Last week there was quite a bit of news about the work of one of our own, developerWorks community program manager Rawn Shah. Rawn has helped develop -- and is co-teaching -- a new course at the University of Arizona this semester entitled "MIS 300 - Web 2.0: Maintaining and Developing Online Communities." The course description reads:
Online social networking and communities have become a big role in how organizations interact within themselves as well as with external partners. Developing a healthy community can lead to new business opportunities, improved customer relations, as well as improved communications to the world. Online social network sites already claim over 300 million members worldwide in public sites that are starting to turn into a new generation of b2b and b2c business collaboration and brokerage sites. This course investigates the technologies, methods and practices towards developing online communities, and how this knowledge and these skills are applied to businesses.
Kudos to Rawn Shah and the others at IBM and at the U of A who worked to get this class in place and to promote it.
For more details, see Rawn's related Wiki, which includes the course syllabus, FAQ, Resources, and more, as well as a collection of related news articles -- which includes for example this Dr. Dobbs article -- that were published last week, and a link to last week's related press release announcing the course.
It was not long ago when yours truly took a graduate course at UNC-Chapel Hill (perhaps the first of its kind anywhere, and in its debut semester at UNC in any case) entitled "Virtual Communities." That course, taught by the amazing Paul Jones, director of ibiblio.org (formerly metaLab, formerly SunSITE), included guest lectures by people like Howard Rheingold (the WELL) and Brewster Kahle (the Wayback Machine) and focused quite a bit on more established "technologies for 'community building' such as listservs, discussion boards, fora, and portals," and blogs and perhaps wikis; blogs were just getting big and podcasts were still in their infancy. Shortly after that, we started expanding our "community" effort at developerWorks; we rolled out dW blogs, and we've also launched dW podcasts, expanded and enriched our discussion forums ... and continue to improve. Having Rawn take on the full-time role as dW community lead was another positive step. I know Rawn has a lot more in store for developerWorks, and I'm sure his teaching the U of A course will only enhance his expertise -- and thus our ability to do more for the developerWorks community and more with Web 2.0 technologies.
Meantime, it's great to see us helping students via this course, as well as the many other efforts of IBM University Relations. Students -- like professionals -- are turning to the content and resources at developerWorks to help them learn, help them complete tasks. The Dr. Dobbs article cited above mentions but one rich example: our Web development zone, which focuses on open, cross-platform, standards-based Web 2.0 technologies and social networking and online community tools, including Ajax, Atom, mashups, PHP, RSS, Wikis, and much more. Lots of helpful tutorials, how-to articles, and other resources to help students and professionals alike.[Read More]
When I'm not doing my day job (or blogging), I spend part of my, ahem, copious free time at the University of North Carolina here in Chapel Hill. As part of my pursuit of a master's degree, I've had occasion to do some research related to ibiblio.org
, a Web site that offers a little bit of just about everything and refers to itself as "the public's library and digital archive." (Some of you may know of ibiblio from one of its former names, "SunSITE" or "MetaLab." See the Wired
article "Where Sharing Isn't a Dirty Word
" for more about ibiblio.)
Anyhow, ibiblio not only offers collections of materials that contributors provide or create. The ambitious team there also is working on what sounds like a nifty project: Lyceum
, a blogging initiative that involves "a stand-alone open-source application, written in PHP, utilizing the MySQL database as a backend." Of particular note: While "it's like blogger.com or livejournal.com in that it custom-generates weblogs," it promises flexibility in terms of deployment. "Lyceum is open source. You control the installation. You define the blogsphere. And with Lyceum's intelligent toolsets, conversation within the blogsphere is facilitated."
The project is not complete, but sounds promising. I look forward to learning more about Lyceum -- as well as another ibiblio project, Osprey
, a peer-to-peer enabled content distribution system.
Now, however, I have to get back to my term papers...
A recent CNet article, "User exchanges: It's good to share
," describes how even proprietary software is reaping rewards by embracing open source development. Here's particularly notable quote from this article: "[S]oftware makers who skip user exchanges miss valuable opportunities for boosting customer loyalty and improving product development, Macromedia [vice president of product management Jeff] Whatcott said."
A colleague of mine at IBM, Craig Lordan, also was interviewed for this article. Here's an excerpt:
IBM has offered its Sandbox site for many years, allowing customers using its Lotus office software to swap add-ons and customizations.
Craig Lordan, a lead developer for IBM's Lotus Workplace division, said the site started as a promotional vehicle but has turned into more of a community venue.
"It's a neat way to show how Lotus customers are doing things," he said. "A lot of the things there are offshoots from discussions between users" about what kind of new functionality they want. "They put something together and share it with everyone else," Lordan said. "We really want to encourage that kind of open-source feel."
Lotus is not only a long time provider of this "open-source feel" Sandbox. It's also committed to adopt open, cross-platform standards as the foundation of its commercial products. This commitment to open standards is reflected in recent product announcements and releases. For example, see our recent developerWorks interview with Doug Wilson on the IBM Workplace Client Technologies
Check out the Lotus Sandbox at http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/sandbox.nsf
. ALSO: DB2 users wanting to exchange code should see the Sandbox-like "Examples Trading Post" for DB2 for z/OS and OS/390 at http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/db2/zos/exHome.html
Modified on by Michael_OConnell
I've been focused lately on helping kids learn to code, guiding grade-school students in coding activities at schools and public libraries, as I believe coding skills and experience, as well as an understanding of general computer science concepts, is critical to the success and competitiveness of tomorrow's young professionals. Not just future developers and IT professionals, but nearly all professionals benefit from understanding how technology works and can be applied to given challenges and opportunities. Those who learn to code also build self-confidence and enhance key traits such as persistence and problem-solving skills, and develop computational thinking skills.
“Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior,” notes Jeannette Wing, who popularized the term “computational thinking” in part with her 2006 article in the journal Communications of the ACM. Computational thinking, Wing wrote, "represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, would be eager to learn and use." In other words, Wing wrote, "the use of computational concepts, methods and tools would transform the very conduct of every discipline, profession and sector. Someone with the ability to use computation effectively would have an edge over someone without."
I'd imagine most developerWorks community members already recognize that the value of learning coding, computer science, and computational thinking transcends professions well beyond software developers and even IT professionals. What's encouraging is how this perspective has spread broadly to the general population. Increasingly, parents want -- even demand -- that their children learn such things, and K-12 teachers seek to provide their students with opportunities to learn such things (often despite challenges that mandated curriculum can create, making it difficult to find time amidst all the required lessons and tests to insert coding and computer science learning). As I've proposed launching activities with public and private grade schools and public libraries, I've been met with strong and growing support and appreciation. Just one example: When launching a new coding club this spring at one local school, I received 50% more registration requests than I could accept.
For those of you who want to help kids learn coding and computer science (or help others including teachers and parents do so) -- and for any youngsters who may be reading this themselves, I encourage you to use the following helpful resources:
- Scratch -- While Code.org emphasizes learning coding concepts, Scatch focuses on creativity and advancing technology as something kids learn to use as a tool of active creation rather than primarily a means of passive consumption or entertainment. This emphasis is reflected in the Scratch slogan: "“Create stories, games, and animations. Share with others around the world.” In some ways -- the drag-and-drop development environment, as well as some tutorials -- Scratch is similar to Code.org. But Scratch provides more of a free-form, wide open environment vs. a highly structured set of tasks and puzzles, fostering creativity and encourages users to share their creations with others, who can then "remix" the shared apps, modifying, extending, and customizing them as they like. Scratch also lets users download and install an editor so they can work on projects without an internet connection (and whenever site maintenance issues cause the online Scratch editor to be unavailable).
I look forward to sharing more resources and experiences that I hope will help more kids learn to code. Whether they become IT professionals or not, our next generation will benefit greatly from the experience.
P.S. IBM Bluemix also can be used by youngsters! Take a look at this brief video Overview of IBM Bluemix for Kids by Ruth Willenborg and Tucker
As some of you may have already learned (as CNet
, and others have reported, and as we've mentioned elsewhere), earlier this month, developerWorks made it much easier for you to search our rich collection of code with help from both Krugle
. Special thanks to our own David Salinas, who worked through many issues (technical, legal, and otherwise) to help make this happen.
I expect many of you will find this enhancement of developerWorks most useful. The indexed code includes:
- code from more than 1,400 articles (and we plan to expand code search to our full collection of articles)
- more than 33,000 individual source code files
- more than 4.6 million lines of code
One nifty element of the search function: Not only can you quickly search, find and view code on developerWorks to help your with your projects, you can also annotate source code with your own comments and create direct bookmarks to a single or group of individual files. And search results also incorporate the context of the article, as well as a link back to the article that explains and employs the code, vs. simply the code in isolation.
For more info, see Scott Laningham's blog -- which links to our related dW podcast discussions about Krugle code search on developerWorks -- and see also the related page with details regarding developerWorks source code on Koders.com.
Bottom line: You'll now find developerWorks code via your searches whether you use Koders or Krugle. And if you want to search developerWorks code specifically, you can easily do so on the developerWorks site: Simply use the standard dW search and then, on the results page, click on "Sample Code results (hosted by Krugle)." Alternatively, you can bookmark this example results page (in which I searched for "open"and found 4440 matching files) and modify the search term there.
Happy code searching.
Today's news on the open, cross-platform standards front:
IBM is one of a dozen members of a newly formed group of universities and IT companies that has "adopted first-of-a-kind guiding principles to accelerate collaborative research for open source software." The goal: "Accelerate innovation and contribute to open software research across a breadth of initiatives, thus enabling the development of related industry standards and greater interoperability, while managing intellectual property in a more balanced manner."
"Open source software and open standards jointly developed by universities, government and industry can create a powerful platform for collaborative innovation," said Dr. John E. Kelly III, senior vice president of Technology & Intellectual Property for IBM. "These principles are based on a balanced approach to IP management and should stimulate additional joint industry and university research projects."
For more details, see:
It seems France is giving open-source software companies a chance to win business from Microsoft as the country attempts to cut costs.
According to a Reuters news report
At stake, in the case of office suite software alone, is around 300 million euros ($362.5 million) worth of software to be introduced to state computers over three years. Savings on operating systems could be of a similar order, officials said.
The article goes on to quote Jacques Le Marois, president of the French open-source software company MandrakeSoft: "'This will also help us sell our solutions to other governments,' he said, adding that he believed the German, Israeli and Malasian governments also envisaged shifting to open-source software."
I recall some significant efforts in China to pursue open source software as an alternative to Microsoft software also. More broadly, as a Sept. 2003 article in The Economist
Other countries are funding open-source software initiatives outright. China has been working on a local version of Linux for years, on the grounds of national self-sufficiency, security and to avoid being too dependent on a single foreign supplier. Politicians in India have called on its vast army of programmers to develop open-source products for the same reasons. This month, Japan said it would collaborate with China and South Korea to develop open-source alternatives to Microsoft's software. Japan has already allocated Â¥1 billion ($9m) to the project.
I wonder to what degree other country (as well as state and local) governments -- including U.S. government agencies -- will pursue similar initiatives to adopt open source software...[Read More
One of the great things about the IBM Rational Software Conference
(formerly the Rational Software Development Conference, or RSDC) is the fact that you can get the equivalent of an entire year's worth of training, all in one week. Plus catch up with colleagues and peers across the globe whom you otherwise rarely get to see -- and meet new people who may prove valuable (whether for solving technical problems or being a key contact who helps with your career or becoming a lifelong friend).
The teams putting together this year's Rational Software Conference (May 31-June 4 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort in Orlando, FL) recently shared with me an impressive list of new reasons to attend this year. Among them: a new "Application Security and Compliance" track, new "Enterprise architecture and SOA content," a new "Software Lifecycle Integration and Governance" track, and the addition of "Innovation 2009: Telelogic User Group Conference" -- which means you get the benefits of two conferences for the price of one.
For more on this year's big event, check out our new developerWorks podcast with Terry "TQ" Quatrani, Rational technical events content lead.
The conference also has special discounts now -- and even an opportunity to persuade IBM to help you attend: Want to come to the conference but can't get the budget approved to join us? Send us your contact information, your budget challenge, and how we can help.
There's no time like the present to register.[Read More]
In case you haven't already heard, the much-anticipated version 1.0 of Apache Geronimo is now available for download
. Dave Klavon lists "some of the key functions delivered in this maiden release" (as well as links to more info) in the dW blog dedicated to Geronimo.
Want to learn more? developerWorks offers a section dedicated to Geronimo project resources
, and has published quite a bit of Geronimo-related material
. Of particular interest for newbies is our "Get started with Geronimo
" article, which provides a good overview and will get you "up and running with Geronimo in five minutes flat."
Note also that IBM's own WebSphere Application Server Community Edition
is a lightweight J2EE application server built on Apache Geronimo.[Read More
IBM's been giving Geronimo a lot of attention lately. (Enough to bring me back to the blogosphere despite being in the midst of a big move from North Carolina to Texas...) Earlier this year, IBM acquired Gluecode Software
, whose products are based on the Geronimo application server. In recent months, IBM developerWorks has been publishing a series of articles on Geronimo
. Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, IBM announced it will begin providing support services for Apache Geronimo
, and also announced it has contributed its Gluecode Management Console software to the Geronimo open-source project.
I find it particularly notable that IBM will formally and fully support customers who are using pure, open-source Geronimo, as well as those who upgrade with Gluecode. "Developers that want pure open source technology can choose Geronimo, and those that want an open source-based solution with value-added features can opt for Gluecode," said Robert LeBlanc, IBM WebSphere general manager. "Now both are backed by support services from IBM." In other words, IBM will support you even if you stop short of buying the IBM enhancements and go with the open-source option.
Why? It seems IBM recognizes this as an opportunity -- not only to attract more small and mid-sized customers, but also to make money by selling support to the many Geronimo users.
As I see it, the fact that IBM is setting up a formal support structure for Geronimo signifies two things: One, Geronimo is a big, big deal with a bright, long future. (After all, IBM does continue to operate as a for-profit corporation! When for-profit companies are effectively putting bets on key technologies and business models, I for one take notice.) And two, IBM continues to "walk the talk" -- not just talk about but take tangible steps that show significant support for open standards and open source.[Read More
Today developerWorks turns 11 years old. We've matured quite a bit since our launch in September of 1999. But as recent activity suggests, we don't rest on our laurels
In the past year we've launched new sections dedicated to Cloud computing and Industries, and we've greatly enhanced or online community offerings to provide more of the sorts of tools for professional collaboration and communication among developers and IT professionals. We continue to evolve to best serve our community. In fact, we're getting ready to share some finding from our latest survey of developers and IT professionals, which affirms many of our recent activities as well as offering added insight regarding future direction and priorities. (Stay tuned for details.) Ultimately, while our fundamental focus on our community's wants and needs and on open standards and open technologies remains constant, we continue to innovate, to become smarter and to help our community become smarter as we all, ideally, work together to develop a smarter planet.
For our 10-year anniversary we went all out. Perhaps will do the same for year 15 or 20. Meantime, if you missed the celebration last year, take a peek at our big 10-year birthday splash including lists of top content from our first decade, interviews with dW's creators, a timeline of milestones, and more.
We're gearing up for a big milestone here: The 10th anniversary of alphaWorks. You're invited to join the alphaWorks celebration and next-generation launch
September 25 in San Francisco. Meantime we've gathered a few key leaders who've helped establish and grow alphaWorks for a revealing discussion. Check out this new "alphaWorks at 10 years" podcast, in which developerWorks interviews Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Rod Smith, and Gina Poole.
There's another anniversary this month, too: The 7th anniversary of the formal launch of developerWorks. (The initial "beta" version of developerWorks appeared in the summer of 1999; the formal launch was in late September.)
Throughout its seven-year history, developerWorks' fundamental mission has remained constant: To serve the wants and needs of developers and technical professionals. Another constant has been the difference between developerWorks and other vendor-sponsored developer sites: Our focus extends beyond our own company's products and services to include content and resources dedicated to open standards and product- and platform-independent content. (For more historical context, see this JavaWorld article and the related IBM press release.)
aW and dW continue to grow and evolve with our communities of developers and technical pros and early adopters. Consider for example developerWorks' growing open source zone that includes dedicated sections for Eclipse, PHP, and Apache Derby and Geronimo. Our extensive collection of nearly 200 Ajax related articles (including this week's top story), and growing collection of Web 2.0 materials. The various community-oriented resources, including extensive technical forums as well as blogs from technical experts and thought leaders, plus our extensive, customizable Atom and RSS feeds. Our podcast reports and interviews, including exclusive, one-on-one conversations with innovators such as Tim Berners-Lee and Grady Booch. And alphaWorks has similarly expanded and evolved -- as Irving, Rod, and Gina discuss.
Both alphaWorks and developerWorks maintain a commitment to serving the wants and needs of developers and technical professionals (and in aW's case, early adopters) -- a commitment that has helped us earn numerous awards. I'm honored to be a part of this effort, which would not be possible without the enlightened vision of IBM's executives and management, as well as the dedication and hard work of the dW and aW teams as well as our extended group of authors, editors, and contributors. It also would not be possible without you and your peers, the nearly 5.5 million registered members of our developer community (as well as those who have yet to register) who turn to dW and aW for help, answers, solutions, skill-building resources, code, downloads, and more. We're happy to help.
Happy Birthday, alphaWorks -- and developerWorks![Read More]
At the keynote presentation this morning, IBM Fellow and leading Rational technologist Grady Booch emphasized the value and importance of innovation, which "occurs at the intersection of invention and insight," with invention being truly intentional and insight often being serendipitous. "You can create a climate that allows innovation to flourish," said Grady. "Be intentional about it."
Next, as Roger Oberg describes
, was fast-paced demo from Rational model-driven development specialist Grant Larsen
. If I had a chance to get some coffee beforehand I might be able to add more details, but I think I'd better leave that to Grant, Roger and others. I can tell you, though, that at least one person in the audience (who came in from South America, and counts among his clients the second-largest bank in S.A.) nodded his head in approval, saying afterward, "I really liked the demo. Cool."
Grady also noted that "we love demanding customers, we love to be pushed." I couldn't agree more. That's what developerWorks is all about: serving the demands (or what I call the "wants and needs") of customers and would-be customers -- the worldwide community of developers and technical professionals. It runs in the family...
Grady then reviewed a bunch of cool innovations from IBM Research, including a Star Trek-like speech translator, "Veggie Vision" technology that eases checkout by automatically recognizing objects such as fruits and veggies, and a Linux Watch - "a great example of unfettered innovation." If you're at the conference, you can learn more at the alphaWorks booth in the Exhibit Hall tomorrow (Wednesday) from 11:30 to 2:00. And we can all check out these innovations online
, courtesy alphaWorks
(which BTW today debuted its new Research topics
, a collection of resources technology downloads, demos, articles, and more to help build awareness and understanding about an emerging research topic.)
Finally, it was nice to hear Grady mention developerWorks and alphaWorks, saying that he relied on both aW and dW even before Rational joined IBM. "Before we were borged by IBM, I would look at alphaWorks and developerWorks on a weekly basis to see what's going on at IBM." If folks like Grady are tuning in every week, I think we're doing something right. Thanks, Grady!
Now it's after 7pm in Vegas (10pm Eastern), and I'm off to the rationalconf2005 Solutions Center for a bit, then on the BOF session, "Rational Online Community Exchange." More tomorrow (and I'm looking forward to seeing Thomas Dolby) ...[Read More
In case you have yet to see a couple of my fellow bloggers' recent entries focused on hot topics, take a look:
Bill Higgins: Steve Ballmer compares the security of Microsoft and open-source software
Alan Brown: The Future of Software Tools
did not disappoint this morning. In addition to sharing an entertaining revue of his career, comprised mostly of video clips (and btw a career in which he apparently fulfilled his dream: "Whereas ... geeks dream of being a pop star, I was a pop star dreaming of being a geek"), Dolby provided an impressive demo of sonification
, the presentation of data using (non-speech) sound.
Sonification has been used in medical and academic areas for years, but perhaps not quite in the same manner as Dolby, who in one case took data relating to the wave height of the Dec. 2004 tsunami and mapped it to sonic events. "I found that I could tune that wave height to a parameter in my synthesizer," Dolby explained. The underlying premise: Sometimes by applying music or sound to data, you can see a greater depth, or better understand events. (The same thing might be said of visual representation of data, such as featured in the "History Flow Visualization Application
" tool shown by alphaWorks at the rationalconf2005 Solutions Center and on the aW Web site.)
Not surprisingly, the mood in the auditorium was rather somber after the tsunami portion of the demo. The close of the session, however, was quite the opposite, as Dolby sang "Hyperactive!" accompanied by the acapella group Toxic Audio
. Thanks to Roger Oberg
and the others at IBM who arranged this sonic treat.
Now I'm heading to the big "Beach Party" reception. I understand they have 33 lifeguards on hand to keep us from drowning in the Mandalay Bay pools. Should be interesting! If I survive, I'll share more tomorrow.
--Michael at rationalconf2005[Read More