java.net

sun is waking up to communities. java.net is a place to meet and work. “This site was designed from scratch to set a new standard for what’s possible in online collaborative software development,” says Bobowicz. It has been primed to thrive as a dynamic, live, international, 24×7, real-time community for hands-on Java software development.
with considerable luck they may be able to attract enough interest in the widely dispersed java blog / open source community. i went ahead and registered apache lenya, although the project will of course not move there. the site will point to its official home. maybe it will help to attract some more attention from the general, java-using population. we shall see..
they even let mr. gosling out to play with the other kids, although what good is a blog without rss..

quoting & metadata

ralph levien talks about quoting netiquette. It is considered good etiquette not to quote email without permission. However, these days, emails are often part of a broader discussion spanning blogs, web fora, and so on. It’s increasingly easy to run afoul of this etiquette rule. Thus, I propose the two-character string “+ as a shorthand indicating that permission to quote, with attribution, is granted. Permission is also granted to integrate the email into any copylefted documentation (most copylefts do not require attribution).

“+ is a nice idea until we figure out how to attach rdf metadata to arbitrary text fragments. semantic web here we come. raph is right, quoting is increasingly a problem.

A less than clued-in person recently accused me of wanting to spam a mailing list when the intent was to use affero to provide users a possibility to give back by donating to select charities. that person was in possession of the whole trail of discussion, and only used that conclusion to discredit me. a generalized quoting system would allow anyone to trace these tidbits back to the source, and decide for themselves..

software development as web-based collaboration?

We build WYSIWYG editors for sharing richly-annotated source; we use glass TTY editors (vi, emacs) to hammer on flat ASCII files in which most of the metadata (comments) is completely unstructured.

i just discovered jon udells very interesting newsgroups. some nice quotes about software development in the web era:

greg wilson on why xml-style coding might not catch on: Many programmers would rather change the way the global economy works than change the way they brace and indent their C code. Many also program as an end in itself (even when they’re being paid to do so). They don’t see an advantage in switching to a format that looks odd (compared to what they’ve been weaned on), and whose primary benefits are team-oriented (lower long-term maintenance costs, easier for newcomers to navigate the code, etc.).

very very sad. i’d gladly switch to tools that allow me to capture my intent on a higher semantical level. however there is apparently hope:

greg again: I *am* hoping that as old programmers die off, younger ones will start bringing tools that they’re used to using in other contexts into the coding arena. For example, the proportion of programmers using IDEs instead of legacy command line tools (Emacs + gdb, makefiles, etc.) seems to be increasing. I believe this is because students are introduced to both while they’re still impressionable, so they can choose without worrying about the cost of change.

on the need to include communication in the process: Finally, LP systems only addressed the problem of “static” communication — I write a doc, you read it, information flows one way. This only addresses the needs of big corporate dev environments, where audit trails and 20-year life cycles are an issue. I’ll bet most of the people reading this group need something much more fluid to sustain their day-to-day work. Even those of us in our late thirties are now used to the “dynamic” two-way threaded ongoing communication of newsgroups like this. I’ve watched developers in their 20s use Messenger to throw around hasty sketches of data structures and snippets of code while chatting; offer them an IDE that does this, and their reaction is likely to be, “Well, duh, about time.”

i for one would love to integrate jabber with my ide… given a decent xslt, these conversations could be nicely integrated with the source to provide more clues about the code.

sourceforge is a first attempt at such a highly integrated ide that tries to embrace group ware. finally there seems to be a very good book by karl fogel on Open Source Development With CVS that will hopefully be on my bookshelf one day..