An interesting review of the 2007 No Fluff, Just Stuff Anthology appeared on Amazon the other day. Generally, I don't bother to reply to Amazon reviews (because it is after all someone's opinion, and I can't dispute someone's else's opinion), but this one has some interesting points. First and foremost, I would like to thank the reviewer for giving us 4 out of 5 stars, so his complaints should be kept in perspective (he did at the end of the day enjoy the book, and I don't want to gloss over that by way of indicating that we don't appreciate that immensely).
The reviewer mostly takes me to task for not forcing the authors to be more balanced against what he calls "agitation for the new age software movement". If you look closely at the cover of the book, you'll notice I'm not listed as the editor, but as the compiler (as in "Compiled by Neal Ford"). This distinction is important and planned. I did not edit this book in the normal sense (of vetting what the authors want to write), I merely compiled the essays. Frankly, it would be an awful job trying to get this group of authors to bend to my will! All the authors of this anthology are quite passionate about their subjects (which is what makes the book interesting, in my opinion).
The reviewer takes Brian to task for not providing the WS-* case against REST, but I don't think that was the purpose of the essay. Where in the vast ocean of information about WS-* do you even see a mention of REST? Unless you are specifically comparing two technologies, you frequently don't, well, compare them. I notice that David Geary (whose excellent essay was praised by the reviewer) didn't compare and contrast it with Struts, which is the de-facto market leader.
But the more interesting issue for me is the clear disdain the reviewer has for what he calls "new age dogma": REST vs. SOAP, dynamic languages, and Agile development. It's no secret that many of the No Fluff, Just Stuff speakers do prefer agile development and looser contracts. While not suitable for all applications, this is the cutting edge of software development right now. It is contingent on "thought leaders" to point out the latest trends in software development, so that the attendees and readers know what's on the horizon. Software and software development continues to evolve at a furious pace. While no one can predict the future (except maybe Bruce Tate), it is interesting to see where the people who were really into Java in 1996 are spending their time now (a hint: mostly with loose contracty type stuff).
Oh, and the reason there is more information about IntelliJ than Eclipse? Because most of the authors use IntelliJ (because we think it's the best tool available), I got inundated with cool IntelliJ tips and tricks (and ended up cutting a bunch of them). We had to ask over and over to even get tips for Eclipse, which is not to say that Eclipse is bad, it just doesn't generate as much passion than IntelliJ. There's that word again: passion. All the writers of this volume are passionate about technology (which is extraordinary in and of itself), and want to write about it for very little remuneration.
Given the amount of other open source in the book, why wouldn't we prefer Eclipse over IntelliJ it they were essentially the same? As a group, we tend to choose things that we think are best of breed, whether web framework or IDE. Hopefully, that's at least some of the appeal of both the anthology and the No Fluff, Just Stuff tour.