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Community Spotlight - February 2017

For this month’s community spotlight, I interviewed Normand Hénault. Normand is the CEO of a company developing an interesting project called Nuuzee, a service that allows users to geographically explore events around them. The web application is available in 93 languages with the translations managed in a MySQL database. It contains a local reverse geolocation feature, also stored in MySQL, with a dataset of 2,3 million cities, 50,000 regions and 240 countries. Normand developed this web application from scratch using Java and Vaadin. The Nuuzee project included numerous Vaadin add ons as well as several Java APIs such as:

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Hello Normand. What can you tell us about yourself? Where do you work? What’s your role and background?

I am from Montreal, Canada and I am the CEO and Technical Founder of a very promising project that is Nuuzee. My background is in computer sciences, I've studied at Montreal university's Computer Sciences department. I've been in the field for close to twenty years.

What is Nuuzee all about?

Nuuzee is about what's happening around you in Real Time Your Space. I started two years ago when I had the idea. I am the main developer and I have a partner who handles the other stuff, such as business and marketing. It is a work in progress. I also have a collaborator for the deeper technical stuff, as well as all the UI and UX which have been accomplished with a very good friend of mine who is specialized in that field, from the McGill University Information Sciences department.

I used the app and it looks like a service to geographically see things such as sales, traffic incidents, and events. Is that right?

Yes, I tried to keep it as narrow as I could for starters, but the concept permits a wide range of uses. It's all about local communities and them wanting to know what's happening around them. But it could also serve people who want to know what's happening locally when they travel to another place. Local communities have needs for this kind of communication. Just look at the telephone poles, phone booths and public cork boards at your library, town hall, shopping center. People post tons of local information! It is also required by small local businesses which don't see the added bonus on buying ads on large platforms. They can use Nuuzee to quickly and easily post information to their surroundings about a special on food, for example, and this on the same day.

I'd use such a service for sure! Jumping into more technical stuff... How did you come across Vaadin?

Vaadin was suggested to me by a best friend of mine who uses it for their Mechanical Engineering software development called Notixia (Witllaken), based in Montreal. Since I didn't have professional programming experience, he told me Vaadin was the obvious direction to take if I wanted to accomplish my goal of programming the Nuuzee web app myself without all the hassle of handling JSON, Javascript and HTML. Only one language: Java.

Do you think Vaadin helped to reduce the time-to-market of your project?

Absolutely! I would even add that Vaadin enables programmers to focus on the user experience which is in my opinion one of the most important features in a public facing technology, by not having to master multiple other technologies. The amount of work required with HTML and JavaScript would not have permitted me to be this far in the Nuuzee project for sure. With a technology such as Vaadin, programmers can focus more on the backend and the underlying datasets (MySQL) as opposed to the front end, in my opinion. And I consider Javascript and HTML languages to be much less interesting than Java.

What would you say to those looking for a front-end technology for their next projects?

Use Vaadin! I might be biased, but as I said before, I did not have professional programming skills and I was able to build Nuuzee! Programmers are usually lazy people so if they can avoid stacking up technologies to accomplish their work, why not? Lazy people are of high intelligence since they are always thinking of ways to ease the workload.

Well noted. Well, thank you Normand for your time and best wishes for your project.

Thank you and thanks for this opportunity. I believe Nuuzee will go very far... You can go check the app out at www.nuuzee.com.

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Vaadin Framework 8 is out!

The long wait is over and I’m privileged to announce that Vaadin Framework 8.0.0 is released today! Version 7 was released over four years ago. Even though there have been 7 minor releases since the initial release, that have added countless of new major features, major releases are always more exciting. With them we can revise the core API and drop some legacy to gain more velocity for the upcoming “major minors”.

The new main features in version 8 are:

  • Modern typesafe API optimized for Java 8. The most relevant changes are in

    • displaying data in select components and grid

    • binding data to fields

  • Faster (CPU) and more memory efficient data binding

  • Easier to implement custom form fields

  • Java 8 now supported for developing client side extensions as well

  • Improved defaults - less boilerplate code

There are so many exciting new features that we can’t list them all here. Thus we created a separate page listing the new features with code snippets and screenshots.

What is new in Vaadin 8

Upgrading from Vaadin 7 in a snap

Some of the old time Vaadin users may remember some largish changes one needed to upgrade from Vaadin 6 to 7. This time, although we have touched the really core component APIs with some breaking changes, the upgrade is smooth as a baby's bottom. Vaadin 7 compatible component implementations and legacy interfaces like Containers are still there, but just moved to a separate compatibility package that should be used by projects upgrading from Vaadin 7.

To make the upgrade even easier, we have created a simple tool, available also as a goal in the Maven plugin, that automatically changes your current code to use these legacy components. Just run that, add the compatibility module to your build and you are running your app on 8.0.0. You can start taking advantage of the new features gradually, instead of going through all your code at once.

The only thing that could hinder your upgrade is add-ons. Luckily all relevant Vaadin add-ons and many community maintained add-ons are already available for 8.

What next?

Although Vaadin 8.0.0 brings in a lot of nice enhancements, it is also a basis for further enhancements. Dropping support for old JDK versions and unmaintained Internet Explorers, we’ll be able to deliver new things much faster. In the next minor release, scheduled already for April, we’ll add often requested hierarchy, drag and drop and component support to the Grid component.

Naturally we’ll also continue our regular bugfix releases, so in case you face “.0 bugs”, report them right away via github.

To learn more about the new and upcoming features, join our next week's “What’s new in Vaadin 8” webinar. Sign up now and pose questions of new features or what you’d like to see in upcoming releases.

Webinar: What’s new in Vaadin 8