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Kathy Sierra

Kathy Sierra is the coauthor of Head First Java and Head First EJB. She has been interested in learning theory since her days as a game developer. More recently, she's been a master trainer for Sun Microsystems, teaching Sun's java instructors how to teach the latest technologies to customers. Her current gig, along with her partner Bert Bates, is developing and producing the bizarre new Head First series of books for O'Reilly. She's also the original founder of, which came dangerously close to winning a Jolt Cola award last year, but had to settle for the computer equivalent of being the Miss America runner-up (winning the Software Development Magazine Productivity Award instead). She likes to think about thinking (as opposed to actually DOING it), and blogs from time to time about metacognition, why having fun MATTERS, and why being an "individual contributor" (as Scott McNealy puts it) is way better than being a "manager".


kathysierra's blog

The JavaOne Store Metric

Posted by kathysierra on July 4, 2005 at 12:43 PM PDT

This is a picture of the JavaOne store on the last day:


(The green arrows point to empty shelves.) The store was still open... this isn't a shot of the employees packing up, but rather a shot of some guy hoping to find something to take home.

JavaOne trend spotting... sort of.

Posted by kathysierra on June 28, 2005 at 11:30 PM PDT

JavaOne talks are full of numbers... 1 billion JavaCards, 550 worldwide Java user groups, 912 members of the JCP, 28 J2EE compliant app servers, 45,000 Java applications for cell phones, 78% of handsets shipping in 2005 are Java-enablied, and on and on.

So I thought I'd offer up a few other random metrics that might mean something.

JavaOne mood: surprisingly festive

Posted by kathysierra on June 27, 2005 at 11:12 PM PDT

The old optimism is still here in San Francisco. Sure we've heard it all before: the huge HUGE "opportunity" in mobile, the "renewed commitments" with other big players like IBM, and "the really interesting things", as Gosling calls them, that Sun's customers are doing with Java...

Java True Confessions

Posted by kathysierra on June 24, 2005 at 4:20 PM PDT

As I'm sitting here packing for JavaOne 2005, I'm remembering an event from last year that was... scary. It was one of Gilad Bracha's sessions on generics. (Gilad Bracha, remember, is Sun's "Computational Theologist" -- which means, among other things, that he interprets Java's "holy books" [his term] or, the specs.)

The room was packed.

Does it really matter if your tool is cool?

Posted by kathysierra on December 9, 2004 at 2:51 PM PST

Brett's blog on Java's declining cool factor created quite a stir: Ho Hum Java. I'd sum up a lot of the comments as something like, "Cool doesn't matter. It's just a tool.

JavaOne Jini session MUCH larger than I expected...

Posted by kathysierra on June 30, 2004 at 12:21 AM PDT

Two good Jini moments today at JavaOne:

1) Scott McNealy gives out a Dukie award to Orbitz, with an obvious reference to what they're doing--it was the ConJINIality award! That's right. Jini, in a keynote. Scott McNealy. (Mind you, he didn't actually *say* anything about Jini, but there it was--right there in the name of the award.

Pair Programming is NOT always a choice

Posted by kathysierra on March 30, 2004 at 2:43 PM PST

I know this subject has been talked about practically to death, but from what I have read, there's an assumption about Pair Programming that I believe... no, I know is Just Plain Wrong.

The assumption is this: Paired Programming is a Choice.

How are you on a blind date?

Posted by kathysierra on March 19, 2004 at 9:38 AM PST

Maybe your mother knows more about software development than you ever imagined. Perhaps the advice she gave you before that fateful blind date--with that special someone your friends convinced you was The One For You--works for software development as well as dating.

To API designers/spec developers: pity those of us who have to LEARN this...

Posted by kathysierra on February 16, 2004 at 5:13 PM PST

There have been some interesting and useful discussions and guidelines on API design from people like Steven Clarke and Bill Venners. And the discussion can get pretty heavy.

What's so bad about making it easier to learn Java?

Posted by kathysierra on January 19, 2004 at 12:55 PM PST

I was talking with author Dori Smith recently, and it turns out we both experienced a similar phenomenon: angry email and online posts about how we were making it too easy to learn Java. But is that really such a terrible thing?