Staying on top of news and technology is an essential part of being a developer. If you fall behind, you’ll be left behind. I’ve compiled a list of some Web sites you should frequent to keep abreast of all the latest information and trends—plus a few that will just give you something to talk about around the water cooler.
In trying to determine what sites to include in this list, I had to make some hard choices. First, I excluded newsgroups, Usenet, or mailing lists. While they are important sources of information, and you should pay attention to them, they tend to be so granular that it would be impossible to generalize them for the purposes of this article.
Then, when I started compiling the list, I realized it was about a mile long. In addition to sites in the categories listed here, plenty of information is available that's devoted to particular areas of expertise. So I decided to spin off a second article to look at technology-specific Web sites.
Finally, I included only sites that are actively maintained and that, for the most part, have some sort of content validation. The last thing you want to do as a developer is to rely on stale information.
So here it is: the first list of essential sites to help you stay on top of technology trends.
These sites address current issues in the industry. There are dozens to choose from, so I included my personal favorites.
- CNET’s News.com—"Tech
news first." Besides being one of Builder.com’s sister
sites, News.com does a great job of presenting timely news
for techies across the board.
Register—"Biting the hand that feeds IT." This one leans
toward hardware and systems, but it isn't exclusive to those
topics. The Register often picks up stories that other sites
- Slashdot—"News for
nerds. Stuff that matters." This site is definitely biased
toward the open source community, but it covers a lot of
other material as well and has incredible user involvement
and constant heated discussions. Everyone should visit this
site at least once.
online newspaper of record for Linux and open source." The
tagline pretty much says it all. These folks keep an eye out
for Linux and open source involvement from the private
sector, as well as advancements in the
Cross-training is a good idea, as is
keeping an eye on the competition. There are tons of developer
digest Web sites out there, ranging in quality and
reliability. Here are some of the more reputable sites I
- Builder.com—"Beyond the
code." You are here! Builder.com covers a broad range of
topics, from programming to architecting to managing
development solutions. It includes product reviews,
discussion groups, technical articles, online books, and
heaven—"Home of the developer." This is a popular,
well-maintained site spanning all things relating to
development. The site covers pretty much every type of
programming technology you can think of. (Builder.com has reviewed
Network—"The source for open and emerging technologies."
This is the Web site of the popular bookseller, with
articles and how-to's on a wide range of topics. O'Reilly
also maintains several technology specific Web sites,
including java.oreilly.com, windows.oreilly.com,
business technology network." Here, you'll find research,
articles, and news pertaining to enterprise issues in
- TechTV—This is the
companion Web site to the popular TechTV television station.
Besides programming information, it offers tech news,
product reviews, and how-to's.
If you don’t have at least
two security sites in your routine, you’re asking for trouble.
Here are some of the more respected ones to choose from:
security threat management systems." This is a great site
for security solutions, and it also includes news and
advisories. My favorite is its ARIS ThreatCon. (Builder.com
- CERT Coordination Center
(CERT/CC)—This federally funded site is maintained by
Carnegie Mellon University. You must frequent this
site. It offers advisories and lots of great articles about
trends and security practices.
- Info Security
News—"The info security news service." This site focuses
on news about data security. It's not so much an advisory,
but it is thorough.
security & business intersect." This enterprise security
news site also offers courses and seminars for security
We'd like to think we know all there is to
know about our particular flavor of development, but it never
hurts to brush up on basic theory. Times change, and you have
to change your thinking along with them. Here are a few sites
that might help.
- Useit.com: Jakob
Nielsen’s Website—This is the home of Jakob Nielsen’s
biweekly column about Web usability. He really knows what
he’s talking about.
hall of shame—This is from Isys Information Architects.
This page hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s still
excellent at pointing out common interface mistakes people
- Object Orientation
Tips—This site has a lot of great tips and links
pertaining to object-oriented design in building
applications. Every OO programmer can learn something here.
Cathedral and the Bazaar—Written by Eric S. Raymond,
this piece had a huge impact on me the first (few) times I
read it. It talks about design and development theory,
especially as it pertains to open source software. Even if
you’re as closed-system as they come, you should read
don't have a good sense of humor, writing code all day long
can suck the life right out of you. These sites usually give
me a chuckle.
Onion—"America’s finest news source." At first glance
you might think it's news, but really it's just hilarious.
Awful—Not for the weak of heart, this site delivers a
unique look at the world around us. You'll typically find
long rants that for some reason make you feel better about
- Fark—This site
features users' spin on the day’s headlines.
Friendly—View a daily geek cartoon, along with links to
random humorous Web sites.
How did you measure up?
research as part of your daily routine will help you keep on
top of current trends and advancements and expose you to a
number of new technologies. If you regularly visit all of
these sites, you’re definitely a technology aficionado. If
not, it might be in your best interests to start reviewing at
least a few of them on a regular basis.
In the next
segment of this series, I’ll present technology-specific sites
that can help you stay sharp in your area of expertise. Until
then, be sure to post your additions below, and keep