Last Friday, Sven Efftinge launched a new web site for the Xtend language. It is a great web site that clearly explains what is Xtend and why any developer should care. To announce the web site, Sven did a blog post and a tweet. What happened next was fun to watch. Sitting in Paris for the weekend, I got to watch Xtend and the web site go viral.
This is a classic example of how something goes viral and I tried to capture the sequence.
1. Sven’s initial blog post and tweet on Nov. 4.
2. At 7:05PM on Nov. 4 a tweet and post is published on Hacker News with the title ‘Eclipse launches new language to cut down Java boilerplate‘
3. Smashing Magazine (490K followers on twitter) tweets about Xtend on Nov. 4 at 7:50pm
4. Dzone published a link on Nov. 5 at 8:55
And it grows from there on twitter over the weekend. On Monday the editors pickup the story and start publishing articles.
People are still talking about it on twitter and I am sure I missed some blogs.
This was all from the launch of a web site. In fact, Xtend was actually announced back in June as part of the Indigo press release, so it wasn’t actually new news. Obviously this leads to the questions why and how? I have no idea but for ‘why’ I would suggest two things:
1) the web site has a very clear message ‘A language made for Java developers.’ that is supported by two simple features ‘kill the noise’ and ‘add some sugar’.
2) the message was relevant to the audience. Developers love to talk and experiment about computer languages. Xtend plays into that passion.
As for how? If you get you web site on Hacker News, good things might happen. Sven nor I have any idea how it ended up on Hacker News. If someone knows, please let me know.
Congrats to Sven and the Xtend team. Anyone that wants to have a great viral campaign, take a look at the Xtend web site.