IBM Gives Developers a Second Life

IBM  has launched a 3-D area called Codestation on Second Life intended to serve as a virtual forum for developers to share ideas, develop code and interact with one another to design new applications and improve upon existing ones.

In one example of how IBM is using this environment, the company is inviting developers to a maze called the Labyrinth Beta within Codestation. There, users can test their scripting skills and navigate the Labyrinth as quickly as possible using a demo bot. Once developers have mastered this task, they can design their own bots to challenge other coders, further exercising and deepening their skills.

Kathy Mandelstein, director of IBM’s worldwide developer and Rational programs at IBM, called the environment appealing to the developer community, a key constituency for Big Blue. She said more than half of the code contributed to its developerWorks community site is generated by the broad developer community of some 5.7 million members.

“Second Life is a whole new medium that gives us opportunities to go beyond what you can do on the Web,” Mandelstein told

In addition to the Labyrinth, the company has created a repository for Second Life developers to download and upload code to share with others.
Known as Code Library, it allows coders to share their knowledge and bot designs with other developers in the Second Life community.

It’s a move by IBM to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation of software developers, computer science students and other technical professionals by engaging software development via virtual communities.

Codestation also includes a pavilion for developers to get technology briefings from experts like Rational Software founder Grady Booch that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend.

IBM is also expanding developerWorks from a simple forums environment to a venue for sharing code and plug-ins.

The first of these new virtual exchanges on developerWorks is dedicated to Lotus
Sametime 7.5
, as IBM hopes to build momentum for its revamped collaboration platform launched last fall; other exchanges will be launched for Websphere and Rational products, as well as open source, Linux and Java technology areas.

“We’re trying to take developerWorks to the next level of being a community site for developers where they can be an active member of the community and contribute,” said Mandelstein.

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