Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Developer and Java Champion. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

The Angular Mini-Book The Angular Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with Angular. You'll learn how to develop a bare-bones application, test it, and deploy it. Then you'll move on to adding Bootstrap, Angular Material, continuous integration, and authentication.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

The New Javalobby Sucks?

I didn't say it, Jesse Sightler did. Even though he didn't say "it sucks" explicitly, that's what I read in his post:

Is it just me, or has the new Javalobby proven to be a significant step backwards? The old site was a Slashdot style discussion system with a pace very appropriate to the pace of news flowing from the Java community. The light emphasis on announcements was welcome, and useful while at the same time not being overstated.

The new site feels a lot like TheServerSide.Com from a few years ago. They've gone to a system where the frontpage is updated frequently (many times per day) and the content there is seldom interesting enough to attract any significant discussion. Unfortunately, this means that the overwhelming number of articles on the frontpage appear dry and uninteresting. I don't think I've really read anything there since the switch to the new format.

For the sake of the site, I do hope they figure out their mistake here. There is no shame in turning this into worsethanfailurethedailywtf all over again (hopefully you get that reference).

I like the new site because I visit it more than the old one. Of course, that could be a direct result of me posting there. If I could change one thing, I'd like to see a java.blogs-style aggregator of all zones (then I'd turn off the .NET and Kids Code Zones).

Do you agree with Jesse? Should Javalobby change back to the old-way of using forums?

I believe the reason for the change was because DZone has become so much more popular than Javalobby. I think they're hoping to capitalize on that brand name and extend it to other communities. Look at the following graph from Alexa for proof. More traffic = more $$ from advertisers.

Posted in Java at Feb 12 2008, 11:26:50 AM MST 18 Comments

what i don't like about the is that it's full of ads. the second i saw the site, i had to tune my ad blocker to hide those ads.

it also appears that there were more posts with comments on then again, that's not based on counting comments but rather on my perception.

Posted by Gerolf Seitz on February 12, 2008 at 01:08 PM MST #

I've been a vocal critic of the new JavaLobby, and posted detailed criticisms on the new (dead) forums.

Fundamentally, my overall complaint is the destruction of what was the JavaLobby community. It's dead and gone now.

The site simply moves too fast for a community to really develop. I basically suggested the is a blog roll, and the response I got was that they were shocked that I thought this, and that it wasn't a blog roll.

But if you look it, that's exactly what it is. It's really no different from, frankly, it just moves faster.

There's no leadership or focus in the content. They spiked at 16 "Zone Leaders", now they seem to have whittled it back down to 13. Too many cooks, IMHO.

Now, to be clear, I consider "the community" to be the commenters, not the content creators. The content is there to aggregate a community for discussion and commentary. But that's pretty much all gone. Now it's just headlines flying by that I don't bother to read.

More power to them if this drives them more traffic, but the action pretty much blew the old JL community apart, and I don't think there's much they can do about that now. It's gone.

As an aside, I would think as a content creator, this change would bother you. No commentary and no community means you're basically shouting in the wind, and I don't know how interesting that really is for you.

Posted by Will Hartung on February 12, 2008 at 01:19 PM MST #

I don't know why but I really hate dzone. Perhaps it's the way I'm google "alerted" to new content posted by dzone only to find that I had already read that article in its original form days prior.

Or - it could be that the links to original content are impossible to find. Or that it's nothing but an ad magnet whore of a website with nothing original to offer. ...but that's just me thinking out loud. It's probably got lots of benefits too.

I'll stick to / others for now.

Posted by Jesse Kuhnert on February 12, 2008 at 01:41 PM MST #

I've long since tuned out JavaLobby as a place of interest, mostly due to Rick's Rants. Sometimes he had something worth saying, but I rarely like the way he said it. I imagine a lot of other folks have tuned out JavaLobby as well?

I get my Java news from other sources, pretty much all via RSS feeds. I occassionally read articles in TSS, but not a lot. InfoQ is pretty good, and as a percentage I read a lot from there (as well as watch video presentations), and I occasionally read Artima. is a frequent read, too. The rest are individuals feeds, like Matt's, or Romain Guy's.

One of the reasons I like InfoQ is that it has a broader reach than just Java, and I can read about architecture, Ruby, agile, etc. as well, but can easily filter out stuff on the site I'm not interested in, or more likely, don't have time for, and it even applies to the feed. Matt, I'd love to see you posting there. But my suggestion is post everything you do on your own site and syndicate it to others that want to reprint with permission. If you wanted to add google ads to your site or something, I'm cool with that, if it's a $ issue.

Posted by gerryg on February 12, 2008 at 03:10 PM MST #

The changes with the JavaLobby and the focus on new zones has also affected dzone itself. More and more of the articles that make the dzone front page are coming from these new zones and I think this will hurt the credibility of dzone. Anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the front page links in dzone are from internal zone sites with many of the votes from those links are from fellow zone leaders.

Posted by Juixe TechKnow on February 12, 2008 at 03:41 PM MST #

>>>More and more of the articles that make the dzone front page are coming from these new zones and I think this will hurt the credibility of dzone.

I think this was the whole point. They new that a link aggregator which is DZone can't sustain paid advertising (because nobody is sticking around long enough to actually see an ad - they just click from RSS and then click to the source), so they are trying to build more magazine style sites and then use DZone's traffic for themselves.

I am actually surprised that popular bloggers like Matt Raible are supporting it, because now DZone will always send traffic to his posts that are duplicated on DZone instead of his own blog. So Matt is helping DZone at the expense of his own blog traffic.

Posted by Anonymous coward on February 12, 2008 at 07:39 PM MST #

i don't know about the system. i think that the cover is a mess.

Posted by todos podemos recordar febrero on February 12, 2008 at 07:43 PM MST #

I agree - the new ad-heavy design drives me crazy. I view the dzone content usually on my ASUS eeePC, which sports a whopping 800x480 screen. The ads push the actual content to like 30% of that.

Posted by Don Brown on February 12, 2008 at 07:48 PM MST #

Matt, you're a pretty smart and well-informed guy, so I'm going to assume you know better than to interpret Alexa numbers as being worth anything, even for general interpolation. I can give you a random number generator that more closely approximates real trends and traffic. :)

As for the complaints about ads, all the complainers need to do is login and set their preferences to "Hide ads" and poof, nearly all of them will be gone. In light of this, don't these complaints about ads sound somewhat shrill? I know of few commercial sites that offer "hide ads" as a user preference.

If less frequent, the comments lately are also more informative, strongly centered on source code and technique, and IMO are significantly better than they have been in a long time. Similarly, I feel the content itself has also improved. The interviews, the thoughtful tips and how-tos, rich with code examples - these represent a solid leap in content quality. I'm proud of our Zone Leaders and the creative energy they are bringing to the task of making these zones useful places for dev2dev knowledge sharing.

The abundance of opinions is widely documented - everybody has one. I think knowledge is a good deal more rare, so we're aiming to have our new system focus more on delivering knowledge than opinion. Some won't like it - that's part of the process.

Posted by Rick Ross on February 12, 2008 at 08:38 PM MST #

"The abundance of opinions is widely documented - everybody has one."

That's true. It is also true that some of them are wrong. We already had structures for posting those kinds of articles before the destruction of Javalobby, and JL itself was a great place for them.

By turning JL into yet another site for long articles with no comments, JL has been turned into a site with no sense of community for anyone other than its organizers.

It is unfortunate that Java no longer has a JL-like community hub, and the atmosphere that it provided will be missed.

BTW, first impressions count. Burying a "hide ads" button somewhere doesn't fix that.

Posted by Jess Sightler on February 12, 2008 at 10:29 PM MST #

I prefer the old javalobby 10 times. I hate the white background of the new javalobby. makes the ads look too much

Posted by dabar on February 13, 2008 at 02:49 AM MST #

I dont like new Javalobby too :(

Posted by JOKe on February 13, 2008 at 03:36 AM MST #

I never considered the articles on javalobby especially informative or knowledgeable, I just came there for the discussion. I have deleted the site from my bookmarks.

Posted by Timo Stamm on February 13, 2008 at 04:57 AM MST #

i don't like it because most articles are prepared by people who wants to promote their language of choice or with an agenda.. i dont say it is wrong, but you need to really dig to find something useful about Java the language which matters most for %95 of the java community.

Posted by ahmetaa on February 13, 2008 at 09:00 AM MST #

Ok, I guess I'll throw my two cents in just because I can. I'll be the first to say that I really didn't care for the old structure of Javalobby that much, and that I love the new design. Now for full disclosure, I'm also a semi-regular author to the new Zones, so I could be biased as well; on the other hand, I was also a member of the book review team prior to the switchover.

I really don't see how anyone can say that a change in "skin" has killed a community. In fact, I don't know what was so great about the old Javalobby community. The first and only post I made to the Javalobby forums was an attempt to generate interest in and obtain advice regarding the new Java User Group I was forming in Memphis, Tennessee. For the most part, all that post did was get me flamed for spamming the forum. Not what I would call any rate, the old site had forums, the new site has forums. Just because they aren't aggregated on the front page (which I do believe is in the works), doesn't mean they aren't there. If a community is so weak that a change in the forum implementation/design will kill it, I doubt there was much community to start with.

Also, I like the rapid flow of new and interesting content that we have now. I find far more articles of interest (as well as comments w/ interesting points and counterpoints) than I ever did in the old system.

So, my props to Rick, Matt, and all the others involved. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Matt Stine on February 13, 2008 at 09:21 AM MST #

Here is how the skinning of JL "killed the community".

It's easy, and fair, to argue that the content on the old JL is identical(mostly) to the content on the new JL.

The difference is that on the old JL, it was segregated. You had the main stories page, which was front and center on the home page. Then you had little poclkets of more focused content -- book reviews, announcements, articles, "Java Tips" or whatever, the DZone box, etc.

The key difference between the main content and the ancillary content was space consumed and priority. The main page content was clearly the focus simply because it consumed so much room, while the others were feeders to other types of content, taking less space and providing little more than headlines.

The primary benefit of this kind of layout is that the pace of the overall content stream is slowed down. Each section moved at its own pace, unaffected by the other content.

Right now, it's all aggregated in to a single torrent that's rocketing by the main page. If you post a book review, say, one every week, you'd see the current review and the 2 as well. Now if you post a book review, it's gone off the front page in a day or two.

And the mantra I keep chanting, if it's not on the front page, it's a dead story. It doesn't exist.

When content moves quickly, there's little chance for it to draw any attention, to draw any commentary or discussion aruond it. The web is like any other place, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.

If you and a friend are walking along the street and you say "Hey did you see that Ferarri that just went by?" "No, I must have missed it." That ends the discussion. If you happen upon the Ferrari parked in a parking lot, you might stop and talk about it. While you're there talking about it, someone else may come up and add to the discussiion. Pretty soon, you may have a 1/2 dozen gear heads sitting talking old exotics, the Monterey Historical Car Races, or whatever. You never know. But when the car just drives by, there's no chance of that.

THAT's the problem. The front page is an RSS feed. Well, Hell, I can get that myself. Why hit the front page at all? Hell, why HAVE a front page at all? The front page offers no value, when it should rather act as a stopping area and watering hole instead of a rushing river.

THAT"s how a reskin can destroy a community. Before we had a lake, beaches, picnic tables, etc. Now the dam is gone and we have a river. Same water, different environment.

Posted by Will Hartung on February 13, 2008 at 12:11 PM MST #

It's sad to see that a community can be destroyed so quickly.

Frontpage stories hardly have any comments anymore.

Frontpage stories are a mix of announcements / blogs / stories. They were all separate in the good old days.

The change cannot be discussed on Javalobby itself but is redirected to some forum-site. This doesn't invite!. The change is discussed there (after login) but there are no more than 3 or 4 people responding. Very sad.

But maybe it was never a community after all.

I'm still looking for some site like the old javalobby? Does anybody have any pointers?

Posted by Kees Kuip on February 13, 2008 at 04:00 PM MST #

I concur with the criticism that most people have expressed against the new JL, and I've posted my opinion there,too. However, there's not much you can do when you read Rick's rants about how he and Matt have a vision of where *they* want the community to be, about how "some people will leave and some new ones will find us", about how they want the community to be such and such, and how Rick wants people to behave so and so, turning off selectively comments in some stories in order to force people to use the deserted forums, etc.... It's pretty clear that they still don't have a clue, and that they think a community is something that can be moulded to according to someone's whims.

I also went there regularly because of the discussions. There were people from Google, from Sun, from what not - many interesting people. Discussions sometimes got rough, but hey - that's the spicy part of life. Now, my interest in JL has gone down to zero. It has become a faceless SEOed RSS feed, and not a very good one, btw.

People and companies always strive to differentiate themselves from the rest, and now we find that these people decided to go exactly the other way round - something that was truly unique was converted into one of the many lookalike recyclers of internet garbage, which Rick euphemistically calls in a prior comment "knowledge providers".

I still go there from time to time, hoping that Rick & co. regain their senses and rollback (at least partially) the damage the've done, but there seems to be no luck. So probably I'll become one of those that Rick calls "people who will decide they are through".

Posted by Alexander Hristov on February 13, 2008 at 05:23 PM MST #

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