Geertjan's Blog

  • March 31, 2013

Eight Years Of Blogging on NetBeans

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager

It is now 8 years since I started this blog, i.e., it was 31 March 2005 when, inspired by my colleague at the time Roumen Strobl, I hesitantly began my existence as a blogger: https://blogs.oracle.com/geertjan/date/200503

What pearls of wisdom do I have to show for these 8 years of blogging? Not only have I been blogging, more or less daily, for 8 years, but I have done so almost exclusively about one very specific software product, i.e., of course, NetBeans IDE. Come to think of it, I kind of suspect that this may be the only blog written, pretty much daily, by a single person for 8 years on one software product. Other blogs have been written for as long and probably longer, but are there any out there that have been written by one person (i.e., not a team, but a single individual) on one software product? I've done zero research into this question at all, not even bothered to Google for 'competitors', so I'm likely to be inundated with links to other similar longliving blogs written by other individuals out there.

What can be said about individuals that blog consecutively on one specific thing for 8 years? Clearly, on the face of it, one suspects a certain level of fanaticism and possible mental aberrations of various kinds. Would I have been blogging this long and this monomanically about NetBeans IDE for 8 years had I not been paid to write this blog? But I am not paid to write this blog. If I didn't blog at all, Oracle would continue to pay me, as Sun Microsystems would also have done during the time that I was employed by Sun. Blogging is not my function for the organizations where I have been blogging; under Sun I was a technical writer and under Oracle I am a product manager. Though blogging certainly helps a lot with those functions, they're not a requirement and many technical writers and product managers don't blog at all and certainly not as frequently as me. Of course, on the other hand, I haven't been blogging about lawnmowers or garden gnomes, because neither Oracle (and, before that, Sun) are in the lawnmower nor garden gnome business.

More closer to home, I haven't been blogging about other software technologies, only NetBeans IDE. But is that really true? I've blogged a considerable amount about technologies which don't relate to NetBeans IDE at all. Or at least not directly, since every software technology relates to an IDE in the sense that the IDE potentially provides tools for it. For example, I've blogged (and openly promoted) technologies such as Wicket, Gradle, and Groovy. And this blog has not always followed the "party line" of the organization for which I work. It hasn't followed whatever trend is currently interesting. Instead, I have consistently argued a number of contentious positions, some of which have not been welcomed amongst those with whom I work. Not frequently, of course, but where it mattered, to me. For example, in several instances I have argued against curent trends and in favor of well established approaches to solving software problems. And on a different note, I've also, via this blog, facilitated a lot of interaction between developers working on disparate solutions and technologies, some of which were completely unrelated to NetBeans IDE.

In short, and personally, I don't feel that I have been promoting anything with which I myself don't feel comfortable. I've been completely (and in some cases, on later reading, maybe too) frank and honest and never hyped anything for the sake of it or for the sake of anyone other than my own understanding of the value of a particular technology or solution. And that also brings me back round to the questions with which I started this blog entry. I think the single pearl of wisdom that I carry away (and onwards to the next 8 years) with me is that a blog such as this, i.e., one focused on a product, by an employee of the company producing the product, can only "work" in the sense of it being edifying for both its writer and reader, if it is completely true to itself. So long as one is willing to take a few risks, occasionally skirting the lines of the agreeable, as far as possible with an undertone of self reflection and humor, a product-centered blog has a valid place in the larger ecosystem of which it is a part.

What also helps a lot is if the product in question is interesting and open to close and varied scrutiny. That certainly is the case for NetBeans. Wow, what an interesting and multilayered product! On its surface, sure, one can blog on how to use various features. But much more interesting is blogging on how to MAKE those features. That's where creativity and endless explorations can lead to an array of insights useful to software developers in any and every domain imaginable. It's been great, meeting and sharing and learning with so many people over the past years. Here's to the next 8! 

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Comments ( 15 )
  • Frank De prins Monday, April 1, 2013

    Hartelijk bedankt, Geertjan, voor al die jaren. Jouw artikels hebben me heel veel geleerd en aangezet om zelf te experimenteren in richtingen die ik daarvoor niet eens kende.

    Thanks a lot, Geertjan, for all those years. Your articles have learnt me a lot and have inspired me to experiment in directions I did not even knwo of before.

  • guest Monday, April 1, 2013


    Congrats - you are amazingly consistent in producing excellent blog entries... Keep it up.

    -- Grant

  • Sean Phillips Monday, April 1, 2013

    Amazing job Geertjan. For the last two years this blog has been the first side I check each morning for new insight in how to improve my platform applications.

  • Kenneth Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    I'm very grateful for your blog. It's been a valuable source to learn netbeans platform.

  • Mathieu Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    I have been a follower of this blog since 2009 and I'm still amazed how much dedication you put into blogging and providing value to NBP users. Hats off Geertjan! Keep the good work!

  • Slawek Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Happy Anniversary ! It's been a privilege to have this kind of blogger as You to read. Even when there's no reply to some of Your posts, please be aware that everything is read carefully and taken very seriously as a base for further development. Do not change anything, and keep blogging !

  • Mike Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    I guess I'm going to be a new follower of this blog. Good to know it's been so successful so far, and Congratulations!

  • Djamel TORCHE Tuesday, April 2, 2013


    I'm a follower of your blog since i began using NetBeans Platform (1 yr), keep it up

  • Roman Strobl Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Hey Geertjan, good to see that you are still blogging :)

  • Jean-Marc Borer Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Happy blogday Geertjan!

    Keep it rolling. You blog is one of the most useful source of information for the Netbeans platform.

  • thierry Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Thanks Geertjan for your blog.

    I follow your blog since the beginning.

    Always nice and permit to discover very interesting new gems and it's the must to read to develop application based on the nb platform .

  • Bruce Schubert Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Thanks Geertjan!

  • Jose Renteria Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Thank you very much Geertjan, this blog has helped me a lot, Happy aniversary

  • Zeljko Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Thanks Geertjan, your blog is an invaluable source of inspiration for me and all the other NetBeans users.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Geertjan Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Thanks all for the great & encouraging comments!

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