I first started writing java in 1998/99 at Goldman Sachs. We only did a little Java there as the main applications were in C and C++, but it gave me enough experience to get a job at Nomura.
At Nomura, myself and a colleague rewrote a C++ application into Java. It had taken 4 programmers 2 years to write the original application in C++ but the two of us rewrote it in Java in 6 months.
The application was for Prime Brokerage, which is portfolio management for wealthy clients. In the C++ application the clients had to upload any trades they had done and download reports at the end of the day showing their new positions and wealth. We rewrote the whole application in Java which allowed the clients to upload trades directly into the application using a browser and the Internet, and gave them web access to all reporting 24 hours a day.
This was in 1999, JSP's and the big application servers were in their infancy so we wrote our own Java application server which communicated with the outside world using cgi scripts and RMI. All the HTML was embedded in Java classes, which was hard work and I was relieved to be using JSP in my next job. I also wrote an application in Swing, which communicated via RMI with the same application server and allowed the users to view corporate actions ( dividends etc.) and post the results of these back to the database.
My next job was writing an application for Farmers aiding communications with the government, because they do a lot of form filling. I wrote this as a thin end client in Swing, with a weblogic application server at the back. The idea was that they entered all the data about their cattle etc., this was stored on our database, and we would print out the relevant forms for them and charge per form printed. This was quite advanced thinking at the time but unfortunately the Internet bubble burst and although we were probably the only small idea with a real revenue stream, the funding was pulled and the application, despite being finished in 3 months, never made it out to the real world.
At Assertahome.com (now propertyfinder.com), I helped build their website which allowed users to search a property database supplied by estate agents around the country. I became the Java expert and gave guidance to the 3 permanent Java programmers, as well as some help to the other 3 contract programmers. The site was written using JSP's on Weblogic, and we used servlets as well as EJB's to access the database(which was Oracle). Towards the end of this contract Assertahome went on a cost cutting exercise and got rid of all contractors and a lot of their permanent staff, but they kept me on for an extra six months. In this time I moved them from Weblogic to JBoss (saving them £100,000 per year) and helped create the next version of their site which included coordinate based searching (rather than using a list of locations).
At the next few places I mainly did serverside Java, writing a jsp based application at AC Neilsen, and helping with the CRM system at Three, which was written using Chordiant architecture.
In my second stint at Goldmans I worked in the Market Risk department. All the front ends are written in Java though all the calculation and upload software is written in C++. I got heavily involved in writing a position editor in Java, which we wrote using SWT, which is a Java gui interface which uses native widgets and is thus less heavy on the memory and quicker than Swing. I was also involved in the reporting side of things which uses Java and JSPs running on Weblogic and Jboss.
Since leaving Goldmans in June 2006, I have been writing java applications for over 10 projects, from the start to full implementation. To see details of these please see my freelancing section