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Improving Content by Removing Process

Posted by daniel on June 10, 2003 at 7:23 AM PDT

At last night's JavaOne Fireside chat James Gosling said "there were almost no original ideas in Java. It was controlled theft." Graham Hamilton, the Sun VP who is the architect of J2SE 1.5 told Gosling that "choosing what to leave out was your best contribution." Blogs are featured in this first issue of Java Today because the entries highlight what we're trying to leave out on this site.

My sister hired me to cover several of the JavaOne conferences for JavaWorld magazine that was at the time producing the show daily for Sun. A group of Java developers were given assignments and a room was set up with editors and computers. We would return from the sessions we were covering and crank out an article. The article would be edited as soon as possible for style and content and then another editor would produce the article so that it was ready to go live on the web. Then it had to go through a process where the article was reviewed by marketing and legal. The results was that, for good or bad, the articles were more polished by the time they finally appeared.

What we've chosen to leave out, for much of our Java Today content, is that process. John Mitchell sat next to me at the Fireside chat. From time to time he would chuckle, "I'm going to include that in my blog." My job as an editor is easy, I'll read what he's written. Couldn't the entry be better if it was edited? Maybe, but that's not what blogs are all about. John's blog is his voice. It's what he is thinking and what he wants to share. I didn't assign a topic to him to write on and I'm not going to review what he's written.

Oh, and one more thing about blog entries, the blogger publishes the entry by pressing a button. They don't have to wait for anything except a web connection. At some conferences where wireless is pervasive, you'll see blog entries from sessions that are still in progress.

Look at the right side of the page and you'll see "Community Voices". This collection of weblog entries will be refreshed each day. Generally, only three or four can make it to this front page each day. You can see the entire list of submitted blog entries on the Weblogs home page. As soon as a web logger pushes "Mark as Final", their entry will appear on this list. Today I've also loaded up the "Also today" section with blog entries to highlight this medium.

If you are new to the world of blogs, you should note the little RSS feed icons that you will see next to blogs. In fact, if you look in the left nav, you should see a feed for Java Today that syndicates this daily update. Use a news-reader and subscribe to the blogs that interest you. On the Mac I use NetNewsWire. You are constructing your own personal newspaper by selecting those feeds that you receive each day.

Daniel H Steinberg, Editor-in-Chief Java.net