Why did I create it?
I had the idea for this web site around November 1998 after passing the Sun Certified Java Programmers exam and finding there was a shortage of material freely available on the web. I was looking for a project to try to make the jump from a Visual Basic programmer to the world of Java but I kept coming up against the problem that without experience I could not get a job, and without a Job I could not get experience.
I considered attempting to create some fancy piece of Java software to impress potential employer. I couldn't think of an appropriatly impressive yet easy to build piece of software and decided on this web site instead. The benefit of creating a web site is that a small amount of incomplete helpful information is instantly useful whereas an incomplete program is not so useful. Another benefit is that I have learnt a huge amount about creating and running a web site.
Who actually writes and designs all of this stuff?
All the text you read on the site was created by me unless indicated otherwise. However I have received around 2,000 emails related to the site and many of them have contained extensive corrections so it has has been improved extensively by outside contributions.
Do I make money from it?
The web site is certainly not a money making activity in the traditional sense. I have never actually done the calculations but it has cost me the equivalent of several thousand dollars not including many hundreds of hours of my own time. However it helped me get my current job and if I am ever on the job market again I would not expect it to do any harm The revenue from Associates schemes just covers my hosting costs so I can have a reasonable URL and a decent ISP. So in the long run it might make me money indirectly but I am not holding my breath.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes the site gets a good deal of traffic for such a technical topic. The numbers I am about to quote are for March 2000 so they will be instantly out of date. I get approximatly 30,000 requests for the front page of the site per month, but if you were to draw a graph of accesses over the last year it is very steep curve. About 60% of accesses are return visits, implying that the site is fairly "sticky".
There are lies, dammned lies and web stats but I have a feeling that is a good figure for this type of site. You can see todays figures at
Where in the world are these site visitors based
There is a bias towards the USA and India but they come from all over the world.
How can you help?
You can simply stroke my ego by telling me how wonderful the site is and what an awesome job I have done. On a more constructive level I always appreciate corrections both technical and grammatical. If you believe that something does not compile however, please check it through java.exe first. Let me know if you find any Java Certification resources that I do not have links to on the site (most of them are in the FAQ). If you find some good Java tutorial stuff or have pages of your own, let me know and I will probably link to them. I'm gradually adding links to web sites that run associates schemes. This means if you buy a product as a result of clicking on a link from this site I get a commission on the purchase. These are mostly products I have purchased myself. So if you buy from those links you are help fund the continuation of this site.
What tools do I use?
I had a free copy of Symantec Visual Page which seemed to be simple and elegant. When they bought out Version 2 I upgraded it and in the process they seemed to have utterly broken it. I bought a copy of HotMetal Pro 5 and just never came to terms with it. It just seemed to be ugly and the link checking was broken. Later on I got to appreciate the tag mode and the HTML check but by then I had moved on to Dreamweaver. I got a copy of 1.2 free with a magazine. It has a wierd interfaced which I suspect is partly due to its history of running on the Mac and PC. Once you get over that it is excellent. Where I work we exclusivly use the latest greatest version for web page development
I would like to move to an all Linux environment but at the moment there is not much in the way of HTML editors. I have tried w3 orgs Amaya but it is wierd and experimental. I would pay real money for something as usable as Visual Page Version 1, or Dreamweaver. Please don't suggest vi or Emacs (though I do like them for programming).
My two favorite HTML books are from Instant HTML from Wrox and the HTML & XHTML The Definitive Guid from O'Reilly. I'm mostly using Dreamweaver or some HTML editor so I don't need to refer to them often. The O'Reilly book is bigger, fatter and more expensive, buy that book at the following link.
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
The Wrox book is a compact, smaller programmers reference. buy that from the following links.
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
I got a free fully functional copy of Astra Site manager free with a magazine and it does an excellent job of automatically checking links. I usually do my ftp uploads with dreamweaver but I have a copy of WS_FTPLe for other ftp transfers.
Win95 and RedHat Linux 7.0
You can buy the genuine original RedHat article with support and a book from the likes of Amazon (and if you click the link I get a little commission), but as Linux is GPL software (http://www.gnu.org), you can get the unsupported version at very low prices from many other sources. But for the boxed product ...
Positive-Internet because they seem to know what they are doing and offer servlet support. This is very rare here in the UK. Previously I was with U-net who do a good job of keeping a nice net pipe open but seem to concentrate on business customers.
If it runs in Netscape it will probably run in IE. I have been playing extensivly with Mozilla and when Mozilla 1.0 arrives I will probably switch to it as my default browser.
Paintshop (some old copy), Corel Gallery with 1,000,000 images for off the shelf clip art. These days I intend to use the Gimp as its free and very full featured. The windows version was a bit flaky last time I used it but in its native environment of Linux it is brilliant. Although you can find web sites with free clip art I ended up spending ages searching and never actually found anything I would use. Clip art can really only do so much and it is probably worth getting people with some artistic ability to create graphics, even if it costs real money. If you can't do that, then bite the bullet and buy something like Corell Gallery because got hold of several other clip art packages with fewer images and was disappointed.
Favorite Search Engine
Google by a wide margin
Web Log Stats
Extreeme tracking for live info from the front page and analog for going over the Apache logs for all the other pages.
MS Word 97, Sun Star Office and considering WordPerfect for Linux when it comes out and if they don't force us to buy the entire office suite
Vi, JDK 1.1 mainly at home. Forte at work, JBuilder at home