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Where'd You Go?

Posted by editor on January 14, 2008 at 8:09 AM PST

Looking for articles on new topics

Between sessions at Sun Tech Days Atlanta last week, I stopped by one of the booths and said hi to Gregg Sporar, and thanking him for the strong session on Beans Binding. Seeing that I was with O'Reilly, specifically as the editor of, he said straight out that he really wanted to see a feature article on Beans Binding and JSR 295.

Consider it added to the Wish List.

That and a couple other articles are on my to-do list. Lately, the kinds of topics submitted out of the blue have been really hit or miss. Heavy on the miss, as potential authors apparently haven't found the Writer's Guide and its topic interest list. The focus is plenty broad: anything in the core Java platforms (ME, SE, EE), plus the projects hosted on, or useful meta-topics related to development (process, etc.). And yet, a lot of the proposals I get are topics that have nothing to do with our community (e.g., Spring), or have already been covered to death (Spring again).

I'm going to update the suggested topic list this week, and start directly contacting project leads to see if they know any potential writers in their user communities, but here are a few topics I'd be highly interested in seeing proposals on:

  • Swing Application Framework and Beans Binding -- combined with NetBeans, these really offer the fundamental building blocks of putting much of an application together with a GUI builder. Not all of it, of course, but once you come to realize you have better things to do than manually wire/unwire all your event listener relationships, or build your GUI from the cold start of public static void main(), these become highly appealing.

  • NetBeans Rich Client Platform -- same idea, bigger scale. Why write all this stuff from scratch when you can just pick up a best-in-class application platform, and focus on the functionality specific to your domain?

  • Hudson -- this may be the best, most popular project that too few people know about. Use it for your continuous build system, or to make sure the many parts of your enterprise system stay up and running. There are many potential uses, and there'll be more as people discover this project.

  • ROME -- we covered this in a 2006 article, but with important sub-projects like ROME Propono and lots of companies using ROME for their RSS and podcast feeds, it's well worth another look.

  • Java and multi-core -- I don't feel like the definitive article has been written on this topic. Is it really enough to say "we have threads, we're fine", or "let the app server worry about it?" Are you really writing optimally concurrent code, and are you just using Threads, or are you exploiting the power and convenience of the java.util.concurrent package? Remember, two cores is just the beginning; Apple thinks some of its users need eight cores on two CPUs, and of course the UltraSPARC T2 gives you eight cores (and 64 threads) on one CPU. Are we coding to make the best possible use of this power?

This is of course an incomplete, off-the-cuff list. There are lots of other topics that fall within our purview that would be of interest to the readership. In fact, if there's something you'd like to see a feature article on, please followup with a comment to this blog. And if your project would benefit from an introductory feature article, and you're up for writing it, send me an e-mail (cadamson at oreilly dot com).

You don't have to be a world-class expert on a topic to write an article about it. Frankly, a lot of times, writing is an investigatory experience for me, and the value that a writer provides is to be one of the first to really dig into something and clarify it for others. Elliotte Rusty Harold isn't a JDK build engineer, but I'll bet his piece on Building the JDK, based on a day of working through all the build challenges, has saved its readers a lot of hassle.

Oh, and did I mention we pay for feature articles? Sun employees are exempt, unfortunately, but if a paycheck's enough to seal the deal, to say nothing of getting your name and your topic attached at the hip by search engines, then take a look at the writer's guide and drop me a line with your proposal.

In Java Today,

Java SE 6 Update 4 is now available for download. Along with a time zone update and a command-line option allowing explicit System.gc() calls to run concurrently and unload eligible classes, the release notes show 377 bug fixes and feature adds, including the integration of JAX-WS 2.1 (bug 6535162), as noted in weblogs by Rama Pulavarthi and Arun Gupta.

The latest edition, Issue 153 , of the JavaTools Community Newsletter is out, with a new year's greeting from the community leads, tool-related news from around the web and from the community's projects, announcements of new projects that have joined the community, and a Tool Tip on using Maven with Eclipse.

The NetBeans project is proud to announce that the Woodstock JSF Components 4.1.1 upgrade is available on NetBeans Update Center. The new version includes performance improvements, bug fixes, and an upgrade to dojo 1.0.1. The Woodstock 4.1.1 Release notes have complete details about all the changes in this version.

Having mentioned Beans Binding earlier, Fabrizio