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Chapter 4. Tools for Doing the Heavy Lifting …How to Power Your Community

Chapter 4. Tools for Doing the Heavy Lifting …How to Power Your Community

The problem with writing about tools is that they change too fast. I can promise you that as soon as the ink hits this page, right when this book is rolling off the presses and into a box, headed for a store near you, at that very moment, one of the companies I mention in this chapter will go out of business, one of the products I criticize will put out a new version that nullifies everything I had to say about it, and one of the programmers I profile will get fed up with the web biz altogether and take up underwater basket weaving.

It’s a bet.

Still, no practical discussion of virtual communities would be complete without a glance behind the curtain at the gritty backend, where all the heavy lifting takes place. So let’s talk about tools. Just remember that this is not going to be an all-inclusive list of every community software package out there, nor will it be software reviews to make Consumer Reports proud.

Instead, this is going to be an exercise in how to go about deciding on a tool to power your community, an overview of the different genres of tools out there, and a selection of a few noteworthy examples. Then we’ll end with a conversation with the gurus behind jGuru (jguru.com), a site for the Java developers’ community that’s had experience with both adapting to someone else’s tools and coding its own.

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