Skip to main content

Tell me what you think.

Posted by communitymanager on August 24, 2010 at 8:51 AM PDT

For several years now I've been involved in on-again, off-again plans to do a major upgrade to the site.  This time it's really happening.  People are working on building out the new site now, and we're going to start rolling out the migration plan here once the first tests are complete. 

Our goal for migration is to reach parity - we need to offer nothing less than what we have now on the site in order for it to be useful to everyone.  However, I'm really excited that beyond that, the new site will be developed by an agile team, so we can try new things and be in a state of constant improvement across the site.  Adding new features won't be a years-long process any more. 

Since we've got this going I think it's a good time to ask you all, what do you think of the site?  I'm looking for constructive criticism here.  Tell me what is wrong and what could be fixed, or what you love and want to stay the same forever and always.  My goal here is to cast the widest possible net.  There are plenty of things on the site that annoy the heck out of me. 

Here's a bit of my list in no particular order:

 - duplication of content and hidden content - often the things I don't care about are available everywhere, but the thing I want (FAQ, help, general information) is almost impossible to find. I'd like to completely revamp the left nav and find a way to streamline access to that information.

 - dead and abandoned projects listed in the catalog - this is a failure of our community management system.  Some communities do a great job of curating their projects, but most don't.  Worse, we have inconsistent standards across communities.   I'd like to publish real standards for what all communities should use to decide if a project is incubating or published in the catalog, and then improve the workflow system we use to move these projects through, so it's as easy as possible for leads to stay on top of things.

 - the catalog sucks - our search system needs a major update.  I want to be able to search for projects with downloads, projects with active bug lists who might be looking for help, and by development activity (among other things). 

 - there's no way to know at a glance what kind of activity is happening in a project - we need activity stats available in an automated way so users can know if a project is dead or not without having to check through several pages of project infrastructure pages. 

That's just the beginning.  I've got opinions on just about everything here, but I'd like to hear yours and be able to respond to them and put them in the long term plan. 

So, what do you think?

--Sonya

 

Related Topics >>

Comments

Project Startup Page - Dynamic Content

This is likely project specific, but it seems many of the project start/home pages have static content (with description of the project). Suggest include by default some dynamic content such as latest posts to forum/mailing list, file updates (commits), announcements, etc. This way the projects don't seem quite as stale. Along with this, have a "project setup" to allow the page to be configured what dynamic content is included. Maybe improve the access to RSS feeds for the project.

Yes - at this time we're

Yes - at this time we're unable to get many project stats from CollabNet, which is why we haven't made it available here.  The new project home pages will combine the information that currently resides on the CEE home pages (or Kenai project home pages, as it were) and the CMS pages associated with the project.  It will be a dashboard of sorts with pointers to the tools the projects are using, stats on updates, the project summary and licensing, and who the owners are. There will be some owner configurable information on the page, but most of it will be dynamically generated. 

Interlink communities

One thing I should've mentioned: Currently java.net projects/communities seem quite separate, almost isolated. It'd be good to see thought put into approaches to permit better inter-linking of related communities, like Mojarra and Glassfish for example. Also ways to better interact with significant external communities like Seam, Weld/CDI, etc.

We've been talking about this

We've been talking about this internally and working out how to do this (probably via tags) while still keeping the communities strong as individual entities. 

OpenID and profile sharing/integration

Login. When you log in to Java.net, redirecting back to the page you were on rather than to "My Pages". I can get to "My PAges" from anywhere with one click, while getting back to the page I was on isn't so easy, especially if it's a search hit etc. I usually just use the browser "back" button a couple of times and refresh, but it should really redirect back to where you logged in from automatically.

OpenID. java.net is yet another shard in the rather fragmented set of Java communities, each of which has its own identify management, user profiles, etc. I'd really like to see it be an OpenID client, along with sites like seamframework.org, community.jboss.org, etc, so I could use a single identity across the various sites.

Maven. Working with Sonatype to provide better Maven integration would be great, especially if done in collaboration with JBoss, who're already using them. Providing a standard way for each project to list its current release, pre-release and snapshot Maven artifact names and versions would be a big bonus too. Maybe generate a pom/settings.xml profile section for the project automatically? Integration with JBoss Sonatype Nexus repos would be a huge bonus.

Wikidocs. A central community-edited documentation site (particularly for Java EE, which badly needs it) would be something Java.net could potentially host, where most of the more vendor-specific places like seamframework.org can't as easily. Java EE in particular really *needs* broad, conceptual documentation that covers and integrates all the technologies and services involved into a better organized whole. Java.net might be a great place to start a community effort like that, as it's fairly vendor-neutral. This would also provide an opportunity to help people find key resources across java.net and the wider Internet from a fairly central "hub". See Seam dev Lincoln Baxter's posts: http://ocpsoft.com/opensource/improving-community-the-power-of-good-cent... http://ocpsoft.com/opensource/the-problem-is-not-the-system-the-problem-... . I'd be very happy to contribute to something like that, but right now there isn't really anywhere to start, and Java.net could provide a great neutral host for versioned wiki-edited Java EE documentation. (Hmm. Just found Javapedia on java.net. Surprising I've *never* noticed it, or found anything on it with Google. why aren't people using it/finding it? How can its use/adoption be improved?). For example I started writing newbie-oriented EE overview docs http://soapyfrogs.blogspot.com/2010/08/java-ee-6-is-not-product-you-can.... and had no idea javapedia even existed as a possible place to provide them for central search/editing.

Finding project resources. It's surprisingly hard to find the bug trackers of projects on java.net and search them, so some improvement there wouldn't hurt. Encouraging Google to index the trackers would also help.

Forum/mail gateway. A big plus from the current site that I'd hate to lose would be the *excellent* forum/mailing list gateway. It's great, as many people prefer to use forums, but if you're more active/interested in a project forum user interfaces quickly begin to get annoying. Being able to respond to forum users with a regular mail interface is excellent and really handy.

Finding projects. Prioritize project listings by activity/significance. Big stuff gets lost in the noise.

Involve externally hosted projects. Provide a way for projects with infrastructure elsewhere (seam, etc) to have "stub" projects at java.net that direct people to the authoritative resources elsewhere. Again, part of making java.net a Java information hub.

Kenai/netbeans. Adopt Kenai infrastructure and Netbeans integration for it.

Improve this horrid comment form. No paragraph tags permitted?! No auto-linebreak option? Doesn't permit b and i tags as aliases for em and strong?

  Login. When you log in to

 

Login. When you log in to Java.net, redirecting back to the page you were on rather than to "My Pages". I can get to "My PAges" from anywhere with one click, while getting back to the page I was on isn't so easy, especially if it's a search hit etc. I usually just use the browser "back" button a couple of times and refresh, but it should really redirect back to where you logged in from automatically.
 
- Yes, it should.  The reasons it doesn't now are because of the way we have four different services all authenticating (collab, twiki, jive, and the cms) - and they don't lay nice.  We'll be removing twiki and jive from the equation shortly, so this will be easier to fix in the long run. 

OpenID. java.net is yet another shard in the rather fragmented set of Java communities...

 
- I'd like this too, but I think the most likely direction will be that we will integrate our user database with the other Oracle Technology Network sites.  So you'll have one login for here and all of the old java.sun.com stuff that has moved over there.   That's the plan I've heard from upstairs, but there's no time frame for it yet. 

Maven. Working with Sonatype to provide better Maven integration ...

 
- I can't talk about specific vendors until the deal is done, but we will have better Maven integration on the new site. 

Wikidocs. A central community-edited documentation site...javapedia...

 
- Each project will have it's own wiki on the new site, and a community based effort would be welcome here.  I think that Javapedia will be it's own project after the move and we can better promote it then. 

Finding project resources...

 
- This is one of the things I love about Kenai - all the project features are a la carte, so a project that uses a bug tracker will have one, and it will be easily findable via the project's home page on the new infrastructure, and all of the projects that don't use issue trackers won't have them automatically generated and sitting there being dead pages any longer. 
Forum/mail gateway. A big plus from the current site that I'd hate to lose would be the *excellent* forum/mailing list gateway. It's great, as many people prefer to use forums, but if you're more active/interested in a project forum user interfaces quickly begin to get annoying. Being able to respond to forum users with a regular mail interface is excellent and really handy.
 
- This is our number one requirement for forums.  There may be a few bumps in the transition time between the sites, but this is a top priority.    
Finding projects. Prioritize project listings by activity/significance. Big stuff gets lost in the noise.
 
- Yes, also be projects that have downloads, and projects that are looking to take on newbie contributors.  This might not happen out of the gate on the new site, but it's a top priority for me as soon as we're moved.  

Involve externally hosted projects. Provide a way for projects with infrastructure elsewhere (seam, etc) to have "stub" projects at java.net that direct people to the authoritative resources elsewhere. Again, part of making java.net a Java information hub.
 

- We actually do this already (but badly) via linked projects.  We will continue to do it, and do it better on the new site.  :) 
Kenai/netbeans. Adopt Kenai infrastructure and Netbeans integration for it.
 
- Kenai infrastructure is our forge infrastructure going forward.  NetBeans integration is a possibility.  I'm open to it, but ultimately it will be a decision that comes from way over my head.  

Improve this horrid comment form. No paragraph tags permitted?! No auto-linebreak option? Doesn't permit b and i tags as aliases for em and strong?

 
- I'll point our CMS developer here to take a look at it.  

-- Sonya

Some input

I hosted one project on java.net but was disapointed of the overall performance of the site.
The ugly page layout, confusing side navigation with very small links ...
Then I migrated as one of the beta users to kenai.com and hosted some projects there until Oracle came around the corner and kenai was meant to be shut down then not than again. So i moved most of my projects to google code and like it a lot.

So I will not come back with my projects but perhaps will try hosting some of my new projects here if things go well.

What I would like to see.
  • - All features from kenai for project hosting.
  • - A very good search functionality over all content. This is the most important of all features Webbrowsers have a build in search field nower days and I never type an url even if I know it exactly. I always search for a keyword! From my point of view browsers can remove the address field.
  • - Better navigation menu but can be limited to the most important sections since we will have a super search feature.
  • - Better performance
  • - More blogs. Allow users to have their own blogs. I mainly come here for the news and blog posts on the main page.

Did I mention that you should build a very good search feature into the site ;-)
Ok nothing spectacular creative here but I hope it helps.
Best regards,
- Rossi

Hi hexer, We will have all

Hi hexer,

We will have all current Kenai features available to new projects. We are working on improving search capability as well.  The new site will have a less confusing nav - in fact I just saw the first wireframes for it this morning, and we've cut the links by at least half on the front page.  It's not the final draft, but I don't expect we'll be adding many of the old ones back.  

Blogs are an interesting question.  Anyone who wants to blog on java.net is welcome to request a blog from Kevin Farnham, the site editor, and I'm not sure that we've rejected many people who have asked.  Traditionally we've restricted blogs here to help ensure that the content is always relevant and the writing standards are high. 

Having said that, one of the things we will be rolling out over the next year is rich profiles, and we might make blogs available as part of that. Then we could have the community vote up content that should be on the front page, and eventually bloggers that consistently get voted up could be added to the "official" java.net bloggers feed.  Not sure how that would work, but we will talk about it.

-- Sonya

Maven repository

Would love a Maven repository so that one doesn't have to upload one's projects to Maven central.

We are working with a vendor

We are working with a vendor to provide that service on the new site.  I'm not sure if it will be live in time for launch, but it is in the works right now.  

-- Sonya

Please consider Artifactory.

Please consider Artifactory. Good product, and great people to work with.

Sonatype?

I really hope you're co-operating with Sonatype to integrate with Nexus, as they're already working with JBoss and it'd be good to see the Java.net and JBoss worlds move a bit closer together. https://repository.jboss.org/nexus

JBoss' experiment

As we all can see here - http://community.jboss.org/en/build not sure you can bring JBoss as a success story. Looks like Sonatype is not the best way to go.

Suggestions

I'm always a dreamer...and hopefully I have not stated something that is already present or not in scope of the changes planned...
  • Maybe add some "tagging" capabilities to allow for grouping of projects, content, etc into like pages
  • Can "My Issues" be included on "My Page" to allow collection of all issues (from multiple project) to be visible?
  • Is this the time for "Kenai" integration?
  • Allow for all varieties of "version controls" (CVS, SVN, git, Mercurial, etc)

Hi Ebresie, Thanks for being

Hi Ebresie,

Thanks for being the brave first commenter.  :)

We're definitely planning on having tagging capabilities across the CMS.  You'll see a little bit of that when we launch the new site, with more similar features rolling out in the months following.

Aggregating issues on your home page is a great idea.  I'll put that on the list.  Thanks! 

Yes, this is part of the Kenai integration.  The Kenai team is working on a batch of test projects (from the GlassFish community) now, Once those tests are complete we'll have a better idea of what time frame we're looking at.  I can't give specific dates yet, but we're talking weeks or months now, not years.  

Once we are on the Kenai infrastructure we will have SVN, Mercurial, and git.  We will probably (plan not firm yet) host a legacy CVS repo for those projects who already have CVS and can't easily convert, and Kenai is designed so that we can add any new toys that come down the pipe easily in the coming years.  

Hudson!  This is definitely on my wish list too.  We are actively negotiating contracts to get Maven support on the site, and I'd like to get Hudson going too.  There's no room in the schedule to do anything with Hudson alongside the migration effort, but we've talked about it internally and also with some folks at Hudson Labs and will actively pursue that next year as budgets and time allow. 

--Sonya

Hudson Integration

Opps...and maybe some husdon integration