Event processing mania

So, as many of you may already know (and if you don’t, then you’re way out of date, dude), Oracle acquired the Tangosol company and their Coherence product some time ago. Over the last half year, I’ve been working on some very cool stuff related to the whole data grid aspect of Coherence which I must say is pretty much the most bitchin’ stuff I’ve done in quite a while.
Well, that was until I started my hobby project.


Okay, have to explain that. Basically, as an infrastructure programmer, one of the hazards of the trade is that you only implement the stuff at the underground level and never actually get to use the technology you’re supporting in any real fashion – from the actual developer’s perspective. It’s not that this is necessarily a fatal thing – after all, it’s pretty much omnipresent in the software community. However, I’ve always found that if I want to actually stay relevant in the technology, I actually have to find a project in which I can use the technology in question in an actual project.
Not that the project actually has to be super cool or do anything that is world changing. But the project actually has to be challenging to me, and something that I’m not only interested in, but something that I think that other people might actually be interested in. I mean, wanking is fun an all, but let’s face it: if others don’t think it’s at least mildly interesting and relevant, it’s the programming equivalent of dancing in the corner by yourself.
So, while the current project I’ve been working on regarding Coherence actually requires using Coherence itself, I have started a “hobby” project which I’m using Coherence to implement something I’ve always found fascinating and implementing it in a way which will actually be quite novel in the field.
The hobby project I’ve been working on for a while is something I call 3rd Space. The name of the project is a riff on the whole “2nd Life” virtual world project as well as being the “Lovecraftian” episode of one of my favorite Babylon 5 episodes of the same name.
Anyways, I must say that the more I’ve been working on this project, the cooler it gets. The entire domain is a perfect fit for the Coherence product, so that’s kind of cool. And it’s a technology that hasn’t – yet – been applied to the whole MMOG domain (at least that my naive self has been able to determine). Certainly none of the MMOG’s – at least commercial products – don’t use Java in anything more than a sneer and consequently are locked out of using anything as cool as Coherence to solve some terribly nasty problems that they all have – in spades…
I’ve discovered some rather amazing pieces of technology that is directly applicable – imho – to the entire field of event processing applications (after all, a MMOG platform really is nothing more than an incredibly scalable complex event processing machine) which seem to have been lying about undiscovered in the event driven simulation domain. Event simulation frameworks that outperform their closest C++ equivalents like their were standing still by the side of the road.
Always good to see that Java technology in the right hands can kick major butt and make those C++ weenies wish they had a garbage collector worth a shit so they could stop worrying about their frickin’ pointer exceptions and memory leaks and start concentrating on their architecture….
But I digress…
But, again, the interesting issue to me is simply that I’m doing something cool which is on the application side of things, not that I’m doing anything world changing. As often happens, I seem to find seeming diamonds in the rough due to the new perspective I take on when I put on the application programmer hat (rather than the code dwarf miner cap I usually wear), and that’s something I truly enjoy. It’s not that it’s world shaking technology – although sometimes it is.
Rather, it’s something that makes my own neurons grow and change – adapting to new landscapes and terrains that I simply had no idea existed before. Something that, as I get older, I treasure as a truly precious experience that always leaves me hungering for more.
Anyways, if you’re interested in such things, do check out the 3rd Space project from time to time. The code is all GPL V3’d so it’s not like you can’t see what I’m doing – it’s all there for the curious to look at. Also, there’s always my famous document collections on the subject at hand which, while not a definitive word on any particular subject which may happen to strike my fancy, does seem to turn out to be a rather good collection of nice finds which I seem to be able to discover which other people love to read. (ed. note: After consulting with various daemons who know far more about such things that I can possibly imagine, I have deleted the google code project and have moved 3rd Space to a private code repository. I apologize for the inconvenience and any offense I may have given to the gods of open source)
So, enjoy and have a good time. My sincere hope is that, hopefully within a reasonable time, I’ll be able to meet you virtually in a platform based on 3rd Space. Who knows? You might even find it fascinating yourself…
The very cool thing is that it will actually require and make heavy use of the very stuff I’m working on in the Oracle part of my life so I can count myself as a beta tester amongst the lucky souls who will get to someday sample that code in which I’ve been sweating over for quite some time.
Multiple use and reuse simply rocks. ;)

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