Category Archives: Community

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Carlos Sanchez on Maven, Eclipse, Kepler and Q4E

After a busy period over the end of September/October travelling and going to Eclipse Summit, I got to post an interview with Carlos Sanchez on We talked about his history in Maven, and what he has been up to with Eclipse and Maven recently.



Social Networking Apps – Bringing Benefits or Waste of Time?

Social networking applications are hardly a new phenomenon but there is no denying their recent surge in popularity. I’d tried a few infrequently here and there – such as and – but beyond the initial "something to do" in a moment of procrastination, not much to them.

I was a reluctant sign up to LinkedIn about 3 years ago – not really seeing the point, not looking for work at the time, and not interested in any more spam in a day. But they did execute it very well – a minimum in nuisance mails, and very easy to grow your network. It was intriguing to realise how closely connected people were in the local area, and even more so as I started to traverse open source contacts. It definitely had some appeal to the techie.

Fast forward to today, and over the last 5 months or so I’ve found myself being quite willing to sign up to yet-another-social-network.

Facebook is still the most recent I’ve used, and obviously a lot has been said about it in that time. It initially has all those same benefits – really easy to grow your network, full of information about people, but no real nuisance value (or at least easily ignored). By bringing in the application platform that has seen it have constant growth, they have also brought it that techie appeal.

I’ll admit to sinking a bit of time into it playing around with various different applications – adding everything I got invited to and letting the profile grow out of control at times. But I’ve found it less compelling to log in regularly and see what my network is up to over time. Now don’t get me wrong – I love playing pretend Jedi as much as the next guy – but are these sites bringing some value past the original "cool" factor, or just becoming a massive time sink?

I thought I’d take a look at the sites I actively use and compare:

  • Facebook: Obviously the big one, and my original intent for this was to aggregate all the other social networks I was on through the use of the applications. It hasn’t really fulfilled that promise, but on the other hand I’ve quickly built the biggest network here – not only my immediate contacts but getting back in touch with friends from a number of years ago.

    Sheer size is the benefit here – it’s great to hear from people you don’t regularly, and to get to know more about people you do. I’ve had people ask if they can borrow a book they never knew I had before, and other such similar instances where it’s had some actual practical benefit. And in appropriate doses, it is fun to play around with the applications.

  • LinkedIn: I’ve never used LinkedIn to go searching for work, and have only once or twice received an invitation or request to pass an invitation on. I can see how it might be of benefit to such users – but it’s never really applied to me. I’ve found the greatest practical benefit being that I hear where my former colleagues or acquaintances are moving to when they change jobs.

    It’s a good place to keep up a separate professional network though, and all the original benefits are still there, though I’ve not seen a killer new feature in some time that has drawn me back into the site either.

  • Dopplr: I was a little skeptical about Dopplr at first – but as I’ve started travelling more it is becoming interesting to see who is going to the same places. I think this requires more non-conference travel and a bigger network to see the benefits, but it could be interesting – and I’ve seen at least one instance of a person catching up halfway across the planet through dopplr. Certainly worth keeping up with.

  • Twitter: I’ve written about twitter before – and this has turned out to be a real surprise to me. It is surely tedious in a lot of instances – but I’ve found it the most useful of all. One use is as a group SMS tool – when you need to meet up with people it’s easier to hit them all at once – and I’ve used it this way a few times. When I’m away from the computer, it has the good and the bad (it’s hard to switch off) of keeping you close to what your network is up to. When you work in a distributed office, it’s always nice to make the world a smaller place.

    I did think this would get old very quickly – and it goes through ups and downs – but I  find you can get through a lot of content with a low commitment, and you get a lot of information (whether of practical value or just for fun) that you’d otherwise miss.

Along the way, sites like flickr and – if not intrinsically built for social networking – have utilised some of these aspects and general social interaction to build something more compelling. As useful as is – I’ve never really used other peoples tags as much as it has been a bookmark repository. flickr has been great for sharing photos with friends, following comments and so on – though I now find myself wanting flickr’s photo and tagging capabilities along with facebook’s social tagging of photos.

This seems to be the sweet spot – increasing available metadata for your content, and making it relevant to your social network. There is a new use for this every day, and something that will be interesting to follow.

Would I need any more social networks or apps? There are obviously a massive number I’m not using already, and the above are just the regular ones, but there are still opportunities  to do new things out there, particularly to reapply the concepts of a social network to existing static research problems.

It seems many new ideas will turn to using the facebook platform to leverage the existing network. Even Dopplr could likely be delivered solely as a facebook application now – however there is also something refreshing about having something that is not constrained by it either.

But it seems the things that make a good site are clear:

  • easy to build a network and giving the opportunity to interact simply with others
  • control over the amount of noise you receive
  • provide regular, useful information – sending useful notifications at timely intervals
  • practical functionality beyond the coolness factory
  • combining metadata and content with collaboration

Now, time to go back to biting chumps.

Maven, Continuum, and Archiva training at OS Summit in November

It is now just over a month until OS Summit Asia, which is being held in Hong Kong. I will be presenting a number of sessions at this year’s conference, including a training session about Maven, Continuum and Archiva.

I’m also very pleased to announce that Deng Ching will now be co-presenting the training session. Deng has been involved in Maven for the last couple of years and would be well recognised by those that use the Maven Users List or follow Archiva development.

Maven, Continuum and Archiva can be used together to enhance a development ecosystem, aiding in the improvement of both quality and development velocity. This training session will demonstrate step-by-step how to use these tools, maximize their effectiveness, and cover best practices. Topics covered include a brief Maven overview and sample project, setting up a build and repository server, the optimal repository configuration for multiple environments (such as development, testing and production), adding continuous integration into the process, and performing continuous reporting. It will also cover effective Maven client usage, and Eclipse integration. By the end of the session, the developer should be able to set up an effective development ecosystem for teams of any size.

Another positive is that the time slot has been expanded since the last time I hosted this training so there will be time to go into more depth about Maven itself, and using Maven from the Eclipse IDE.

If you’re in need of better build and release management, sign up for the training session today!

Catching up with Deng Ching from Apache Maven and Archiva

I’ve just posted another interview at the main site, this time with Deng Ching. Deng is the newest Maven PMC member, and among plenty of other things there, has been working on Archiva almost since its inception.

After a successful start to the series talking to Emmanuel, I’m now planning to talk to a developer from DevZuz regularly to let others get to know them better, and to hear about what we’re all working on.

It’s common, particularly in open source, to be interacting with someone on a regular basis and never getting to know much more about them than their e-mail address. So it’s great to have the opportunity to talk with some of these people in more detail and share it – I hope you enjoy it.

Interview with Emmanuel Venisse of Apache Maven and Continuum

I recently decided to catch up with Emmanuel and conduct an interview with him about his involvement in Maven since the early days, and his work at DevZuz.

I’ve had the pleasure of not only working with Emmanuel, but meeting him a few times face to face, including in his home town near Paris, France. Yes – I do consider it a privilege to actually meet the people I work with face to face!

It was great to talk to Emmanuel about all the things he has done for Maven and the things that still excite him.

The interview has been posted on the new site, which we launched today. If you are looking for information on Maestro, the Apache Maven community, Q for Eclipse or Eclipse Kepler you might like to check it out regularly.