16 March 2013

Bad Blog Posts

Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I spent a lot of time on my On JPA blog post, so it's hard for me to admit this but after some time went by and I read it again I realized it's bad. The information in the post is valid and correct however the post itself is still bad. To understand why that post was bad you have to understand why I decided to write on a blog in the first place.

The Reason(s)
I have two reasons. Firstly I want to improve my communication skills, I want to be able to get my point across accurately and effectively. Secondly I want to make other peoples lives easier, now that I have started to grasp the basics of what it means to be a developer (although I still have a long way to go) I hope that in some way I can make this awesome journey easier for someone else.

The Bad
So why do I consider my On JPA post bad? JPA is a huge concept the entire JPA specification should not be explained in one blog post. Well at least not by someone who is not a master at it. I understand JPA, I've worked with it a lot I am not a master at it (yet). So I tried to cover a topic that entire books are dedicated to in a +- 800 word blog post. Perhaps if I had a few more years experience with JPA and with writting I would have been able to pull it off at my current level I did not do JPA enough justice. So instead of a high level overview of what JPA is about there was a somewhat chaotic post on JPA at some places on a high level and at other places focused on the details.

The Good
There was something good that came out of this, I learnt how not to do blog post (yet). I think for now, until my writing skills level up a bit I will stick to writing blog posts on more focused topics, so instead of doing a high level overview on JPA I will instead do multiple, detailed posts focusing on the different aspects of JPA with maybe a small high level section where I explain where this specific element fits into the big picture.

The Conclusion
I think the reason I attempted to do such an ambitious post is because that is the way I prefer to learn concepts, I try and first understand something on a high level; where does it fit in, what has it been designed to do, what specific problem does it solve well etc. and then I start to get into the details. It always frustrated me when blog posts focused on one or two specific details and didn't explain the high level ideas and concepts, but now I understand why, it is difficult to do this correctly/well and it takes years of practice.

Not Good Enough
I can hear what you are thinking, this is not good enough, we need to understand what the high level concepts are, otherwise we will get stuck at every small issue. Well I agree with you. One day I hope to be able to effectively and accurately write about ideas and concepts, when that day comes I will gladly re-write my On JPA post. For now I would suggest that you read books on the concepts. I can highly recommend EJB 3.0 in Action this book covers JPA very well. I see the 3.1 in Action is going to be released soon, the "In Action" books have always been great so maybe it's better to wait until that one is out, although Entity Beans are deprecated in EJB 3.1 so there might not be a section on JPA.

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