Thursday Apr 03, 2008

John O'Conner: Best Technical Writer in the World?

I am a big fan of John O'Conner's writing. He has a blog on and he also has a number of articles in other places. Below follow 3 reasons why I believe he is "the best technical writer in the world":

  1. Very detailed technical knowledge, coupled with great didactic skills, and a wonderful clarity with words. Two articles I'd like to mention as evidence here are these:

    These two articles I have personally found extremely useful. In the first case, he's the first person to have written an article that uses an actual, downloadable, example to contrast the JDK's java.util.ServiceLoader class against the NetBeans API org.openide.util.Lookup class. Currently, I believe that that article is (by far) the best place to begin when you're learning about the NetBeans Lookup class (even though the code is outdated, specifically, it is relevant for 5.5, though it still works in 6.0+, although from 6.0 onwards, the Lookup code has been simplified).

    The second article is excellent too: first, you find out, by means of actual code, what life is like WITHOUT beans binding. Then, he goes into detail about the beans binding framework, what it can give you, again using fully compilable code throughout.

    On both these topics, I'd recommend the above two documents before any other. They ooze the air of having been written FOR programmers BY a programmer, which is not always the case.

  2. Concern for the customer and a common sense approach to stuff in general. He has some great blog entries where he shares conversations he's had with people about some technology or other:

    I like the approach taken in those blog entries very much.

  3. Honesty. Even though he likes NetBeans IDE (another big plus in my book) he is honest about its failings when he finds them, such as in his recent blog entry NetBeans 6.1, UTF-8 encoded source files, and a tale of corruption.

On top of that, he has big name recognition and trust in the developer community, which you can see by the fact that he gets LOTS of comments to his blog entries. So, here's to John O'Conner!

Another Edition of the NetBeans Platform Certified Training

Last week, we held a NetBeans Platform Certified Training session, over Thursday and Friday, here in Prague:

It was a pretty good event. It was the first time I took my new hint template on the road for real. It worked and some of the students seem to have already been using it, judging from some of the comments to the mailing list we created to give them direct access to us. We covered all the typical NetBeans Platform subjects, from Lookup to the NetBeans window system to the NetBeans FileSystem, nodes, data objects, and so on. The students now need to do some work and turn in their assignments, which we will judge and give them feedback on.

Here's the page that's been set up especially for this particular course. If you'd like to let us know that we should come and visit your school/institution/club/company/JUG/city/pub to deliver this course, drop a line at

Today on Javalobby. Porting a Hot Java Thread Detector to VisualVM.


Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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