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Q&A with Kathy Mandelstein, Director of Worldwide Developer Programs for IBM

  • By Rosemarie Graham
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Q. What is the developerWorks mission?

A. developerWorks is IBM's premier technical resource for software developers and IT professionals. It provides a wide range of tools, code, how-to content, and resources on AIX and UNIX, as well as the catalogue of IBM brands including IBM Systems, Information Management, Lotus, Rational, Tivoli, and WebSphere. It also offers open standards technology such as Ajax and Web 2.0 development, Java technologies, Linux, SOA and Web services, XML, and more. By providing focused and relevant technical information for developers, and information authored and provided by developers and technical experts from both inside and outside of IBM, we offer choices developers can apply to building and deploying applications across heterogeneous systems.

IBM developerWorks is a one-stop shop for developers looking to enhance their skills, serving wis million members worldwide. It offers technical briefings in many locations around the world, as well as training, tutorials, forums, and software downloads to provide developers with the skills and information they need, and at no cost. developerWorks is continually updated to offer visitors the latest in technology and information on topics that can meet their needs and pique their interest.

The core of developerWorks' mission is to establish long-standing relationships with the IT professionals of today and tomorrow. We provide them with a platform to harness and share their collective intelligence, access a variety of technology resources to expand their skills in areas such as SOA, Web 2.0, open source and Java, and ultimately remain competitive in today's constantly changing IT landscape.

IBM developerWorks has a strong focus on open source and open standards technologies, IBM solutions, and emerging technologies. This focus differentiates developerWorks from other industry resources that tend to have a more homogeneous focus, versus our broader focus on Java, Linux, XML, and power architecture among others. By taking the open source and open standards approach, the developerWorks community enables developers to share ideas, concepts, and resources with each other.

The fact that all of the information and technology available on developerWorks is free for the taking opens doors for developers, small businesses, early adopters, academia, and all audiences that have an interest in these technologies. And, developerWorks is not just for advanced developers. In many cases, little to no developmental skills are required to use the technologies found on developerWorks.

Q. How does developerWorks play into wider trends such as social networking?

A. IBM recognizes that the major areas of interest to the developer community change overnight. It's part of our mission to stay on top of these trends and offer the tools that the members of our community demand.

developerWorks has a rich history of embracing new and useful social and community content types of all sorts. We were among the early adopters of company-hosted blogs and podcasts, and we continue to add topics and interactive features to our rich collection of community-driven discussion forums.

developerWorks already has made significant leaps forward into social networking with the launch of our developerWorks spaces system in May 2007. This system allows companies and IT professionals to build a collaborative social system for their audience, enabling them to mix different social software tools into a new community, within the overall ecosystem that is developerWorks. They can use this community to bring together their social knowledge in their forums, blogs, wikis, and other resources. They even can include Web 2.0 services from other Internet sites to bring in video, photos, Web feeds, slide presentations, and more. You then can further export from the developerWorks spaces to other Web 2.0 sites as well as mobile devices such as smart phones using our developer gizmos.

The developerWorks spaces system helps to focus the community to share their collective intelligence, drive new ideas, and discover new resources and expertise. For instance, the Software as a Service space serves as a business network enabling companies to set up profile pages describing their business with the intention of allowing other companies and customers to view that profile to locate prospective business partners and generate new business opportunities.

IBM developerWorks continually helps current and future developers embrace the latest advancements in application development as well. For example, developerWorks helps developers adopt new technologies and hone their programming skills to build rich Internet applications, using Ajax, PHP, and others; this is changing the entire application development landscape. In addition, the community is being encouraged to create, test, and refine new Web 2.0 technologies.

developerWorks also is expanding its audience beyond the conventional software developer. We are meeting the needs of the academic community that is becoming more involved with application development and the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. One of the benefits for students and academia is that all of the resources found on developerWorks are provided at no cost. Therefore, any university and/or student can access these resources and acquire the skills needed for application development.

Q. developerWorks offers many online resources for its community of IT professionals. Does IBM offer other types of resources for the developer community?

A. Yes. IBM developerWorks is committed not only to enabling developers to learn via its online community of resources, but also is dedicated to providing face-to-face support on a global level. IBM hosts technical briefings on a regular basis to help IT professionals keep up to speed on the latest trends in the industry and see how IBM tools can help them get the most value from their IT investments.

These technical briefings that are led by top IBM developers and engineers span more than 20 technical topics, training developers on today's foremost industry trends, such as SOA, Web 2.0, and Linux. developerWorks holds over 500 briefings a year in 54 countries. In the third quarter of 2007 alone, IBM coordinated 140 technical briefings in 29 countries.

For example, developerWorks recently hosted briefings called "Web 2.0 Goes to Work," which demonstrated developerWorks' commitment to the local developer community and early adopters of Web 2.0 technologies. The events, held throughout the U.S., gave local businesses, developers, and members of the local academic communities the opportunity to work closely with IBM senior leaders and technology experts. Attendees saw demos of the newest Web 2.0 technologies and interacted with IBM's foremost experts on the subject.

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This article was originally published on November 20, 2007

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