Thursday, June 29, 2006

Making Javaref really successful

Javaref is the latest stab at making Javadocs useful – and of making a business out of utter lack of usability of the brainless default presentation that has haunted us for about a decade now.

Main ideas of Javaref:
  • search (that was a hard one to come up with ;-))
  • user profiles to restrict the libraries being searched (not especially way-out either)
Thats a nice start. Here are a few more ideas:

How about a mechanism that hocks into maven (which is used to build and document projects like magnolia). Such a plugin could use the maven-generated list of dependencies (and transitive dependencies) and automatically publish it as a project to Javaref (along with the source code or a link to the project's SVN code repository for Javaref to fetch at a later time).

The goal would be that its really easy for a project to have a profile at the Javaref site, and keep it up to date with each release. As a matter of fact, this should not be a profile (thats a user's domain) but a "project". Projects should be published and sharable (hey, viral, here we come!), and a user could have a list of projects he works on.

Now add a simple way to advertise the availablitity of the Javaref project at my project's site to drive my user base to your site (and give me back some of the advertisement cash you make in exchange) and you would have nailed it.

Come to think of it, if these guys don't built it, I might be tempted to build it myself ;-)

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