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RebelLabs in 2013: A year of learning, growth and mustaches


Thank you for learning with us!

Hey all, thanks for your support in making RebelLabs a success this year!!

RebelLabs is unlike any other content portal because of the intrinsic personal touch baked into our team. You’ve seen our tweets, right? Those are written by me, Oliver. You might have seen posts from Geert, Erkki, Oleg, Kostis, Balder and other internal and external authors–these are people that we know personally, having consumed cold fizzy beverages with them in person.

Maybe this is why these talented technicians enjoy publishing their thoughts with RebelLabs, which is not a content-aggregating site like most of the popular content portals out there. We’re part of ZeroTurnaround, so we have commercial interests as well (RebelLabs couldn’t exist without that), but we aren’t trying to make money on 3rd-party ads or take credit for other people’s hard work.

RebelLabs appears to be unique in the Java industry–for over a year, I’ve been trying to find another software company (large or small) that has it’s own branded content portal dedicated to technology of all kinds, not just product marketing within their own product domains, which sometimes gets mixed in with the genuine articles out there. I haven’t come across any yet, but after speaking to dozens of people at companies (many of which you’d know), I hope to have done a decent job convincing both engineers and business folks alike of the importance of high-quality, useful, in-house content generation.

Some trends we saw in 2013

In general, Java Web Frameworks and Application Servers, Java 8’s goodies, Developer Productivity research and JVM languages. Cool–what else?

  • Web frameworks for JVM developers was an especially active area of interest, namely Groovy, Clojure, Ceylon and, of couse, Scala.

  • The topic of DevOps continued to grow at its snail’s pace, although content about specific tools in the IT Ops/DevOps/Continuous Delivery landscape, such as Vagrant, Chef, Puppet, Jenkins, Bamboo and others are relatively popular.

  • Code quality analysis tools (i.e. Sonar) are enjoying popularity, as the development and deployment strategies within companies like Netflix, Etsy, Twitter etc get more attention and publicity.

  • …and, as always, RebelLabs fans enjoy a good old Top 10 list (i.e. Why Java Rocks, Developer Pitfalls, Jenkins plugins, and so on), but we try not to make those too often. So without further ado, here are a couple Top 5 lists instead! ;-)

Top 5 most popular reports in 2013

In 2013, we published a total of 15 reports, in addition to another 6 that we had created in 2012 before the official introduction of RebelLabs back in January. Here are the 5 most popular for the entire year.

Java Web Frameworks: A ‘Curious Coder’s Comparison’ along with a ‘Decision Maker’s Guide’


It makes sense to treat this as a single series on Java Web Frameworks, with Part 1 comprising of in-depth reviews and feature comparisons between the top 8 Java web frameworks in use today: Spring MVC, Grails, Vaadin, GWT, Wicket, Play, Struts and JSF. Part 2 digs deeper and applies 7 use cases across 10 feature areas to see which framework shines in different areas.

Part 1:

Part 2:

The Great Java Application Server Debate with Tomcat, JBoss, GlassFish, Jetty and Liberty Profile


This comparison pits app server against app server in this no-holds-barred melee between these 5 open source or free application servers. From tooling support and server configuration to real performance metrics and features & open standards compliance, we search for the Best App Server out there. And of course, there is a winner announced at the end…

Java 8  Revealed: Lambdas, Default Methods and Bulk Data Operations


Even though the release of Java 8 has been delayed, there are a lot of good things to anticipate in the next version of Java SE–namely, Project Lambda’s introduction of lambdas, default methods and bulk data operations, as described by Anton Arhipov (@antonarhipov), JRebel Product Lead. So if you’re looking to get a head start with the new features in Java 8, here’s a great place to start!

Developer Productivity Report 2013: How Engineering Tools & Practices Impact Software Quality & Delivery


Did you know that the tools we use and the methodologies we practice can directly affect the quality of our software and our ability to deliver it on time? We asked over 1000 software engineers 20 questions, ranging from code quality, automated tests and code reviews to the effect on software quality and delivery by tool type (VCS, CI, etc.), communication method and more. The results are amazing!

The Adventurous Developers Guide to JVM languages


Have you ever thought of coding in another language? There are tons of things you can do on the wonderful piece of engineering that is the JVM, so let’s get a little adventurous! In this report, we provide a short but technical overview of Java (SE 8), Scala, Groovy, Fantom, Clojure, Ceylon, Kotlin and Xtend, complete with commentary from 5 of 8 language creators (James Gosling was a bit busy…)

Top 5 most popular articles/blogs of 2013

The most popular blog posts and articles favored by RebelLabs readers in 2013 are diverse in topics, and one of them was actually written in 2011! Regardless, the excellent writing talents of Geert Bevin, Kostis Kapelonis, Toomas Romer, Adam Koblentz and Erkki Lindpere propelled these posts to the top for the year:

  1. 10 Reasons Why Java Rocks More Than Ever – Part 1: The Java Compiler
  2. Watch Out for These 10 Common Pitfalls of Experienced Java Developers & Architects
  3. Top 10 Must-Have Jenkins Features/Plugins
  4. Code Quality Tools Review for 2013: Sonar, FindBugs, PMD and Checkstyle
  5. What is Lambda Calculus and Why Should You Care?


If you are as freakin’ excited as we are about 2014, then give us a shout out at @RebelLabs or subscribe to our regular newsletters and special updates (oh, don’t you feel special!) on the RebelLabs homepage. May the force be with you.