Writing Your ONJava Wish Listby Chris Adamson
We're coming to my favorite time of the year. A time of gift giving, a time to gather with others with whom you share a common history, a time to think ahead about what you might do differently in the new year. For you, this might evoke thoughts of Thanksgiving in the U.S., and of Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's Day in various parts of the world. For your editors--myself and editor-in-chief Daniel Steinberg--this favorite time of the year is the time when we present the ONJava Reader Survey.
Here's how our gift exchange will work. Over the next week or so, you can take ten minutes or so to take the survey. This tells us a bit about who our readers are and the kind of tools and technologies they use and are interested in. We set aside questions that allow for free responses, so you can let us know what you would like to see more or less of in the coming year.
Your not-so-humble editors rush to read through the survey once it closes, like children ripping the wrapping paper of waiting presents. Take a look back at the summary of the last survey's results and you'll see what we mean. We appreciate your taking the time to help improve the site.
What can you expect in return? We will try to fill the web site with articles of interest to Java developers. These gifts come from talented authors who submit queries or who we solicit for articles and book excerpts on ONJava.com.
Some subjects are naturals to cover. With the release of J2SE 5.0 in September, you expected articles on the new features of Tiger, both before and after the release. As we track releases of open source projects, we contact committers and alpha users to see if they will write articles for us. The survey gives us a chance to check back with you about what projects, frameworks, and libraries you want to learn about before you commit to using them, and similarly, what you've tried out and found lacking. We want to know what you're using, and how you use it.
Are there open source projects that merit more attention? Are there commercial products that you find indispensable? Are you hopping between operating systems, or locked down on one? Is there a new style of programming that changes everything for you, or does tried-and-true make more sense than new-and-flashy? These are the kinds of things that help us create not just the site's content, but its personality, its gist.
Taking the survey--it should only require about ten minutes to complete--helps communicate that kind of information to us. It covers things like the tools and frameworks you're using, as well as offering several "open response" questions in which you can directly tell us what interests you.
Delivering the Goods
In a sense, these open questions are the "wish list" part of the survey: you get to tell us directly what you want to see on the site in 2005. From there, we'll try to find suitable writers and topics and get that kind of material on the site. Emphasis on "try"--there are still some important topics for which we're still working on getting writers, or getting articles finished. But be assured that the feedback from the last survey is still very much in our day-to-day editorial thinking, and this one will be too.
As an aside: another way to give us that feedback would be to propose writing an article yourself. We're always interested in new ideas, and if you can convince us in a paragraph or two that you have an idea for a 2,000-word article, please send it to or . You can also use those addresses to send us whatever other comments you might have about the site.
Your Wish List is Waiting
So please take the time to take the survey. It will be up for an indeterminate time, just long enough to collect a statistically valid number of responses. After it closes, we'll collect the responses and post an article about the results, both as compared to the last survey and what's new this time. And we'll start working on aligning our editorial focus to where we think you, the ONJava audience, is going in 2005.
As an added incentive, five randomly chosen participants will win three O'Reilly books each.
Thanks, as always, for reading ONJava.
Chris Adamson is an author, editor, and developer specializing in iPhone and Mac.
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