[ng-dhtml] Promotion

Tom Trenka ng-dhtml at dept-z.com
Sun Aug 29 12:46:25 CDT 2004

Huh.  Nice to know your'e on the Struts team.  Now I know who to blame :D

I don't think either Joyce or I are disagreeing with you.  It's just that
that is a single approach to promotion; sometimes it works, sometimes it
doesn't.  The entire "web design" community has been caught up in spreading,
by word of mouth/word of blog, the goal of accessibility and
standards-compliance, but the majority of the world still nests tables

My basic point is that what you've mentioned is probably not enough,
especially when we're dealing in a medium that seems to have been declared
dead.  Sure, absolutely:  we need to interest developers in what we are
doing, and the mediums that you've mentioned are somewhat already in place
(i.e. this list).  I don't think we're talking about abandoning that line of
promotion at all.

But there is a difference when you also need to promote to non-techs, and
that's primarily where I'm going here.  A good looking web site--especially
when that is the only real promotional medium available--will go a long ways
towards generating respect, goodwill, et al in those who aren't interested
in the technical details; hell, it goes a long ways towards those who are.  

Give you an example: Joyce and I are going back and forth right now on the
topic of Serendipity vs. WordPress.  She has a number of great
points--Serendipity supports everything I've asked for apparently (although
I'm still not sure), it's customizable, etc. etc.  Except I have a difficult
time accepting her word.  Why?  It's not that I don't trust Joyce, not at
all...I respect her work, and by extension, her word.  But going to the s9y
site for info and documentation does *not* help my confidence...and the
reason why is because it looks tossed-off, and after the fact.

Now if you go to the WordPress site, it's a different story.  I've got
organization, I've got a professional look, and without reading a line of
text I'm already leaning towards WordPress over Serendipity.  Why?  *Because
it looks like the WordPress guys care more about their product*.

It's not that we need one promotional approach over the other.  It's more
that we need to recognize all of our potential audience, and open up all the
promotional channels that we can.  That means the mailing list, that means
the collaborative blog that all of us use on a regular basis, that means
materials in market-ese to sell the "product" to management types who could
tell you the difference between strong typing and weak typing...it means
explaining to Joe Average User that in fact, you *can* use complex
applications without having to buy a propreitary software package.  It's PR,
pure and simple.

Anyways, enough for now.  I've been up since 5am, and the coffee's starting
to wear off :)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: NG-DHTML-bounces at netwindows.org 
> [mailto:NG-DHTML-bounces at netwindows.org] On Behalf Of Martin Cooper
> Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2004 12:20 PM
> To: ng-dhtml at netwindows.org
> Subject: [ng-dhtml] Promotion
> Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on promotion, based on my 
> own experience with open source projects...
> Not knowing how many folks on this list are Java web 
> developers, I'll start with a brief history of the last 5 
> years of that world. Don't worry, I'll keep it as short as I 
> possibly can. ;-) It might not seem relevant at first, but 
> trust me, it is.
> In early 2000, the hot topic on the Sun jsp-interest and 
> servlet-interest mailing lists was something called Model 2 
> development. This was the notion that MVC could be applied to 
> Java-based web development, with servlets fulfilling the 'C' 
> role and JSP pages acting as the 'V'. At the time, far too 
> many people were using JSP pages for the 'M', the 'V' and the 
> 'C', without thinking about it. The idea seems obvious now, 
> but it wasn't, to many people, back then.
> In May 2000, Craig McClanahan posted a message to the 
> jsp-interest and servlet-interest lists, announcing the 
> creation of a new Apache project called Struts. Struts was 
> borne of Craig's own experiences in building sophisticated 
> web applications, where the need for a core framework became 
> painfully clear.
> Very quickly, many of the people who had been experiencing 
> the pain of developing web apps using either pure servlets or 
> Model 1 development (a.k.a. JSP for everything) subscribed to 
> the Struts mailing lists. A few people (myself included) 
> realised that this was a sea change in Java web app 
> development, and got more involved with the project.
> Today, Struts is the single most successful Java web app 
> framework in existence. The Struts mailing lists have more 
> subscribers than any other Java project at Apache, including 
> Tomcat. There are dozens of books on Struts, and many more 
> that have chapters on Struts. Experience with Struts shows up 
> on almost every Java web developer's resume these days.
> Very important to note here is that we (the Struts team) did 
> NO promotion.
> Some of us hung out on the mailing lists where the people 
> feeling the pain hung out, and pointed them to Struts. That's 
> it. All of the real work of promoting Struts happened through 
> the users, through word of mouth, and through other people 
> writing about it.
> End of history lesson. ;-)
> So what's the point? The point is that you (we) need to get 
> involved with the communities that feel the pain. You can 
> scream and shout all you like about how great dojo is, but if 
> the people who feel the pain are not within earshot, you 
> would be wasting your time.
> So hang out where the pain is. Join some of the mailing lists 
> (e.g. the Struts User list or wherever you feel comfortable), 
> start helping with people's JavaScript problems, show them 
> what can be done, point them to dojo, add a snappy dojo sig 
> to your messages, etc. etc. That's how you'll get the 
> mindshare you want - and need - for dojo to succeed.
> Martin.
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> NG-DHTML at netwindows.org
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