Monday, December 29, 2014

RIP Dr. Dobb's

Farewell, Dr. Dobb's


After 38 years of glory, the long run of Dr. Dobb's has come to an end.

This year, our website will deliver almost 10.3 million page views, which is an unprecedented number for Dr. Dobb's. It's up from 9 million last year and 8 million three years ago. That kind of growth is somewhat unusual for a site that has not changed its look or its mission, nor indulged in tawdry tricks like click-bait headlines or slideshows promising 9 quick tips for choosing a coding style. The numbers confirm that there is a deep thirst in the programmer community for long-form technical content featuring algorithms and code, as well as strong demand for explanations of new developer technologies and reliable reviews of books and tools.

If I were so inclined, this might be the right time for me to move on, and so leave, as they say in sports, "at the top of my game." And indeed I will be leaving Dr. Dobb's at the end of the year. But it would be more accurate to say that it is Dr. Dobb's that is leaving: Our parent company, United Business Media (UBM), has decided to sunset Dr. Dobb's. "Sunset" sounds like a marketing euphemism to avoid saying "closing down," but in this context, it has a specific meaning that "closing" does not convey. That is, that there will be no new content after year end; however, all current content will be accessible and links to existing Dr. Dobb's articles will continue to work correctly. It is the equivalent of a product coming to end of life. It still runs, but no new features will be added.



Why would a well-known site, dearly loved by its readers and coming off a year of record page views, be sunset by its owner?

In one word, revenue. Four years ago, when I came to Dr. Dobb's, we had healthy profits and revenue, almost all of it from advertising...


Dr. Dobb's subsequent popularity meant that it became a worldwide means of sharing curated, high-quality programming info. The advent of the Web, which offered a vast array of new information sources, meant that Dr. Dobb's was no longer the central access point — a complicated transition for the team, but one wholly in keeping with the original mission. With the advent of Hacker News and Proggit and other aggregators, developers themselves began curating content from numerous sources, and in a certain way, our mission is now complete.

This should not suggest that there is no role anymore for Dr. Dobb's. As our page views show, the need for an independent site with in-depth articles, code, algorithms, and reliable product reviews is still very much present. And I will dearly miss that content. I wish I could point you to another site that does similar work, but alas, I know of none.


I saw this recently and it made me kind of sad and feel kind of old.. We'll miss you Dr. Dobb's (and all those other print-turned digital-turned dead publications)  :(

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