James Governor's Monkchips

The Developer Aesthetic: On developerWorks Open Tech

Share via Twitter Share via Facebook Share via Linkedin Share via Reddit

I have been thinking a lot lately that as Software Eats the World so a new aesthetic, a set of patterns, practices, modes, mores and in-jokes emerges – I call this phenomenon The Developer Aesthetic (with apologies to James Bridle). It’s a way of seeing the world and presenting ideas for consumption and feedback- through software of course. Some of this is clearly codified- for example Rails apps or Twitter Bootstrap – but some is more implicit. At RedMonk we believe that Developers are the New Kingmakers, and if you want to engage with them it pays to learn their aesthetic.

IBM’s is currently refreshing developerWorks, its venerable developer portal, and frankly it needs the update. Any site designed more than 10 years ago is likely to feel a little tired. But what’s a company to do when the hackers are going elsewhere? One of our clients asked us this week whether it even makes sense for tech companies to host their own sites for developers in the age of Github and Stack Overflow. The answer is federation – interesting information is distributed, just as much as today’s computing infrastructures are, which is why I really like the new design for IBM’s new developerWorks Open projects pages.

As you can see below, IBM introduces a clean header design, with an at a glance view of Github related activity on a project. When I first looked at the site, however, I noticed that not all the information in the header was clickable. I let IBM know, and Dirk Nicol fixed it within 2 hours (rather impressive if you’ve ever worked with IBM) The sidebar also adds to to the reduced click nature of the site, with nice use of microcopy, for example with the clone button.


node red on developerworks open tech

Note IBM is also using Slack, the new collaboration hotness, to talk to developers.


IBM is a client.


  1. Thanks James for the feedback on developerWorks. Lots more to come with developerWorks – so stay tuned. I also wanted to call out the great work from Ian Oeschger and Manuel Silveyra–the lead developers for the developerWorks Open site–and Jacques Perrault who built the Bluemix API that enables the Github federation. These guys are real Kingmakers 🙂

    1. hey dirk. you should provide twitter and or github IDs for the kingmakers! 🙂

  2. James, thanks for the feedback! I can be followed on twitter @JacquesPerrault, and on github it is JacquesPerrault.

  3. James,

    Thanks!, We aim to please. Just so you know, this is a collaborative effort between Dirk’s and my teams.

    We are definitely working to get more of our developers to share their twitter ids. Adding github ids is also a great idea!

    – @christo4ferris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *