TSS Members,

In January, The Middleware Company (TMC) announced a new vision called TheServerSide Communities aimed at building communities (online sites, conferences, user groups, etc) to serve practitioners of all technology backgrounds in the middleware industry.

Today, TheServerSide Communities consist of TheServerSide.NET, TheServerSide.com, and TheServerSide Symposiums. TheServerSide.com is the world’s largest independent Java community. TheServerSide.NET is a sibling community to TheServerSide.com focused on enterprise development with the Microsoft .NET framework. TheServerSide Symposiums are an exclusive set of technical conferences focused on cutting edge enterprise development issues.

This vision involves an expansion of our offerings to include expanded online developer communities, internationalization of our existing communities, and the possibility of creating micro-communities (mini-versions aimed at building communities for emerging technologies, trends, or focus areas that have smaller user bases, such as AOP, MDA, mobile development, and utility computing).

To support this exciting and massive vision, enable faster incorporation of new features, and improve quality of service for end users, we will be evolving our architecture into a consolidated portal system that will be used across multiple communities. Today, we maintain multiple, but similar portal infrastructures implemented in different technologies including J2EE and .NET. While this variety of implementations provide technology purity and excellent case studies, the costs to maintain and incorporate new features across duplicate code bases are prohibitive.

This consolidated portal system will present itself as technology-agnostic, bearing no technology specific URLs (we’ll use .tss extensions), and its back-end will be implemented with a variety of technologies: J2EE and .NET; Windows and Linux; open source and proprietary. This consolidation is part of a natural evolution of any media/communities firm. In fact, many notable firms have taken similar approaches: O’Reilly, CNET, ZDNET, Fawcette Technical Publications, and Sys-Con Media.

By having one infrastructure to support, this will enable us to more quickly evolve our communities with features such as the following, which we are currently focusing on building:
- better content personalization, allowing you to zoom in on the types of news and articles you really care about
- blog filtering services that will bring you the best blogs, much like our current news service filters news
- Windows media- AND Real player-based streaming video

Thank you for you continuing interest and support,

Floyd Marinescu
General Manager, TheServerSide Communities
Author, "EJB Design Patterns"
The Middleware Company
floyd@middleware-company.com