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TheServerSide.com joins DevelopMentor online effort

The Middleware Company (TMC) and DevelopMentor, former rivals in the technology training game, are engaging in a kind of core-competency swap in an agreement they are calling a "community and training alliance."

Under the agreement, disclosed last week, TMC will host, manage and promote DevelopMentor's online community elements, which includes the DevelopMentor Resources area technical content and discuss.develop.com, on TMC's TheServerSide Web sites. DevelopMentor will take over TMC's training business, including such courses as EJB for Architects, EJB Essentials, J2EE Design Patterns and J2EE Essentials. The former competitors will also collaborate on joint marketing, sales, lead generation and membership activities, said representatives from companies.

What this alliance means for developers, explained Floyd Marinescu, general manager of TheServerSide Communities, is better products and services from both companies.

"We do communities really well," Marinescu told Programmers Report, "and we exited the training business to focus on that. Consequently, our training assets were no longer supported. DevelopMentor -- who does training really well -- is acquiring those assets, so our best courses will continue to be supported. We will be posting all of their community elements, and they will be linking to us from their corporate site. Basically, we will become [DevelopMentor's] front-end community, much as TheServerSide.com was for The Middleware Company in the past."

Both companies started out as training providers. Founded in 1998, Mountain View, Calif.-based TMC set up its first TheServerSide.com Web site to promote its J2EE training business. "The original purpose was to be a kind of indirect marketing vehicle," said Marinescu, who, with Ed Roman, established the site. "And it worked well. It grew well beyond its original purpose into the independent community it is today. Now it is its own thriving media business."

In its current incarnation, TheServerSide.com is an online community for enterprise Java architects and developers. It delivers a range of content, including daily news, tech talk interviews with key industry figures, design patterns, discussion forums, tutorials and even satire. With a reported 350,000-plus registered members, Marinescu claims it is nearly the largest Java community in the world, second only to the Sun Microsystems-sponsored Java.Sun.com.

DevelopMentor is transferring all of its community assets to the TheServerSide communities, including more than 150 resources, such as tools, samples, white papers, books and some discussion lists. The two companies will also collaborate to produce online course services, including course-specific discussion forums and resource areas as well as new technical content, Marinescu said.

Meanwhile, said Marinescu, "We're a place where things get reported on, but where things get discussed very early on -- things that eventually become hot topics." He cited early discussions among the principles behind JBoss and early work on Aspect-Oriented Programming as examples. "We were talking about those things on TheServerSide a couple of years before they gained general notoriety."

Both companies agree that this connection with TheServerSide Communities effectively extends DevelopMentor's reach within the developer community.

"The added functionality resulting from the migration of our community assets to TheServerSide will benefit developers who learn from our instructors, as well as those that rely on online resources," Mike Abercrombie, president and CEO at DevelopMentor, said in a statement. "Teaming with The Middleware Company will reinforce our position as the premier advanced developer training firm with the most comprehensive curriculum spanning J2EE and .NET."

DevelopMentor opened its first training facility in the Los Angeles area in 1994. Early on, the company became known for its five-day-and-night immersion events, dubbed "guerrilla training." Today, the company offers a range of hands-on training courses for experienced developers in the U.S. and internationally on Java, .NET, XML/Web services, database technologies and other programming-related topics.

Notably, TMC now sponsors another online developer community, the recently launched TheServerSide.NET, which focuses on enterprise development with the Microsoft .NET framework.

For more information, please go to http://www.theserverside.com/ or http://www.develop.com/us/

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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