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ZeroTurnaround Launches New Java Research and Content Organisation

by Charles Humble on Jan 17, 2013 |

ZeroTurnaround, the vendor behind the popular JRebel and LiveRebel JVM plugins, which accelerate the Java development cycle and automate app deployments to live environments without downtime, have announced a new research and content organisation called Rebel Labs. The organisation will, they claim, offer free, vendor-neutral technical resources for the Java community.

The Rebel Labs site includes ZeroTurnaround's Developer Productivity report, which has been quoted by a number of vendors including Oracle, Red Hat and VMware, and five other detailed reports covering topics such as: Continuous Delivery with Jenkins, Nexus and LiveRebel; a discussion with Scala founder Martin Odersky on using the language in a Java organization; technical dives into Java classloaders and bytecode; and a walk-through of building a modern Java-based web app using Spring Framework 3.1, Hibernate 4.1 and BeanValidation with Maven, Eclipse, Tomcat and JRebel.

Producing long-form reports of this type is a time-consuming and resource-intensive undertaking; an interesting step for a small, non-VC funded company like ZeroTurnaround. The firm though is well placed to do it - as well as having good industry contacts, JRebel itself is a challenging tool to develop, requiring in-depth knowledge of classloaders and other fairly esoteric parts of the JVM. Moreover, founder and CEO Jevgeni Kabanov's presentations on classloaders and memory have been well received at conferences. Intrigued, InfoQ spoke to Oliver White, head of Rebel Labs, to find out more.

Who do you see as the audience for Rebel Labs? 

The vision for Rebel Labs is to educate, challenge and, to a certain degree, entertain IT professionals working on developing, testing and deploying software. We make technical reports, guides/how-tos, surveys and corresponding materials to go along with it. At the same time, we deliver to a broad spectrum of readers, and therefore we need to meet their needs with great proficiency and incredible deliverables that touch on all of these IT areas.

So, even a technical how-to must have an easy-to-take-away for a busy CEO of a bank, in the same way a humorous article on marketing screw-ups in a start-up is appealing to Java developers and Operations managers.

Why have you launched the site?

We produced 6 technical reports in 2012, and based on their high popularity, we were able to create a business case for establishing a separate research & content division, a new brand, that could exist outside of JRebel, LiveRebel and ZeroTurnaround. The Rebel Labs site is a silo to visit on a monthly basis and check out new reports – or on a weekly basis to see our technical blog posts. It's also a great resource for publications like InfoQ to provide to their much larger audiences ...although I hope to reach about 8 billion entrances per month to Rebel Labs by next year!

How do you avoid simply running “adverts” for ZeroTurnaround products?

As a separate brand, it's personally important to me to make sure we don't cross over into our commercial operations. If you go to http://zeroturnaround.com/rebellabs you will notice that even the ZeroTurnaround branding is removed from that section of the site. That being said, if we are discussing new tools, technologies and methodologies that improve the way Development and Operations teams work (alleviating their headaches), then it's possible you'll see JRebel or LiveRebel in a tool set being used to accomplish the purpose of the report (i.e. building your next Java web app without lots of XML and long restarts using JRebel, or implementing a Continuous Delivery pipeline using tools like Jenkins, Nexus and LiveRebel). In fact, 4 of the 6 technical reports are not based on using anything from ZeroTurnaround (except maybe our expertise in that subject).

Will all your contributors be ZeroTurnaround employees?

Currently the main base is made up of ZeroTurnaround employees and we have one dedicated Rebel Labs Content Producer on the team. We’re on the lookout for people excited to provide their technical ideas and writings on a bigger stage than they might be used to, and a techie, geeky platform on which to build more content of their own. We welcome all sorts of contributions!

Joining Rebel Labs is free. The site also has a blog feed section that links to the main ZeroTurnaround blog and includes recent posts on the basics of software licensing and two posts reminding Java developers on the advantages of Unit Testing (one, two) from InfoQ contributor Kostis Kapelonis.

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