Making Java Groovy, the Listicle

[Note: I accidentally published this the first time before it was ready. It’s updated now.]

Unlike my previous posts about Making Java Groovy, this post concerns one of my Silly Marketing Ideas (SMI)*. The goal is to break out from the Groovy community and start selling to the larger Java community. Actually, I’m already doing that, so the real goal is to sell to developers in general. Of course, that’s not really enough. The real goal is to have my book become the first Java/Groovy integration book ever to make the New York Times Best Sellers list.

*Naturally, those are as opposed to my Serious Marketing Ideas (SMI).

That’s a somewhat ambitious goal, and to achieve it I’m going to have to appeal to the public at large, including people who have no interest whatsoever in a developer book. The goal of this particular post is to give people who never plan to write a line of code a reason to buy my book anyway.

That brings me to the listicle.

What is a listicle, you say? According to Google, which in this case means Wikipedia, a listicle is “a short form of writing using a list as its thematic structure, but is fleshed out with sufficient copy to be published as an article”. It also has some pretty serious negative connotations on the web, as they’re often displayed one item at a time in order to increase page views, which is basically evil.

This post won’t be like that. Or, rather, it does use a list as the thematic structure, but I’ll put the whole thing here and I’m not making any money from it no matter how it’s presented. In fact, this post was inspired by a tweet in my timeline:

Dan Woods (@danveloper)
“Groovy and Java are like Frodo and Samwise Gamgee, [headed into Mordor] … trying to defeat … clueless managers …” – @kenkousen lol
10/10/13 3:44 PM

(See for the full version.)

That’s an extract from the preface to my book. At some point I’ll post the whole preface here, but for the record, the full version of that quote is:

Groovy and Java are like Frodo and Samwise Gamgee, headed into the black depths of Mordor, battling privation and despair, desperately trying to defeat the horrible programming challenges that await them, as well as any orcs, Nazgul, or clueless managers they might encounter along the way.

That’s a little dark. Plus, I have no idea what the Ring of Power is in this analogy, or why you’d want to destroy it*.

*I do hope that if you’re holding a print copy of the book (that is, dead-treeware), no Ents were involved.

To segue into the actual purpose of this post, later in the front matter there is a section called “about this book”, and in it I say that, “I expect you are a developer and are at least comfortable with Java”. This is followed by an extensive footnote where I claim that you don’t really need to be a developer, since there are many reasons to buy my book that don’t involve actually reading it.

At long last, that brings me to the listicle that is the real subject of this post. In case you’re already thinking about what to buy your mom for the holidays, let me present:

The Top Ten Ways To Take Advantage Of Making Java Groovy
That Don’t Involve Actually Reading It

10. Prop open a door (a classic)


That’s not a great picture of propping open a door, but hopefully it worked for you.

9. Level a table


Note especially the use of a coaster to keep from damaging the book cover.

8. Shield against assorted non-lethal weaponry


This is my son Xander’s first appearance in my blog, and note that he managed to stay hidden. The nerf weapon is visible, though.

7. Looks good on your bookshelf


I don’t collect print books like I used to. Most of my books are ebooks these days. Still, I was able to fill out the shelf with as many Groovy-related books as I could find, some of which are getting rather dated. I have the updated books, they’re not in print yet. If you’re in the Groovy community, how many can you identify?

6. Excellent coffee table book


This involved actually clearing off the coffee table in the living room, which made my wife Ginger happy.

5. Ugly bug / insect / big, hairy arachnid pulverizer

I’ve never taken a Vine video before. This is my first attempt, which I downloaded as an mp4 file. Hopefully it’s visible.

4. Make a book fort


I got Xander to build the fort around a black cat we have on display for Halloween.

3. Learn balance by walking with it on your head

Remember when that used to be a thing? Neither do I, never having been to a “finishing” school, but it made for a decent video.

2. Fan yourself by riffling through the pages

To be honest, Ginger said it was better to just wave the book at herself than breeze through the pages, but so be it.

1. Impress your parents

This one requires some explanation. As the parent of a young adult (and as the child of high-achieving parents), I understand that parents are sometimes more concerned with your financial future than you are. You and I are often more interested in what we’re doing than whether it’s for a productive future.

The point is, sometimes we need a way to convince our parents that we’re making progress, thereby getting the time and space we need to do what we have to do. I’d like to believe my book can help you do that. My resume has always opened doors for me, and if somehow you can take advantage of it, so much the better. So use my book as a way to convince whoever needs convincing that you’re moving into a bold, new, financially lucrative area, whether you really are or not.

Besides, the footnotes are still pretty funny. 🙂

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