Last week at the 17th Annual Jolt Product Excellence Awards (dubbed "the Oscars of our industry") ceremony at the SD West conference in Silicon Valley, IBM developerWorks received what many agree is the software development industry’s highest honor for a product or resource: The Jolt Hall of Fame award. Here are a couple of trophy photos (courtesy dW open source editor Mark Cappel):
The “Hall of Fame inductees are consistent winners, whose high quality has been proven and maintained over time,” the Jolt awards site notes. Only one inductee is recognized with this award each year. This year the judges unanimously selected developerWorks, specifically praising our rich collection of quality how-to articles and tutorials.
The Hall of Fame always generates lively discussion amongst the judges ... but this year, there was a quiet consensus. It was pretty unanimous that it was time to induct this giant into the JOLT Hall of Fame. This year’s winner is a treasure trove of IT-related topics and technologies and often has better technical articles than commercial publications and in many instances, is one of the few places anything is available. This year’s inductee is: IBM developerWorks.
I was thrilled to be at the awards ceremony in person to receive the award. (Don't let the serious expression fool you.)
In my brief moment on stage, I thanked the judges and thanked CMP Technology (which runs SD West, a.k.a. the "Software Development West 2007 Conference and Expo," and publishes Dr. Dobb's Journal). I then congratulated the editors and broader team at developerWorks who all play key roles in our success, and the many authors -- both inside and outside IBM -- who share their technical expertise in our thousands of how-to articles and tutorials.
I also thanked the leadership at IBM for embracing and supporting what is an unorthodox vision and strategy for a vendor site, one that I’ve championed since coming from JavaWorld at IDG in 1999 to become founding editor-in-chief of developerWorks: Prioritize the wants and needs of the developers. That is, focus not simply on company messages, or promotion of company products, but more broadly on any information and resources that are critical to developers.
Looking back, I’m impressed by how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown in the last seven or so years. In 1999 we had about a half dozen zones (sections of the site that in many ways each resemble a stand-alone online magazine). The press release announcing developerWorks and the related article about dW's launch that appeared in CNN describe our focus on providing “product- and platform-independent information” and our “rich blend of tools, code, tips, news, tutorials, and how-to articles, all based on cross-platform technologies and strategies.” Those statements, as well as our open, cross-platform, standards-based focus, remain true today –- but we’ve expanded considerably.
We now host three times as many zones, covering a wide array of open technologies as well as IBM products. We now offer four region-specific, localized sites (dW China, dW Japan, dW Korea, dW Russia), in addition to our global site based in the U.S. We offer an ever-growing array of community-driven resources, greatly expanding our discussion forums and adding more resources, including blogs, podcasts, and our recently announced community-oriented developerWorks exchange. (dW will offer more on the community/Web 2.0 front in the coming weeks, too. Stay tuned.) And dW is not an online-only entity; we offer a rich set of tech briefings as well as other events and offline resources. The result: In our short history, developerWorks has grown into a community of (at last count) 5.7 million registered developers.
The bottom line: This simple strategy we embraced in 1999 has worked amazingly well and resonated with developers -- including many who, at least at first, did not (or as my bosses may say, "did not yet") have interest in IBM products or services. I thank then-director Gina Poole and manager Dirk Nicol for believing in and strongly supporting this enlightened vision, and the continued support from our current management, including Scott Bosworth and Kathy Mandelstein, as well as the continued support of our stakeholders and executives throughout IBM, including Steve Mills and Sam Palmisano. As evidenced by this Hall of Fame honor, the strategy continues to serve us well.
Equally important is the talented staff at developerWorks. Without their dedication and hard work, even the best strategy would fail. Kudos to each and every member of the dW team for your contributions to our success. This award honors you.
And most importantly, I thank the developer community that has come to rely on developerWorks as a trusted resource, and whose members (I hope) occasionally tell their colleagues about the great stuff we offer. We exist to serve you. And we encourage you to participate: Post to our discussion forums. Read and comment on our blogs and articles. Rate our content. Subscribe to our newsletters. Use our Atom and RSS feeds. Download our trial software and technologies. Use the many services and alpha technologies offered by our sister site, alphaWorks. Attend our tech briefings. Suggest content ideas or articles (including content you may write) to the dW editors. Or, if you like, just add your comments here.
In any case, thanks for your continued participation in the developerWorks community. We hope the next seven years are as rewarding as the last seven, and hope you'll join us on the journey forward.
dW and IBM also enjoyed other big honors at the Jolt awards event. The photo below reflects three IBM awards. Shown here are (clockwise from the top) award recipients IBM Fellow Grady Booch, who won the exclusive Dr. Dobb's "Excellence in Programming Award" (pictured in the poster); yours truly, dW EIC Michael O'Connell, holding the developerWorks Jolt Hall of Fame Award; and book author and IBM Rational Practice Leader Scott W. Ambler, holding his Jolt Productivity Award for the technical book Refactoring Databases he co-authored with Pramod J. Sadalage.
Congrats to Grady and Scott!
Two frequent developerWorks authors (but not IBM employees) also were among the co-authors of the technical book that won the Jolt Product Excellence award. Congratulations to dW contributors Brett McLaughlin and Gary Pollice, who (along with David West) co-wrote the winning title, Head First Object-Oriented Analysis & Design. And congrats to all of the Jolt winners.
developerWorks editors have assembled, collectively, the Top 100 articles and other items from 2009. While it may not be the traditional "12 Days of Christmas" gift list, we think our collection is quite impressive (as well as greater in number). You'll find nearly all of our top 100 highlighted in various places on our final home page update of 2009, but to make sure you don't overlook any (and to round out the list), I've collected them all here. Without further ado:
On the 12th month of '09, developerWorks gave to us...
But wait -- there's more! Not being able to leave well enough alone, I bump the tally up to a prime 107 by adding my personal bonus list of 7 top developerWorks items -- including some significant accomplishments and milestones -- from 2009:
The update of our entire developerWorks articles collection -- more than 11,000 articles -- to employ a more dynamic, interactive design.
The steady and strong set of new materials week after week again this year, with more than 1,000 new resources -- including more than 800 technical how-to articles and tutorials, 150 trials and demos, and dozens of podcasts and videos.
My personal milestone of 10 years with IBM developerWorks -- and the privilege and honor of working with such a talented and dedicated professional team throughout the 10 years.
The fact that most developerWorks team members can take a well-deserved break during the last days of the year, reflect on 2009's accomplishments and highlight some of our best content and resources, and recharge and plan for 2010 and beyond.
Thanks to everyone who helps make our hard work worthwhile -- whether by reading one or many of our how-to articles, commenting or asking questions in our discussion forums and blogs and elsewhere on My developerWorks, rating our tutorials and content, downloading a trial or trying a demo, or otherwise. We're happy to have helped serve your wants and needs in 2009 -- and will continue to do so in 2010 and beyond.
Today developerWorks unveils an update to our design. Key features include a simplified site navigation, via a new masthead and footer on nearly every developerWorks page as well as a much improved search engine -- so that you'll now more easily find all developerWorks materials, including our community materials as well as our professionally developed, award-winning how-to articles and tutorials.
While the masthead and footer stand out as most visible change, the update is much richer, and based on substantial user research.
Now you can also:
Sign in to developerWorks from the masthead on any developerWorks page, and quickly access your personalized dashboard from the masthead menu. (Select your display name and expand to reveal shortcuts to your profile, personalized community homepage, and a summary of any pending colleague requests or recently received notifications.)
Syndicate your favorite developerWorks content or URLs more easily, via persistent share tools in the footer.
Easily follow developerWorks on Facebook or Twitter. (These options are also available in the footer of every page now.)
You'll also see many improvements to some of your favorite developerWorks destinations, such as a simplified developerWorks home page and updates to developerWorks Events, Evaluation software, and Community main pages. We've updated the information in About developerWorks, New to Community, Feeds and syndication and more, and even added a brand new Technical topics landing page to get more info on the IBM product families, IBM solutions and open standards we cover on developerWorks.
With this design, developerWorks also becomes among the first sites within IBM to incorporate elements of the new ibm.com design that marks the company's Centennial anniversary. (To learn more about IBM's 100-year history, see the related IBM Centennial Press kit and the IBM100 site.)
Take a moment to explore our updated web site design -- and please share your feedback via a comment below.
We've had quite a few questions submitted already for our upcoming podcast interviews with VIPs such as Steve Mills, Grady Booch, and Danny Sabbah. I'll be interviewing Danny, Grady, and Steve (and quite a few others too) at the Rational Software Development Conference June 1-5.
If you have a question you'd like one or more of these interviewees to answer, it's not too late! Please submit your questions for Steve, Grady, and Danny, as well as other executives and technology leaders -- including (as of today): Buell Duncan, Beth Friday, Scott Hebner, Hayden Lindsey, Stephanie Martin, Martin Nally, Walker Royce.
Personally, I get a real boost every time I hear a story about how developerWorks has helped the community of developers and IT professionals. I'm also regularly striving to better understand what works best and is most valued among the many things developerWorks does (so that we know what to do more of).
For example, dW community member "Boon amal (Boona)" writes, "WOW, I'm so glad I found your tutorial; it's made my life so much easier! ODFpy tutorials are scarce, and great ones are non-existent. Thank you for taking the time to create this, you really saved the day."
Another example: dW community member "Martin Kirouac (MartinKirouac-IMConsultant)" says the article "DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows database administration" (authored by Samuel Poon, Fraser McArthur and Priti Desai) is "Great! A really nice goto article in my everyday job," and adds, "Thanks a lot for publishing this."
Feedback like this inspires me (and I bet many others on the developerWorks team, and of course our authors). It's great to know that our content and resources are not only helping solve a fleeting problem on occasion, but also providing significant and ongoing value, day in and day out. This sort of input -- received just recently about content last updated in 2009 and 2008, respectively -- also reflects the merit to retaining not-so-new content, which can be quite useful even months or years after publication. And comments such as these help guide our teams: We seek to replicate successes like this to better serve your wants and needs. So input like this really helps us help you.
Speaking of you: What about you? You're in the trenches, coding, architecting, debugging, upgrading, administering, designing, troubleshooting, deploying, and otherwise working on today's real-world projects. You're a representative of the developerWorks community whom we strive to serve. You know the answers. So please: Share your story. Tell us how developerWorks has helped you--whether it led to a new job, solved a simple problem, or taught you something you wanted or needed to learn. Heck, even if you simply have a favorite article or tutorial, you're regularly checking a dW group or discussion forum, or want to praise a particular author whom you appreciate, we'd much welcome your comments.
So post a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you. In fact, we may follow up to get more details about the most interesting stories: You may even be interviewed by developerWorks podcast host Scott Laningham! He loves a good story.
Late last week, Forrester announced that developerWorks won its Groundswell 2010 award in the business-to-business "supporting" category. As noted in the official press release from Forrester Research, winners were honored "for excellence in effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or business goal."
Commenting about the awards, Josh Bernoff, senior vice president of idea development at Forrester and co-author of Groundswell and Empowered, said, "Once again, the entrants and winners for this year's Forrester Groundswell Awards amazed us. We were particularly impressed with the diverse and effective social and mobile strategies that organizations are now using to reach consumers, business companies, and their own employees."
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.
As noted in the official press release from AMI, the awards were designed "to recognize social media efforts that result in tangible, measurable business value." Winners are chosen according to a systematic methodology that involved analyst reviews, interviews, primary research, optimization surveys and user experience.
These recent social media awards reflect how developerWorks has effectively grown and evolved over our 11-year history to incorporate new technologies and tools so that we can best serve your evolving wants and needs. Whether you're new to developerWorks or a longtime visitor, I encourage all developers and IT professionals who haven't already done so to join and participate in the developerWorks community to tap our rich set forums, blogs, wikis, groups, and more -- and see firsthand why we won the two recent social media awards, as well the many other awards detailed in our virtual trophy case.
SunBay won based on its multifaceted use of developerWorks to improve collaboration with 30 people across IBM Switzerland and IBM France, keeping everyone in the loop to streamline Service Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE) Framework validation. SunBay tapped the broad array of community social features in dW, including message boards, activities, blogs, files, bookmarks, and the iPhone app to support their business. The results included not only being quickly verified as meeting the IBM SPDE Framework requirements, but also a strong pipeline of joint IBM-SunBay customers.
IBM partners -- and all IT businesses and individuals -- can benefit from developerWorks and our community by using our social business tools to better communicate and collaborate, privately as well as publicly. We offer not only a rich collection of how-to articles and tutorials, not only answers to your questions and input from experts via our blogs and discussion forums. Our broad set of community features let you create, communicate, collaborate, innovate -- in short, developerWorks community features are ready to help you embrace social business -- and thus help individuals, groups and partners alike drive business results.
The editors at developerWorks reflected on their work over the past 12 months and selected some of their favorite, most noteworthy content. This small sample of our 2010 how-to content showcases the variety of technical topics and disciplines we cover week after week, as well as the quality of our professionally developed articles and tutorials. Happy Holidays!
Java technology zone technical podcast series, launched this year, lets you listen to insightful conversations with technical experts. Taking the time to read an in-depth, code-heavy article can be difficult, even if it's about a topic that's critical to your day job. This podcast series provides a new way to get information from the sources you trust most.
Build a digital book with EPUB has consistently been among our most popular articles, month after month, and employs an effective step-by-step approach for automating EPUB creation using DocBook and Python.
My sincerest thanks to a great extended team, including the expert authors both inside and outside of IBM -- and including you, the community of millions of developers and IT professionals who rely on developerWorks each month. A special thanks to those who participate in the developerWorks community by posting to our technical discussion forums, rate and comment on articles, bookmarking and tagging content, and using our other community tools.
As developerWorks celebrates 10 years, I reflect on how things have changed ... and how they will continue to change. At the same time, I see as clearly now as 10 years ago that our imperative focus on our community's wants and needs and on open standards and open technologies remains constant, and as important as ever.
In my personal life, in the past ten years I have moved to a different hometown three times. I started, and at last completed, a master's degree. I taught a university course. I got married. I become a father. No doubt I've grown and evolved personally and professionally. Yet all along, I've remained the same person, and all along I've kept the same job at developerWorks.
Similarly, developerWorks during the same 10 years has evolved and changed quite a bit, too. Throughout all the changes, including the incredible growth of technologies we cover, the ways in which we cover them, and the number and variety of people we reach, we have kept the same fundamental goals of serving the wants and needs of developers and IT professionals with a focus on open standards and open technologies.
I've relied in part on this blog as a way to connect and communicate, so it seems fitting to look back at what I've posted here. Reviewing all of my blog entries to date, I quickly notice that the most notable entries also happen to be those that prompted the most comments. Based on that, here are my favorites:
Remembering Heidi Carson This tribute to one of our editors, who'd like many of us originally worked as a technology journalist before joining dW. We miss you, Heidi.
As I've said before, I'm honored to continue to be a part of this terrific team of dW colleagues and this thriving community as we celebrate our 10th birthday -- and pleased to see us extend our efforts with My developerWorks to more fully embrace the power of social computing and online communities, and with content that will help us make this planet smarter (including more content and resources focused on key open technologies such as cloud computing).
Be sure to take a look at the various "Top 10"-type lists from various developerWorks editors, and the various interviews with the people who created and launched and supported developerWorks from the beginning. And as always -- just as we stated when we launched even the beta of developerWorks a few months before Sept 1999: We welcome your thoughts and ideas. Please, don't be shy.
This week developerWorks turns 12 years old. As we consider our future and how to best serve our ever-growing community, it also is helpful to take a moment to reflect on the past, and no better time than an anniversary or birthday.
IBM had a much bigger milestone this year -- its 100th birthday. Last week, alluding to the importance of evolution and change, IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano quoted Tom Watson, Jr., who, when asked a half a century ago how a company can live 50 years, said, "I believe that if an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself but its core beliefs."
In many ways developerWorks has been prepared to change everything, all the while retaining its core beliefs. Changes have included a dramatic broadening and evolving of our topics, the transformation into a social business with an increasingly engaged community members who form groups, share comments and questions, blog, and otherwise interact and communicate, complementing our many how-to articles and tutorials, code, downloads, and other technical resources. We've expanded well beyond text and images to include demos, podcasts, video, and other new media. And at the same time we have reaffirmed our already strong focus on the fundamentals, the core beliefs that remain as critical to our success today as they were 12 years ago: The wants and needs of developers and IT professionals. In short, we know relevance is key. It is a prerequisite to our success in reaching and serving our community.
To help us become even more relevant, we look to guidance from industry analysts, community surveys, trends and web traffic. We talk continuously with our subject matter experts both inside and outside of IBM. We attend conferences and other industry events and talk to more experts. We talk with students and faculty. And we pore over your comments and suggestions on developerWorks.
That's already a robust set of input. Yet, as we consider which topics and technologies to prioritize, I believe we would benefit from even more input from some of you. That's why today I'm inviting you to join a new developerWorks community advisory panel. This is your opportunity to help shape developerWorks and help us be more relevant and valuable for you -- and for millions of your peers in the developer and IT professional community. Panelists will be sent occasional questions and have opportunities to participate in surveys and share your input. Interested? Send an email to me at email@example.com with answers to the following questions:
How does developerWorks help you today? Specific examples are encouraged.
How can developerWorks become even more valuable and relevant for you?
What makes you particularly qualified to be an opinion leader panelist for developerWorks?
What is your developerWorks display name?
I look forward to another year -- and also to your participation in shaping our future.
Today is my 10-year anniversary as an IBMer. I can't say I predicted this day 10 years ago. When I joined IBM in 1999 to help launch developerWorks as founding Editor-in-Chief, my skills and experience (an English major and Journalism minor, with years of experience not in engineering, but with print technology magazines and then pioneering in Web publishing with IDG's SunWorld Online and JavaWorld) hardly fit the mold of most IBM hires. But 10 years later, I am pleased to be able to celebrate this milestone -- and all the more pleased to do so via the new blogging environment in our just-launched My developerWorks -- what ReadWriteWeb calls the world's geekiest social network.
I'm also happy to see developerWorks now approaching its 10-year anniversary. (Look for more regarding developerWorks' 10th birthday in a few months.) I'm honored to continue to be a part of this terrific team of dW colleagues and this thriving community -- and pleased to see us extend our efforts again in 2009 with My developerWorks to more fully embrace the power of social computing and online communities.
The opportunity to celebrate a 100-year anniversary doesn't come often. IBM strives to celebrate its 100 years in business (official birthday is today, June 16) properly -- not with lavish parties, but with a focus on IBM giving back to and serving the communities across the globe. Read more about the IBM celebration of service and how IBMers are joining clients, partners and friends to improve communities worldwide.
As I consider this celebration from the perspective of my role as Editor in Chief of developerWorks, I can't help but think about what's technically cool and impressive from IBM that also serves not only the business or the Smarter Planet campaign but also improves communities worldwide, and one thing jumps to my mind: The World Community Grid, whose mission is "to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity"; it "depends upon individuals collectively contributing their unused computer time to change the world for the better." IBM supports this effort with hardware, software, and technical services. It's a terrific example of how technology supports such key goals as clean water, clean energy, and cures for diseases such as cancer and AIDS. And they're looking for new research projects that can use grid technology to benefit humanity -- so if you have an idea, submit a proposal.
The World Community Grid is but one example of IBM's impressive technology and its efforts to benefit communities worldwide. Beyond the contributions of individuals (such as the developerWorks team members pictured here who were helping feed the hungry yesterday; see also the local press coverage showing how hundreds of IBMers packed 100,000 meals in under two hours), IBM's products and technologies show that the Smarter Planet initiative is more than mere marketing. We're showcasing some of IBM's noteworthy products and activities over the last 100 years as "Icons of Progress." developerWorks newsletter editor John Swanson calls out a few icons that may be particularly of interest to the developerWorks community in his new blog. (Thanks to Daryl Pereira for helping cull that list -- and also thanks to Daryl for his blog encouraging others to share stories and activities from the IBM Centennial.)
Here's to making the next 100 years worth celebrating even more than the first 100.
More than 7,000 of your peers are attending this week's big IBM event: Pulse 2011, a service management conference and expo dedicated to showing how Integrated Service Management (ISM) can help organizations design, deliver, and manage innovative services across business and IT boundaries. The focus includes analytics, systems management, sensors and security -- and how you can use software, hardware and services to integrate your data and systems, automate IT for greater productivity and secure your intelligent IT infrastructures. In other words, it's about helping you adopt, and benefit from, Smarter Computing (Indeed, Smarter Computing is a topic of substantial discussion during Pulse).
Whether you're attending or not, you can tap a wealth of Pulse event resources -- and also join the new developerWorks community dedicated to integrated service management, Service Management Connect, which was announced at Pulse.
For starters, take a look at our collection of live streaming and just-recorded videos from Pulse -- including keynote sessions as well as interviews with IBM leaders, partners and IT experts live from the show floor with Scott Laningham, Producer and Host of the developerWorks podcast show:
Today at developerWorks we were introduced to our new Director, Alice Chou. Alice is a terrific fit for us, with extensive experience in the industry. Most recently she was the Director of WebSphere Development for Extreme Transaction Processing (XTP), Cloud & Open Source, responsible for bringing emerging technologies to market, including WebSphere Cloudburst Appliance and dynamic caching products. She previously spent time in Silicon Valley working with software companies, including startups, and is no stranger to SOA and open source. Welcome, Alice!
Out of the box, this community area enables better transparency about the evolution of Rational products, what's coming next and current priorities, and also will help us more quickly identify and address product enhancements that you and your peers submit.
The developerWorks team was pleased to be able to help when Rational came to us with this request, recognizing the experience and expertise dW has in building community and our being the primary IBM place for developers and IT professionals. I view this as a strong example of how the developerWorks community works well: Members learning the latest about key products and technologies, while at the same time sharing input and requests that enhance the products that the community uses, giving IBM (and each other) another way to listen to and better understand and respond to the community and your wants and needs. We hope to extend and improve upon this model in the coming months.[Read More]
We formally launched on Sept. 28, 1999 (after a few months as a public beta site). Eight years later, the fundamental developerWorks mission remains the same: To serve the wants and needs of developers and technical professionals. Our unwavering focus on this goal has helped grow the IBM developer community, which now boasts more than 5.7 million members. It has led to numerous awards, including the elite Jolt Hall of Fame award we received earlier this year. And it has helped us continue to distinguish ourselves from other vendor-sponsored developer sites, with our focus extending 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.)
Whatever your reason, whatever your path, we're glad you've found us. And to help us celebrate our birthday, we welcome your personal story: What brought you to developerWorks, and when? What do you value about developerWorks? Let us know -- simply post a brief comment to this blog entry.
P.S. Today I coincidentally learned that developerWorks' birthday falls on the same date as the birthday of Confucius. As one source notes:
In Taiwan, [Confucius] is honored on the anniversary of his birth - September 28th. His birthday is a legal holiday in Taiwan. It is referred to as Teacher's Day since Confucius is considered the greatest teacher in Chinese history.
Like Confucius, dW strives to teach (though I suppose Confucius did not focus particularly on IT professionals). I'm happy to see dW share a birthday with such a respected teacher. Who knows? Perhaps in a few thousand years, developerWorks' birthday will become an official holiday among IT companies, just as Confucius's birthday is a legal holiday in Taiwan. ;-)[Read More]
But despite all of our growth and evolution, our core developerWorks mission still remains the same: To serve the wants and needs of developers and IT professionals.
We could not be successful without support from many many individuals and groups, including the dedicated staff of developerWorks; IBM management and executives, who provide strong leadership and commitment, and recognize the key role developerWorks plays for the company as well as for the community; and perhaps most of all, the millions of developers and IT professionals across the globe, both outside and inside IBM -- who not only visit the dW site and read articles and tutorials and download trial code, but also write articles and tutorials and tips, develop and share sample code, post questions and answers to our forums and comments to our blogs, create and manage community spaces on specific technical topics, and in large part make developerWorks an award-winning community that is so valuable to so many people, and in so many ways. Thanks to you all.[Read More]
This week developerWorks employed a new, interactive "mouseover" design treatment on the developerWorks home page. This enhancement displays the descriptions of each week's featured content when you point your mouse at a title (rather than showing all descriptions simultaneously).
For example, developerWorks has dedicated significant attention and resources this year to key tools and technologies that enable a smarter planet -- technologies such as Cloud computing (this week alone we're publishing several new articles on Cloud computing), Social Tools, Green IT, and more.
And perhaps as substantial as any offering from developerWorks to date is the new My developerWorks, a.k.a. "the world's geekiest social network" -- a place where developers and IT professionals help one another become smarter. After all, no single person or company has all the answers, and smarter people will go a long way toward creating a smarter planet. With My developerWorks, IBM strives to connect the global community of software developers and make it easier for them to create new technologies based on open standards such as Java technology, Linux and XML.
IBM maintains a significant investment in developerWorks because we recognize the critical role developers and IT professionals play in business, and more broadly, in shaping our planet. Whatever the challenge -- reducing the time and fuel wasted in traffic; providing cleaner water and more efficient food supplies; establishing more intelligent and optimized energy grids; you name it -- IT professionals are bound to play a key role in transforming technologies, businesses, cities and governments, homes and farms, cars, planes and trains to address each challenge and thus make the world a better place. Clearly, one way to work smarter is to more effectively tap into the collective intelligence of your peers, and to collaborate to solve common problems. My developerWorks helps you collaborate and learn from each other. And more broadly, developerWorks continues to add to its collection of thousands of professionally developed how-to articles and tutorials (with recent emphasis on key topics such as Cloud computing) to help you build your skills, work smarter, and master the open, standards-based technologies and products that you employ as you help make the world smarter.
Congratulations to the entire developerWorks Japan team, including Koh'ichi Miyagawa, developerWorks Japan Managing Editor, as well as to the worldwide developerWorks team members who have supported dW Japan.[Read More]
Whatever your goal may be (successfully navigating a global economic downturn, making a smarter planet ... you name it), one key ingredient is communications, which can include many components: The flow and distribution of information. Establishing and nurturing connections with others. Collaboration. Today you have more resources than ever to help. And today your customers, partners, clients -- everyone -- expects more than ever in terms of what you offer to help them. That's why developerWorks is putting so much focus lately on social tools and technologies. Check out our Social Tools space to see our latest collection of social tools content and resources -- and find out how you can employ social tools and technologies to be more successful in your software development and IT projects. We strive to help you make wise and effective use of social tools.
We view social tools as one of this year's major developerWorks themes -- and one that ties into the "My developerWorks" efforts currently underway (for more details, listen to recent podcast on the topic of My dW). But truth be told, developerWorks has always been focused on serving the wants and needs of developers and IT professionals, and thus we always focused on community and sharing vs. talking "at" you. From the beginning, we recognized the importance of having experts in the broad IT community (not just IBM) contribute how-to articles and tutorials, and it meant providing ways for you to communicate with us -- and with each other: social tools and technologies such as discussion forums, feedback emails and forms, focus groups, live events. In April 2004 we at developerWorks helped lead IBM into the realm of blogs, and shortly afterward began offering podcasts that include discussions not just with the authors of our featured content (both IBMers and non-IBMers) and IBM leaders and experts (Steve Mills, Danny Sabbah, Grady Booch, Scott Ambler, ...), but also with experts outside of IBM, such as Tim Berners-Lee, John Maddog Hall, Chris Anderson, Jimmy Wales, and Tim O'Reilly. We continue to look for more ways to extend communications among all parties. We have always wanted you to communicate to us -- and to one another, too. Today we are focused on the social tools and collaboration and community more than ever, and that's reflected by our rich collection of related content and resources (again, check out the related Social Tools space, and keep coming back to the dW home page for new content and resources). And look for a major "My developerWorks" update in the coming weeks![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.
As some of you may have already learned (as CNet, ZDNet, 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 and Koders. 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.
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.
I read today about Matthew Szulik stepping down as CEO and president of Red Hat (though he will remain a key part of Red Hat, serving as Chairman of the Board). You can read his personal account of the news here.
I applaud Matthew's passion and success leading Red Hat and helping champion open source and Linux over the past decade. I also applaud his dedication to his family, which led to his transition. As reported by CNet, Matthew explains, "For the last nine months, I've struggled with health issues in my family. ... This job requires a 7x24, 110 percent commitment." Ultimately, Matthew prioritized his family -- a decision I appreciate all the more as my wife and I prepare for the birth of our first child. I wish him and his family the best.
Here's wishing everyone more time to share with their loved ones. Especially over the holidays, but also year-round. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, everyone.[Read More]
I'm excited to see my lineup of podcast interviews during the Rational Software Development Conference June 1-5. I'm also happy to offer the dW community (that's you, dear reader) the opportunity to submit questions for me to ask of these VIPs, who'll be sitting down with me for interviews during RSDC.
developerWorks will again be at the Rational Software Development Conference this year -- June 1-5 in Orlando, Florida. I again have the honor of doing a presentation about developerWorks, this year joined by dW Rational Community Manager Marc Siegel. I'll also again be conducting interviews at the conference. This year I've scheduled interviews with some VIPs at IBM -- and I invite you to suggest questions!
This week I'm focusing on gathering questions for Steve Mills. Many of you already know Steve runs IBM's Software Group -- he's the Senior Vice President and Group Executive of IBM Software Group. What you may not realize is that he is the leader of the world's largest software development organization, with some 24,000 developers, widely distributed across the globe. Sounds like someone worth talking to, eh? We plan to do just that, and we want to ask him the best of your questions. Have any? Please post your questions for Steve Mills here -- simply follow this link to the related dW forum thread (and perhaps read the questions others have posted), then click on "Reply to this thread" (upper left of page) to submit your own question(s). I'll ask as many of your good questions as I can when I talk to him at RSDC.
Also, if you haven't already heard it, check out our new developerWorks podcast about RSDC, in which dW's own Scott Laningham interviews Scott Hebner, Rational VP of Marketing and Strategy, for a quick preview of this year's conference. After listening and hearing more about this year's highlights (including big keynotes from folks like Steve Mills, Danny Sabbah and Grady Booch, guest speaker William Shatner, comedian Mitch Fatel, and Grammy-winning rock band The Wallflowers ... more than 300 technical sessions ... hands-on technical workshops ... complimentary IBM certification classes ... technology demonstrations ...) I'll bet you'll want to register now -- and see these execs (as well as many technical experts, and peers) in person.[Read More]
As reported in Computerworld this morning, "IBM today opened its Jazz.net open-source community to anyone who wants to provide feedback on the technology, which is intended to help improve collaboration among software development teams." This welcome news is something I'd encouraged (though I'm not naive enough to think my input had much to do with it). Glad to see it has now happened, and kudos to all who've helped make this happen, including Bill Higgins, who is now managing the Jazz.net community site.
Also of particular interest in the Computerworld article are the two concluding paragraphs:
IBM on Monday also announced that the second beta version of the first Jazz-based product -- called IBM Rational Team Concert Express -- is now available. The product, expected to be generally available later this year, is aimed at helping small and midsize development teams improve productivity through collaboration, IBM said. It includes Web dashboards to help users see real-time status data including the status of work items and project health.
Finally, IBM announced that IBM Research is working on a new projects called Bluegrass, which is aimed at using virtual worlds such as Second Life to help software developers work and brainstorm with one another using interactive visual representations of ideas, data from the Web and Jazz-based sources.
Check out the complete article for more details, including perspective from Scott Hebner, IBM Rational VP of marketing and strategy, about how IBM will "build our products in a completely transparent and collaborative fashion with our customers."
As reported in our recent dW newsletter, last week the developerWorks team received some tragic news:
Our good friend and colleague, Heidi Carson, was lost while scuba diving last week in the Caribbean. Heidi has been an integral part of developerWorks since its earliest days, most recently overseeing the editorial content on our Wireless and Web development zones. Heidi was adventurous, engaging, and extremely talented -- and we will miss her enormously. Our thoughts are with her family and all those close to her.
Heidi and I got to know each other before the birth of developerWorks, when we were both working at IDG in San Francisco in the 1990s. About five years ago, when she was living in Berlin, I visited her and explored Germany. This week I was compelled to dig up a couple of photos from that trip. One is in the garden of the Hotel Elephant (notice the elephant growing in the background) in Weimar; the other is in the city center of Berlin.
Last fall Heidi shared with me some photos of her too-recent wedding. One of those photos really stood out to me as capturing her beauty and her joyful presence:
Heidi always knew how to enjoy life, and I was honored to have known her and to share some time with her.
I miss you, Heidi -- both professionally and personally. Professionally, you've been a longtime champion of dW's focus on open and cross-platform environments, and you've played a key role in our success. (As one dW colleague put it, you helped dW "create a powerful Web presence, closely watched by competitors.") Your recent work as editor of the Web development zone, with its emphasis on today's popular Web 2.0 technologies, has been a particularly significant contribution, and both the dW team and dW visitors will miss you as we continue to grow that zone. Personally, I, as well as many colleagues and friends, will miss your wit and warm smile, your calming presence and your genuine, generous nature. (As one friend put it, with your "iridescent smile," you "brightened every room.") But I also know that you live on. I know that the foundation you helped build with dW will continue to serve the dW community for years to come. And I know that your spirit, and your wonderful example of living a happy and full life, live on with me, and with many others. I wish you eternal happiness.[Read More]
developerWorks just launched a brand new zone dedicated to AIX and UNIX. This new zone focuses on system administration, performance, and problem solving for UNIX and AIX, and will also address migration and porting issues. A recent featured article addresses performance tuning of UNIX systems. This week's feature article helps you "make UNIX work with Windows XP and Mac OS X," and another new article shows you how UNIX and Linux can work together, sharing core databases and file systems. And there's much more already available -- and more to come.
Check out the new AIX and UNIX zone. Oh, and please do send any feedback -- via either comments here or the "rate this page" forms within the zone.[Read More]
I've been keeping busy over the past month with holiday travel to Taiwan and getting ready for teaching a university course about online communities (more about that later), but wanted to also take a moment to reflect on the past year -- and particularly the top dW content from 2006.
One good measure of which content resonated is that which garnered the most attention in terms of click-throughs from our email newsletter. dW newsletter editor John Swanson kindly -- and very quickly -- tallied the numbers for 2006. (Thanks, John!)
In chronological order, here are dW's top 10 items of 2006, based on newsletter-driven traffic:
(Note that the Mastering Ajax series started in December 2005 with Part 1, which was written by bestselling author and veteran programmer Brett McLaughlin. This series has been among our most popular and highest rated, garnering thosands of positive reader ratings and commments.)
IBM announced on Feb. 3 it is offering "free software and educational resources to help developers in Russia build and deploy innovative applications based on open standards and open source." The developerWorks teams are participating in these efforts via our new developerWorks Russia site: www.ibm.com/developerworks/ru/ (developerWorks also offers other region-specific dW sites.)
I'm happy to see IBM continue to strongly support open standards in Russia -- and across the globe -- and happy also that developerWorks can provide software and resources (including free versions of IBM middleware, IBM WebSphere Application Server Community Edition and IBM DB2 Universal Database Express-C as well as our vast collections of trial code, tutorials, how-to articles, technical forums, emerging technologies, blogs, and more.)
"The Wayward Word Press" (Dave Shields) Happy Birthday alphaWorks! (includes an insightful perspective on the evolution of aW and Jikes in particular)
The alphaWorks Services launch event this week drew a diverse group of attendees including ISVs, professors, developers, press and analysts. The participants also represented a wide range of disciplines and experience, and included John Patrick, industry luminary and founding father of alphaWorks; David Temkin, co-founder and CTO of Laszlo Systems; Tony Wasserman, professor of software engineering at Carnegie Mellon University; Christopher Balz, independent software developer; Marc Goubert, manager of alphaWorks; Buell Duncan, general manager, ISV & Developer Relations (IBM); and Rod Smith, vice president, Emerging Internet Technology and IBM Fellow.
The event featured a retrospective video and podcast, showcasing Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Rod Smith, and Gina Poole, all key players in the history of alphaWorks, sharing their thoughts on the impetus for the program, as well as successes and lessons along the way.[Read More]
We just launched a new weekly podcast that discusses the latest content on developerWorks. "This Week on developerWorks" is co-hosted by yours truly and Podcast Editor Scott Laningham, and will include dW editors, authors, and other guests.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions. We're also looking into adding a "question of the week." So if you have any questions for us to consider, please post 'em here as comments.[Read More]
Today on the IBM.com home page is a story about IBM bloggers (available in fancy format, plain format ... and even in PDF). This discusses not just the developerWorks bloggers, but also others -- like Ed Brill (who was already blogging when we launched the developerWorks blogs back in April of 2004, and who has a much much bigger following than I do with my blog -- and thus I remain grateful to this day for the time he referenced my blog from his blog). Included is perspective on IBM's blogging guidelines, plus a link to the guidelines document itself. It also has some IBM bloggers addressing topics such as the best (and worst) reasons to blog about your work/job/career, the unexpected benefits of blogging, and their favorite non-IBMer blogs.
Of particular interest in this story (aside from its mention of developerWorks and of dW bloggers such as dW community chief Rawn Shah, of course):
A new blog directory, or "blogroll," is also now available on ibm.com to help visitors find IBMers who are now using blogs in the normal course of their jobs. By voluntarily listing themselves here, these IBM employees have set their welcome mat out for anyone to stop by, ask a question, pose an idea, take issue with a position, and otherwise engage in a new level of collaboration and conversation for corporations -- and the very real people who make them work.
I am glad to see this new IBM-wide blogroll, and continue to be impressed by IBM's adoption of blogs, as well as podcasts and other communications tools. (Check out, for example, this recent podcast about IBM podcasting which includes comments from dW's own podcast guru, Scott Laningham.) Such activities are all the more impressive considering how big and, uh, venerable, Big Blue is.[Read More]
Today IBM announced it has acquired Gluecode Software, a privately-held company known for developing open source application infrastructure software based on Apache Geronimo, the open source Web application server platform.
I'm pleased to see IBM take another step to demonstrate that it values open source and open standards. IBM's support of Apache projects continues to grow, and with this move IBM effectively commits to Apache Geronimo as the open source application server of the future, which combined with WebSphere gives IBM a rich set of technology to serve a variety of clients' needs.
The Gluecode acquisition also shows that developers who work on open source projects get rewarded. I'd imagine a few of you are happy to see such activities.
Yesterday Sam Ruby posted this interesting blog entry with a bit of feedback about the new IBM blogroll. It garnered some good comments as well ... worth a look.
Of particular note is Sam's "planet" (a concept developerWorks has covered on occasion; see for example the January 2004 Edd Dumbill article XML Watch: Planet Blog). Sam's "planet" shows "Selected blogs postings by IBM employees." I like how this presents the latest content from all of these IBM bloggers (effectively creating an IBMer group blog), along with a blogroll that links to each individual's blog. And I'm especially impressed with how quickly Sam put this together. Kudos, Sam.
OK, back to perusing all these IBM blog posts -- some 50 entries already for today alone. Would a feed (Atom, RSS) combining all of these be a bit (too) overwhelming?[Read More]
Amidst all the hoopla at JavaOne (which included a keynote presentation by Erich Gamma and John Wiegand telling the inside story of Eclipse, including how its development has evolved over the past five years, from both a technical and a process perspective; check out the Eclipse keynote replay (RealPlayer required)), this notable item related to open, cross-platform interoperability may have slipped under many a radar:
As for the focus on programming models, the goal is to develop compatibility between commercial and open source Ajax tools that have until now evolved largely in a vacuum.
"If you use multiple Ajax toolkits, today they don't share the [web] page very well," said [David Boloker, CTO for IBM's Emerging Internet Technology Software Group], noting that each set of tools has different sets of event handlers and widgets.
"The lack of interoperability would cause the demise of Ajax," said John Crupi, CTO of fellow member JackBe.
In short, the members of this initiative seek to "promote Ajax's promise of universal compatibility with any computer device, application, desktop or operating system, and easy incorporation into new and existing software programs." (See the initial (Feb. 2006) Open Ajax Initiative press release.) Open Ajax "is a consolidated development effort," said Rod Smith, IBM Vice President of Emerging Technologies. "We'll do better collectively working together toward Ajax than we can do individually." (See the related Feb. 2006 IDG News article quoting Smith.)
Note also that earlier this month the Open Ajax group announced 13 new members: Adobe, Backbase, Fair Isaac, ICEsoft, Innoopract, Intel, JackBe, Opera, SAP, Scalix, Software AG, Tibco and XML11. These new members join an already impressive list of initial members: BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, Google, IBM, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla Corp., Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo!, Zend and Zimbra.
developerWorks recently published a related technical article that helps prepare developers for Open Ajax. It introduces two existing run-time tools -- Dojo and Zimbra -- which will be supported in Eclipse's Ajax Toolkit Framework (ATF). Check out Two tools bring Ajax to Eclipse's Ajax Toolkit Framework.
It's nice to see some validation that IBM's emphasis on open standards is yielding compelling competitive advantages.
A just-published developer productivity study, which the Branham Group independently verified and certified, concludes that IBM has a significant advantage in an area long perceived to be one of Microsoft's strengths: Developer Productivity.
The study concludes that, among other things:
IBM development tools were more productive in seven out of the eight applications that were built.
IBM development tools were able to meet and exceed the requirements for all eight applications. The Microsoft development tools were not able to meet four of the eight application requirements.
Within the Microsoft development environment, as compared to the IBM development environment, over three times the amount of manual coding was required.
More tools and more support software were required to build the eight applications in the Microsoft environment vs. the IBM environment. This increased the complexity of the Microsoft development environment.
As I prepare to head to Las Vegas for IBM's biggest developer conference of the year (rationalconf2005), I feel I, along with my colleagues at developerWorks and throughout IBM, can stand a bit taller this month.
This week the developer publication SD Times has come out with their latest "SD Times 100" -- a list of "movers and shakers," those few that "demonstrated the greatest amount of leadership." It honors the "organizations, individuals or movements that were talked about, those that created not only great technology but also great buzz." I'm happy to report that IBM developerWorks was named as one of only ten "influencers" and credited with embracing the developer community and raising the bar for everyone else.
More broadly, IBM also was honored in nearly all categories. To wit:
In Modeling, SD Times declared Rational "the yardstick everyone measures against. 'Atlantic' tied Rational's modeling tools to Eclipse 3.0 and to the rest of the IBM tool chain. Rose (now Rose XDE) remains the de facto standard modeler."
Tools and Environments: "Agile delivery, big-picture plans drive Big Blue across the Atlantic."
Embedded and Mobile: "Striding briskly into embedded technologies as it evolves ChipOS."
Database and Data Access: "Open-source Cloudscape raised bar for Java, app-specific databases."
Test and Performance: "Everyone's tools compete with Rational or support Rational. Or both."
Collaboration and SCM: "Rational tool set and WSAD form formidable collab environment."
Influencers: "developerWorks embraced developers, raised bar for everyone else."
Also, Eclipse was named among the top "Tools & Environments": "The newly independent Eclipse community became all the rage with the heady market buzz and third-party momentum for tools and plug-ins. A board packed with competitors makes a level playing field." (It was also nice to see not only dW, but also "The Bazaar" (with a nod to Eric Raymond), the Eclipse Foundation, and the World Wide Web Consortium all recognized as top influencers.
Meanwhile, IBM developerWorks also was recognized in this year's "Software Development Jolt and Productivity Awards." The judges named dW one of the industry's top four "Websites and Developer Networks." (Other winners in this category are the O'Reilly Network, developer.* and Java.net.) Here's what one judge had to say about dW:
"DeveloperWorks has been one of my favorite technical sites for years. Big Blue understands the needs of developers very wellnot only does it offer information regarding its products and services, it posts great "how-to" technical articles on a vast array of topics, including how to write better Java, how to be effective with UML 2, how to create better data models, and how to administer Linux successfully. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. ... Even if you don't work in an IBM shop, you'll find developerWorks a valuable resource."
IBM wants to encourage more of its business partners to use its open-source, low-end application server and free entry-level database by giving those companies access to IBM sales, marketing and technical expertise at no charge.
Partners who use IBM's WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) or the vendor's DB2 Express-C database will be able to directly tap IBM staff for advice on integration, scalability, testing, and support issues and won't have to pay for the privilege, IBM said Wednesday.
Such IBM feedback should help business partners bring their software based on WAS CE or DB2 Express-C more quickly to market, according to Rado Nikolov, director of strategy and emerging business, independent software vendor (ISV) and developer relations at IBM. The company will also help some partners create more buzz for their products in different geographies through free ongoing telemarketing campaigns and discounted advertising. Partners can also call on IBM sales staff for assistance in closing deals, he said.
Personally, I am always happy to see IBM extend its open source efforts, and boosting support of partners in this fashion should certainly fuel broader adoption of open source solutions.
And speaking of open source solutions, have you heard about the new IBM "Open Client Solution" as an "alternative to vendor lock-in" and to "improve interoperability and provide more choice to run different vendors' products that work together"? Now we're talkin'! See a related CNet News.com article and the IBM press release.
Earlier this week I felt a pain in my chest ... something I'd never really experienced before, at least not without a known cause. I didn't think it was anything serious; the pain was not severe. But since I was unfamiliar with this sort of pain and I did not know the cause, I started exploring the symptom online. Virtually everything I could find suggested any chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack or heart issue, and encouraged getting medical care immediately. I was reluctant, but considering that a heart attack killed my grandfather before I met him, as well as my wife's strong encouragement, I agreed to go to the nearby hospital emergency room.
Chest pain apparently is the first-class ticket in ER; it really seems to draw prompt attention. I've been to emergency rooms before for such things as a broken bone, and I recall spending hours in the waiting room before getting examined and treated. But this week, when I went in and mentioned chest pain, they immediately escorted me into an exam room to check my vitals, then moved me to another room to hook me up to various machines (EKG, oxygen, etc.). For a few minutes I had four people surrounding me, attaching tubes, inserting needles, drawing blood, and checking equipment... And while I was getting all of that attention, I started to think this might be really serious. I suppose that explains why my blood pressure went up quite a bit since it was first measured in room number one.
Next they took X-rays and kept me for a few hours of observation ... then moved me to another room ... then took me to a lab and ran more tests, including a stress test. All the while they kept me from food and drink, and effectively kept me from sleep with all the relocations and interruptions. Finally, some 14 hours later, I got the verdict: I have no heart problem. They couldn't tell me what caused the mild chest pain, but they assured me that my heart is healthy.
Ah, the things one takes for granted, and how a single event can shake some assumptions, prompt some newfound gratitude for fundamentals such as health. Thinking about the open heart surgery that fellow dW blogger Grady Booch recently endured, and considering the health challenges that so many others face, makes me realize how fortunate I am to have spent only one night at the hospital -- and how fortunate I am to have a healthy heart.
I was also fortunate that the hospital could employ such gadgets as "peripheral venous access" devices that let them access my veins multiple times via a single entry point (and thus prick me with a needle only one time, versus stab me each time). Or the standard, intuitive user interface for the multi-purpose remote controls in the hospital rooms (although I question the wisdom of having the emergency alert button next to the TV channel-changing button). If I'd stayed a bit longer (or if I was not so sleep-deprived and self-absorbed with my pending diagnosis), I might've asked about the software and hardware at my hospital, and perhaps find out how much they've embraced open, cross-platform standards. I wonder how my local hospital measures up to St. Anthony's Medical Center which (with IBM's help) leveraged open standards to integrate components from multiple vendors and create scalable digital imaging and disaster recovery systems.[Read More]
IBM today announced it has purchased BuildForge, a leading provider of build and release management software.
Rational VP Roger Oberg concisely describes the deal in an InfoWorld/IDG News Service article:
BuildForge is "a very natural complement" to what IBM customers are already using Rational for, according to Roger Oberg, vice president for Rational marketing and strategy at IBM. He pointed out that IBM didn't previously have its own build-management software, and that it was already a strong user of BuildForge's products internally for building software suites. IBM also intends to maintain BuildForge's "agnostic" approach, continuing support for non-IBM development tools as well as for Rational, Oberg added.
Organizations are increasingly under pressure to deliver enterprise products and services faster. Development organizations are hard pressed to manage complex applications, coordinate globally distributed development and production teams while maintaining high software quality. Additionally, they are faced with the need to meet compliance mandates — either from external or internal pressures — that require complete traceability and audit trails that demand a new flexible development infrastructure. BuildForge products help clients accelerate software delivery, as well as meet audit and compliance mandates across distributed, cross-platform environments.
BuildForge products provide complete build and release process management. They provide a framework that helps development teams to standardize and automate tasks and share information. Build acceleration capabilities make the process fast, resulting in fast time-to-market. Enterprise reporting and analytics improve visibility into the build and release process. Process control and audit trails help meet compliance requirements. BuildForge products are designed to help clients deliver applications fast and in a compliant manner.
I'm about to head to the airport (heading to rationalconf2005 in Las Vegas, where I'll be blogging daily, helping with the show daily newsletter, and presenting at the conference). Before I leave, though, I wanted to spread the word about a just-published developerWorks interview involving three prominent leaders -- not only at Rational and IBM, but in the broader software development community.
As Rational Software co-founder Mike Devlin prepares to retire and is handing the reins over to veteran IBM executive Danny Sabbah, Grady Booch interviews both. The result is an insightful discussion of how Rational has impacted software development, why Rational and IBM joined forces, and what the future holds for IBM Rational (which Grady aptly describes as "the software development brand at IBM Software Group").
My thanks to Mike Perrow, Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Edge, for pulling this together, as well as to Grady for asking insightful questions and to Mike and Danny for answering 'em.
It's always nice to see hard work recognized. Thus I'm happy to report that last week dW received a trophy from Software Development magazine, honoring IBM developerWorks for providing the industry's "Best Technical Support."
This marks our second consecutive Readers' Choice Award from SD, a leading industry magazine. Unlike some other reader awards, this one employs measures to prevent ballot-stuffing: "Voting is controlled by sending an invitation to Software Development readers containing a personal identification number ensuring that votes made using a duplicate PIN can be removed; all suspect votes were eliminated from the data pool."
SD readers also chose IBM as a finalist for "Best Employer (Overall)," and IBM Rational Application Developer as a finalist (and Linux as the winner) for "Most Robust Tool." Eclipse was a finalist for "Best GUI (Overall)." For details, see the press release from CMP Media's SD magazine.
This is the latest of a series of recent industry awards bestowed upon dW. My thanks goes out to the dedicated developerWorks team for making these awards possible -- and to all of the developers and technical professionals who use developerWorks for your words of encouragement and ongoing feedback. Whether industry awards or individual reader comments, we greatly value your input. And we're particularly motiviated when you share tidbits such as this recent reader comment: "This was wonderfully helpful. If I had not found it, I would have been completely in the dark."
Please do share your praise, as well as your criticism. Let us know how we can best continue to shed light on key technical topics.[Read More]
developerWorks just published an interview with Scott Cosby and Paul Buck that describes WAS CE (which will be available for download later this year) and its significance. As Paul Buck states, "With IBM and a diverse open source community already backing Apache Geronimo, I don't think any other open source app server enjoys the same community investment in both engineering time and proven technology contributions."
This news comes on the heels of the release of Apache Geronimo 1.0-M5, which is the first version of Geronimo to boast official and full J2EE 1.4 certification. (Today Apache also issued a brief press release about the new J2EE-certified "Milestone 5" version of Geronimo.) Other news on the Geronimo front: a new logo.
The WAS CE announcement not only reaffirms and extends IBM's commitment to open source in general and Geronimo in particular. It also means you have more options, more choices. If you want the latest open source code direct from Apache, then you can download it directly from the Apache Geronimo site. If you seek something that's been vetted by IBM, WAS CE may your choice; it's gone through some additional testing to insure it works well with the IBM Java Virtual Machine and meets IBM's legal, quality and performance requirements. And if you need a more robust, industrial-strength app server, WebSphere Application Server V6.0 boasts enhanced capabilities for transaction management as well as security, performance, availability, connectivity, and scalability.
We'll offer the WAS CE download through developerWorks as soon as it is available. In the meantime, for more perspective on WebSphere Application Server Community Edition and its significance, see our interview and these related independent articles:
This week IBM is jamming. As in holding a live jam session, online, focused on innovation. As IBM GM Buell Duncan notes in his blog:
today ibm launched its innovation jam. literally tens of thousands of ibmers from around the world are coming together to share ideas and opinions on ways to drive innovation in market opportunities ... what makes this jam even more interesting is that more than a thousand customers and partners are participating, as well as friends and family! like earlier jams, this will generate thousands of new ideas to build upon addressing some of the key challenges of our time.
jamming, collaborating, blogging - the better we are at exchanging ideas and standing on each other's shoulders, the more successful all of us will be. it's all about communicating... more often and more clearly. communicate, communicate, communicate ---- like partnering 1+1 usually equals more than three!
In the same spirit of helping one another be more successful, I encourage all developerWorks visitors to exchange ideas with us: Please share your thoughts with the developerWorks team. Simply comment in this blog with your ideas, feedback, requests ... any input that may help us "stand on each other's shoulders."
P.S. For those who've asked where I've been lately, I'm just back from some international travel and my wedding and honeymoon. So look for more activity in this space now that (sigh) the honeymoon is over...[Read More]
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.
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]
At the big alphaWorks 10th Anniversary party today, quite a bit is happening. Including a big announcement and demos from people like Marc Goubert, manager of alphaWorks, and Rod Smith, vice president of emerging internet technology and IBM Fellow. Details will be made available here soon after the announcement happens. Stay tuned.
If you haven't yet checked out developerWorks podcasts, perhaps our new "developerWorks Interviews" series will make you reconsider. Scott Laningham and I kick off the dW interviews series by talking with Grady Booch, who discusses, among other things, innovation and evolution in IT and the challenges and opportunities facing developers today, such as balancing the flood of new technology without rejecting the fundamentals. I think you'll find it worth a listen. (And for those who prefer the written word, we offer transcripts as well as the audio.)[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]
Today IBM Rational launched the new, version 7 batch of its desktop products (aka the Caspian release products). These Rational Software Delivery Platform desktop products, based on Eclipse 3.2, are designed to help development teams better design, implement and manage the delivery of software architectures. See the IBM Rational Web site for the brand's official announcement and perspective.
Of particular note: These products are based on Eclipse 3.2. The fact that IBM used Eclipse as the foundation for its key set of developer products speaks strongly to its commitment to the Eclipse platform. Also of interest are the comments from my colleague Simon Johnston, who's already mentioned the launch in his blog today, and noted also that thanks in part to Simon's own efforts, "IBM [now] has a single method for the development of SOA solutions, whether you buy that method for your own use or you contract with IBM services; you the customer get the value of the combined experience of IBM's product and services communities."
Across developerWorks we've published a number of new resources related to the new V7 products:
Listen to a developerWorks interview podcast in which Rational VPs Jamie Thomas, Lee Nackman, and Scott Hebner give an overview of V7 of the IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform Desktop products, talk about the evolutionary changes in IT and in business that have been the impetus for V7, and more.
Check out the new resources, and in particular the free V7 desktop trial software (Application Developer, Software Architect, Systems Developer, Software Modeler, Functional Tester, Manual Tester), and let us know what you think. [Read More]
As reported in Computerworld, The New York Times, and elsewhere, a report based in part on input from 13 different countries suggests, among other things, that open standards would improve responses to disasters such as last December's tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, and states that government policies should "mandate technology choice, not software development models."
The report defines open standards, which it distinguishes from open source, based on six elements including the nature of its control, evolution, and availability, and explains how propriety software can exist within an open standards environment.
As Computerworld reports:
A road map aimed at guiding governments and companies in the development of open information and communication technologies was presented Friday at a World Bank meeting in New York by a group that included academics, government officials and industry representatives. The Open ePolicy Group contends that the adoption of open standards is vital to global economic growth and innovation.
"Responding agencies and nongovernmental groups are unable to share information vital to the rescue effort," the report recalls of the government in Thailand in the tsunami's immediate aftermath. "Each uses different data and document formats. Relief is slowed; coordination is complicated. The need for common, open standards for disaster management was never more stark or compelling."
So this is not just about economic growth and innovation. It's about survival.
Here's hoping we'll heed these lessons before the next major disaster strikes.
This is one of the most important developer products that IBM is releasing this year. I am impressed by its versatility: It can be used by a wide range of developers, including those who are familiar with Domino and those who are not, as well as those familiar with Java or not. So those who are familiar with Domino Designer to make the jump into the Java world, and those who know Java can get even more out of it.
As Dick's article notes,
If your background is in Notes/Domino programming, you can think of Workplace Designer as a tool for providing Domino Designer type application development functionality to IBM Workplace. In fact, those familiar with Domino Designer will notice a lot of similarities with many IBM Workplace features and concepts described later in this article. This similarity is not coincidental -- Workplace Designer was created with Domino Designer in mind. This allows experienced Domino developers to leverage their existing skills to quickly create new applications for IBM Workplace.
On the other hand:
Even if you don't have a great deal of experience with development platforms such as Domino Designer, Workplace Designer will give you an easy way to use document-oriented programming for collaborative components without requiring an in-depth knowledge of Java. Workplace Designer's underlying J2EE technologies are not exposed, so expertise in this area is not necessary to develop production applications -- although if you need the power and flexibility of Java, there are extensive APIs available that let you access the data and services provided by IBM Workplace servers. Developers who have a greater need for customization and the ability to access the code directly can use tools such as Rational Application Developer. Workplace Designer offers a number of extension points that more experienced Java developers can use to share code artifacts created with Rational Application Developer and other IBM tools.
This standards-based development tool lets developers quickly and easily create components for release 2.5 of the IBM Workplace family of products. These components can then be used within IBM Workplace applications from any Web browser. Slick.
Want to enrich your Web site with more useful technical content and resources? developerWorks wants to help.
By simply copying and pasting a few lines of HTML code (customized based on your preferences) you can instantly add the latest and greatest dW info to your site. It's easy to do. Just go to our Build your own feeds page, select the topics and types of content you want in your feed. We then generate the HTML code for you to grab and paste into your Web site, so you can include a live dW feed containing our latest content and resources on whatever topics you select. That's all there is to it!
For a more detailed explanation, check out our latest on demand demo, presented by Doug Tidwell, which will walk you through the simple process step by step.
I just built a custom feed with this brand new feature myself. I selected technology topics that particularly relate to open standards and cross-platform development, and I chose two content types, articles and tutorials. I got a feed that displayed ten recent articles and tutorials, nicely formatted. Give it a try yourself!
Don't want HTML? Get Atom & RSS format If you want to incorporate our content into your own personal news reader, you can also create custom feeds in RSS and Atom formats at the same Build your own feeds page on developerWorks.[Read More]
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."
Robert LeBlanc, General Manager of IBM's WebSphere division, is giving a keynote at JavaOne today (starting just about now) focused on the importance on open source and open standards development with Java. I regret I'm missing it myself (stuck on the East Coast this week); fortunately, thanks to Rawn Shah and Andy Dean, I got the scoop on what he's presenting today: A demonstration of how aspect-oriented programming can be applied to existing code to add open source software components.
The demo, created by Matthew Webster in IBM's Hursley Lab in the UK, highlights the concept of remixing existing projects with new features and add-ons to introduce creative variations on a project that's close to our hearts here at dW: Robocode.
The trick here is the use of the Eclipse Foundation's AspectJ project applied to RoboCode to add new features to robots without needing to change each robot's source code. The demo took a basic IBM robot and created three different versions using new features that are each encapsulated as an aspect. The audience got to see the source code and watch Matthew navigate between aspects and affected classes using the views provided by the AJDT plug-in, which provides full AspectJ support within Eclipse.
The project has been enhanced, with sound effects for a kids' version and more aggressive battling tactics to build a version for teens. Finally, the project added enterprise JMX management capabilities to allow budding executives to monitor and direct their robots using a Web interface: they like to be in control!
The idea of using AspectJ to add new enterprise capabilities to an open source component to allow better integration is very interesting. As more solutions are built from open source components, the ability to apply a smart integration glue across different components will become increasingly important. This is Lawrence Lessig's Remix Culture come alive in a new way within software.
Aside from all the important details, RoboCode is just plain fun. It has been aptly described as "a fun and challenging way to learn object-oriented programming," and as "particularly effective for grabbing the attention of teenage boys." I encourage boys -- and girls -- of all ages to check it out.[Read More]
This week the RSS Advisory Board voted to expand its membership to 15 members. As stated in an rssboard.org news item:
The board is an independent organization formed in 2003 that publishes the Really Simple Syndication specification, helps developers create RSS applications and works to broaden public understanding of the format.
If you are involved in RSS as a publisher, programmer, educator or executive and you'd be interested in joining, please contact board chairman Rogers Cadenhead.
A friendly shout out to Chairman Cadenhead, with whom I once played some D&D-like role-playing games when we were both seniors at Berkner High School. Guess we were both doomed to geekish careers...
Note that meanwhile, several dW and IBM techies have blogged about the benefits of Atom, an alternative to RSS.
One detail of this announcement did prompt a raised eyebrow: "This proposal revises the charter to expand the board and permit deliberations on new members to take place privately, rather than on the mailing listRSS-Board" (emphasis added). Hmmm. Do closed deliberations regarding new board members make the standard any less open? Food for thought.[Read More]
A new article on developerWorks, Standards and specs: Naturally occurring standards, aptly describes the nature of de facto standards, compares them to open standards, and offers advice on how to navigate when you encounter de facto standards. I especially liked these tidbits:
If you're considering getting into a field where there's a proprietary de facto standard, be aware that the vendor who controls that standard has no economic reason to make it easy for you to participate.
Support the existing formats, but make your own open, and market pressure may give you an excellent opportunity to make inroads. You may rest assured that users are not currently thinking to themselves, "I want the next product I buy to lock me in to a proprietary format forever."
Definitely worth a read for those of us who focus on open standards.[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]
alphaWorks Services extends alphaWorks beyond a place to download emerging technologies. Now you can also leverage the software-as-a-service delivery model at alphaWorks. Now developers, businesses and universities can easily
access emerging technologies over the Internet directly from IBM R&D labs, and provide real-time feedback to help shape these technologies -- and the future.
We at IBM see alphaWorks Services as benefiting both the community and IBM. For IBM, alphaWorks services serves as a tool that will help IBM respond quickly to changing business needs and requirements, and in turn, deliver higher quality software to the marketplace. For early adopters and innovators, alphaWorks Services will let organizations adopting these cutting-edge technologies more quickly, and make it easier to collaboratively innovate.
Ad hoc Development and Integration tool for End Users (ADIEU) is a simplified online tool for rapid collaborative development of Web apps and Web services. It lets you develop applications in an environment designed for non-programmers. (Example: create a Web service in a matter of minutes that will deliver stock quote information as an RSS or Atom feed.)
Web Relational Blocks (WebRB) is a visual web-based tool that lets you easily build enterprise Web applications through a simple browser interface. Components are dragged and dropped onto the canvas and then wired together to visually assemble the GUI. (Example: rapidly develop and deploy web-based e-commerce applications such as a shopping site by simply adding the store features through the drag-and-drop mechanism.)
Deep Thunder provides local, high-resolution weather predictions. For many businesses, such as transportation agencies or supply chain companies, expected local weather conditions are critical factors in planning operations and making effective decisions. Companies can use weather predictions from this tool to collaborate with other organizations and plan accordingly.
It's great to see the continued innovation from alphaWorks ... to see aW itself adopting of new concepts and technologies. Services are a big deal not just for alphaWorks, but across all of IBM -- and across many of today's businesses, too. In the coming weeks and months, look for more info and resources related to services -- as well as SOA (service-oriented architecture) -- from alphaWorks and developerWorks.
IBM is sounding the trumpets this week about SOA. Big Blue is offering SOA Webcasts and movies, planning giveaways of SOA books, meeting with press and analysts, sending out press releases, overwhelming less-than-modern CPUs and disks (or at least my CPU and disk drive...and corporate server e-mail quota) with hefty presentation files, and otherwise filling many hours of IBMers' schedules with various internal communications, teleconferences, and Webcasts educating all of us about the value of SOA.
In short: SOA is a big deal around here.
Broadly speaking, IBM is emphasizing some key talking points, such as that IBM and its partners are SOA leaders, and that SOA is delivering business value (operational results, flexibility, innovation), and that SOA continues to enjoy enhancements.
For developers, perhaps one of the most notable SOA developments is the new WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) software, which helps to manage web services and shared business processes. I encourage you to check out the related article (and others in this intro-to-WSRR series) from developerWorks, as well as the broader collection of SOA materials highlighted in our developerWorks "top story" this week (which also highlights the related SOA Resource Center).
Also of note, from dW bloggers:
Bobby Woolf (in his blog) points to an entry in his "WebSphere SOA and J2EE in Practice" Wiki about the WSRR
At yesterday's keynote, Roger Oberg and Danny Sabbah described how software can work (or play) together in concert. Roger discussed how pieces of software can interoperate across technologies, global boundaries, silos, and even generations. He also noted that significant freedoms can be gained by governing development, leaving more room to innovate. Danny mentioned three trends - community, modularity, and empowerment. He also discussed how "passive governance… [the] integration of automation into what we do every day" fuels innovation. He said governance empowers teams, provides greater efficiencies through reuse, allows for clearly defined goals and greater line of sight, and increases efficiencies of globally distributed environments. Danny led a discussion with panelists (including Joe Bugajski, VP Global Standards, VISA; Jan Roberts, Senior Director, CETS, Network Software & Systems Technology Group, Cisco Systems; and Jay Cappy, Managing Director, BearingPoint) who described their challenges and reinforced the importance of community, modularity, empowerment, and open standards.
At a press conference after the keynote, Danny Sabbah emphasized IBM's support of open source, saying open source software "is something we are incorporating into our business strategy. And we're not gonna fight it like others. We're not going try to keep proprietary standards that fight against open source. ... I don't believe that it's bad for the industry at all -- unlike a few of our competitors." I know IBM fully supports standards and open source, as evidenced by its efforts around Linux, Eclipse, J2EE, Apache, and newer activities such as the Open Ajax Initiative, for example. Still, I always like to hear executives validate and reaffirm our position.
Report from Tuesday to follow ... may include notes from two events tonight I'm looking forward to: the Jazz demo and blogger meetup. Also, look for several podcast interviews we conducted today with various execs and thought leaders here at the conference, also coming soon.[Read More]
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.)
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]
Our welcome reception poolside this evening had a bit of added water, courtesy rain clouds, which prompted folks to get closer as they found cover until the rain subsided. I'd imagine some people got better acquainted with one another -- and after all, isn't a big part of the value of these events the chance to socialize, network, meet new faces, etc? We got a bit of help from Mother Nature...
This year I'm happy to see the RSDC conference include a robust track dedicated to open sourch and standards. The "Open Computing: Open Source to Open Standards" track includes about 15 sessions on topics such as Eclipse, PHP, Apache, Ajax, Grid, Ruby, and XML. I'll be sure to attend some of those.
Looking forward to the big keynote (yes, this is indoors, so no need for umbrellas) at 8 a.m. with Danny Sabbah and others. Monday afternoon includes sessions presented by various "Innovators" from IBM Research, and I'll join a Birds-of-a-Feather session 7-8 p.m. with the developerWorks Rational online community (which we hope will help attendees get more involved). We'll also be showing our stuff in the Solution Center of the exhibit hall, which opens Monday at 5 p.m. Do say hello to the dW team at pedastals 1-4 this week if you have a chance.[Read More]
Today Danny Sabbah, GM of IBM Rational Software, sent a note to IBMers that nicely summarizes a major milestone: The 5-year anniversary of Eclipse as an open source project. Here's an excerpt:
Over the last five years, we've seen Eclipse evolve from a platform for application development tools to a universal integration platform for building and deploying software worldwide, with IBM driving much of the progress. ...
Since this day in 2001, when IBM made available the source code for the Eclipse platform under an open source license at eclipse.org, Eclipse has grown to include 66 open source projects and is the basis for more than 1,300 products. According to IDC, Eclipse is the market leading Java IDE with 2.27 million users worldwide, which demonstrates a remarkable level of support for open source innovation and collaboration. The initial eclipse.org consortium grew quickly from an 8-member group including IBM and Rational Software, to today's 152-member-strong Eclipse Foundation. Java Development Tools (Java IDE) with its incremental compiler, the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) and the Eclipse platform as a more general Rich Client Platform (RCP) are among the many innovations made possible by Eclipse.
Within SWG, Eclipse has been adopted as the open source development platform across all our brands, and today more than 100 IBM products [including Lotus Sametime 7.5, WebSphere Portal 6.0, the upcoming IBM Lotus Notes "Hannover" release, to name a few] are based on Eclipse.
(Thanks, Danny, for your permission to excerpt from your email.)
As we head into the long 4th of July weekend in the U.S., I am pondering not only the declaration of independence that this country celebrates, but the concept of such declarations and their effectiveness in the realm of software development. We've seen a few manifestos, including one, The Cluetrain Manifesto, that ended up getting published in book form. And last year the Open Group solicited signatures to a "Developer Declaration of Independence" (See my previous blog entry about this.)
While such efforts may seem modest in comparison to the shaping of a country and its sovereignty, they certainly can have a substantial impact. Consider how, for example, how Linux, Java, and World Wide Web standards such as HTML and XML have blazed the path for broad adoption of open, standards-based, cross-platform development in a software world that had previously been almost exclusively proprietary, with vendor lock-in the norm.
Consider this tidbit: Recently Evans Data Corp. reported that "Java users are more likely to make use of open source software than non-Java users," suggesting Java has promoted open source. "Eighty percent of heavy Java users (using Java more than 50% of the time) and 73% of light Java users (less than 50% of the time) use open source software for development compared to less than 45% of non-Java developers. In addition, Java users have more confidence in Linux for mission critical applications with 80% having enough confidence to use it in such important deployments compared to less than 50% of non-Java users."
If you're enjoying time celebrating Independence Day this Monday, I encourage you to envision a similar day of independence for software, and specifically software developers and other technical professionals. A world where companies and individuals can use the tools and platforms because they work best, not because they conform to an already-adopted proprietary platform or tool.
Know of any unheralded champions of open standards? New tools or products that may further the cause of developer independence? If so, please share your comments; I'd love to hear about it. [Read More]
Check out the new software components and documentation for the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture (CBEA) technology. The collection of tools and quick start guides let software developers create, build, simulate, and test applications to run on the new Cell processor. See:
In case you have yet to learn about Cell, here's a short overview excerpted from a recent dW article:
Cell, which was developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, is best known as the engine that powers PlayStation 3, Sony's next-generation gaming console that is scheduled to debut next spring. However, gaming is just one application -- each of the three companies has big plans for this revolutionary new technology based on the Power Architecture technology.
It's great to see these developer tools and resources available, and we're glad alphaWorks and developerWorks can help to provide 'em. Enjoy.
Here's a good example of the benefit of open, standards-based environments -- which in this case make it quick and easy to both develop and adopt an enhancement to an existing application:
Want to have easy access to developerWorks? You can now add our new search plugin to your Firefox browser (thanks to our own Peter Yim). Simply go to a developerWorks search results page such as this, and you'll see the following at the top of the page:
Add dW search plug-in to Firefox
Just click on the link while using Firefox, then confirm by clicking OK, and instantly the developerWorks search engine will be added to your browser's search bar. Then you can easily search all of developerWorks for helpful technical content and resources -- without having to first go to the dW Web site.
If you try it and it works well for you, you might also consider visiting the mozdev.org site (which also lets you find and install this search plugin, as well as others), where you can "Judge it!"
Sunday at RSDC, my colleagues Michelle Ulrich and Lindsey Lurie and I introduced a group of about 50 folks to developerWorks. Actually, some already had used dW before, but the breadth and depth of dW is such that even folks who use it frequently are likely to learn of something new and useful to them. For me, though, the best part of the experience was hearing from developers and technical professionals about how they use dW, as well as hear their feedback and suggestions on how to better serve their wants and needs.
Today we heard several people encourage us to again offer posters outlining the stages of the Rational Unified Process (RUP). Turns out we DO still offer these highly sought-after RUP posters, and you can get your very own.
I'll have more opportunities to hear from customers and partners this week, both informally at receptions (such as this evening's, at the Shark Reef) and during breaks (such as this afternoon, when I talked with some attendees about today's SDP sessions, the importance of use cases and of a holistic view that embraces business architectures, and much much more.) If you're at rationalconf2005 and are interested in learning more about developerWorks -- or want to share your questions and comments re: how to make the most of dW -- please consider joining us for:
Birds-of-a-feature session, "IBM developerWorks: Rational Online Community Exchange" -- Tuesday, May 24, 7:45 - 8:45 pm, Mandalay Bay I
"An introduction to IBM developerWorks" -- Wednesday 2:45-3:45 pm, Lagoon L (SDP29)
If you can't make it to these events, feel free to send an email (to moc at us dot ibm dot com) with your thoughts.
Watch this space -- and developerWorks -- for more about IT lifecycle management issues, which I understand will get a fair amount of the focus during the next few days here at rationalconf2005.[Read More]
If you haven't yet heard about the efforts to bring an open-source approach to patents that will improve their quality, I encourage you to read Irving Wladawsky-Berger's related blog entry, "Improving Patent Quality as a Community," which aptly describes this initiative, which "bring the spirit of collaborative innovation to the really difficult challenge of improving the quality of patents." The three elements of the patent quality initiative:
Open Patent Review will establish an open, collaborative community review in the patenting process. The project will use regularly scheduled USPTO email alerts with links to newly-published patent applications as a way to invite the public review and feedback on prior art.
Open Source Software as Prior Art -- the Open Source Development Lab, along with IBM, Novell, Red Hat and SourceForge, are developing an electronic system to store open source software code in a searchable format. The system will enable patent examiners and the public to review the code and identify prior art.
The Patent Quality Index evaluates if a patent meets the standards of patentability determined by patent law. The Index, which will rank patent applications based on their clarity and substance, also will serve as a best practice tool for patent applications, holders and examiners.
Great news: if you missed Tuesday's keynote presentation, don't fret. You can catch a replay at your leisure via developerWorks. Which means you don't have to rely on any blogger summary.
Yesterday I joined dW podcasts editor Scott Laningham for several interviews with IBM execs and thought leaders. Some good conversations. We're posting those podcasts interviews on developerWorks as well on dW, as quickly as we can get them up. Definitely worth a listen.
This morning I enjoyed the guest speaker, Benjamin Zander. He was quite popular, as evidenced by the sellout of some 500 copies of a book he co-authored with his wife, The Art of Possibility. Good stuff. (See Scott Laningham's blog for a bit more description.) Later on the show floor I visited with some folks dropping by the dW pedastals. One remarked that he really values our discussion forums, and "couldn't do his job without 'em." If you haven't taken advantage of the dW discussion forums, you may want to.
Tonight we're off to Universal CityWalk and Islands of Adventure... Gotta go![Read More]
In the midst of researching communitity and open source issues for a paper I'm writing as part of my master's degree program, today I stumbled upon an interetesting journal article at firstmonday.dk, which "discusses five fundamental problems with the current Open Source software development trend, explores why these issues are holding the movement back, and offers solutions that might help overcome these problems."
I wonder what open source developers think of the article's claims:
* The lack of focus on user interface design causes users to prefer proprietary softwareâs more intuitive interface.
* Open Source software tends to lack the complete and accessible documentation that retains users.
* Developers focus on features in their software, rather than ensuring that they have a solid core.
* Open Source programmers also tend to program with themselves as an intended audience, rather than the general public.
* Lastly, there is a widely known stubbornness by Open Source programmers in refusing to learn from what lessons proprietary software has to offer.
Some intriguing claims. Are any of 'em on target? Perhaps it's true that open source developers aren't perfect ...
If you have not yet seen the new and improved dW blogs directory page, check it out. It shows more info in less space and adds a "Most recent entries" listing to show the latest entries from dW bloggers.
Also of particular note is the launch of new developerWorks column by "XML Bible" author Elliotte Rusty Harold, which the dW XML content team unveiled Monday. I expect many readers will appreciate Harold's insights on Managing XML Data.[Read More]
Thomas Dolby 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.
Many of you have likely noticed the new redesign of developerWorks -- and of the broader ibm.com Web space. It's quite a makeover; even IBM CEO Sam Palmisano is boasting about "the new ibm.com."
As Jack Pizzolato, a veteran on the developerWorks Web design and development team, explains, the new "OneXperience" Web site design "involved approximately 1.6 million pages worldwide and more than 200 Web 'sites' within ibm.com."
A big thanks to Jack -- and the many people within developerWorks involved in this big effort, including Elizabeth Dunnagan, Janet Willis, Nick Poore, Julie Gilbreath, Kim Holmes, Tracey Toombs, Keith Purcell, Tom Hartrick, Peter Yim, Tara Hall, Deborah Cottingham, Nancy Miller, and Devin Nguyen.
As Jack notes, the design is meant to be crisper, lighter, and more "open." Some immediate advantages:
A more compact left navigation. With the new design, more of the developerWorks left navigation is visible on the page. In addition, almost all of the navigation items within the expansion areas now fit on a single line, making the navigation easier to scan.
A unified font set. The single font set is easier to scan. Studies have also shown that the chosen font is easier to read, and the new font looks much better on Linux and Unix-based browsers.
Simpler maintenance. With the OneX launch, developerWorks is now using native ibm.com stylesheets and graphics (with some supplemental stylesheets of our own). In the future, as design standards evolve and change, updating the site will be a simpler process. This should mean we spend less time on manual updates -- and thus can spend more time developing content and resources for our visitors.
If you haven't yet done so, please take a moment to enjoy the newly designed developerWorks site, as well as ibm.com.[Read More]
One notable news item last week amidst the many announcements and events at the Rational conference certainly fits the theme of this blog:
The Open Group today announced an industry-wide effort with the support of IBM to promote the use of open standards to give information technology customers freedom of choice and provide interoperability among all vendors.
The âDeveloper Declaration of Independenceâ calls for the adoption and protection of open standards by corporations, governments, organizations, and individuals to ensure a fair competitive marketplace â thus allowing all parties to compete equally from the basis of a shared technology foundation and framework. The Open Group has published the Declaration at http://www.opengroup.org/declaration/ and is asking supporters to visit the web site where they can sign it.
Among the items of note I've read recently is the recent blog entry from related to open source I've read recently include the comments of colleague Alan Brown, who I'm happy to see has become active in his blogging again of late.
In his recent entry on Microsoft 's push on "interoperable by design," Alan explores the question of Microsoft's degree of support for open standards. I do believe Microsoft has been a true advocate of XML and Web services. On the other hand, I wonder to what degree Microsoft can possibly advocate true open standards given its business objective of maintaining the marketplace dominance of Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office. Compared to Microsoft, IBM may be more easily able to justify its support of open standards from a business perspective. After all, IBM supports numerous operating systems on a wide variety of hardware and has a diversified business model that spans hardware sales and services as well as software sales. For all of these elements of IBM's business model to survive and prosper, interoperability is not just a nice idea. It's mission-critical.
If you're interested in interoperability, you might find some useful info from developerWorks. A search of our content and resources reveals more than 2100 "interoperability"-related items, and it appears that the majority relate to .Net or Microsoft. Beyond the occasional executive e-mail, I wonder to what degree Microsoft is helping developers and technical professionals address interoperability issues with its own products, let alone with non-MS products and technologies.[Read More]
Last night was fun, between the pool party (complete with fireworks, tattoos, fortune tellers, and much more) and winning a bit in the casino (though blackjack was not so good, the craps table more than compensated; my thanks to Kristin, who despite being a beginner really knows how to throw the dice).
It's been great to talk to attendees of all stripes, to learn what challenges they're facing. It's gratifying when we hear customers validating what we are doing, whether the "we" is devleoperWorks, Rational, or IBM. The suggestions and criticism may not always be easy to swallow, but it may be even more valuable insofar as helping us better serve your wants and needs. So please keep sharing your input, positive or not.
I'm looking forward to spending more time outside of climate-controlled environments of conference halls and casinos. And right now I'm looking forward to sleep![Read More]
At the Rational conference last week, IBM Research got a bit of well-deserved attention via the Grady Booch keynote, the meetings with the press and analysts, and the alphaWorks exhibits. IBM Research does some cool stuff, and it also has a big impact that reaches beyond IBM.
In 1965, when computer science was still a new academic discipline, the first department of computer science was formed in the IBM Research Division at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, NY). The department's stated mission was "to create and test new concepts and techniques in computer systems design, and to identify and provide a first inroad into new areas of computer applications."
Since then, computer science has established itself across all the IBM Research labs worldwide: Almaden, Austin, China, Haifa, India, Tokyo, Watson, and Zurich. In the ensuing years, IBM Research has helped create important new areas of computer science research and to bring those research results to the marketplace. These include compiler optimization (FORTRAN), relational database (SQL and DB2), speech recognition (ViaVoice), Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architecture (RS/6000 and PowerPC), data encryption (DES), fractals, and scalable parallel systems (RS/6000 SP).
IBM Research's goal is to help create the future of computing. This includes inventing, developing, and applying technologies that will be vital to IBM's future success and obtaining fundamental results that influence the direction of computer science research.
The Future of Software Development: Key Projects
Leakbot Leakbot is an automated, adaptive and scalable tool for diagnosing memory leaks. A memory leak occurs when a Java program inadvertently maintains references to objects that are no longer needed, preventing the garbage collector from reclaiming space. Eventually, a memory leak leads to an out-of-memory exception. Java memory leaks are among the most common problems facing customers, and among the hardest to find.
Leakbot discovers patterns by finding objects of the same data type that share similar context. The validation can either be performed by periodically matching the discovered patterns against snapshots of the running program, or by inserting lightweight probes that monitor changes to patterns as the program runs.
Quality Software Checking (QSC) As the complexity of programming environments increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for developers to write highly robust bug-free code. This is especially true as programmers now more than ever rely on large program libraries and object frameworks for sophisticated functions, such as presentation, data, transactional, and collaborative services.
To overcome these problems, QSC searches for code errors based on the context of the entire software program, rather than small segments of code like today's tools. It searches for known patterns, and carefully indicates to the programmer the nature of the problem, and will even suggest fixes for the problem when possible. It verifies the quality of Java applications based on best practices so on demand systems are achieving top quality and performance. It can be used interactively during the development process, or help to find bugs in code after the system has been deployed. With this new technology, developers can significantly reduce software bugs automatically so they can speed up the time it takes to create high-quality and high-performance applications
Metronome The Metronome project is developing real-time garbage collection and other associated technologies for Java. This allows Java's high-level programming model to be extended to real-time systems, which are an increasingly important segment of the computing landscape. The Metronome system is currently capable of providing worst-case latency of one millisecond for programs written in standard Java, roughly a factor of 100 faster than the nearest competitor.
Current research focuses on extending real-time capability to large-scale multiprocessors, providing "write once run anywhere" characteristics for timing behavior, supporting applications with microsecond-level response time requirements, and developing a stochastic theory of real-time behavior.
Model-Based Analysis and Testing (MBAT) One of the biggest challenges is to really know if an application conforms to the requirements of the various stakeholders for the application. IBM researchers are working on a tool that uses use cases and application domain information to automatically generate test cases. These test cases have complete coverage of all use case scenarios, and also target specific defect types that involve sequences of multiple use cases. It uses novel AI planning techniques to find the "best" sequences - those most likely to find coding errors if they exist. This tool will be a significant help in ensuring that software systems have high quality and conform to their functional requirements. It also provides flexibility for iterative development approaches, as test cases can be regenerated "on-demand" whenever required.
The Architect's Workbench (AWB) AWB is a tool that automates the process of linking requirements to architecture and architecture to development. This tool helps developers define the requirements, starting with English text, and moving all the way to more formal models (such as UML-based architectural diagrams). A novel aspect of AWB is that it preserves traceability across the development process, thereby ensuring that key requirements don't get lost. With the ultimate goal of reinventing the notion of process for software development, the AWB enables developers to keep track of what they have done, and what they need to do. It also points out flawed or problematic structures, and keeps track in a non-obtrusive way, of those aspects of the architecture that need to be addressed. By identifying problems at this very early stage in the software development process, it becomes less likely that there will be major development and deployment problems later in the lifecycle.
Jazz The Jazz research project grew out of the recognition that although software development is an inherently collaborative process in which teams of developers work together to design solutions and produce code, this collaboration is usually ad hoc and rarely supported by tools within the programmer's integrated development environment (IDE). As software development teams face greater time and resource constraints, there is a need for software development tools to support structured and unstructured communication and coordination of work.
The Jazz research project seeks to extend the Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org) software development environment with collaborative capabilities to support coordination, communication, and awareness among a small close-knit team of developers. This involves creating connections to server infrastructure for messaging, awareness, and source control, and integrating user interfaces for communication and awareness within the Eclipse environment to provide unobtrusive access to in-context team information.[Read More]
This week, IBM developerWorks officially turns five years old. For me at least (and many others, particularly veterans on the developerWorks staff), it's hard to believe that it was five years ago that developerWorks formally launched, with an initial focus primarily on technologies such as Java, XML, Linux, and Web architecture.
Now, the site runs much broader and deeper than it did five years ago, having undergone tremendous growth. (See "The developerWorks model" for details about this journey.) The many people on this expanded developerWorks team have worked together to integrate several new technology areas (including Autonomic computing, Grid computing, SOA and Web services, and Wireless) and a variety of Web-based resources for developing with IBM products (DB2, eServer, Lotus, Rational, Tivoli, WebSphere) into the developerWorks site, thereby making the user experience richer than ever. Further complementing the developer technology and product resources is the tightly integrated alphaWorks collection for innovators and early adopters. Developers can also find information on topics such as migration to open standards, sample IT projects and scenarios, On Demand Business, and the IBM Software Development Platform.
The upshot: You'll now find a much broader array of resources within each content area than you did five years ago, ranging from standard how-to articles to comprehensive tutorials, discussion forums, tips, newsletters, downloads, online Webcasts and events, RSS feeds, and more (including blogs like this from the likes of Grady Booch, Bob Sutor, Doug Tidwell, and others). The site has published thousands of articles over the past five years, as well as more than 500 in-depth tutorials. And along the way, developerWorks has won quite a few awards, including two Jolt Product Excellence Awards (and -- just in time for our birthday! -- developerWorks last week was honored as the "Best Developers' News Source" and "Best Technical Support" provider in Software Development Magazines's annual Readers' Choice Awards.)
The editors for each content area ensure their material is focused on meeting the wants and needs of developers and related technical professionals, striving to help the millions of developerWorks visitors solve problems, do their jobs, and more easily do business with IBM. If you're accustomed to relying on developerWorks for general-purpose content, don't let the added sections focused on IBM products mislead you: developerWorks maintains an ever-growing collection of resources dedicated to fundamental technologies that exist independent of commercial products. And today on developerWorks, you'll find more material than ever dedicated to standards technologies. At the same time, for those of you who are using IBM products, the various brand-specific areas of the site now offer a rich collection of resources specific to the products independent software vendors and other IBM customers use.
More of everything You might glean from this description of the developerWorks program that its staff is highly dedicated to user satisfaction -- and you'd be right. Occasionally, developerWorks receives feedback from visitors who are under the impression that, as a consequence of our massive growth, developerWorks has reduced the amount of general-interest, tech-focused materials. Not so! In fact, the volume of technology content has increased, and is complemented by the product-specific resources our customers have requested. The site has been redesigned a few times over the past five years as a result of our commitment to user-centered design, giving you more navigation choices through the growing number of content areas. But be assured that our commitment to serving up leading-edge technology resources is stronger than ever. Again, developerWorks has substantially increased its technology content production while simultaneously adding and enriching the product-specific resources that customers have requested. (For more details, read about the growth of developerWorks over its first five years.)
As developerWorks enters its sixth year, you can count on me to encourage developerWorks' growth and evolution, keeping in sync with the evolving community of developers and technical professionals and their wants and needs. And I encourage your ongoing input. Please don't hesitate to tell us what we're doing right, what could be improved, and how we're helping you with your projects and your career.
developerWorks' present to you In the meantime, turning the tables on birthday traditions, developerWorks has a present for you: a new Power Architecture zone, which we've launched this week! POWER and PowerPC processors are the brains behind everything from servers and cell phones to routers, game consoles, and supercomputers. Power Architecture technology is supported by a large number of companies, including the original members of the AIM alliance (Apple, IBM, and Motorola), and is an open architecture, (and has been since it was first released nearly ten years ago). This new developerWorks section on Power Architecture technology will cover everything from chip and device design to embedded systems and device drivers. It will focus on Power Architecture open standards-based hardware components and interfaces, and even free and open source SoC and ASIC design and verification tools.
Be sure to check out our latest addition -- as well as favorites such as Java technology and Linux.
Next week developerWorks will be holding a content team summit, bringing our geographically dispersed editors together for three days. One ideal takeaway for us is tuning and affirming developerWorks' core mission and objectives. This task can prove difficult, given the wide array of software and hardware and the many products and technologies we focus on, and the variety of people like you who rely on developerWorks.
Fortunately, our most fundamental high-level objective is rather simple. Like all of IBM, we at developerWorks dedicate ourselves to your success. Whether you're a veteran user of WebSphere software or a new DB2 administrator, a Java technology guru or a Web services newbie, we're here to serve your wants and needs.
This set of blogs is another effort in that vein. We're quite pleased to debut developerWorks blogs with two expert IBMers -- Grady Booch and Doug Tidwell -- who've dedicated much of their careers to helping developers, whether through the numerous books and articles they've authored or countless technical presentations they've given at conferences and other events.
Just the beginning Note that we plan to offer many more blogs in the coming weeks and months, some of which will focus on more specific topics. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, please consider this your opportunity to offer your valued input: Tell us how developerWorks is helping you be successful in your technical endeavors, so we'll know what we're doing right. And tell us what else you'd like to see from us. [Read More]
I sense that Microsoft has been rather concerned about Linux lately. Why else would their top dog, CEO Steve Ballmer, get so riled up when asked this week (at Microsoft's annual partner conference in Toronto) about Linux? As internetnews.com describes:
Asked during the Q&A portion about open source, Ballmer, who was seated at the time, clenched his fists and sprung to his feet. "It's either the iced tea, or I'm a bit of a caged animal on this," he said. At times pounding his fists or waving his arms, Ballmer criticized open source and faulted it for what it does not offer to partners, compared to Microsoft.
Ballmer went on to claim that IBM can't make money with Linux, except through services business that would compete with IBM partners: "They make no money on software; they make no money on hardware. They make money only in services." (See the related CRN news article.)
While Ballmer may be good at pacing on stage and rallying the pro-Microsoft troops, he might garner a bit more credibility with the broader industry if he employed facts. developerWorks has learned that "IBM drove nearly $100 million of eServer and Middleware direct sales transactions from Linux from IBM's top 400 Linux partners -- with over a third in SMB." This was in the first half of 2004 alone. And it does not include services.
In the coming days, we may reveal additional aspects of these claims that don't reflect the facts. In any case, perhaps instead of creating yet more FUD (fear, uncertainty, and decepti-- er, doubt) with such comments, Microsoft would better serve the industry (and maybe even its own bottom line) by redirecting its energies on minimizing the fearsome -- and real -- vulnerabilities in its own products. For example, here's the lead of a TechNewsWorld report from just this week:
Microsoft has released its monthly round of patches, including two patches for critical vulnerabilities and one that patches a hole that could become the basis of a widespread computer worm attack. At the same time as the patch release, a Danish company announced additional security holes in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, which has been beaten by a string of vulnerabilities and attacks in recent weeks.
Perhaps it'll take some sort of near-death experience for this seemingly invincible company to recognize the need to reform, to embrace open industry standards and stop acting as if Microsoft offers the only viable choice. IBM suffered just such an experience not so long ago, and then-CEO Lou Gerstner, who steered IBM back to health, values that experience as a big lesson learned. In his 1995 Keynote Address at Comdex, Gerstner noted:
I think we have two choices.
We can ask customers to set aside their freedom of choice and preferences in hardware, operating systems, applications and user interfaces... junk their trillions of dollars of investment in information technology... and all of us -- everyone, everywhere -- move to one architecture provided by, priced by and controlled by one company.
Or: We can embrace open industry standards.
Open means that software from one vendor can operate on or with hardware and software from any vendor -- not just one guy's. We need to work with standards organizations. We need to openly agree on APIs, interfaces, tools and protocols -- on anything the customer sees and touches in the journey to get something done.
Compliance with standards does not mean that we won't compete aggressively or that we can't distinguish our products. We will. But we'll compete on the basis of innovative implementation of industry-standard technologies and architectures, on performance, features, design, service and support.
Besides, in the long run, closed, proprietary architectures -- that's a losing strategy. I bet you thought you'd never hear that from IBM. But having had a near-death experience, we know what we're talking about.
Every time I meet with customers, I say the same thing. I urge them to demand compliance with open industry standards in the products they buy. And you know what? They're beginning to listen. They understand the need for the industry to move to this level.
Microsoft might do well to learn from IBM's experience also. Before it lives the lesson firsthand.
What's your take on Ballmer's claims, as reported in the CRN news article and elsewhere? We encourage you to share your comments (click on the "Comments" link just under this text).[Read More]
The keynote at the RSDC conf keynote this morning went well. I'm sure many other rationalconf2005 bloggers will cover various aspects of the comments from Mike Devlin, Danny Sabbah and others, as well as the impressive demo (about which industry analyst Amy Wohl already has commented). Many announcements from today's keynote are detailed at the Rational software site.
I want to make sure folks notice one particular highlight: During a brief review of IBM developer relations activities, ISV and Developer Relations GM Buell Duncan announced the new developerWorks IT Lifecycle Management resource page. The concept of lifecycle management and connecting businesses to development to build better software continues to get much attention here, with the idea that businesses (as well as software apps and the teams that build 'em) become more successful when companies can and do embrace business-driven software development. Check it out. (High-level managers may also want to see the Moving Beyond IT Optimization page.)[Read More]
Today I hope to see Doc Searls, Senior Editor of the Linux Journal and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto (and also a much more prolific blogger than I am!), speak here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Per the promotional email of the event, sponsored by ibiblio, Doc will discuss "The Independence Revolution: How self-informing markets are changing business, technology, politics and everything else."
I hope to ask a question or two; feel free to suggest your own...
And speaking of ibiblio, seems they're currently honoring the 13th birthday of Linux. If you haven't yet seen the collection of Linux materials offered at ibiblio -- including more than 171 gigabytes of Linux programs and documentation freely available for download -- it's high time you take a look.[Read More]
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.
Many of you may have heard about the news this week about IBM pledging 500 patents for open source use. (If you haven't yet, please see Bob Sutor's related blog entries here and here.) But a couple of notable tidbits may have been overshadowed by the patents news:
To those of you who've provided your input regarding the developerWorks blogs, many thanks! We're reviewing the survey results and will incorporate your input into our ongoing efforts to give you what you want and find useful.
Your input is always welcome, even outside the survey. Feel free to share it via comments here, or via email.
--Michael O'Connell, Editorial Director moc AT us.ibm DOT com[Read More]
This past week, during a developerWorks content summit, our content team enjoyed a rare few days in the same physical space. Aside from all the work sessions, we spent a brief moment patting ourselves on the back, both for our latest Jolt Product Excellence Award, and for some positive results in our latest site visitor survey report.
The survey results were quite encouraging: Our visitors responded positively to the update we implemented last fall, designed to make the developerWorks site more cohesive and intuitive. (For some details, see "A new look and a new foundation for IBM developerWorks.") Across the board, our user satisfaction scores -- already among the best in all of IBM -- improved. The team was quite pleased to see our hard work pay off. (Kudos and thanks to all involved, and particularly the extra efforts of the design, usability, infrastructure, and production edit teams as well as the broader content team.)
But we (like most of you, I'd imagine) can't afford to rest on our laurels. We're always striving to better understand our audience of developers and technical professionals so that we can deliver the stuff you seek -- what you want and what you need to be successful. We also realize that developers are a diverse group, with diverse priorities and interests. That's why developerWorks provides a diverse set of resources -- including robust sections of the site dedicated to top open standard technologies (Java, Linux, SOA & Web Services, ...), as well as top developer and technical products used by IBM customers (Rational, WebSphere, Lotus, DB2, ...). That's why we're always looking to enhance our value by adding new materials, exemplified by recent additions such as the Autonomic computing zone and Migration station. That's why we offer an array of types of resources -- articles, tips, tutorials, tech briefings, conferences, trial code, alpha technologies (via alphaWorks), white papers, trial code, and more.
Blogs are our latest addition. We hope to add quite a few more people to our ranks of bloggers in the coming weeks. Our goal here is to provide a direct line to some individuals within IBM who, whether widely recognized visionaries and thought leaders or unheralded technology experts and innovators, have worthwhile insights to share: nuggets of wisdom, timely references to useful news and technologies, helpful discussion and perspective on emerging industry trends, forward-thinking strategic views, important questions, and more. Our hope is that some of this shared knowledge will help you be informed, aware, and ultimately successful.
The collective intellectual capital within IBM may be unmatched in the industry. With the developerWorks blogs, we hope to tap into this rich resource and share some of it with you. Think of our blogs as virtual conversations with some experts and insiders who might know a bit more than your typical colleague (not in every area, of course, but in their specific areas of expertise), and who occasionally share their insights with you in their own personal voices. We realize (and our recent customer panel discussion confirms) that not every developerWorks visitor will frequent our blogs. But that's OK. The same can be said of just about any other developerWorks resource. For those of you who do come to this corner of developerWorks, we'll strive to make your visits rewarding. And we encourage you to participate, to engage in dialogue by sharing your own comments with our bloggers. [Read More]
A fledgling co-op is seeking to sign up big companies to its variation of open source, with members sharing their in-house software:
Project Avalanche is putting a new spin on the coop concept -- rather than sharing health foods or vacation condos, members share intellectual property. For $30,000 a year, companies may donate any in-house software to the Avalanche library and may use, free of charge, any other software in the library's collection. -- http://tv.ksl.com/index.php?nid=17&sid=87177 (KSL TV "Techbit," referencing a Wall Street Journal article)
Here's a noteworthy excerpt from the WSJ article:
Or, asks [Project Avalanche's brainchild, Andrew Black], what if Avalanche members collaborated on a foolproof collection of open-source programs that could be used on their corporate desktops instead of the Windows and Office combinations from Microsoft? Mr. Black grumbles about having to pay Microsoft hundreds of dollars a year per employee for programs like word processing and spreadsheets, which he says should be commodities by now.
On one hand, this suggests that even Fortune 500-type companies see the potential benefits of open source software. On the other hand, with a $30,000 annual fee, free software advocates no doubt Avalanche as a bit contrary to their vision.
Another sign of the power of Linux and open source: Solaris, one of the most popular commerical flavors of Unix, will be available under an open source license, Sun Microsystems confirmed recently. See the InfoWorld article "Sun to open source Solaris."
Interestingly, the article (which happens to be authored by a colleague from my days at IDG, Bob McMillan) notes that quite recently, "Sun's Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy was claiming that it would make little sense for Sun to freely release such a valuable asset."
I wonder to what degree McNealy still steers the Sun ship these days, given this turnabout, as well as the recent 180-degree turnaround in Sun's relationship with Microsoft. (See the related CNet article "Can Sun-Microsoft cease-fire halt the war?")[Read More]