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We almost lost JavaWorld

Posted by daniel on October 17, 2003 at 6:39 AM PDT

The familiar smell of crisp autumn morning air filled with fallen leaves always makes me nostalgic. This year it seems heightened by almost losing JavaWorld magazine.

A few weeks ago several of our authors said they'd received email that JavaWorld magazine was going to cease publishing new articles. The future of the publication was uncertain. We've known for a while that JavaWorld has fallen on hard times. With the economy and the industry the way it is, it's hard to attract advertisers and they had to cut down on the number of editors over this past year.

JavaWorld was the gold standard. It was the publication to read. In the early days of Java, it's where we learned about the technology from the early adopters. The editors who worked at JavaWorld went on to establish and strengthen other online technology sites such as developerWorks, DevX, and dev2dev. The authors wrote important books, APIs you use every day, and articles for many sites and print publications.

JavaWorld was also where I got my start. In 1997 I introduced a course in programming in Java at John Carroll University. It was early days for Java and during the semester students with Windows machines were able to use the beta release of J2SE 1.1 while Mac users' only option was J2SE 1.0.2. I complained about it in an email to my sister who was assistant editor at JavaWorld. She passed the note on to Michael O'Connell, JavaWorld's founding editor in chief, and he invited me to write an article. This began my coverage of Java on the Mac for JavaWorld and other publications.

In 1998, I joined other JavaWorld authors to provide coverage for JavaOne. We had a room in Moscone filled with computers and people cranking out articles quickly for the show daily. Bill Venners, Jason Hunter, Bill Day, Eric Armstrong, and others talked about the latest in Java and summarized keynotes, BOFs, and sessions for articles that would post before the next morning. You could feel the buzz at JavaOne and the show daily office was electric. For the next few years I looked forward to thus week of covering JavaOne with such a talented cohort.

In late 1999 JavaWorld debuted the CodeMasters challenge. Jill Steinberg, my sister, was now JavaWorld's editor-in-chief. She gave me my first experience working as an editor. All of a sudden I had a different perspective on deadlines (they mattered). My job wasn't to write copy or rewrite but to work with other authors to revise their own writing in their own voice. During the contest Jill moved on to another job and Carolyn Wong became the editor-in-chief of JavaWorld. When the funding for the contest ran out, we couldn't find another sponsor and CodeMasters was retired. It was a great experience that I'd like to revive some day. All of the code submitted was made available as open source.

Maybe it's the smell of the leaves and the sound of them breaking beneath my feet that makes me look back at these times with rose colored glasses. JavaWorld was an important publication that was also important to me personally. Thank you Michael, Jill, and Carolyn and all of the other editors that worked there.

One of our authors asked me "wouldn't you be happier if one of your competitors wasn't around any more?" That's just not our vision here at Our front page features articles from other sites every day. If you subscribe to our daily blog, you'll notice that we link directly to the other sites. You don't have to visit us first so that we get extra hits. If you read about an article that interests you on another site you click and go.

Before we launched, Bill Venners talked about Java publications over coffee. JavaWorld had just let two editors go and we were remembering better times. He liked a lot of what we were hoping to accomplish with and agreed that "it's not a zero-sum game. If you do well it doesn't have to take away from other sites. We can all benefit each other."

I'm happy to report that, at least for now, rumors of the demise of JavaWorld are greatly exaggerated. I wish Carolyn the best and look forward to future issues.

Today's Weblogs includes Simon Brown's entry XDoclet in the J2EE web tier. Simon thinks that XDoclet makes sense for EJBs but he remains unconvinced that they can be used in the web tier. Check the talkback for feedback from XDoclet developer Erik Hatcher.

In Also in Java Today , Chris Adamson muses about what could have been if iApps had been jApps. There are many reasons for thinking that Java is a logical choice for applications similar to iPhoto, iMovie, and iTunes. This reminded me of Amy Fowler's entry from early summer Would you run in flipflops.

Also, when you go to deploy your desktop Java application, don't forget to make it user friendly for the millions of Mac OS X users that have a Java runtime pre-installed on their machines. In the third installment in the series on Bringing your Java Application to Mac OS X you'll learn how to bundle your Java application as a double clickable native Mac OS X application. This technique works even if your development machine is a Windows box.

In Projects and Communities , the Jini community invites you to join A Discussion on JavaSpaces Technology Gaps. Also those in the Education and Research community note the availability of The Pragmatic Starter Kit from Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt, authors of The Pragmatic Programmer.

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