The future of Java – a community perspective

Ah memories

I’ve started my interaction with Java a long time ago – in 1998 (*), when a friend of mine show me thr good ‘ol Borland JBuilder and how to write Swing applications. I was using a very very old computer that I bought a day before that and my first compilation took 30 min or so.

Couple of months after that I betrayed Java and I’ve start using PHP and other easy to learn web languages, because my employer requires that, but I never forgot my loving Java.

14 years after

14 year after that I had the opportunity to be a part of Java community again. Of course I followed what’s going on with Java during the years and when the Oracle bought it I was shocked. They did the same with MySQL…

What is the future of Java NOW?

Last couple of months I am working with JUG and other Java boys and girls and I see that most of them are not happy, enthusiastic and don’t care about the spirit of Java (if I may use that expression).

I don’t want to start a technology flame war and I am not a Java tech person at all, but I am worried about the community around Java.

The Example
There are JUG’s with 1000 and more members, from which 50 are active online and 10 coming to an offline meeting.

Community?
Most of you can say Java is only about the technology and maybe they are right, but this is not what I think. Java is about the community also – There is no technology that can survive without a community around it and the community plays a big role to make a technology kick-ass.

That’s I want to find the way to scream “WAKE UP” and to push the technology forward.

So, where is the problem?
Is it Oracle politics about Java? Are you afraid of them?
Is it Community Management – most of the JUG lists are used as one way communication. There is no active engagement from the leaders at all. Sad!
Is it the “threat” of other languages? Really?

What do YOU think? How to bring back the passion?

I have my own vision, but I’d love to hear more about yours. Can you share it with me, please?

P.S I’d love to discuss this at FOSDEM and I may buy you a beer :)
(*) in my 1.0 version the date was wrong, sorry for that.

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(Mozilla) Communities – Agile approach, tools, patterns and metrics.

I will be talking about that at FOSDEM in Mozilla’s room. (*)

Abstract:
We’re living in hard times right now. Most of the F(L)OSS projects suffers from lack of volunteers especially if they must donate a large amount of time to this project. My talk will show how you can plan better your community how to measure it, how to use tips and tricks from the commercial world and how to use some agile methods and tools to make you community kick-ass squad.

  1. How to plan your community for next couple of months; (ex. We need 3 more people to join our translation effort) and Create the Flow – how a bug report goes from bugzilla to the  the end of it’s life. (a.k.a kill the bug)
  2. Define how to do it (ex. Troll the forums, create twitter campaign, contact universities, or something else?)
  3. How to Measure it (How many retweets do you have, how many clicks, etc) and Why?
  4. How to find patterns into your community and how to use them. For example – Most of the answers I receive to my mailing comes during business hours OR Friday is not a good day to send emails
  5. What is Agile and how to use it to make my community life easier? ( Trello show-case )

(*) room U.218A (next to Chavanne)

Feel free  stop by, eat some belgian chocolate (provided by me) and listen to my thoughts and share yours.

P.S If you still don’t have place to stay during the FOSDEM, take a look on my blogpost here.

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Put some Agile into your community

Finding a way to stimulate/encourage your community to do stuff can be a very difficult task.  I will show you an Agile-like approach to do that and actually it works pretty well, but remember:

Don’t try to control your community, try to manage it.

Create the infrastructure

  • Get an account in Trello.
  • Define your basic iteration period. Let say 2 weeks.
  • Define tasks.

Don’t try to find people who want to contribute.

“What? Are you serious?”

Hell yeah. Try to create tasks first. Put anything you think can be doable in the next 2 weeks (This is your main task).

You can start from “we need someone to tweet using our account” , “we need a new wiki” or something more interesting like “we need someone to be responsible for beer giveaways”

Ready?

Invite

Ok, now invite ALL community members to create an account and to look at the task.

Let them:

  1. Vote for the tasks.  See how community see the importance of the tasks.
  2. Add themselves to a task. It’s a common mistake project manager/leader/the big boss to assign someone to a task. Don’t do that!

Teams

Now you can see which people are willing to work together on a certain task and you can create a new board for them.

Let say you have a task website on the main board:

And there are 10 people that want to contribute to it. Move them to another board and let them create tasks, with a simple workflow:

Todos > Working on > Done:

Meetings

If you have well working community or some kind of core contributors, you can start every iteration with a meeting and to define all the tasks together.

Why?

  • This approach will help you a lot to do things faster. Remember define only tasks that can be done in 2 weeks (or 3 weeks). It’s much easier to create a simple skeleton of your website with most, most important functionalities (like who we are and join us) than to plan and create whole website in 2 months.
  • Step by step
  • Build a community and respect your community member’s skills.
  • Invite anyone to join and to help. It’s kind of easy to find someone to write a post in a forum or to contact a media representative, because this takes 3-4 minutes.
  • Get things done!


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