JOLT award for the O'Reilly Network

by Daniel H. Steinberg

I've been waiting for the Jolt award home page to be updated with the winners so that I could blog on O'Reilly network's productivity award, but it's been more than a week since the award ceremonies at SDWest. You can download the winners list in this pdf. The night began with the announcement of P.J. Plauger as the recipient of the Dr. Dobbs Excellence in Programming award and ended with Dreamweaver receiving the Software Development Hall of Fame award.

In between, SD awarded three productivity awards and one excellence award in each of fourteen categories. In the General Books category the productivity awards went to "The Art of UNIX Programming" by Eric S. Raymond, "Lean Software Development" by Mary and Tom Poppendieck, and "Pragmatic Starter Kit" by Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt. Dave and Andy's series is a wonderful set of short targetted books and it was great to see the judges recognize the importance of this self-published series so soon after it launched. Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister's "Waltzing with Bears:Managing Risk on Software Projects" won in this category and Lister gave the night's best acceptance speech about collaboration on this book.

Head First Java was a finalist in the technical books category. Winners of productivity awards were "About Face 2.0" by Alan Cooper and Robert Reimann, Scott Ambler's "Agile Database Techniques", and Diomidis Spinellis' "Code Reading". The excellence award winner was David Astels "Test-Driven Development: A Practical Guide".

O'Reilly's two finalists in the "Websites and Developer Networks" category were and the O'Reilly Network. The site is less than a year old so the cliche of "it was an honor just to be a finalist" is something we really felt. The O'Reilly Network won a productivity award along with the Java Ranch and The Excellence award went to IBM developerWorks. Kyle Hart and I were in the audience for O'Reilly and so, at her urging, I went up on stage and accepted the award and passed it on to her to take back to Sebastopol.

Accepting the award for the network was a nice cap on a wonderful year that I've spent working for O'Reilly. I was hired about a year ago to help launch and to eventually edit as well. I don't know if all of O'Reilly is like this or if the group I'm in has always been like this - but the Online Publishing Group is a collection of bright, dedicated, and generous individuals who work unselfishly as a team. I can't remember when I've enjoyed going to work as much as I have this past year. It is a cliche to say that the award belongs to everyone in the group, but it really does.

I apologize in advance for the names I leave out. I don't know all of the people not affiliated with the sites I work on. The producers and copy editors Sarah, Terrie, Chris, Tara, Shawn and Jamie prepare and polish the site daily. The programmers and IT folks Dave, Greg, Tony and Gene provide the infrastructure on which we run. The site editors Derrick, Edd, chromatic, Kendall, Chris, Mary, Preston, Shawn, and Simon solicit, select, and shape articles. The management Dale, Nancy, Bruce, and Derrick provide support and set direction.

Add to this mix the synergies we get from working with the folks from the books side of O'Reilly and from working with and attending the O'Reilly conferences. Our authors help point us in the right direction and having a vocal readership that is encouraged to chime in at any moment helps make this site what it is.

So thank you and congratulations to everyone. The award couldn't have gone to a nicer group of people.