It’s no surprise that poor marketing can really hurt a product. Today I saw a perfect example of how too much marketing can hurt a product.

I’ve known about JMX for at least three yearsprobably four. Several times in the past few years, I’ve had a few minutes of spare time, and gone to check out JMX. What did I find? Marketing-speak. Too much hype, too many claims, not enough technical substance for me to understand what JMX really was. In each case, I came away wondering if there was really any there there.

I have a background in system and network management software, so it’s not like JMX should be difficult for me to understand. But the overview documentation was always too fluffy to tell me anything in the short bits of time I had available, and I didn’t have time to go dig into the spec. So I always came away unconvinced. I was nearly convinced that there really wasn’t anything worthwhile in JMX when all of a sudden I started hearing the JBoss folks raving about JMX. That piqued my interest again, because those guys are very smart.

I’m at the Great Lakes Software Symposium this weekend, and Oliver Schmelzle of Covasoft gave me a short overview of JMX. I got it in about three slides. It’s simple. Extremely simple. And it’s real, and it’s useful, and I can see why JBoss is using it.

The really frustrating thing about the JMX marketing fluff is that the people who are likely to grasp and recommend the use of JMX are techiesthe kind of people who respond to example code and scenarios, not extravagant claims. Oliver agreed with me that JMX’s big problem is that most of the people who should be interested in it don’t get it. And the reason is because it’s been marketed nearly to death.