The benefits of creating content are relatively well known, but it’s worth reiterating them before we go on.

  • Cements your knowledge. When you create content on something, it helps ensure you know the subject well.
  • Helps others to learn. Your content might help them with something that they’re unsure about, or it might validate their experience.
  • Participation in a community. When you contribute to a community, you meet people you can learn from and, in turn, can help other people. It also offers you excellent networking opportunities for your career.
An image of a woman working on a laptop on a bench
An image of a woman working on a laptop on a bench
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

What’s not to like?

Self-promotion is not what content sharing…


We’ve all heard of the benefits of pairing when it comes to coding, many of us have done it in our jobs and reaped the rewards, but have you ever paired to write English?

The agreement

Last week I suggested that we, Trisha Gee and I, do exactly that. We were both struggling to get into the zone of some written content that needed creating, and I’ve always wanted to try pairing on writing. I’ve benefited myself from pairing on code and, as a sole technical writer in the past, I’ve watched with envy as developers paired on their deliverables as I…


One of the super cool things about IntelliJ IDEA is how much code you can generate with minimum effort. Yes, it’s not the 1990s anymore, we’re no longer measured on how many lines of code we generate (thankfully), but you also know that Java has its fair share of boilerplate code.

Well, there’s a shortcut in IntelliJ IDEA that generates a lot of code for you:

  • ⌘N on macOS
  • Alt+Ins on Windows and Linux
Image by Francis Ray from Pixabay

These shortcuts load the Generate menu. Here’s a quick tour of where you can use it in Java projects in IntelliJ IDEA. …


In this blog, I mentioned that one of my hacks for self-promotion is to find a sponsor or mentor. Khalid and I had a bit of a Twitter chat and thought we’d write this blog as a follow-up.

In the original blog, I suggested that finding a mentor is useful:

This can be a single individual, a group of individuals or a community. You can think of the group or person as a booster rocket for your content. They are usually very prominent and well known in the community that you’re part of and want to grow in. They will…


I haven’t always been lazy; it’s a fairly recent addition to my repertoire of skills. And do you know who I blame? I blame IntelliJ IDEA. I used to check that I’d completed a statement correctly, I used to look at javadoc, I used to check I’d closed my parentheses correctly, but now I don’t give things a second glance.

Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

It’s all IntelliJ IDEA’s Fault

No, really, it is. Back when I was a (cough) younger adult, we had to type out all the code, we also thought it was cool to mix drinks that turned into something akin to gorilla snot. …


I took part in Hacktoberfest this year for the first time. I had a lot of upfront expectations and beliefs. One of these was bang on the money, the rest were so far from the mark it’s a little embarrassing.

What I thought at the start of Hacktoberfest

  • that the process would all be easy
  • that finding a repo to help with would be easy
  • that I would only take me a few hours
  • that I would learn stuff

Hacktoberfest Controversy

It never occurred to me that Hacktoberfest could be a force for bad. I appreciate that might sound naive, but when this blog post was published I was shocked…


Okay, I did the math. If you use all 38 of the Live Templates for Java that are available out of the box in IntelliJ IDEA 2020.2, you will save your finger pads approximately 2092 presses of wear and tear, and that’s just each one once, the reality is likely to be substantially higher. I will caveat this by saying that I counted the unresolved variables, yours may be longer or shorter. Still, it’s impressive!

What are Live Templates?

Java has had its fair share of grief over boilerplate code and verbosity. You could type it out manually (boring), switch to Kotlin (it’s an…


The Java SE ecosystem is strewn with acronyms that it has picked up over the last 25 years. Sometimes those acronyms even mean multiple things. Sometimes there are acronyms within acronyms! This post attempts to explain them all in terms of two main groupings:

  • OpenJDK
  • Java Development Kits (JDKs)

What is ‘OpenJDK’?

The phrase OpenJDK is used to describe at least three fundamental things in the Java ecosystem. I’ve expanded the links here so you can see what I’m talking about.

First

First, there is a place called OpenJDK which lives at https://openjdk.java.net and is also known to some as The OpenJDK Project


Until recently, I last wrote Java in anger in 2002. IntelliJ IDEA had just been released; it wasn’t remotely on my radar. I honestly can’t remember what IDE we were using back then, but it certainly was a very long way to the fully featured IDE that JetBrains produce today. Here’s my experience of using IntelliJ IDEA for the first time.

Downloading IntelliJ IDEA

There’s a lot going on when you first load IntelliJ IDEA, but I learned pretty quickly that there are also some good first steps you can take to make your experience a little more comfortable. The first thing I…


Before the last month I hadn’t written any Java in anger in 20 years. My professional path took me into the world of communicating and away from programming. Now it’s converged again as I embark on my developer advocacy journey. One of the things that I’ve already learned is that the Java world has changed, a lot. This blog gives you a whirlwind tour of the last 20 years, specifically with ownership and versions.

When I skipped town, Java was owned by Sun Microsystems and incrementing versioning in a fairly standard way. They started with 1.0 JDK in 1996, then…

Helen Scott

Developer Advocate Avocado @JetBrains. Communicator 🗣. Blogger 📝. Bananas 🍌are gross ❌. Coffee is reserved for jetlag ☕️. She/Her

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