dwblog-javaredesignI’m flying up the West Coast after a somewhat failed experiment. Due to an unfortunate personal circumstance, I took a little time away to try and right myself. For reasons I can’t quite fathom now, I decided that aimless train travel was the antidote to what ailed me. I spent a goodly amount of time figuring out what my options were, where I could go in a reasonable amount of time, how much it might cost, if there was viable WiFi, whether I wanted to stay over any place in particular and for how long, etc. I came up with a plan. I thought it was a good plan. I even made a handy matrix for my manager so she’d know where I’d be and if I’d be working on a particular day. I covered my bases, but the plan still failed. See that first sentence: there is no train involved in flying.

Before I left, I had some business to tend to. As you may have noticed, developerWorks has been rolling out a new design over the past few months. It’s a modern, more-navigable design intended to, among other things, allow us to quickly and more easily incorporate and modify topic areas on demand without so much effort. Java™ was next on the list for a facelift. In the past, I dictated to my web editor what I wanted on the pages I manage, and she gladly did my bidding by quickly coding new ideas, revising on-the-fly, and making changes on a whim (er, my whim). But in an attempt to help our team develop additional skills, our Editor in Chief has embraced the end-to-end editorial model, which means I now build said pages myself. Scary proposition for an eternal tinkerer who considers her primary areas of coverage as family; I’ve nurtured the Java zone since its infancy in 2000 and Web development since 2012, and my newfound power is both exciting and dangerous (my personal impulsiveness and clumsiness extend to my XML coding skills).

So, as with the train trip, I came up with a plan. I think it’s a good plan, but I’m sure I’m only partially right here, too. I had certain parameters under which I had to function, but a lot was left up to me. The resulting Java hub is now broader than the “zone” that came before it, acting as your front door into Java development, both inside and outside IBM. It opens into rooms that cover both general Java topics and those that are integral to IBM’s work with the platform, which itself spans many areas, from our internal product development to our strategic initiatives.

Building on the “Learn-Develop-Connect” theme at play elsewhere on our site, the Java Tutorials & training page (Learn) offers the how-tos (available in various media forms) that you’re familiar with and helps you stay current on topics that are relevant to you at a granular level. Tools & code (Develop) is your connection to critical Java development efforts internal and external to IBM. And Communities (Connect) is your way of engaging with the Java community at large through relevant Developer Centers, events, blogs, and the like. All of these pages are a work in progress, so if you notice something missing or think there’s a better way for me to convey certain information, feel free to contact me directly. Keep in mind that there are requirements and I can’t bend the the design like space-time, but I’ll do my best to accommodate interesting and useful ideas.

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With a laser focus on Bluemix® since 2014, the more general Java coverage that was our bread and butter took a back seat. Java is en vogue at IBM once again (it’s never really been out, but from a marketing perspective it wasn’t the sexiest beast in the ring), and there are many other teams within our extended family now working on aspects of Java coverage. Our pages will surface the work that they’re doing, while I look outward and reboot the general coverage that underpins the language and platform.

This year aims to be a pivotal one for both developerWorks Java and me. Our team has a center of gravity in RTP, NC, but many of us (including me) float out in the hinterland. Our “office” is wherever there’s a stable Internet connection – and let me tell you, that is not on a train – and my goal for both my work and myself is to make a good plan, put it in action, and manage the inevitable failure that comes with trying out anything new. Who knows where you’ll be hearing from me next, or if it will be by design, but I’m willing to take the chance.

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