My Name is Aaron! I work with Java User Groups and Java Community Leaders
Awhile ago, the java.net Program Manager approached me about blogging about some of the day-to-day interactions I've had with the Java community over the years, primarily the Java User Groups (JUGs) and Java Champions program. I get a ton of email from folks who are interested in starting a Java User Group and want to know how to get started. Honestly, I tell them, the best place to learn about Java User Groups and "community" is from an acting JUG leader. And there are plenty of them right here on java.net -- JOIN their mailing list. Over 150 JUG leaders participate in the JUG Leader's mailing list on java.net. It is a vibrant and passionate community; It has always been a rewarding experience (for me) to talk to these folks about tips on how to grow their local groups and learn about more about Java.
So, to get this blog started, I thought I would share a typical email from a prospective JUG leader and my reply.
SUBJ: JUG Program for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada -- Nov 6th, 2009
I, along with the backing of my company, am interested in starting a JUG group for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and was wondering what advice and or support you could provide as we move forward with a new Java User Group.
Winnipeg used to have a Java User Group, but it became defunct years ago. There are a number or java based organizations within the city and would like to see them get together to further our use and understanding of Java.
Again, any advice, documents, or suggestions that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. -- Casey from Winnipeg
****************************** REPLY ******************************
Hey, you've come to the right place. My name is Aaron, I work for Sun as their program coordinator for Java Users Groups. At Sun, we've known that the Java User Groups (JUGs) is a huge community and an important "grass-roots" part of the Java Eco-System + technology adoption. JUGs have always been independent of Sun, they have had to be because there is no way for us here at Sun to be the "end-all and everything" for the JUG community. However, we do have a corporate-centered program to help facilitate the discussion that Sun's Java Leadership would like to have with the Java Developer Community....and the JUGs are a great place to start for our developer outreach initiatives.
What does Sun do for Java User Groups?
So what does Sun do for JUGs? Well, at this moment, not as much as we would like... However, in the past, we have done lots of events, community sessions, and activities at JavaOne, Sun Tech Days, and elsewhere. We have a corporate level program and dedicated resources (Nichole Scott and I are listed here). We get "the voice" of Community Leaders heard within the leadership at Sun + Java Platform engineering team. And, we do sometimes conduct mailings of care-packages of Java books, T-shirts, OpenSource software...and I coordinate speakers when they're available. Perhaps, the best thing we are doing for JUGs is sponsoring the cost of hosting java.net and supplying resource(s) to the JUGs and other communities on java.net.... We do hold/or facilitate Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions at JavaOne and community-led conferences like DEVOXX. Very important to us (Sun) to be supporting a developer event coordinated by a non-profit or a Java User Group. (i.e. nljug.org's J-Fall, javaBin's JavaZone, Belgian JUG's DEVOXX, and a couple more). We sometimes sponsor these conferences. The JUG Leaders will be meeting next week at DEVOXX -- JUG BOF event.
Tech Days Resources and Join the JUG Leader's mailing list:
I routinely send information about which of our evangelist speakers(s) or sun development engineers are speaking and links to their presentations via the JUG leader's mailing list. Also, Sun has a program called Sun Tech Days whereby most of the presentations (see list below) are made available for public re-use, since our folks can't be everywhere .....
Couple of resources:
- "FAQ - How to start a sucessful Java User Group" (lists Java Evangelist speakers, it needs an update) and there's also Ahmed Hashim's original blog entry here: "How to Start a Successful Java User Group"
- "When giving presentations, the only rule that matters is the rule of attention" (thanx Van!)
- JUG Leader's Google Map plots JUGs interacting on the JUG leader's mailing list (you get on the map by joining the mailing list)
- How to send kml info to the JUG leader's mailing list to get your JUG on the map
- How to start a JUG (wiki) - has comments from prominent and successful JUG leaders
- Join OReilly's Program for User Groups -- Connect with Marsee Henon on twitter (get free books to give away at your meetings)
- Join Pearson's Program for User Groups -- Connect with Heather Fox on twitter (get free books to give away at your meetings)
- Here's a list of European JUGs who will be at DEVOXX
- List of Sun Tech Days Presentations
- List of Java Evangelist Sang Shin's visits and presentations -- (Mr. Java Passion -- Free online training) . (Cool video of Sang at Sun Tech Days "Sun Microsystems' Architect dancing like crazy")
- Check out Java Evangelist's Carol McDonald's blog (lots and lots of tasty code snippets)
- Check out SunSPOT World -- link to the forums; Terrence Barr's list of "Spaughts" YouTube videos (SunSPOTs is a java programmable sensor device with lots of real world applications to test your Java knowledge outside of your day job)
- Check out JUG Cologne's website (its in german though)-- a very successful JUG; Michael Huettermann always seems to get the best Java Speakers!
- NYJAVASIG is one of the very best US JUGs
- Felipe Gaucho's blog -- Former Brazilian JUG leader in Switzerland + Passionate Community Leader
- JUG Leader's are an example of : "Meritocracy in Action" -- Hildeberto Mendonca's blog
- Several short videos by James Gosling about Java User's Groups + MP3s from past JavaPolis/DEVOXX.
- The Java Champions Project -- look at the Java Champion Blog Feed - for interesting topics for your JUG meetings
- The Java Posse -- (imho) the Best Commentary of the Java Scene
- Lastly, Check out the Community Leader's slide Deck I put together at JavaOne this year for the community corner. It lists most of the JUG leader and Java Champions participating with the JUGs -- Java Champions are great source of potential speakers for your JUG.
Lots of stuff... I could talk about Java User Groups for Days... Hope this helps... -- Aaron