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About developer.*

developer.* (pronounced "developer dot star," as a play on wildcard characters) is an independent resource devoted to topics of interest to software development professionals of all types--programmers, software architects, QA engineers, database designers, researchers, professors, and everyone in between--even managers!

developer.* has three primary focus areas:


From the beginning, the goal of developer.* has been to create a unique alternative--both for readers and authors--to the established commercial and research-oriented magazines and web sites. Our mainstay, and original purpose, is the publishing of high quality edited articles, essays, interviews, and book reviews. We strive to publish interesting, well written, and original articles, essays, book reviews, interviews, and reader comments, encompassing a broad range of technical and non-technical subjects. All articles published in developer.* are chosen on merit and go through a detailed editing process to ensure the highest quality.

There are many fine outlets on the web and in print for how-to articles, industry news, trend watching, and tool reviews, so we have always tried to leave those topic areas to the people already covering them. We try instead to make developer.* a home for articles and essays that are too theoretical, too long, too short, too general, too academic, not academic enough, not technical enough, not related to a defined product category, too positive, too negative, too "meta," or too weird for the traditional publications. We also try to set ourselves apart by actively seeking relationships with new authors who have good ideas, whether the author has been published before or not. We can help with the writing if you have the ideas.

(If you are interested in writing for developer.* (even if you are unpublished), or if you have already written something that you'd like to see published here, please read this page. If you prefer to also post more off-the-cuff writings, be sure to keep reading...)

Blogging and Discussion

We're never able to publish as many edited articles, essays, and interviews as we'd like (if only we could do without sleep...), but developer.* is updated almost daily with great ideas and debate in the blogging and discussion area of the site. As is natural, different bloggers come and go over time, and, as we like to say, diversity is the norm. Essay-like blog posts are not uncommon, and the commenting and debate tends to remain civil and respectful. Most of the edited articles, essays, and interviews published on the developer.* site also have discussion pages. Even though blogs and comments are not edited or approved in any way, the quality is generally very high.

Book Publishing

The newest addtion to the growing developer.* universe is our new publishing imprint, developer.* Books. Like the rest of developer.*, our line of book titles will focus on general interest, non-technology-specific subjects, with an emphasis on material that has a timeless quality. Our books wll reflect the wide spectrum of pragmatic and practitioner-focused themes that developer.* is known for. We are hard at work on the production of our first title, by Robert L. Glass. For more information and pre-ordering, please visit the Software Conflict 2.0 information page.

A Little History

The original developer.* web site was launched in July 2001 by Daniel Read. The purpose of the site at that time was to be an outlet for Daniel's own writing, but from the beginning he imagined the site growing into something more. Within the first two years, Daniel wrote and published on the site about 50,000 words of essays and book reviews. The site gained an international audience of regular readers. In the spring of 2003, wishing to dedicate more of his own writing time to book projects, Daniel decided that the time was right to expand the scope of developer.* into a magazine format that would publish the work of a variety of authors. This new format, launched in the summer of 2003, allows for a much broader range of topics and viewpoints, and will keep new content flowing more regularly. Going forward, the goal is to continue to build the most unique collection of writings about software development on the web.

For a period of about a year, from late summer 2004 to early Fall 2005, the developer.* web site featured a section called the Cooperative Digest. This was an experiment in community-based blogging and cooperative publishing that did not quite turn out as planned. This is not to say we were disappointed, because a lot of great things were written, and are still being read every day by people browsing the archives and coming in from search engines. But we decided to make adjustments.

The primary problem was one of generating the kind of momentum that a project like that requires to have a sustainable stream of new and interesting content. Since developer.* is primarily an after-hours enterprise produced by people who have full time jobs, there just was not time to do it justice. It is also interesting to note that we eventually reached the conclusion that "community-based blogging" works best when an already established community is behind it. Trying to use the blog platform to build the community is difficult. Blogging is a highly individualistic activity, which is why we have attempted to adjust our blogging strategy to allow for more emphasis on the individual blogger as opposed to "the cooperative." All of the great material that was posted to the Cooperative Digest blogs is still available, and blogging is still very much alive at developer.*.

Another notable event in the developer.* story occurred during the summer of 2005, when the developer.* enterprise officially became part of the newly established corporation Read Media, LLC.

Keeping Up With developer.*

We hope you enjoy what you find here, and that you'll come back soon. To keep up with what's going on, you can sign up for our email newsletter (your address never shared with anyone) or subscribe to one of our RSS feeds.

Some more information about what's behind developer.*:

Content Management and Publishing

Made with CityDesk
developer.* uses Fogcreek Software's CityDesk tool.

(Daniel Read also maintains a GPL CityDesk utility script called CityDesk Replacer.)

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The developer.* Blogs is powered by Drupal.

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All pages are optimized for Mozilla Firefox.

Free Software (An Appreciation)

The following is a list of the various free software packages we use here at developer.*, either in the publishing process, or as part of the site infrastructure. Thanks to all of the developers who make free software, and and web sites like developer.*, possible.

Analog Logfile AnalyserDoes a nice job of presenting a breakdown of web log stats. Open source.
ApacheThe open source web server.
DrupalThis open source content management system drives the developer.* Cooperative Digest site. A nice set of features. Highly extensible. Vibrant developer community.
FilezillaThe best FTP client we've ever used.
FirefoxAll pages are optimized for Mozilla Firefox, the best browser out there.
GoBCLA free service for converting documents from format to format. We use this service to create the PDF versions of our articles.
LinuxOur web server uses this open source operating system.
PHPThe server-side open source web scripting language.
ReplaceEmThis useful tool allows you to create a persisted set of regular-expression-like search-and-replace functions and execute them in a certain order against one or more text files. We use this during the publishing process to assist with HTML creation.
SourceJammerAn open source GPL/GLPL file versioning system. Written in Java. Uses Tomcat as a server host. Client communicates with server via SOAP. Supports sharing, branching, labeling, and local-remote synchronization. Platform-independent Swing GUI or command line interface. Client and server both have a plugin framework. A great tool.

Note: the developer.* Letters section has been retired, as the blogs and discussion area of the site now fulfills this purpose. However, all of the original letters are still available here.

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All content copyright ©2000-2006 by the individual specified authors (and where not specified, copyright by Read Media, LLC). Reprint or redistribute only with written permission from the author and/or developer.*.