Once you’ve specialized in an area of technology, you have to stay current—and the Web provides developers with one way to do this. In the previous article in this series, I included a list of Web sites you can frequent to stay on top of news, trends, and some general aspects of development such as security. Now it's time to look at technology-specific Web sites.
Browse the sources that fit your needs and select the ones that you feel are most relevant. Then, check out some of the other sites to stay ahead of the competition.
Before we get started, I’d like to offer a general disclaimer. As in the previous article, I did not include newsgroups, Usenet, or mailing lists. Also, many topics have so many resources, I tried to stick to the ones that I use and that I feel offer the best, most timely content. Finally, all the sites listed are actively maintained and practice content validation to some degree.
- ACCU —Association of C & C++ Users. This is a good resource for conference information and links.
- Borland —This is the C++ community page.
- C++ Coding Standard —This document for a proposed standard in C++ development includes some good references.
- Thefreecountry.com —This site offers free C/C++ documentation, tools, and tutorials.
- ODTUG —Oracle Development Tools User Group. On this site, you can register for free membership and gain access to resources, join mailing lists, and get information about upcoming conferences.
- ITtoolbox Knowledge Base —Here, you'll find tons of articles, news, how-to’s, job information, event announcements, and pretty much everything else that's database related.
- SQL Course —SQL Interpreter & Tutorial with live practice database. This is a great resource for anyone learning SQL. You work through the tutorial and practice your queries against a live database; it's an excellent tool.
- Java Developer Connection —This is Sun’s Web site, with tips, documentation, and chat servers for developers.
- The Source for Java Technology —Check out product release announcements from java.sun.com.
- Cafe au Lait —From ibiblio.com, this site offers Java FAQs, news, and resources, as well as lots of useful blurbs and links.
- Java Boutique —This site offers news, downloads, forums, articles, and tutorials.
- MSDN (Microsoft Developer’s Network) —Get the latest information straight from the horse’s mouth.
- Windows Platform Development —This Microsoft site focuses on the creation of software for Windows. It has resources, drivers, specifications, and more.
- VB Wire —"Visual Basic news and information source." This actively maintained site offers all the latest about VB advancements and deployments.
- .NET Zone —From devX, this site has discussions, how-to’s, and download links. The same people offer ASP Zone and XML Zone with similar types of content.
- C# Corner —This site includes user-submitted articles, links, and news.
- Linux.com—If you develop on Linux, you should definitely review this site. It contains documentation for dozens of development topics, free software, access to user groups, and a new section called Corporate Voices, which offers information about Linux in the enterprise.
- OSDN —"The Open Source Developers Network." This is required reading and is considered the authority on all things relating to open source development.
- SourceForge —"Breaking down the barriers to open source development." This site helps coordinate distributed open source development efforts. You can find information about current and past projects and manage your own project. It was recently bought by VA Software (formerly VALinux) and offer an enterprise project management tool.
- Developer Shed —"The open source Web development site." Often called DevShed, this site has lots of articles and forums for the open source Web community.
- CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) —Here, you'll find Perl modules, source code, and scripts.
- Perl.com —This is the O’Reilly Perl Web site, with lots of information on Perl, Mod_Perl, and CGI.
- PHP Builder —This excellent site has a large code library, tons of articles, and active forums.
- Zend —Get documentation, more code libraries, and more articles about PHP.
- Python home pag e—This is the authoritative source for getting Python distributions, documentation, and community help, and for finding links to other great Python resources.
- Pythonware —These people offer professional services, but the site’s main focus is news. It also offers some useful downloads and tutorials and works closely with Guido van Rossum, Python’s creator.
- Scripting News —This site has some good links.
- Hot Scripts —"Web Development Powerhouse." This is an essential site for any scripter’s daily routine. You can download tons of free scripts for just about any language. I’ve saved myself thousands of hours in development time using resources from this site.
- <?xmlhack?> — This site offers "developer news from the XML community," along with resources and an extensive archive.
- Xml.com —"XML from the inside out." This is O’Reilly’s XML Web site, which provides articles, resources, news, and (of course) the latest XML publications.
- Webmonkey —"The Web developer’s resource." This highly referenced site has an extensive how-to library and conveniently organizes topics by skill level.
- Macromedia Designer & Developer Center —Here's a good source of tutorials and articles, although they tend to limit content to their current versions of software.
- Moock.org (Colin Moock’s Web site) —This site has awesome tutorials that cover ActionScript and other Flash-related topics from version 4 and up.
- Dynamic Drive —"No fluff. Just a lot of great DHTML scripts." This site was recommended by Builder.com member justahack. It contains a useful resource of user-submitted DHTML scripts, which you can copy and use on your own site. Great resource!
Standards are a necessary evil. These are some sites you should at least be aware of before you choose to disregard them.
- W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) —These people create specifications, guidelines, and tools for best practices on the Web.
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI) —You’ll want to pay particular attention to information about the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).
- The Portable Application Standards Committee (PASC) —This is where the POSIX standards are maintained. Be sure to check out the resources section of this site.
- Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)—This group, among other things, maintains the ongoing RFCs (request for comments) and Internet drafts to propose and form standards for Internet technology.
Keeping on top of trends and new advances will put you ahead of the game. Take a look at these sites to help you maintain your expertise and use the resources they provide to make your life easier.