Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Implementation Workshop: Metadata

"My users think I'm a God." , Matt Harbert, DivX

I had to start with that quote, I was so pleased to hear it during discussions over lunch this afternoon during the workshop. I was talking with a couple of classmates about Kettle, the Pentaho Data Integration tool, reveling in stories of leaping tall buildings with Kettle as my booster pack. From across the room, Matt tossed the aforementioned words of glory, and I thought "well, if that doesn't just sum it all up". Kettle really is that good, and you'll only know if you dive into it, because, of course, I am a Pentaho-an, making me slightly biased ;)

These were the topics of discussion that opened the Metadata module of the workshop. Metadata is another project being architected and driven by Matt Casters, founder of the Kettle project. Jake Cornelius led the module, and did a nice job of showing us the Pentaho metadata Editor, a handy tool that assists in building Pentaho metadata models. The Metadata Editor is not quite 2 months old, and from what we were shown, is proving to hold lots of potential. The core functionality is there, and the user interface is intuitive, once you learn the new jargon. Amidst a short array of funky behavior and a few bugs, the Metadata Editor's power shined through with it's ability to model not only mappings to physical tables, but also extended formulas, formatting and style properties in a hierarchical fashion (termed "concepts"), and internationalization functions.

This is the end of day one, time to pop over and visit the dev guys on my way home. I have a renewed sense of excitement today, partly because this training is turning out to be even better than I had expected (and my expectations were pretty high), and partly because I'm training up for a brand new seat on the Pentaho ride :)

Implementation Workshop: Security Simplified

Well, we just finished the security module of the workshop, and I have to say, sans the network issues, I am really impressed. Mat Lowry, a Pentaho engineer who focuses on security during his day job, put together the content for the module today. Mat took a pretty complex set of topics (LDAP, Acegi, CAS and J2EE Container Security) and delivered just enough content to understand easily what Pentaho Security is made up of, and what Pentaho adds to the standard technologies available to you in a J2EE environment.

It seems we have done a very nice job of separating the wrangling of authentication and authorization from the functionality of the BI platform. I plan to follow up this workshop with a deeper dive into Acegi, as Mat has gotten me really excited about what it and the Spring framework can do. I'm taking away the relief that Acegi can handle a good 80% to 90% of my web resource security problems, without me having to write more code. I like it, I like it.

My thoughts on the hands on lab is it really made me think and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I understood the concepts Mat covered, and could apply them in the 60 minute lab exercise that was given to us. This was not your typical training class exercise that with loads of screenshots and step-by-step instructions, you could achieve one simple implementation of security. This was more like "A train leaves Tampa at 400 miles an hour at the same time a train leaves Daytona at 200 miles an hour, when will they meet" type of exercise. Now, I think I've mentioned before that I'm a very bright, but pretty simple person, and frankly this type of exercise reminds me how little focus I have. Once we stopped chatting, and I could read the lab carefully, I had no trouble implementing my own switch over from memory based security to LDAP based security within the Pentaho platform.

I have to admit, I feel a tad bit smarter than I used to :)

Pentaho Implementation Workshop

This week, I get the pleasue of sitting in on the Pentaho Implementation Workshop, a hands-on in depth training session covering many advanced implementation features in the Pentaho BI platform.

This training kicks off my new role as a Pentaho developer! I decided to move over to the engineering side after a year and a half leading the Pentaho community, which was a very rewarding experience. You knnow what they say, you have to go where your heart takes you :)

Here's the workshop agenda:

Dashboards and AJAX
Reporting User Interface
Life Cycle Management
Advanced Deployments

Community members here - Roland, Samuel, Fabrizio, welcome, and it's so nice to finally meet you in person :)

I'll be blogging on the workshop all week, so stay tuned!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Follow-on to Internationalization.... Vote!

If you read my previous post on internationalization, you know that I'm looking for a great Confluence solution for handling multiple translations of the Pentaho documentation inside our new wiki.

Go here, login and VOTE for Atlassian to help us solve the problem!

And my apologies to Atlassian regarding my comment that they may not be responsive in their forums - I wasn't monitoring the thread they responded to, only four short days after I posted my dilemma. I will have crow for dinner :)

Thanks everybody!