Saturday, August 7, 2010

On family vacation in Western Canada

In the picture you can see a rain-forest within the Pacific Rim natural reserve in the western part of the Vancouver Island. This area is less known then other natural reserves in the Canadian Rockies, but IMHO it is the most beautiful one, and we spent several days there at the end of our trip. We started our trip in Lake Louise, in the Canadian rockies Banff reserve, and caught by sleet storm in the middle of walking uphill (we climbed down in heavy slit that turned into rain), but besides the first trip, the weather was relatively cooperative. We continued north to Jasper, where we also had one of the nicest tracks, the Malinge canyon. There is a parking lot up the canyon, and another parking lot down, so one would expect that there will be a shuttle between the two parking lots, as climbing back is not really fun, it seems that the Canadians don't think this way - luckily I found somebody leaving the lower parking lot who agreed to drive me to the upper parking lot, so I could bring the car and take the rest of the family, in turn I also took another person who waited there for the same purpose -- and idea for a start-up!
We spent one day in the Yoho park in the way to Banff, and then continued to the second part of the trip -- flying to Vancouver, going in the ferry to Victoria and driving to Pacific rim (300 KM from Victoria), and then back to Vancouver through the northern ferry. Most of the trip consists on walks in the nature - glaciers, lakes, mountains, and in the west rain-forests. We also sailed in the Pacific rim to an island with natural hot springs, and then in the way back sailed through the ocean to see whales (we saw some). Good trip, I've returned charged with energy (and intimidately got flu, so last couple of days have not been so nice - and I am still behind on Email answering, but am recovering now).

Next trip: Hong-Kong and Singapore (for VLDB) in September.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The book: Event Processing IN ACTION - is now out

I still need to write something about the vacation in Western Canada, but returning to the office today, I have received a package of copies of the EPIA book, that was just published. The project of writing this book (in my spare time) was quite demanding, and was twice longer than the original expectation. I have talked with some colleagues who wrote books for other publishers recently, and found out that relative to their experience, Manning has exceptional quality control procedures, with three reviews by readers during the book's development, and a multi-stage production process with a lot of iteration between the authors and various people on the production team -- technical proofreader, copy editor, proofreader and the production manager.
The acknowledgements section of the book also lists many people who helped in contributing ideas and review and the Manning team; I am also grateful to David Luckham who agreed to write the Forewords section. Last but not least -- working with a partner on such a project requires the ability to agree on many details, and a lot of interaction, many of them in evenings and weekends. My partner in writing this book, Peter Niblett, has complemented me since he came from a different perspective; Peter's drive for perfection has contributed considerably to the quality of the book, Peter is also a very pleasant person to work with.

I also noticed that Manning added a section explaining who is the person on the front cover (some people asked me).
Manning maintains an Authors forum that enables communicating with the authors, this forum helped us during the book's development process to get feedback, and a lot of the comments have been adopted (with acknowledgement to the appropriate person); this forum is being kept alive.

The book itself is printed in black and white, there is also a colored ebook version, available on the Manning's book webpage. The book also included a use-case that is known as FFD (Fast Flower Delivery), and has already several implementations in different languages, with more expected, this site will be kept as live site and is being hosted by EPTS. Interestingly, the FFD case has been used within the DEBS 2010 event processing architectures tutorial in order to demonstrate the architecture notions.

The book has served as basis for both academic and IBM internal courses, and I'll be able to share teaching material with anybody interested to use the book for that capacity.

Some other follow-up ideas is to provide comprehensive authoring tool for the model described in the book, work on automatic compilation from the book's model into various event processing languages and maybe to general programming languages as well -- these can all be nice students' projects, the model described in this book can also serve as a first iteration on standard in event processing application modeling. We'll see how much of the follow-up will be materialized.