Few Things That I Learned as a Blogger

I started my career as a Java developer in 2006. I was working on a Servlets/JSP project based web application which we thought of migrating it to Struts framework.

I got some issue and struggling with it for hours and hours and couldn’t be able to find any solution. I read all the Struts reference documentation and referred many books on Struts framework. But in all those books and reference documentation I could find the happy path situation guidelines only.

After struggling to find what is the problem for almost 3 days, I found the reason along with a solution in a blog. That was a bug in Struts framework itself and that issue will come only with combination of a particular version of common-collection.jar. That blogger also encountered the same issue, debugged the code by spending lot of time, found the issue and most importantly he blogged about it. You can’t find such type of issues in any books or framework’s reference documentation obviously.

That day even after going home I could not stop thinking about it. See, somebody whom I don’t know and probably I will never meet helped me a lot. Otherwise I don’t know how many more days I might be struggling with that issue. That blogger might not get paid for writing that tip, and people who took help from that blog post might never meet that blogger in-person to thank him. But unknowingly he helped many people like me.

After that incident I learned one important debugging tip. Search google with the first line of Exception stacktrace, 95% of the times you will find a solution on StackOverflow or any blog.

Also on StackOverflow there are many many enthusiastic people who will help you by answering your questions. For that also they might not get any monitory benefits immediately. Of course, they get some reputation which they deserve for their time and knowledge.

Then I realized this is what the Community support means. We take help from others and we give help to others. We help each other and make our lives easy. Then I decided to start a blog and write down the things that I learned.

I started my blog www.sivalabs.in around 6 years ago. Over the years I have blogged on various topics, most of them are for beginner to intermediate skilled people. After few months my blog started getting some traffic and few people thanked me for writing about Java stuff. I am very happy.

Then things started getting interesting. Among them few things are good, some are disappointing and some are irritating. In this article, I would like to express my opinions about some of the blogging related things.

1. Don’t hurry to write more articles, write few good articles
When your blog started getting traffic then it is very tempting to write more and more. In the process of writing more articles you might not be able to write good quality content. Don’t hurry to get popular. Focus on writing better quality articles.

2. Be open to suggestions
Being open to feedback suggestion is very very important. You might not be good at everything. You might not have correct info on a particular topic or the way you expressed something might be misleading to wrong conclusions or even your English might not be good. In my case, I am not a native English speaker and my English written skills were(are?? :-)) poor. So when someone says you suck at something then smile and try to improve upon it.

3. Respond to your blog readers questions
It is very important to respond to your blog readers questions. You might forget to explain about some configuration which makes others wondering how it is working for you and not working for them. When they ask questions try to answer as much as possible.
4. You don’t need to respond to every question/comment
At first it seems a contradicting statement to my previous point, No..it is not.
At times you will get some requests or comments like “Your SpringMVC CRUD sample with User table is good, but I want a CRUD application for Employees. I want emp_id, fname, lname and email columns for Employee table. Please send it as soon as possible, it is very urgent for me“.
As soon as I read it my first reaction is “What The Hell”.. But as I know how Indian IT organizations work I didn’t respond by saying “Get lost”. I thought he might be a fresher and his employer put a deadline to learn Spring and create an application by end of the day. I created a sample SpringMVC CRUD application  using Employee and sent him. Guess what!! That day evening I got an email from the same guy with an Excel sheet attachment. In the email he mentioned “We have list of courses for each employee. We have to display the list of course that an employee subscribed to. You can find more details in attached Excel sheet. Please send me this functionality by tomorrow“.
After reading this email I was speechless and I realized what mistake I did. Help those who want to learn and ignore those who just want to get it done by delegating it.

5. Don’t take harsh comments personally
At times people may not agree with your point and some may respond very harshly. For example, when I wrote an article title “Are frameworks making developers dump?” all I want to say is “Though your fancy framework is providing nice abstractions over the low-level APIs, knowing how things work under the hood help a lot to better utilize the framework”. Still I didn’t understood what is wrong in that. But many people replied harshly saying “Where did you come from..from MARS??”. At that time I felt very bad about it, but over the time I learned how to take heat and ignore useless comments.

And some other people simply say “Your article is a shit and useless”. If a person know how much time it take to write a decent amount of content for an article no one would say that. So no need to worry about those idiots. Just ignore them.

Anyway, Blogging helped me a lot in many ways. Thank you everyone for encouraging me to write more and more.

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