[ng-dhtml] Promotion

Martin Cooper martinc at apache.org
Thu Sep 9 01:39:42 CDT 2004

I also don't think we're disagreeing, so I guess we must be agreeing about 
something. This is good. ;-)

I'm going to interpret your comment about the "need to promote to 
non-techs" as a need to positively influence PHBs. If that's not what you 
mean, then ignore the following and feel free to elaborate.

I absolutely agree that what needs to be done to influence PHBs is very 
different from what needs to be done to get developers to buy in. However, 
I claim that if you can't get the developers to buy in, then it's a lost 
cause with the PHBs. Therefore, in the initial stages of a project, 
developer buy-in is much, much more important than PHB buy-in.

Further, I claim that, while you may increase developer buy-in via robust 
nightly builds, pre-release downloads, etc, you will not, for the most 
part, get PHB buy-in without some sort of "official" release. To a PHB, if 
it's pre-1.0, it's clearly not ready for prime time.

So my suggestion, at this stage in the game, is to forget about trying to 
influence PHBs or other non-developers, and focus on hooking in the 
developers themselves. Once you have the developers hooked, and they start 
telling you that they need a way to convince their PHBs that this is what 
they need - *then* you can start thinking about how to target the PHBs.


On Sun, 29 Aug 2004, Tom Trenka wrote:

> 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
> first...
> 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 :)
> Tom
>> -----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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