DZone Writing Prompts and Hot Topics
Want to write for DZone but aren't sure what to write about? Have no fear! This article will guide you through every zone on our site with starting points for articles.
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At DZone, we share knowledge. Our software, AnswerHub, is based on that principle, as is the dozen or so zones we maintain at any given time. We want you, as developers, to come to our site knowing you're going to learn something that will make you better at your job or that will help you turn an idea for a pet project into a reality.
But if you're reading this article, it means you're considering writing your own knowledge down for others to benefit from, too. And if you're anything like me, or most writers, you're often going to find yourself staring at a screen that looks like this:
Well, we want you to write for us, so we're more than happy to meet you halfway. With that in mind, I'm going to cover a few basic jumping off points for articles, then walk you through our zones and go over a few of the more promising topics that DZone readers want to learn about.
Some of these come from common observations, others from noticing trends in analytics, while others come from our own staffers who happen to be curious about various topics and want some more information.
We'll also be including questions and topics that executives and team leaders want answered, courtesy of our research and analysis superhero Tom Smith.
So, without further ado, let's dive in.
General Writing Prompts
These are prompts you can use in pretty much any Zone. Note: In many cases, I'm going to be using "technology" as a catch-all term to refer to frameworks, specifications, tools, and methodologies, so feel free to substitute the appropriate word in its place. I'll also be including specific techs where applicable in their associated Zones.
- Tutorials: Tutorials are the backbone of DZone.com. We welcome how-tos for just about any technology out there, particularly if it's a new or rare use case for it. A couple of notes: Go deeper than "What Is [Insert Zone Name Here]." Devs already know what cloud computing is, and there's only so many ways you can restate the benefits of it. Also, we heavily favor open source tech. If your tool is entirely proprietary with no free trial/community version, then chances are slim that we're going to use your article — if only because our readers probably aren't going to get very far into it before realizing they can't play with your tech.
- Industrial insights: Where do you think containers are heading? How is enterprise development changing? How do Big Data and IoT interact now vs. a year ago? Here's a chance to let your opinion and thought leadership shine with a higher-level article.
- War stories: Have you had to battle it out with some new tech? Did your organization or team's adoption of a new technology not go according to plan? Trust me, others want to know about it. Share your story and offer some advice on how to avoid the problems you encountered!
- Reviews/comparisons: Reviews are always popular! Dive into a technology you've got experience with and let your fellow devs know what you think. The more detailed the better — and try to use objective data like benchmarks where applicable. The important thing to remember with reviews is to be honest. If you favor the technology you're writing about, don't fudge the data to support your stance. Trust me, the readers will find out, and when they do, your credibility is gone.
- Frameworks/methodologies like Agile as a whole, Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, etc.
- Product management.
- Career advice.
- AI framework tutorials with TensorFlow being the most popular.
- Machine learning.
- Deep learning.
- Natural language processing.
- Optical character recognition.
- Big Data analytics.
- Data science.
- R language tutorials.
- Data visualization, i.e. dashboarding.
- Streaming data.
- Cloud providers and managed services, i.e. AWS CloudWatch, Azure Functions, the latest GCP news, migrating to OpenShift, etc.
- Containers (Docker is a reader favorite) and container orchestration (can't go wrong with Kubernetes, but we welcome all technologies).
- Database/query performance.
- SQL (SQL Server- and Oracle-related content is in vogue), NoSQL (MongoDB is particularly popular), and NewSQL databases.
- DevOps tooling: Jenkins is very popular among readers, as are DevOps-oriented tools like Ansible, Puppet, and Chef.
- Automated testing.
- Infrastructure as code.
- [X]DD: BDD, TDD, etc. will find a home in DevOps.
From Tom's Desk
- Tell some war stories about how companies initiated DevOps – what worked and what didn’t. Also war stories about automation. We need to share what has worked and what hasn’t. Be transparent to accelerate change.
- Are developers thinking about measuring the impact of the code by logging and monitoring with production with a continuous feedback loop? Do developers build feedback loops in their code? What does it look like?
- What tools and workflows have been most useful in developing apps in a timely manner?
- How many engineers understand the deployment process? How many use automated deployment tools? How do we improve our own work to make it fast, repeatable, and reliable for everyone in the organization? How do we do DevOps at scale? How much time is spent coding versus provisioning, building, and determining which node to deploy to?
- What tools are you using to break down walls and encourage collaboration. How do you use them?
- How do large software shops use DevOps/CD methodologies? If you're not using them, what are you using instead?
- Are you sharing data versus opinions? How are you sharing data?
- How about a breakdown of the tools, services, and technologies that are being used? What are the pain points in using them?
- How many developers are actually creating functional test cases? How has the day-to-day work changed over the last two years? How have frameworks changed?
- What security procedures are you using as part of your DevOps process? Who’s responsible for security?
- What are the tools you are relying on, what do you find value in? Are any of these tools improving your relationship with operations? How much control do you want from an infrastructure standpoint?
- What are the criteria you use for certain solutions? Platforms? Containers? What should we be focused on as individuals versus as an industry?
- What percent of developers and engineers are using CI? Of those, how many have a backlog of failing tests? Is this a problem in practice?
- Architectural styles: REST is by far the most popular style on DZone, but we welcome alternatives like SOAP and event-driven programming.
- API development.
- Messaging/Message brokers.
- IDEs and tips for using them more effectively.
From Tom's Desk
- What is the average time it takes to create an API to for an existing platform? We’re hearing two weeks, four weeks, and even six weeks for a single API. How big of a problem is time-to-market? How many have tried to implement ABS (Agile Byte Services) and what was your experience?
- What is your familiarity with and use of the REST maturity model? How far along are you toward getting to level 3, where the provider can make changes without impacting consumers?
- What kinds of problems do you run into when dealing with data integration? Is there a trend among certain languages or frameworks? Are people running into the same problems anywhere?
- Where are we in the journey from transaction services to interaction – event-driven sources with JDBC and API or logs and devices?
- Considering the mix of micro-batch versus real-time and streaming data integration, are they coalescing or remaining two distinctly different problems?
- With the recent addition of HTTP2, how are you changing your approach to data integration? What benefits are you seeing? I've seen movement toward event-driven programming on the front end. Where do you see their future with event-driven programming? What are the challenges of moving from REST to event-driven programming?
- The popularity of React is helping front-end developers do back-end development. How many “full-stack” developers are doing both? What technology are you using on the back end? How are you keeping the front end and the back end connected?
- A tracking study that monitors: release frequency, DevOps adoption, languages, tools, effectiveness of analytics, tracking, preference in tooling IDEs in-browser, methods around development.
- How are you getting a copy of your data in an automated test environment? Is anonymizing the data a problem? Are you anonymizing data?
- What are the biggest pain points in integration, and what types of innovations/solutions would make your life easier?
- What are the key challenges you see for the test environments you use during integration projects?
- Are you using microservices? Would you use a backend microservice versus building it yourself? How open are you to using a high-end abstracted service in your application?
- What are some of your successes and failures with different microservice models?
- Industrial Internet/IIoT.
- IoT protocols with MQTT being the most popular right now, but we welcome anything from AMQP to Wi-Fi.
- Home automation/smart home development.
- IoT security.
- Using development boards like Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, etc.
- Java language tips like using arrays more efficiently, formatting strings, best practices for enums, etc.
- OOP design patterns.
- Java software management tech/processes (like advice for using Maven and Gradle).
- Enterprise development/tech.
- Jakarta EE/Java EE.
- Server and servlet tooling like Jetty and Tomcat.
- JVM performance.
- JVM languages with Kotlin, Scala, and Groovy being the most popular. That being said, we love all JVM languages.
- Android app development.
- What will replace Java?
- How ubiquitous is functional programming? Is it exciting others? Where is it most useful? How do you see it developing in the future?
- What are some real-world impact of design choices?
- How many Java developers are still using EJB 2.1? How are they migrating before the vendor stops supporting?
- How are you doing heterogeneous development?
- What are some of the emerging technologies you're adopting in production environments?
- What are you using Java for today that you didn’t think you would?
- How are developers using the new versions of Java? What’s great and what isn’t?
- Which JVM do you use and why?
- What are your thoughts on Maven vs. Gradle?
- Where are developers going with regards to automation within apps?
- If there was one feature you could get in Java from another language, what would that be?
- Microservices best practices.
- Migrating to microservices. Readers are particularly interested in breaking down monoliths into microservices and associated design patterns, like the Strangler Pattern.
- Microservices tooling like Micronaut and MicroProfile.
- Best practices for maintaining/contributing to open source projects.
- Licensing tips.
- Using/developing with open source tech, such as Linux.
- Performance algorithms.
- General app performance.
- Load testing.
- Performance testing.
- Threat modeling.
- Dealing with vulnerabilities.
- Authentication and authorization.
- Blockchain app development (Side note: Please no "What Is Blockchain?" or "How Blockchain Is Revolutionizing [X] Industry." We've already got plenty of that.).
From Tom's Desk
- How would you like to consume application security? How would you like to be notified – alerts to Slack? What workflow works best for security? How much time does it take to check false alarms? What tools are you using? How much are you involved in the security of your applications today? How much pressure are you getting from management to ensure the applications you are building are secure?
- Are you interested in solutions that automatically correct vulnerabilities? Do you have any concerns with such a solution?
- How much “fuzzing” is done? How often are you conducting security audits with Android and iOS apps? Were they riddled with bugs?
- How are you training on security given the many different ways to approach it?
- How well does the developer community feels they are integrating security into what they are doing today on a zero to 10 scale? Are they designing security in from the start?
- How do developers think about implementing applications within a container? How does that change how the software is used at the enterprise level?
- What are your feelings with regards to the security changes and implications of working in the cloud? Is it an advantage or a disadvantage?
- How do you balance vulnerabilities, security concerns, and functionality during manual code review?
- What is the biggest barrier to adopting new technologies and how can that be overcome?
- Where are software engineers engaged in the SDLC? What data are you missing that could help you develop more securely?
- How many developers test in automated test suites that are security-focused? Are you using any tools to provide insight into who’s using the app? How does it perform? Do you use a sandbox?
- How do you handle approval of client-side key management? Do you use PKI? Why or why not? How do you actually harden applications? What is your approach for API protection?
- The importance of adhering to all of the OWASP 10, not just two or three pieces.
- How are developers assessing risk? Do you scan your code for vulnerabilities?
- Non-JVM language tutorials with C/C++ being particular popular.
- Thoughts on front-end/client-side development.
- Responsive web apps.
- iOS/non-Android mobile app development.
- What difficulties do developers have with both web development and the platforms they use? Knowing that something is hard to grasp, or complicated, or poorly documented gives platform makers an opportunity to improve things and make web app development a little better/easier.
- Compare your favorite technical programming language, environment, and infrastructure versus what you’re being asked to code in. Is there a big difference?
- What are you using for your frontend stack? What are your hosting and deployment strategies?
And that's everything! Hopefully, these topics will give you some ideas to get started. Of course, as time goes on, some topics will be removed and new ones will be added as technologies evolve. If you're interested in contributing to DZone, make sure to check back often to see if there are new ideas to tackle.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.