Fish Stick Anyone?
By Jennifer Chou on May 16, 2008
About a week or so before JavaOne, my boss asked me to put together the GlassFish memory sticks. I said ok. I didn't know what I was getting into exactly, but it sounded simple enough - load it with GlassFish related bits and create a landing page that talks about GlassFish.
What and how much to put onto the sticks? Some felt less is better, so people wouldn't just delete everythying. Some felt it better to have more bits, in the hopes that people flying back home from JavaOne would start playing with GlassFish. This sounded good too. And also because my boss told me to, I went with the second option. And since we had 1 GB to work with we did end up loading everything but the kitchen sink, about 840 MB in total. It's chock full of goodies - installers/zips for GlassFish, NetBeans IDE, & MySQL, demo from Project WebSynergy, screencasts, and hands-on labs.
How to create the landing page? A savvy web designer I am not. So I started out with the landing page we had from last year - a basic html page with plain text. I dressed it up with a dash of orange and lots of fish for fun. I thought it was kinda cute, and maybe could capture people's attention. It was definitely amateurish and casual. Some liked it. But my boss didn't. He was like 'Can you reformat it better like the Sun Java site?'. Hmm.. ok. I'll try my best. I used the 'Save As' of the Sun site as my template. I was more comfortable editing the html manually then trying to learn how to use one of the fancier html editors. I'm sure somebody who knows how to use one of those tools could have whipped something up in no time. I used StarOffice and edited the html in the HTML Source View. It took many hours wading through the hairy html code to make it look decent. I ended up with something that looks almost professional - an accomplishment for me considering my lack of web design skills. See my landing page below.
I had hoped to have content finalized by Wednesday evening, so we could copy the content onto the sticks on Thursday and Friday. But a critical piece - the GlassFish installer/zip, along with other demos and screencasts, were not ready yet until late Thursday evening. Needless to say I was a bit antsy about getting all the copying done. We were suppose to copy 1000 sticks!! And when we timed it, it took 15 minutes for a single stick. You do the math - my weekend was looking very busy. On Friday, we got a bit of a reprieve - we only had 500 sticks. And of course Nazrul and I were still making edits to the landing page up until the last minute on Friday. After we were done editing, we decided to do spell check. Spell check messed up the entire page! yikes!. For a second, we thought we had lost everything. But fortunately, I had a recent back-up. phew! We started copying around 2 on Friday. Nazrul went all around the office looking for people to help copy. It took about 18 people, 20-30 sticks each. Done by 6 pm Friday. yay! Thank you!
I enjoyed talking to people at the GlassFish booth. We had no problem, of course, handing out all the memory sticks. It was a popular item.
Here's the landing page I created for the memory sticks. I made all the links work here too.