This issue marks the end of the transition from the “old JOT” to the “new JOT” in a number of ways. The papers in this issue are the last of those previously accepted by the founding Editor-in-Chief, Richard Wiener. Starting in January 2011, JOT will move to a format in which articles will be published as soon as possible after acceptance. Although this change in policy will bring the risk that new articles will appear less regularly over time, we believe that both authors and the JOT readership will benefit from the more timely publication of articles. The new model will only work if JOT receives a steady supply of strong submissions, so the Editorial Board encourages you to submit mature research contributions for publication to JOT.
This issue also boasts several blog posts on OOPSLA/SPLASH 2010 and co-located events. As with technical papers, future blog posts will appear as they are posted, and be added incrementally to the currently open JOT issue. Please note that we are especially interested in volunteers who can provide solid blog posts covering events related to object technology. Contact the Editor-in-Chief if you are willing to volunteer.
Another notable milestone is that all past JOT publications have now been assigned a permanent Digital Object Identifier. DOIs are preferred over URLs as a more reliable way to refer to online publications.
Technically the most difficult part of assigning DOIs was to extract the metadata of all the JOT issues since 2002. This was accomplished with the help of a Ruby script that crawled the JOT web site, attempting to recognize metadata in the HTML. Since the format of JOT changed slightly over the years, and varied at times for special issues, it turned out that much of the script was dedicated to special cases.
Once the metadata was extracted, it could be used to generate a new web site. The current web site is entirely generated on the fly by PHP pages that are driven by the JOT metadata. The Apache web server configuration hides most of the PHP behind restful URLs that make the dynamic web pages appear to be static (and which incidentally allows a static snapshot of the JOT web site to be easily mirrored).
Having metadata for all JOT issues available made it easy to provide new services. BibTeX references, DBLP metadata, DOI submissions, JOT newsletters and search functionality were all relatively straightforward to provide. The assignment of DOIs to all JOT articles has been made possible by the financial sponsorship of AITO.
The analysis of the old JOT web site revealed numerous errors and broken links. These have been repaired and are less likely to occur with the new web site being generated from metadata. Both Design-by-Contract and unit tests are used extensively to reduce the likelihood of errors being introduced as the metadata is updated with each new issue.
Since it was unclear at the beginning what metadata would be needed, extensibility was a key requirement. Instead of using a database to store the JOT metadata, or to define (say) an XML schema to encode it, a simple text format was used based on the popular Markdown style. This approach has the advantage of being both trivial to parse and trivial to extend. The most important lesson from this experience is that simple approaches can help you to move quickly.