I know most hard-core programmers/developers do not consider usability to be a major factor in developing interfaces (including web sites) but I do believe that it does have importance in generating and maintaining user interest. I myself am a hard core java programmer but I do have background in usability engineering.
To tell you the truth, I found theserverside.com to be very user friendly place than most other user friendly discussion sites. It looks lively. However, I do see some problems.
Out of the main sections you have home/events/discussions/patterns/reviews/resources, most of them follow a similar layout pattern but the events and resources section fall out of the pattern. I think it would be better if you could re-present these sections more like your "home" section.
A usable and user friendly tabbed interface is one in which each of the tabs contains different content but layed out in a similar pattern. Well as much as possible adhere to the pattern.
Thank you for your positive comments. I agree that consistency is an important issue. I have tried to maintain consistency on this site as much as possible. For example, each page has consistent navigation, has a white center panel and a grey side panel. That is where I draw the line regarding consistency.
To make every page look like the homepage may make some features counter intuitive. For example, how could the events page be layed out like the homepage? Or the resources page? These pages have fundamentally different purposes, and to mold them into a forum/discussion look and feel might make the site look worse.
I am interested in your ideas on how to increase consistency. Feel free to be as specific as you like.