Building a developer community in an enterprise world


IBM’s Websphere team were given uncompromising feedback about what developers thought of their software. On a whiteboard at Devoxx 2008, it was called ‘WebsFear’ and other mean names.

So, they had a long think and started to build something that was designed with developers in mind. The result was a new application server, Liberty. They knew they’d done something right when, in 2014, Liberty was described by a developer as ‘Awesome’.

Here, IBM Developer Advocate Laura Cowen describes how they took the journey from ‘WebsFear’ to ‘Awesome’.

Laura talks about the team’s experiences during the previous four years of building a developer community around (partly) proprietary software in a (mostly) open source world; the challenges they’ve faced (both internally and in the wider Java EE community), the successes they’ve had, the commitment it has needed, and the corporate processes they’ve broken/changed/circumvented to be able to do things they never previously imagined they could.

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