By Jeff Chilton
"To learn is a natural pleasure, not confined to philosophers, but common to all men."
--Aristotle (Greek philosopher, 384BC-322BC)
For some unknown reason, it just seems like there's an awful lot an application software developer needs to know these days. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago a fella's only real worry was that the folks in data entry might get that stack of carefully penciled-in coding sheets out of order when they punched the source statements onto those 80-column cards. Of course, that was when a coder was known simply as a programmer, and didn't have some uppity title that ended in words like Engineer or Architect.
Applications are a lot more complicated these days, and the folks that build and maintain them have to worry about a greater number of more complex issues, such as Inversion of Control, Separation of Concerns, Dependency Injection, Platform Independence, Service Oriented Architecture, Polymorphism, and Monotheism. Ok, not that last one, although there are those folks that kneel and face Redmond five times a day, and those other folks that serve Apollo (that would be the Sun god, for those of you who slept through the mythology portion of your high school world history class), but that's a whole 'nother topic entirely!
The point is, there's just a lot you need to know in order work in today's complex applications environments. The good news is, there's an awful lot of resources out there to help a person out in this regard, and I just thought I'd take a moment to mention a few.
The WebSphere zone at IBM developerWorks has long been a great source of technical information, articles, tutorials, and forums for all aspects of Web applications development. And now that IBM is in the process of rebranding all of its application development products as components of the Rational line, the developerWorks Rational zone is fast becoming another great source of such information.
And for those of you who are coming from the Lotus/Domino world, or are accessing applications and data located on Domino servers, the Lotus zone of developerWorks is an equally impressive source of useful information. If you haven't done so already, I'd encourage you to check out all aspects of developerWorks, including alphaWorks, the source for new and emerging technologies.
IBM Technical Briefings
Another great source of information, directly from IBM, comes in the form of live technical briefings, provided free of charge by IBM developerWorks staff. These full- and half-day sessions cover a variety of topics from Linux applications development, to project and portfolio management.