Timothy M. O'Brien

Timothy M. O'Brien

Java, Ruby, Groovy with a Focus on Development Infrastructure

  • @tobrien
  • + Timothy M. O'Brien

Evanston, Illinois

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hybrid Architecture
  • Developer Communications
  • Java
  • Open Source
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • programming
  • training
Timothy M. O'Brien consults and writes from Evanston, IL, about thirteen miles North of the center of Chicago. He maintains a personal blog at www.discursive.com, and he frequently contributes to the OnJava blog.

His current focus is on helping to increase the audience for Gradle. You can find out more about Gradle at http://www.gradle.org. Years ago wrote Maven: The Definitive Guide, a free, green book which is going to be published by O'Reilly in Q3 of 2008. Before that, he had the pleasure to work with Ryan Fowler and James Elliott on the Second Edition of Harnessing Hibernate. A few years ago, Vincent Massol and Tim collaborated on the first Maven book: Maven: A Developer's Notebook, and prior to that he wrote the Jakarta Commons Cookbook in 2003 and 2004.

Tim is committed to the idea that open source documentation is as important to the success of a project as the source code itself - documentation is a primary artifact. This is a lesson most programmers tend to forget after having it hammered into them by Computer Science professors and teaching assistants at The University. In the real world, as in the academy, your coding efforts do suffer that "automatic 30 point reduction in final grading" if you fail to supply the required user documentation. Even in the most well-respected open source efforts, documentation remains a governor on adoption and progress. Tim wants to help convince other developers to take the time to get involved in open source documentation. Who said DocBook isn't fun?

Harnessing Hibernate Harnessing Hibernate
by James Elliott, Timothy M. O'Brien, Ryan Fowler
April 2008
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $31.99

Maven: A Developer's Notebook Maven: A Developer's Notebook
by Vincent Massol, Timothy M. O'Brien
June 2005
Print: $29.95
Ebook: $23.99

Jakarta Commons Cookbook Jakarta Commons Cookbook
by Timothy M. O'Brien
November 2004
Print: $44.95

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Timothy M. blogs at:

Tracking Salesforce’s push toward developers

October 09 2012

Have you ever seen Salesforce’s “no software” graphic? It’s the word “software” surrounded by a circle with a red line through it. Here’s a picture of the related (and dancing) “no software” mascot. Now, if you consider yourself a developer, … read more

DNA: The perfect backup medium

August 20 2012

It wasn’t enough for Dr. George Church to help Gilbert “discover” DNA sequencing 30 years ago, create the foundations for genomics, create the Personal Genome Project, drive down the cost of sequencing,  and start humanity down the road of synthetic biology. … read more

Clojure's advantage: Immediate feedback with REPL

May 23 2012

REPL is built into Clojure, and you can connect to any running Clojure process and modify and execute code. In this interview, "Clojure Programming" co-author Chas Emerick discusses the possibilities this introduces for Clojure developers. read more

Jesse Robbins on the state of infrastructure automation

May 11 2012

OpsCode chief community officer Jesse Robbins discusses cloud infrastructure automation and the most surprising use of Chef he's seen so far. read more

Data's next steps

April 03 2012

Redmonk analyst Steve O'Grady discusses the demand for data scientists, the problem of using data to asking the right questions, and why you shouldn't rush into a NoSQL investment. read more

Jason Huggins' Angry Birds-playing Selenium robot

October 20 2011

If you try to talk to Jason Huggins about Selenium, he'll probably do to you what he did to us. He'll bring his Arduino-based Angry Birds-playing testing robot to your interview and then he'll relate his invention to the larger problems of mobile application testing and cloud-based testing infrastructure. read more

Bob Lee on Java references and the state of Java

October 13 2011

In this short interview from JavaOne, Square CTO Bob Lee discusses Java references and weighs in on the state of Java and the industry. read more

Ruby is for Java

July 19 2011

Bob McWhirter, JBoss Fellow, Codehaus Despot, and creator of TorqueBox, discusses the boundary between Java and Ruby and his efforts to make Torquebox "a real first-class Ruby platform that works the way Rubyists expect". read more

Dramatic Increase in Number of Tor Clients from Iran: Interview with Tor Project and the EFF

June 19 2009

The Tor Project produces an anonymous proxy services which allows users to evade surveillance. In this interview, Andrew Lewman talks about the Tor Project and discusses some statistics that show its increased use from with Iran. This article also includes some questions and answers with the EFF about the legal… read more

Sarah Milstein on Iranian Protests and Twitter

June 18 2009

In this 10 minute interview, Sarah Milstein, co-author of the Twitter Book, discusses Twitter's impact on the Iranian protests, the emerging relationship between Twitter and breaking news stories, and she addressed the fear of inadvertent transparency within immediate social messaging communications media. read more

Interesting Questions Raised by Iranian Twitter Activism

June 16 2009

Development (4:10 PM CST): The State Department has been in contact with Twitter to make sure that the service remained available for protestors in Iran. (reuters) Last Friday, Twitter started to digest the Iranian election results, and the tool became a powerful vehicle for protest and coordination for student protestors… read more

Gruber's Fictional App Store Censor

May 29 2009

John Gruber's "Excerpts From the Diary of an App Store Reviewer" is cutting satire of the arbitrary decision making and capricious censorship that is generated by Apple's opaque App Store approval process. Read more about this brilliant commentary on the absurdity of the relationships between the Censor, the Censored, and… read more

Google Announces Support for Microformats and RDFa

May 12 2009

On Tuesday, Google introduced a feature called Rich Snippets which provides users with a convenient summary of a search result at a glance. They have been experimenting with microformats and RDFa, and are officially introducing the feature and allowing more sites to participate. While the Google announcement makes it clear… read more

NiN's Rob Sheridan on iPhone Application Rejection

May 05 2009

In this interview with Rob Sheridan (@rob_sheridan), Nine Inch Nails' Artistic Director, Rob discusses the experience of getting the rejection letter from Apple, and what effect it has on the band's plans to build community applications on the iPhone platform. You'll hear Sheridan express an uneasiness that Apple can act… read more

What the Sun/Oracle Combination Means for Java and Open Source

April 22 2009

What does the Oracle/Sun merger mean for Java? There's been a lot of speculation and a fair amount of apocalyptic, "sky is falling" Twitter activity, but does anyone really know what Ellison has in store for Java? read more

W. David Stephenson on the Federal CIO: Vivek Kundra

April 06 2009

W David Stephenson discusses his upcoming book "Democratizing Data", and his experiences with the new Federal CIO: Vivek Kundra. Stephenson talks about his experiences working as a consultant for Kundra in the DC government and he outlines what we can expect from Kundra during his tenure as Federal CIO in… read more

Vivek Kundra: Federal CIO in His Own Words

March 05 2009

This article contains several audio excerpts and transcripts from Vivek Kundra's first conference call as the newly appointed Federal CIO. After weeks of speculation it was formally announced today that President Obama has appointed Kundra, who had previously been serving as the CTO for Washington D.C.. In his previous position,… read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

"This book is truly amazing...If you're an impatient developer this is the book for you. I think it offers just enough in-depth theory and it keeps you awake with frequent easy to understand code. "
--Will Lehman, Harnessing Hibernate

"This book is by far one of the best books on Hibernate. The main reason is the example code that go hand in hand with the book, and illustrates why Hibernate is so powerful. A decent clear example which simply solves the problem presented in each chapter is what every hard working developer needs from a book. Harnessing Hibernate delivers on this in spades."