Sunday, May 10, 2009

How to hit the Front Page of DZone. But why it Doesn't Matter.

I've been lucky enough to hit the front page of DZone on a number of different occasions and I believe that there are several tricks that can be employed to reach the holy grail, the front page.

Captivating or Controversial Title

DZone readers spin through hundreds of new links everyday trying to find something new or interesting to read. As a blogger or link submitter, you have a dozen words or so to captivate their attention and get their valuable click.

The title you choose should give them measurable facts, because what coder can resist indisputable fact? E.g. 6 Free Tools that every Windows Programmer should Install

Or, the title should provoke controversy, such as Should Coders be Allowed to Wear Headphones at Work? Make it a subject that most programmers have an opinion on and they'll click on the link just so that they can add their comment.

Quality Content

You can't find a post on blogging that doesn't mention quality content. So, I shall to!

Seriously though, people will only give it the DZone thumbs up if the article is well written and delivers what the title promises. Obvious really.

When to Submit

I've not yet hit the front page from a Monday submission. I think people must be just too busy on Mondays to promote links. Tuesday to Friday is best.

But why it Doesn't Matter

Chris Guillebeau over at the Art of Nonconformity argues in his excellent manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success, that you don't need to hit Digg (or indeed DZone's) front page to make a living from blogging.

He says that if you're trying to make money from Adsense - and he reckons that this is quite a difficult task - then you need that constant stream of visitors that Digg (or indeed DZone) can provide. But if you're trying to build a fan base interested in your compelling story then those sites won't help.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Multi-threaded JavaScript Makes Stream Processing a Reality

The future is finally here:

Multi-threading in a JavaScript app.


Do you realise what this means? It means websites could use a form of stream computing to get your computer to do stuff without you even knowing.

It means that a website sending out processing requests to every browser that hits it - without said browser becoming unresponsive - is now a reality.

And as JavaScript engines become more efficient, this will be even more of an option.

The web-based super computer is amongst us, if a site where users tend to stick around for a while, such as Facebook or Myspace, wants it to be.

Let me just explain that last point - Facebook et al (or, indeed any web site) could send packets of data to your machine for it to process in the JavaScript enabled web page without you even knowing it. The answer to the processor-intensive question would then be sent back, and the web site gets its result.

It could even sell this processing power!

Is it legal, I think so.

Is it ethical, well, that's for another debate.

Motivating Geeks... And non-Geeks Part II

In How to motivate Geeks... And non-Geeks I talked about not de-motivating by getting the basics wrong.

So, time has passed and you've got the basics nailed, your hygiene factors are suitably hygienic, where do you go now?

Well, now comes the motivators: Respect, Truth, Openness, Trust, Responsibility, Recognition, Achievement and Growth.

I learnt some of these the hard way, like the time when I used to make computer games and I was technical lead on a new PS3 development, I told a developer who'd been programming since the ZX Spectrum days how he should go about finding and fixing a bug.

He sturnly replied, "Yes, I know!"

My comment - at the very least - broke the Resposibility and Recognition rules. And probably the Respect rule too.

There's a common misconception that salary is a motivator. This is wrong. A decent salary is required to stop people worrying, and you won't be motivated unless you have enough money to pay the bills, but an increase in salary is not equal to an increase in motivation.

Be honest with your staff, give them responsibility and then trust in them to do a good job. Share with them how the company is doing, ask them how they're doing. Tell them the truth.

Then, and only then, will they really excel.