Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where Has The Java Community Gone?

A few years back, the Java community was really strong. You had JavaRanch for the newbies, JavaLobby for the veterans, TSS for the server side guys, and J2MEForums for the mobile guys. The news was always exciting, and there were pages of discussions on even the most mundane topics. Fast forward to today and TSS has turned into a vendor propaganda site plus editor blog, J2MEForums activity is at an all time low, and JavaLobby has self-destructed into a blog-roll. The combined discussions among all these sites today is a fraction of the discussions on even one of these sites before. So where has the Java community gone? Did they abandon ship because Java is dying? Hard to believe as there are more Java developers today than ever before. Are they quiet because the hype machine has moved to Ruby? Not likely as I haven't seen any Ruby community sites that are more active either. So what happened?

I blame the rise of the blogosphere for the death of the Java community. When everyone has their own soap box, there's no single place to congregate and discuss. But when the community is composed of a few small discussions scattered across a few thousand blogs, it may as well be dead. So maybe JavaLobby is doing the right thing - the community is dead anyway, might as well accept it and move on. But JavaLobby was the last bastion of the Java community, and it will be sorely missed.

6 comments:

Ryan Slobojan said...

Have you looked at InfoQ (http://www.infoq.com)?

Full disclosure: I'm an InfoQ Java editor.

enaiel said...

I have looked at InfoQ. I think it does a great job of distilling the interesting stuff from the blogosphere, but I've never gotten the feeling of a community there. I've never understood why, because it does a better job than TSS ever did, but it still doesn't attract much discussion.

Michael Easter said...

Check out JavaBlogs and especially DZone.

IMO, the Java community has never been more vibrant. It is distributed but very much alive.

(I have no affliation with either site).

enaiel said...

I access JavaBlogs and DZone via their RSS feeds. Feels more like Google News than a community. They don't provide the platform for the kind of long-running passionate discussions like what we used to have often on JL and TSS.

Rick Ross said...

enaiel, you may not want to write the last word on this obituary too soon. We're not finished with our transition yet, and I assure you that nobody loves the "community" of it more than Matt Schmidt and I do. Javalobby is in flux, but I am confident the end result will be superior to what we all previously enjoyed.

Also, remember that community is people, and you have an active role in the outcome. You are still completely welcome, as you have always been, to contribute any story or opinion that you feel merits the attention of the community. We will use the same criteria as ever to evaluate and/or approve any community posting. If anything, it is now easier than ever to post comments and easier to read them.

Finally, while the "death of Javalobby" has been a popular discussion topic in some circles this week, I'd like to share a fact that some of the announcers wouldn't know: traffic and visits are up nearly 20% in less than 4 weeks and still climbing. It's an intriguing way to die :)

Give us time. *BE* the community by initiating and participating in the discussions you want to have. Share the news and information you feel is important in the community, and you will enjoy the results for years to come.

Warm regards,
Rick

enaiel said...

Hi Rick

Thanks for your comments. You have my respect for running JavaLobby for all these years and I'm happy to hear that the transition is increasing your traffic. I even agree that the content is better than before. But eyeballs and content don't make a community. The watering hole where we used to have those pages and pages of discussions was the community. And that doesn't exist anymore.

Regards,
enaiel