So I've been in the underworld these past weeks, head down in battle with this project in my return to Java, as I'd written last month. It's been great fun, and I've not missed perl at all along the way. (Although, I did miss CPAN.) I've raided the stocks of Jakarta and other shores, and I've flagged a few new people to watch on my daily scan.

These past 4 weeks or so, it's amazing to me during how many new or long-neglected (to me) technologies at which I've thrown myself, and managed to use productively. Among them are XML, Xerces, XSLT, XPath, Xalan, SVG, Batik, Xindice, JUnit, Log4J, Ant, BML, BSF, BeanShell, NetBeans, and a slew of others my poor sore brain won't produce at the moment. I've plucked each of these from the ether and carefully tied them all together into a loosely confederated beast that, surprisingly, works as I'd intended thus far.

My biggest regret during this voyage is that this beast will likely never roam beyond the fences of my employer's realm. But, I still have the new experience with building the beast. And besides, you'd probably all laugh at the poor thing anyway since its the product of wobbling new steps. Though, actually, that would be a good thing for my company and myself since some of you might tell me why you're laughing.

But, no matter - that's a political fight I'm not yet prepared to enter here at work, so maybe I can think of other things with which to tinker, out here in the open.

The Java support in OS X makes me very happy, as does having Java Web Start come installed out of the box. And so, today I was also happy when I saw ThinRSS and managed to launch it with a click. I'd been musing about maybe doing a news aggregator in Java, but AmphetaDesk works fine and I've got some hack time invested in the fun outliner skin. But this really makes me want to do something with Thinlet. Possibilities abound.

I've also started toying with an XPath-to-RSS scraper to replace my ?RssDistiller usage. I know that there's a Python-based one out there, xpath2rss, but I've yet to quite figure it out and I feel like tinkering on my own anyway. So far I've pulled in JTidy, Xalan, Xerces, and JUnit to help. Amazingly, to me, everything seems to be working pretty well.

Anyway, back to the day's work, but I figured I'd ramble a bit and share my recent fun since I've been largely quiet around here. Hopefully I'll be back soon with updates to the AmphetaDesk outline skin, and with a new toy scraper project.