IBM to Kill DeveloperWorks Connections Site
October 30, 2019 Alex Woodie
IBM announced last week that it’s planning to sunset the developerWorks Connections website and developerWorks Connections applications on December 31, 2019. The company is planning to launch new websites and apps to host community discussions around its platform. The IBM i community reacted poorly to the announcement.
IBM started warning developerWorks users about the pending change on October 14. On a FAQ page, IBM stated:
“As part of the overall IBM effort to reduce the number of duplicate client interaction portals and simplify the user experience with the digital side of IBM, we are sunsetting the developerWorks Connections platform which includes all URLs starting with https://ibm.com/developerworks/community,” the company wrote.
All developerWorks content created by the community, including activities, blogs, files, forums, and wikis, will removed from the site. IBM says it’s replacing developerWorks with a pair of new sites, including https://www.ibm.com/community/ and https://www.ibm.com/mysupport/.
IBM describes the IBM Community website as a “global network” where clients, partners, employees, and anyone else can connect with one another and “to help each other master IBM and related technologies, develop professional skills, and drive innovation in their respective industries.” This appears to be the most direct replacement for hosting the technical content that previously was shared on developerWorks.
Big Blue describes IBM Support Content as a place that “spans the realm of support-team-generated technical content for primarily post-sales audiences.” The company says the site, which apparently it created with Drupal, offers a “strategic authoring and publishing environment” where users can browse “content types like: Troubleshooting articles, How-to documents, and even support-focused newsletters.”
Needless to say, the IBM i community did not react positively to the news of developerWorks getting the axe.
“Pretty ridiculous that you’re throwing away years of community knowledge,” wrote Jack Woehr on the MIDRANGE-L list. “Everyone in the IBM i community is appalled. Ask around if you doubt it.”
“Losing this platform will result in a massive loss of important technical content,” wrote former IBMer Dawn May on Twitter. “#IBM must put a migration plan in place.”
“I think we can all agree that the loss of this information would be, well I’ll just say: ‘Bad,'” wrote Larry “Dr. Franken” Bolhuis, who is COMMON‘s president. “We at COMMON in partnership with our friends in COMMON Europe are in contact with IBM, specifically with the person who owns developerWorks. Our goal is simple, don’t lose this content.”
Upon hearing the news, Liam Allan set out to scrape developerWorks for all IBM i content. “Should I self host all the pages or move it all to GitHub Markdown,” he asked via Twitter.
IBM’s Greg Gorman, an IBM director who owns the developerWorks website, said the community overreacted to the announcement, and that the closures are not as broad as they are believed.
“We are only sunsetting the Community part of the site,” he told IT Jungle via email. “For example the language sites are not being sunset, nor are other areas ‘hanging under’ the dW URL. We are in the process of updating other parts of dW to fit with our recently released refresh of the IBM Developer site. We tried to be very clear in our wording with the announcement.”
Gorman said IBM is working with stakeholders to re-host their content to appropriate locations within IBM. “Some of those content owners may choose to re-host on third-party sites as well (think product info for divested products, or personal blogs),” he said. “We will also have a URL redirect system in place so that people who have bookmarks (or products that have links) will end up [in] . . . an appropriate location.”
IBM has provided this “support form” for customers, partners, or others who are concerned about the looming end of developerWorks. Interested parties can enter their name and contact info, and submit a comment, question, or concern to IBM.
While it’s doubtful that IBM will reverse its decision to kill developerWorks, it may take steps to preserve specific pieces of content. That is the advice given by Bolhuis and May, who is also a COMMON board member.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. The headline was changed to reflect that only developerWorks Community is being eliminated, not the entire developerWorks website. Comments from IBM’s Greg Gorman were also added.