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If Only...

If Only...

Rarely does a software product meet the expectations of each and every user. First of all, if it did, I guess there wouldn't be any need for further releases. We all have a wish list of sorts - if only this software program could do this or if only that could be better. Most of the time, you just grin and bear it, keep such thoughts to yourself, and accept the way it works until the next release. If only I had just a little clout to have the vendor design the software exactly the way I want it...

At this point, you can probably sense where I'm heading with all this, so without further ado, here are a few things that I think would be either nice additions or things to be improved upon in the BEA product arsenal.

If you are heavy on the presentation side of development, and are versed in using Java Page Flows (a.k.a., Struts), you may have come to appreciate the way WebLogic Workshop helps you graphically visualize page flows in your application. That's fine if the application just so happens to look like a page flow, but it doesn't. There isn't anything in Workshop (or any other IDE that I can see) that does a decent job of developing HTML and JSP pages using a WYSIWYG-type interface. It would be nice to see something where you can navigate through each page in the flow and actually see what the page will look like, and that allows you to develop and make updates on the fly. It would also be nice to be able to see and edit server- and client-side scripting along with the other client-side object components. This would save a lot of time and effort running through a "build, deploy, and run" cycle each time just to see the outcome of your changes.

And what's with the View Server Log feature in the WebLogic console? The viewer page allows you to customize the view - for instance, set how much of the log you would like to see according to time. But I'll be darned if I can figure out how to retain those settings for the next time I go to view the log. I find myself making the same adjustments each and every time.

It would also be nice to be able to view stack traces in a drill-down manner instead of having to sort through page upon page of stack trace data to look for the underlying culprit. The older I get, the more it makes me cross-eyed staring at that stuff. Any improvement that can be made that will help you quickly navigate through a stack trace and assist you in diagnosing the root cause of the problem would be a welcome addition.

Finally, for those of us who develop on the Windows-based operating systems (I would imagine that would be the majority of us), there must be a better way to run WebLogic Server other than having it run on a DOS command prompt (aside from running as a Windows service, which in certain situations, due to security, you don't have the liberty to use). Do you know how many times I've scratched my head wondering why an application page isn't refreshing, only to realize that the DOS command window stuck it in scroll-lock mode (from the last time I scrolled though it)? It gets you each and every time.

That's all I can think of for the moment; it's time to get back to work.

More Stories By Joe Mitchko

Joe Mitchko is the editor-in-chief of WLDJ and a senior technical specialist for a leading consulting services company.

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