Followers of my work over the past several years may notice that in addition to the software my teams have built, we’ve dedicated concerted effort to maintain the following thematic elements throughout our dev cycles:
- Heavy focus on end user requirements
- API Design as a first-class priority
- Testing: immediately, and often
- Open dialogue, debate, and public chat sessions
- Reliance on our gifted community contributors
- Message-crafting to ensure we’re communicating our ideas simply
- Touring and getting the message out when appropriate
Often it makes sense to follow your natural interests and successes; I’m therefore very proud to announce that I’ve taken on the role of JBoss’ first Developer Advocate and Program Manager.
It’s a fuzzy enough title to warrant some immediate questions, so I’d like to explain our objectives here a bit. They fall into three categories:
First, I’ve left Engineering. This position sits in the Middleware Business Unit at Red Hat, aligned with Marketing. Before you cringe, consider: not all Marketing is created equal. There’s content that’s unabashedly self-serving, and then there’s compelling material which benefits you as a developer to read. My goal is to focus on the latter, delivering useful, technical, and relevant communications. You should want to read about what we’re doing. If not, I’ve failed. It’s that simple.
Our Core team is among the best talent in worldwide Java. Even still, sometimes it’s nice to have an extra eye on the field, even outside our domain of expertise, to keep tabs on trends and watch how application development evolves. If we can feed some of those ideas back into our upstream, then that keeps us in the game. A good portion of my job will involve working closely with our various projects on their “community health”.
This really sits at the intersection of the other two categories, but there’s enough logistics involved in event planning to give this its own piece. In my opinion, events for developers should be primarily about education. I plan on working to ensure that any community-focused events we throw are heavy on opportunity to get your hands dirty and walk out armed with plenty of ideas to pursue further. A good conference should fuel your interest and passion, leaving you with an afterglow that fades long after the sessions close their doors.
Bottom-line, I’ve billed this internally as a “bridge between Engineering and the Business”, and do not seek to become an empty microphone. Pure evangelism is not my thing; I’ll endeavor to remain an engineer tasked with the business of developing software and ensuring that your experience as our user is as smooth as we can make it.
I believe in Red Hat. We make money supporting free software, and I’m thrilled to have found a new way to move the needle in the direction of open.