A little side project I have here at work has taken a life on of its own. Most recently with the launch of the new Aurora storefront I once again enhanced an internal tool to automatically size product images to adhere to the size requirements for the store. I ended up using Eclipses SWT (The Standard Widget Toolkit) that comes with Eclipse to do this. What I wanted to share today was how easy this was using the SWT API’s.
One major problem I have with base WordPress is while it does a good job giving you stats around views (the number of hits you get per post) it does not do a good job for post counts. In the previous post I had to create a chart that showed how many blog posts I wrote in the months and years past. I am sure there is a plugin out there for this so if you know of one please mention it in the comments!
In this video I show how easy it is to get the xPath from Google Chrome. You can use the xPath when processing the DOM tree in your code. I use the javax.xml.xpath in Java to process DOM tree; the API is very powerful and easy to use.
I just read this blog post “7 Secrets to Effective Corporate Blogging” and I think this is also a great list for the regular bloggers like myself. As a matter of fact I guess I am doing their last tip right now by “stealing their idea” and adding to it, plus one more tip! I have been blogging for just over six years and I have seen a lot of hits on some posts and not nearly as many hits on other posts that I thought would be good reads. I have learned a lot over the years in this space and hopefully some of this information will be useful to other bloggers or newbies.
The biggest success in my opinion for any blog is the consistency of the content in the blog. This blog pretty much focuses on software development in many areas, collaboration, social, commerce, programming, administration, etc. basically whatever I do in my own time and my professional time around those areas. Over the years I have gained readers and lost readers. I am definitely not an authority or generate 10,000 hits a day, or even a thousand hits a day in most cases; I do think I get enough readers to at least talk about what I think works.
So on to my “keys to success”, first and foremost get followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other site you have presence on. This will give you an opportunity to post your blog posts there. Many may find it annoying but many also look at those social networks to get news versus using a feed reader or visiting blogs individually.
Tip 1 - I find that scheduling posts between 4am and 5am Eastern Standard time is the best for me because I have many readers in Europe. Having your blog software automatically Tweet or share the post at that time is also a good idea. You want to promote your post URL between 8am and 10am in the different time zones. Studies have shown this is when most people read news on the internet.
Tip 2 - SEO can not be underestimated! Getting your post URL on the different social networks and then getting people to reply, like, Tweet or whatever will raise your SEO score on the search sites. A good example on my site are these two posts, they each get about 5-10 hits per day and a few are years old, the Eclipse preferences one was actually posted in 2007!
- Is GWT the future of web development?
- Which Java sort is faster – MergeSort, QuickSort or Arrays.sort?
- Where are all of these Eclipse preferences stored?
- Flash, HTML5, Java, Silverlight – which one would you use?
- Finding the XPath in Internet Explorer
- Window Builder for Eclipse – for SWT, RCP and SWING UI’s
- A great Lotus Notes Composite Application tutorial
Tip 3 - Blog titles, very important. This particular post might get a lot of hits just for the title alone. The content may or may not work but hey, at least the title drove something. Many bloggers use “shock” titles to get a lot of hits but then the blog itself loses credibility over time.
Tip 4 - Stay consistent to your blogs purpose. Whether you blog about software or pickles make sure you stick to those guns. I use to post a lot of personal information in the beginning and found many liked it for the occasional read but it really didn’t build my readership. When I really focused on my specialty I started gaining hits.
Tip 5 - Use images and videos! Nothing makes a point like a picture or video. I may not be the most descriptive person with words so many times I just use a video or picture to help out. It also makes the blog itself a little more flashy. I may actually use too many pictures and videos…
Tip 6 - Your blogging software and the tools to effectively promote, attract, and publish your posts. It’s no secret I use WordPress as my blogging software. I used three different blogging software for this blog and eventually settled on WordPress. I feel the administration, the plugins, the templates, the community and the quality of the code is unparalleled in the free blogging software world. You can probably find “better” software but you will most likely have to pay for it or have it hosted.
Tip 7 - Promote, Promote, Promote. You have to have social presence and you have to promote your blog. Those Tweets, comments, mentions, likes, etc all work in your favor and could gain new readers. Use hash tags in Twitter so your post shows up in searches and other peoples lists. This is how you will gain new followers and readers.
Tip 8 - Comments are key. I actually lack in this space a lot. I don’t get a lot of comments on my blog because maybe I mostly post FYI or education like material. The better blogs out there actually get engagement from their community. I am always trying to get people to comment here but what I am finding now is most people comment on the social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So thank you to all who comment on this blog!
If you Google “Java XPath” this is one of the first articles returned. Clear and concise explanation for how to use the API:
XPath expressions are much easier to write than detailed Document Object Model (DOM) navigation code. When you need to extract information from an XML document, the quickest and simplest way is to embed an XPath expression inside your Java program. Java 5 introduces the javax.xml.xpath package, an XML object-model independent library for querying documents with XPath.
via The Java XPath API.
Long ago on a computer, almost two decades ago, I used the Symantec C++ compiler. I only made it through version 6 and 7 and eventually moved on to Microsoft C++. The Symantec IDE was way ahead of its time and at first using MSDEV was a struggle. Today, MSDEV is arguably one of the best IDE’s. Why am I writing about this? I was cleaning out my old software CD’s and I must have had a dozen copies of the compiler because I was on the subscription model. Made me think how far IDE’s have come over the past 20 years. Comparing that software to Eclipse is almost laughable. Looks like I should also get rid of about 30 books on software development – most of which are totally out of date, with only a few keepers.
Makes me also think what software we use today will be laughable in twenty years…
- JSR 292: Support for dynamically-typed languages – a great feature for installed Java applications that support scripting. I see this being very valuable in both the client and the server.
- JSR 334: Small language enhancements – Very nice! Using switch statements for Strings would be a warm welcome to any XML or file parser. This should make parser code much easier to read.
- JSR 203: More new I/O APIs for the Java platform (NIO.2) – the new file API’s are very straightforward and will be nice to work with. I especially like the new copy method for executing a basic file copy. It will be interesting to see if Eclipse takes on some of these enhancements since it is very file I/O intensive.
As Steve points out in the comments – I misread the features list and didn’t realize these two were deferred! Ugh…
JSR 308: Annotations on Java types – another great thing for tools like Eclipse JSR 335: Project Lambda – Even though there is much discussion on whether these are true lambda expressions the feature is really nice.
Are you new to eCommerce? Thinking about setting up a team to support your companies web presence? If so, you might want to check out the IBM Redbook: Best Practices and Tools for Creating WebSphere Commerce Sites.
While the book focuses on WebSphere Commerce, it also has a lot of great best practices around commerce in general. From deployment to team setup, the book is pretty comprehensive and promotes general project management using the Rational® Unified Process or RUP®.
Another great chapter in the book is the messaging chapter. This is critical for any commerce project because you will most likely be integrating with existing systems like SAP or Bazaar Voice. Chapter 10 outlines the messaging architecture and shows how integration with these other system is achieved with WebSphere MQ.
I am hoping to get some opinions from my readers on which technology to use for an interactive web application that is graphic intensive. Joel asked the same question three years ago and it looks like Flash was the choice then. I am really leaning toward HTML5 or Flash at this point. The main problem with HTML 5 is the tooling and support, once again, Flash seems to have amazing tooling but with a cost.
Now, given that, HTML5 is clearly being pushed into this space and is a major factor in the decision making. Most browsers today support at least Canvas (which is the primary piece needed) and the other CSS3 areas are being incorporated across the browsers slowly.
I got this chart from StatOwl and it clearly shows Flash as being the preferred installed plugin for rich internet content, but it is for “plugins” so HTML5 is not reflected. It also looks like Java is on a slow decline as of late…