or she is working on now and what's coming next. This week we're talking to Michael Minella, Project Lead for Spring Batch, software engineer, teacher, and author of our JUnit and EasyMock Refcard.
What have you been working on lately?
I've been working on a mixture of things. As the project lead of Spring Batch, I regularly work on both Spring Batch and Spring Batch Admin adding new features and addressing bugs that are reported from the community. I try (when I can) to contribute to Spring XD with regards to it's batch functionality. However, the main focus I've had outside of the batch projects is our connected car demo. At SpringOne2GX we demonstrated how Spring and Pivotal related technoloiges can be used to create a connected car that streams data live from a moving car to hadoop and Gemfire to perform data science and real time analysis. I've been working to expand on that work to show how easy working in the IoT space can be with Spring. Look for expanded versions of the talk at DevNexus in March and Strata London in May.
In the past, you focused a lot on Spring. What are some of the most enjoyable and least enjoyable things about promoting Spring technologies? Where do you see Spring going in 2015?
In the past I've focused on scaling batch applications within the limits of standard JVM deployments. Running batch jobs via shell scripts or deployed into containers of somekind. Looking ahead, I foresee focusing more on how microservice architectures will impact batch. Things like managing state across cloud like deployments, allowing batch processes to scale as easily on a PAS like CloudFoundry as a web application, and continuing to evolve support for big data are all focuses in 2015.
Are there any particular developer tools or resources you couldn't live without?
Smart colleagues. Nothing will make you a better developer faster than working with people that are smarter than you and that you like. If you aren't currently surrounded by people that fit into those categories, then you're doing yourself and your career a disservice.
Do you have a favorite open source project (or projects) that you've contributed to recently?
Besides the Spring portfolio, the last open source project I had a pull request applied is the angular-google-maps (part of the AngularUI group of projects). For better or worse, I'm more likely to contribute to projects as I use them than hang onto something and dig deep.
Do you follow any blogs or Twitter feeds that you would recommend to developers?
I'd recommend checking out Flowing Data (http://flowingdata.com/) and any design blog (http://www.onextrapixel.com/, http://www.awwwards.com/, etc). Flowing Data is a blog about visualizations, something that can provide an incredibly powerful way to communicate something in either an application or presentation when used the right way. With regards to following a design blog of some kind, as engineers, we write beautiful code. Yet, the person sitting at the keyboard using our software typically doesn't care too much about how good the code looks. It's never been easier to create good looking applications and having good inspiration can help take your applications to the next level.
Did you have a coding first love -- a particular program, gadget, game, or language that set you on the path to life as a developer?
I've always been someone that likes knowing how things work. I was the kid that took stuff apart. Even today, beyond programming, I still enjoy building things as a woodworker (http://lumberjocks.com/mminella) or creating images as a photographer (https://500px.com/michael160). However, the thing that probably got me most interested in computers was (and I'm showing my age a bit here) probably Kings Quest III. My first computer was an Apple IIGS. I spent hours playing that and various Siera On-Line games. Kings Quest III was the latest in the series when I received my computer. I'd say that was what really sparked my fascination in computers.