Bye Bye Bangalore

I've had a really good time at Sun's IEC (India Engineering Center) in Bangalore. I got up to a lot more and met a far wider variety of people than I had expected. I spent Monday and Tuesday last week there, then spent 3 days in Hyderabad at the Sun Tech Days, and then yesterday and today again in Bangalore. In this time, these were my activities (in no particular order):

  • Met the writing team at the IEC for the first time. They're really cool people and easy to talk to. There's about 30 of them! Geetha, the manager, really looked after me. Even on personal trips, like to Mysore last Sunday, arranging a taxi for me, for example. Peter Fernandez, who is based in the States, and to whom Geetha reports (i.e., so a level up from Geetha) was here too and also in Hyderabad. It was great seeing him again and getting support from him too. I hung out with several of the writers here, they're really nice people and very very technical, more technical than most technical writers I've encountered. We went out today to a Punjab restaurant, which was a first for me (and I managed successfully once again to avoid the ultra hot food).

  • Met with the content development team for Sun's Java courses. These four people know a LOT about NetBeans and its packs. They were really cool to talk to and I even interviewed them for More to come on this point soon. You'll see a picture of them, find out how they write some of the Java courses, and hear what they think about NetBeans and

  • Attended a very good all hands meeting, at which Rich Green held an extremely inspiring speech. I love how the open source approach drives everything he says (and, probably, thinks). There was also a great internal documentation all hands by Peter Fernandez, that looked at where we are as a documentation group and where we are going in the future. The Sun documentation groups, wherever they are, are really doing cool stuff and thinking outside the box. That's a pretty cool environment to work in (believe me, because I've worked in several others too).

  • Learned how (most of) the technical writers here write/store/maintain documentation, using an editor called Epic, on top of a Sun-oriented subset of DocBook. Possibly we in Prague will be moving to the same set up, so we have a lot to learn from the writers in Bangalore.

  • Met with a few engineers. I even met an entire development group, who work on internal Sun software on top of the NetBeans Platform. One of them is Vadiraj, who has started providing incredibly technical blogs on the XML MultiView API (and ultimately also the Visual Library API) here. I also met another technical engineer, Rohan, who is also creating modules on top of the NetBeans Platform for some internal Sun tooling. But both groups of engineers are talking about open sourcing their modules at some stage. So watch this space!

  • Went to Hyderabad Sun Tech Days, presented the NetBeans Extreme Programming session on Day 1, then two presentations at NetBeans Day. Got lots of discussion out of my presentation abour porting Java applications to the NetBeans Platform. Showed the immense performance improvements between the 5.5 Java editor in NetBeans and the forthcoming 6.0 Java editor. Spent a bit of time with Frank, Nilesh, and Venu at the NetBeans booth. Blogged about these experiences, got several new e-mail contacts and read a few cool blog entries as a result.

  • Held a session on blogging. This was a 'tech talk' that is held periodically at the IEC, on a variety of topics. I had the honor of talking about blogging. Basically, I covered some do's and don'ts, as well as some common negative impressions people have to blogging. So I was a bit like Al Gore, but instead of talking about the reasons that people don't believe in climate change, I talked about the reasons people don't believe in blogging. Here's the presentation, if you want to see it, in PDF format.

  • Held a workshop on "10 Things I Learned from Working with Developers". This was an extrapolation of one of my blog entries from sometime ago. First I quickly went through the slides, to a group of about 25 technical writers, and then they discussed in groups of two/three which two "things" they found most relevant. And then each group had to talk about one of the two things. We really ended up reaffirming the 10 points and we also came up with some new ones. Underlying everything was the perception that a technical writer shouldn't hesitate to look stupid in asking lots of questions, because if they don't, then that's how the end user will end up feeling. Here's the presentation, especially useful for people who are technical writers working with technical engineers.

  • Held a truncated "NetBeans Extreme Programming" session to a random group of IEC people this afternoon, introducing them to NetBeans IDE. Several of them had never seen or used NetBeans IDE before, so this was their first impression. I basically hit the high notes of my NetBeans Extreme Programming presentation. The biggest problem with this presentation is that NetBeans now covers SO much material, SO many specifications, SO many approaches to programming, that it is completely impossible to give a thorough impression within an hour. But I did my best. Here's the presentation, covering some of the major highlights of NetBeans IDE.

  • Met with a few NetBeans-interested people outside of work. One group, from 3MRT, I will be meeting this evening...

    ...and the other tomorrow. Both interested in moving to the NetBeans Platform and looking for some discussion on that.

I probably left some things out in the list above. But it's been a great, productive time. Tomorrow I leave for some time in Goa, during which time we need to do a lot of work on finalizing the NetBeans Platform book, because copy edits keep rolling in from Prentice Hall, the publisher. But I hope to catch some rays on the beach and maybe a bit of scuba diving as well. The weather is great in India, 28.5'C, as Sun's elevator at the IEC told me earlier today. I wonder if that message is driven by Java...

So bye everyone, thanks for the cool time.

In other news. Purchase the Rough Cuts version of "Rich Client Programming: Plugging into the NetBeans Platform" TODAY!


Hi Geertjan, It was a great learning experience interacting with you and we enjoyed your company as much as you did. As you know I met you on the very first day that I joined Sun, and I that elevated the respect for the company when I realised the kind of exposure technical writers get here. And the kind of scope a tech writer has. Thanks for all your help and some great presentations. I am yet to open my email account. Stay in touch. Regards, Ravi

Posted by Ravi on February 27, 2007 at 06:41 PM PST #

Man, we missed the bike ride. We'll do it next time. Maybe I will have a better bike and better road.

Posted by Frank Jennings on February 28, 2007 at 01:20 AM PST #

Ravi, it was great to meet you on your first day at Sun! You're lucky to be working at such a cool company. All the best and you better start blogging soon!

Frank, if the road is rebuilt on top of the NetBeans Platform, it will have a solid infrastructure out of the box! And your bike too. :-) I hope to experience both with you, if there is a next time. :-)

Posted by guest on February 28, 2007 at 03:34 PM PST #

PS: The above comment is by me, Geertjan...

Posted by Geertjan on February 28, 2007 at 03:36 PM PST #

Hi Geertjan, It was indeed a great pleasure to meet you in person and learn and share your experiences with all of us. Thanks for all your presentations. Keep in touch and we'll be looking forward to your next visit. Regards, Anjana

Posted by Anjana Sriram on February 28, 2007 at 07:18 PM PST #

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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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