August 10th, 2010 by Lincoln Baxter III

The problem is not the system; the problem is education.

“The problem is not the system, its the way someone can get in. To be honest, most tutorials, how-tos, and documentation sucks, because they ALL are written like the reader already knows the trick. No doc about [Technology] is written for newbies.”

Technology == Education

It is clear to me that the gap in our Java EE community is not a fault of the technology. The technology is quite simple (as I learned while doing a deep port of a Spring-based app to Java EE.)

Just as I think the future of the United States of America is in jeopardy because of budget cuts in education and health care, the future of Java EE is in jeopardy because nobody is willing to pay for any kind of decent, centralized, use-case driven documentation and examples. Teaching by example that is done so well on http://php.net and http://playframework.org; Java EE is the largest web-framework without a home.

Education is always 95% of the solution. We already have the technology, but if nobody can figure out how to use it, then nobody is going to use it; and let me tell you, it’s not that hard once you know “the trick.”

Who’s going to step up and claim a few hundred thousand page-views per month?

Technology == “Java EE”


Lincoln Baxter, III

About the author:

Lincoln Baxter, III is the Chief Editor of Red Hat Developers, and has worked extensively on JBoss open-source projects; most notably as creator & project lead of JBoss Forge, author of Errai UI, and Project Lead of JBoss Windup. This content represents his personal opinions, not those of his employer.

He is a founder of OCPsoft, the author of PrettyFaces and Rewrite, the leading URL-rewriting extensions for Servlet, Java EE, and Java web frameworks; he is also the author of PrettyTime, social-style date and timestamp formatting for Java. When he is not swimming, running, or playing competitive Magic: The Gathering, Lincoln is focused on promoting open-source software and making technology more accessible for everyone.

Posted in OpenSource

8 Comments

  1. Andy Gibson says:

    I agree absolutely! After working with Seam and knowing how easy that was to use, I think Java EE 6 has a heck of a lot to offer, probably more so than any other framework. Java EE 6 is 90% there, Seam will optionally add the other 10%.

    Not trying to be a link whore, but that is really what my site is focused on, and that is why I created my Maven Archetypes for Java EE 6 (CDI, Weld, JSF) which includes a full blown CRUD demo app you can re-create from a maven archetype and play around with. I also wrote a 3 part CDI tutorial that ended up in the Netbeans documentation.

    I totally agree that the docs aren’t there, and it’s a shame because a lot of what is there is so clinical, it talks about MVC and lifecycle and scope, when the reality is so simple! Create a class, give a @Name and scope and bind its attributes to your page! I think Java EE 6 like Seam before it requires a brain shift to get it after dealing with all the other frameworks, but once you get it, you know the tricks and it just rocks out.

    I’ve just finished my work on the Archetypes, even getting them into Central, I have a million and one blog tutorials ready to get started, (even one arguing that Java EE 6 is more productive than Grails). I’ll also have a new demo out this week, a URL bookmarking app using Tomcat/Jetty and JSF, CDI and JPA, as well as a set of “JSF basics” tutorial. After that it is a 3 parter on conversions including Persistence and conversation scoped entity managers.

    >Who’s going to step up and claim a few hundred thousand page-views per month?

    Not sure what you mean by that, but I am steadily averaging nearly 4K a day. So far nobody has told me I’m full of it so I must be giving out the right information!

    Cheers,

    Andy Gibson

  2. Lincoln says:

    Hey Andy!

    That’s great. We need as much as possible to bring CDI to the mainstream – archetypes are just that.. have you seen the work Stephen Boscaraine has been doing here? Are you involved in this? http://seamframework.org/Documentation/WeldQuickstartForMavenUsers

    Also, by “A few hundred thousand page views,” I meant that if someone put up an aggregate site about Java EE and integration, they could drive probably that much traffic – Imagine the traffic from your/my/others blogs all put together.

    4000/day is intense. I only get about 700/day, but then, I don’t blog how-to’s as much anymore 😉

  3. Andy Gibson says:

    Hey Lincoln,

    I’m surprised at the 700/day, especially since you have the agile scrumshark stuff on there. Are you talking about visitors or page views?

    I think the other part of the equation is how many people are looking for this stuff. Since I’m second on google for “CDI Tutorial”, so I probably get most people that google the subject. There’s still a lot of misconceptions about Java EE 6 and JSF that is just wrong.
    Java EE doesn’t have the same kind of PR dept the other frameworks have, although the other frameworks rely more on viral, mouth to mouth marketing while Java EE 6 doesn’t have the coolness factor to attract that kind of marketing.

    Also, I think Java EE 6 is regarded as ground that is already covered over the last 10 years or so. However, Java EE 6 is like a new beast in many ways, and needs to be re-covered. Some people just don’t know how to get started with this stuff.

    Cheers,

    Andy Gibson

    1. Lincoln says:

      I’m sure not as many people care about making their URLs beautiful as they should 😉

      1. Andy Gibson says:

        They do when it isn’t a part of standard JSF and they want to complain about it though 😉

  4. Craig Ringer says:

    I tend to agree. There’s a barrier to entry created by the complexity of how Java EE 6 is described and specified, rather than the complexity of how it’s used. The profusion of product names, specs, implementations of those specs, etc tends to confuse, and there’s very little in the way of overview documentation that links it all together.

    I just started scratching out a broad conceptual overview of Java EE 6 that tries to avoid referring to EE 6 in relation to older specs, and explains how it’s put together. I’d really appreciate your comments on it, as it’s something I haven’t been able to find on the ‘net and think is sorely needed.

    http://soapyfrogs.blogspot.com/2010/08/java-ee-6-is-not-product-you-can.html

    Feedback *very* much appreciated.

    I’d be interested in contributing to a central set of EE 6 documentation that’s not tied to a particular appserver, component technology implementation, etc.

  5. […] than using Spring, and take much less time. You just have to find the right guides and the right documentation (which is admittedly a severe sore-spot of Java EE; the documentation is still a work in progress, […]

  6. Karan Malhi says:

    I agree with you. However, being a trainer, have also seen the system fail the education efforts. Mis-timed training classes, people not sure about why they are learning the stuff, would they get to use it or not immediately after training. Those kind of issues are more process and management related than the actual education.
    BTW:- Great to see you doing all this cool stuff. Not sure if you remember me, but I delivered some training for your previous organisation.

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