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Moving Dr. Dobb's Forward


During the past year, we've made several important changes to the website and numerous additions to our content in the hope of making your time with us more enjoyable and productive. Let me discuss those briefly and give you some hint of the direction we're expecting to follow in the new year.

Website. In the early part of the year, we changed server platforms to greatly reduce the load time of our pages. Our new platform, based on Zend PHP products, has cut the wait time on our pages by more than 60%. Appearance-wise, we began formatting our code listings to include line numbers and language-dependent syntax coloring. And last week, we switched off our very fractious, persnickety commenting system. We're now using Disqus (pronounced "discuss"), which is one of the industry standards. It'll now be much easier to post your comments, observations, and suggestions for preferable alternatives (that is, corrections). The only downside to this change (and I believe it is the only one) is that we weren't able to migrate existing comments when we made the change. We'll try to bring them over as we can. We'd love you to try out the new system. But if you prefer to write to me directly, either privately or for public consumption (the latter in our Letters to the Editor section of Dr. Dobb's Journal), you'll find my address at the bottom of every editorial.

Before the end of the year, we'll be making one more major change: a wider text column in the article body. This means images will be larger and listings will display without forcing you to scroll horizontally to see the longer lines of code.

New Formats. Last month, we joined the ongoing mobile party: You can now read Dr. Dobb's on your iPad via a new app available at the Apple app store. Take Dr. Dobb's wherever you go — it's all free. We're considering an Android equivalent, but want to get some feedback on the iPad version before proceeding. So, please send us suggestions and comments when you can.

In addition to the iPad app, we've given new prominence to Dr. Dobb's Journal, our PDF magazine. It was formerly published intermittently, but now ships monthly during the fourth week of every month. It contains feature articles that will appear in the succeeding 30 days on the website, the letters to the editor I mentioned above, plus an article from the Dr. Dobb's archives that we feel is of exceptional interest.

We've also started a stronger commitment to video content. Our first foray was the exclusive hosting of all the videos and slide decks from the Oracle JVM Language Summit. We'll be striking other exclusive deals and looking to add more video materials in the new year.

New Content. Dr. Dobb's is the premier site for C/C++, parallelization, and Microsoft developer technologies. As you've seen, we've deepened our commitment to these areas in our coverage this year. We've also expanded coverage of mobile and initiated coverage the cloud. To my knowledge, we're the only major development site with ongoing article series on all three cloud platforms: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. An article coming this month will also enter into discussion of open-source cloud tools. On November 10th, we'll also be hosting a virtual event consisting of multiple webinar presentations on development for the cloud.

Early this year, we restarted the Language of the Month feature, in which language designers discuss languages they're implementing. Personally, I find new languages to be an area of remarkable creativity — more perhaps than any other discipline in software development. Reading about new features, new syntax, and new ways of framing programming issues is for me tremendously satisfying nerd-stim.

We've also been covering open-source programming tools in greater depth (such as our three-part series on the Xtext framework for writing DSLs quickly.) We'll do more of those!

Finally, next year will see the advent of something we've been itching to offer for a long time: product reviews. We already run the Jolt Awards , which has been characterized by several sources as the equivalent of the "Oscars of software development tools." Now, we'll take that same critical eye to individual products and do thorough, unsparing, top-to-bottom assessments.

A unique mission. The new web, video, and mobile presence as well as expanded coverage is enabled by the success of our sales team, who are finding that advertisers are recognizing anew the importance of developers, and especially those who read Dr. Dobb's — experienced, serious developers. Which is why you won't find beginner tutorials on our site, nor fluff pieces such as "10 Tips for Java Programmers." Instead, you'll find multi-page articles that treat a subject in depth, written by authorities on the topic. (Notice how few corrections to code or technical content we post.)

This kind of content is comparatively rare. Most developer-oriented websites fall into a few broad categories: news sites, aggregators of other sites' content, and the 10-tips, beginner-style material.

If you want to help us bring you more of this kind of content, the best way is to support us is to be more engaged with us. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter or to the monthly Dr. Dobb's Journal; tweet or post links to Dr. Dobb's articles you like; comment on the articles; and always feel free to drop me a note regarding how we can better meet your needs. Thank you!

— Andrew Binstock
Editor in Chief
alb@drdobbs.com
Twitter: platypusguy


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