28. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our Java editors? We'd love to hear from you.
Last week's ONJava 2005 Reader Survey Results, Part 1 put off covering this question, because 226 of you chose to answer this free-response question, thus demanding a more complete consideration. This article includes every response sent in by readers, other than those that are simple "thanks/great job"-type responses, and the occasional non sequitur (e.g., writing "Mmmmm... donuts," as was the case with response no. 209). We haven't edited any of the responses for style, grammar, or anything else. Think of it as a raw, annotated feed of reader commentary.
Thanks. Covering the major open source frameworks is, outside of the Java library and core J2SE/J2EE libraries, our bread and butter. We'll take a look to see what in Jakarta merits more coverage.
We'll let the survey people know, thanks.
You're right, J2SE deployment is a real pain point. Joshua Marinacci just did a two-parter on java.net about Java Web Start (parts 1 and 2), but there are other options: commercial apps like InstallAnywhere and InstallShield, Mac OS X
As an advertising-supported site, there's only so much content we can acquire and produce, but all the O'Reilly Network sites are trying some new things to create fresher sites within that constraint. Keep watching this site and others in the network and let us know what you think.
Note: Eight other responses asked for more content or more frequent updates.
Um, OK. We've seen lots of people using Maven, but to each his own...
Can you send a bug report to
Really? I looked through our database and we haven't run an article with Oracle in its title for years.
Interesting article idea, thanks.
I like this style of article too, but it doesn't always work in a 2,000-word space. The risk is that you can have too much "extra stuff" for building the cool app that doesn't really apply to "product Y," but needs to be shown as a basic part of building the cool thing. One thing we'll work on with an author is making sure the bulk of the article serves their real purpose. For example, sometimes the idea is to show how to build something, sometimes it's to show how a given API works. Those really are two different kinds of articles and while each is valuable, we try to help the author pick one and stay true to it.
Blogs are going to be a bigger part of the site soon. Watch for them. Scott's stuff is great, and we hope you've enjoyed his articles from ONLamp, like How to Decide What Bugs to Fix, that we've featured on ONJava.
We listed it last year and about 2 percent of readers reported using it. This year, as a write-in, it got less than 1 percent.
In what sense of "advanced"? More in-depth on key things that lots of people use, or topics that are intrinsically advanced, like bytecode manipulation?
I think ONJava articles tend do to be "in-depth," with the limitation that we like to keep things around 2,000 words--longer articles just don't get read. We do like, "hello world," as a means of introducing a new technology, but of course, it's essential to move past that once the fundamentals are understood.
Send us a proposal and we'll talk. I generally ask writers for one to two paragraphs, five to 10 sentences, or five to 10 bullet points that establish:
I've found this is a good exercise to help writers focus on the value they provide to the reader.
OK. We'll try to keep working on that.
That's a tall order. We are somewhat limited in our ability to test code because we can't realistically maintain and run all the various app servers, databases, frameworks, etc., so we do expect a certain level of competence from our writers. If you see something wrong, please let us know in the article comments and we'll see what we can do.
We do try to combine J2SE/EE articles, major third-party frameworks (especially open source), and "meta" articles (design, patterns, process, etc.). Thanks for the feedback.
Potential authors: topic alert!
And there's another topic for an article proposal!
Thanks. We'll be trying some different things. Let us know what you think.
Good format. A key concern that I'll point out as an editor: how many people will run into the same problem? If it's something that effects everyone, this rocks. If the problem is confined to a small niche audience, we probably won't pursue this article.
Sounds like a good topic, thanks.
Are you referring to the O'Reilly Network home page or ONJava's? Is there another way to split it up other than by topic (e.g., by how recent items are?) that you think would work better?
Thanks for the input. Are there some specific parts of J2EE you want to see covered more, like JMS, EJB, JAXP, etc.?
Good ideas, thanks.
I haven't tried Stripes; thanks for the suggestion. Did you check out the Trails article we cross-posted from java.net?
Will look into it, thanks.
This sounds a little like the Better, Faster, Lighter Java approach. We'll forward this to our Java book editors, thanks.
OSCON just staged a successful European version. You might want to contact the O'Reilly Conference Team.
Thanks for the feedback. It's important with the calls for more advanced material to remember the needs of readers at all skill levels.
I don't think we've touched content management systems. Any potential authors out there want to send a proposal?
Thanks. Layout and navigation of our sites are under consideration.
Any particular Head First topics you're interested in?
Um, wait for us to rephrase the question next year. But wait, then you'll have three years. Sorry--we'll take a look at that.
Could be interesting, could be too niche-y. It's hard to tell. We're definitely interested in a proposal.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Does this suggest a need for an article on this, or a tool (like an Eclipse plugin) to provide this?
With J2EE 5.0 looming, we'll try to run newer EE material that speaks to the new spec.
We'll try not to. We do catch things in editing; please use the comments to let us know when something doesn't work.
We do: Integrating Macromedia Flex with Java by Mark Eagle.
Interesting point on code examples--it is preferable to keep the examples focused on the topic at hand. As for J2SE 5.0 for Mac, it's out and you can get it from Apple's Java page.
Hi, Tom. chromatic was two editors ago. He does ONLamp and Linux Dev Center now.
Great idea. We have a writer's info pack that we email to prospective writers; it has a process guide, style guide, and an HTML template. We've talked about getting it up on the site, pending a few more revisions.
Thanks. Did you like Sunil Patil's What Is a Portlet?
We generally do feature articles and not news, per se, but we'll see what we can do as we bring new kinds of content to the site.
We don't do the site in non-English languages, but some authors allow their articles to be translated and republished elsewhere.
Note: Another response asked for content in Spanish as well.
See the earlier reply about Trails. JRuby is potentially interesting. What part of RoR do you find more interesting: the Ruby language or the fast website creation that Rails allows?
Open source frameworks are what we focus on, thanks.
We can appreciate how valuable this could be, but it may not be practical. We'll think about it, thanks.
Glad you like the Head First series.
Do you think so? We think there's a lot to be optimistic about right now.
Have you tried Direct Web Remoting (DWR)? Do you know of other frameworks we should be writing about?
That might be a topic to explore with an article before venturing into a whole book. Any authors interested?
Did you like the "What Bugs to Fix When" series that was cross-posted from ONLamp? Are you interested in XP, Scrum, etc., as compared to RUP, etc?
We'll keep an eye out for what's catching on. The danger with the cutting edge articles is that sometimes the approaches don't catch on. Last year, we ran a lot of AOP articles, and many of you complained that it was irrelevant to you, if not frivolous. So we look for a mix of emerging topics and widely-used stuff.
On the specific point, fairness was on my mind when I edited POJO Application Frameworks: Spring Vs. EJB 3.0 and I thought the author was fair in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the two.
As for impartiality in writing, I don't think there's any such thing, and if there is, I wouldn't want to encourage it. All authors have an opinion, a bias, if only to say, "I think topic X is worth writing an article about." Authors should be free to make their case and have that case stand or fall on its merits. Trying to be "impartial," to set aside the author's value judgments, is a recipe for a boring article. The high number of talkbacks on this one--both agreeing and disagreeing with the article--shows that it captured readers' attention, and that's exactly what we want to do.
What kind of "support" are you thinking of? Like articles on combining two frameworks for a specific purpose?
Thanks. Let me ask this as a rhetorical question: if the real-world use is outside of your realm of interest, would you still read the article? This is one of the things we wrestle with in "case study" type articles--how much work will it take to explain the problem domain to the reader, and will it be interesting?
We haven't looked at the newsletter process for a while. Thanks for the input.
Regarding Eclipse and SWT, have you been following the Eclipse Plugins Exposed series, and what do you think?
Authors maintain the copyrights to their articles, and several have authorized translations to be reposted elsewhere, so you can contact the author directly about this.
True. Our typical article has code examples in the text and a source download you can build and run.
Interesting suggestion, thanks. Have you visited the java.net Java User Groups Community?
Thanks for the opinion. Part 1 of the survey results showed a lot of readers tracking JSF, so that may be a design smell to watch for.
Thanks for the suggestion.
That's an excellent point. Especially with emerging products and projects, it's only natural that there should be flaws that readers would want to know about.
We're trying, thanks.
Thanks. Are you referring to webservices.xml.com, or articles about web services here on ONJava?
OK. Check out the book list on java.oreilly.com and let us know what you think is missing.
Interesting idea. Do other readers think that video tutorials or screencasts would be an effective format for ONJava? Please leave a comment.
Thanks for the suggestion. We're open to a proposal on this.
See Part 1 for the most popular topic requests. We'll keep these topics in mind, thanks.
We've done a few pieces on various messaging standards and frameworks in the last year, as well as REST. There's a lot to do in the WS-* space.
We'll take this into account in site design considerations, thanks.
That's interesting, because Groovy really dropped off a lot of people's radar in the last 12 months. It was way down in this year's survey, and the days of it drawing a standing room only session (as at JavaOne 2004) seem to be over.
Thanks for your thoughts.
We definitely plan to cover EJB 3.0 further.
That's not really a core competency for us. Would it help if we had business-oriented articles that pointed to such surveys?
Thanks. We don't run a lot of opinion pieces because it's hard to get the right combination of author and topic, but when it works, it can be very interesting.
Thank you again for participating in the survey, and for sharing your thoughts with us. We wanted to put all the responses out there this year, to show you what kinds of things your fellow readers want from the site, and to individually respond to each one in some meaningful way. We can't promise everything--some topics, for example, have proven notoriously difficult to find good writers for--but we'll do our best. Thanks.
By the way, the prize drawing for survey respondents has not yet taken place. We'll contact winners directly and announce the results in the ONJava Newsletter.
Chris Adamson is an author, editor, and developer specializing in iPhone and Mac.
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