SAN JOSE, Calif. IBM Corp. is ushering into the era of social networking its ten-year old Web site that supplies technical information on open source software. My DeveloperWorks
aims to help IT developers collaborate on topics including Java, Linux and XML.
IBM claims to have registered more than eight million users to date for the site which gets as many as four million visitors a month. "Over time our audience has evolved to relying more on peer networks for advice more than anything else, so we want to bring that network to developers," said Stephanie Martin, director of DeveloperWorks.
The updated site bolsters the level of interactivity DeveloperWorks has offered with newsgroups and discussion threads in the past. It now supports personal profiles that act as virtual business cards and personal home pages with widgets to manage real-time feeds.
A demo of the new site shows various forms of interaction from messaging to in-line comments on articles. In addition, the site's code exchange area can now let users form groups to collaborate on projects.
The redesign comes in the wake of an IBM study that showed 75 percent of U.S. adults use social networking sites. Nearly 95 percent of business IT buyers said they use input from online peer groups as part of their decision making, and about 50 percent of IT professionals said they rely on their peers as credible resources.
My DeveloperWorks is optimized for Firefox, but also supports Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and above on Windows XP. It is based on IBM's Lotus Connections business collaboration software.
The site helps IBM cement its ties with IT customers in areas such as Java. That's particularly strategic given database competitor Oracle Corp. has made a bid to buy Sun Microsystems, the originator of the Java language and the owner of the JavaOne conference, one of the largest gatherings of software developers.
IBM considered buying Sun but talks broke off when the two could not agree on terms.