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A History of JavaRanch

The Beginning

Kathy Sierra

Unable to find a friendly place for Java beginners in 1997, Kathy registered the domain name and decided to create one herself. She built Javaranch while living on a tiny little ranch called the 'nano-ranch'. She was studying for the SCJP, and when friends came to visit her, they called her place the Java Ranch, and the name stuck. She created most of the Campfire Stories, Rules Roundup Game(her very first Java program), and Code Barn back in 1998.

This is what the front page looked like on Thursday, March 05, 1998.


even the sheep write code

We're still paintin' the lower 40 fence

y'all come back in a few weeks


Secret place for Lingo programmers

who attended the Lingo SIG talk by Kathy Kozel

This is what it looked like on Wednesday, January 25, 1999. I like the "Code Cow" and the "Webmooseter" parts. Kathy did the graphics herself.

Then she got a job teaching Java for Sun, and thought it best not to continue with a Java site.

Several people were interested in buying Javaranch, but Kathy decided to shut it down rather than see it lose its personality and friendly, ranchy atmosphere. However, Paul Wheaton came along and convinced her that he was the right person to take over the Cowgirl role, so she gave it to him for the price of a pancake breakfast in Golden, Colorado (where the transfer was notarized). After much negotiation it was agreed that Paul would become TrailBoss, rather than Cowgirl, although we'd still like to see him wear those pink-fringed chaps of hers.

Paul Wheaton

Meanwhile, Paul owned, which included "Web based threaded messaging for Java discussion", as well as "Java College", "Style Guide", and "Paul Wheaton's Programming Pearls", and a link to "Java Ranch, A non-commercial geek site with character! SCJP info and Java concept demos."

These morphed into Moose Saloon forums, the Cattle Drive (Java College), Gramps, Granny, the Chicken Coop, and the Bunkhouse, which started with 29 book reviews (27 by Paul and a couple by Kathy).

In September of 1999 JavaRanch was off-line. On January 15th, 2000, Kathy gave Paul a floppy disk with the old content on it, and JavaRanch went back on the air.

Click here to see what the main page looked like on March 2, 2000.

Here is the main page on May 20, 2000.

David Rizzi and Stephanie Grasson helped with these pages.

You can see a few more changes here.

Of course, you can always find the current main JavaRanch page at

And then

12/14/1998 - First post in the forums (transferred from
12/28/1998 - First post in Java in General
11/08/1999 - Frank Carver becomes a sheriff.
01/15/2000 - JavaRanch is back on-line under new management
              Notice the differences in the moose between Kathy's index page and Paul's index page.
03/16/2000 - Tony Alicea and Jim Yingst become sheriffs
07/26/2000 - Maha Anna becomes sheriff.
08/10/2000 - JavaRanch moved to (host)
09/22/2000 - naming policy enforcement implemented
10/17/2000 - Ajith Kallambella and Matt Midcap become sheriffs.
xx/xx/2000 - Angela Poynton became lead to enhance the Bunkhouse (sometime between 08/10/2000 and 12/31/2000)
11/xx/2000 - Bill Bozeman helped develop the General Store (sometime between 11/01/2000 and 11/30/2000)
11/17/2000 - Cat and Mouse StoryBits Campfire story, developed by Carl Trusiak and Marilyn de Queiroz, deployed
11/17/2000 - Ajith Kallambella wrote Moderator Guidelines
12/17/2000 - Angela Poynton becomes a sheriff.
01/02/2001 - Hired Guns deployed
01/03/2001 - inactivated General Store
01/14/2001 - Uncle Martin's Ghost Stories, developed by Jane Griscti, deployed
01/20/2001 - The contact page was changed from static HTML to JSP.
02/02/2001 - Bunkhouse "team" formed
02/03/2001 - Marilyn de Queiroz and Carl Trusiak become sheriffs
02/21/2001 - banners for book promos replace book headers
02/16/2001 - began using XML on JavaRanch
03/06/2001 - updated Gramps/links page
03/14/2001 - Linker for exposing UBB posts to search engines created by Bill Compton.
*04/09/2001 -> 04/10/2001 - JR crashed
*04/16/2001 - JR crashed
*04/18/2001 -> 04/19/2001 - "unable to post" messages
06/17/2001 - The contact page began to use XML
07/11/2001 - inactivated Hired Guns
07/21/2001 - New SCWCD Exam forum
10/26/2001 - Passport book published (authored by Cindy Glass, Jane Griscti, Margarita Isayeva (also known as Mapraputa Is), and Kathy Sierra, who are all contributors at JavaRanch)
. *12/22/2001 -> 12/27/2002 - JavaRanch crashed
12/28/2001 - InfoPop upgrade of UBB
01/09/2002 - CVS installed
01/02/2002 - first Newsletter published
04/02/2002 - Cindy Glass, Thomas Paul, Mapraputa Is, and Michael Ernest become sheriffs.
04/07/2002 - migrated to new server (divided the site into,, and
04/18/2002 - began "selling" banner ads
04/18/2002 - serious discussion of a possible move to Jive begins
05/31/2002 - new look and feel deployed
05/31/2002 - Tack Room deployed
10/28/2002 - implemented javascript checking of registration names
08/17/2002 - Tip Jar
in process - this history page

Some of the bartenders and sheriffs wanted to share about what brought us to JavaRanch.


Current HomePage
Current Moose Saloon forum

Sheriffs, Bartenders, RanchHands, Greenhorns. What does it all mean?

Sheriffs are administrators with full access to administrative functions. They are hand-picked by the TrailBoss, Paul Wheaton.
Bartenders are moderators of the forums with partial access to administrative functions. They are nominated by current sheriffs and bartenders.
RanchHands are posters who have more than 30 posts.
Greenhorns are posters who have 30 or fewer posts.

How about some history on the current moose graphic (the one with the fly) used in the saloon

Paul Wheaton designed the Moose. He stated, "Before merging my site with Kathy's, I already had forums. Kathy had something on her home page that said "Big Moose Saloon - coming soon!" and she had a cutesie moose. So when we merged the two sites, I took that name and stuck it on the forums (I almost went with "The Mangy Moose Saloon"). I then thought that a place with "moose" in the name would probably have a moose head mounted inside somewhere that would be the mascot. I decided that the moose head would probably be in a state of disrepair.

I drew the first moose. I took my crappy drawing to an artist friend and she made a better drawing. Her first draft looked like a real moose! I made her simplify the art work so it would fit the motif. She agreed to do it on the condition that I don't mention her name! She feels that the quality of the moose is so low, she doesn't want her art friends to think that she's a poor artist!

When she was done, I scanned it in and added the fly.

People who were made bartenders
Before January 09, 2001
    Frank Carver
    Maha Anna
    Tony Alicea
    Matt Midcap
    Bodie Minster
    Ajith Kallambella
    Thomas Paul
    Rahul Mahindrakar
    Jerry Pulley
    Stephanie Grasson
    Carl Trusiak
    Peter Haggar
    Sean MacLean
    Cindy Glass
    Herbert Maosa
    Mapraputa Is
    Jane Griscti
    Angela Poynton
    Bill Bozeman
    John Wetherbie
    Madhav Lakkapragada
    shailesh sonavadekar
    Marilyn deQueiroz
    Michael Finney
    Bill Compton
    Eric Barnhill
    Solveig Haugland
    George Brown
    Jim Yingst

On January, 2001
    Peter Haggar
    Cindy Glass
    Sam Wong
    Marcela Blei
    Deeksha Gunwant
    Peter Tran
    Randall Twede
May, 2001
    Johannes de Jong
    Nathan Pruett
    Peter den Haan
    Manfred Leonhardt
    Mark Herschberg
October 14, 2001
    Valentin Crettaz
    Jason Adam
    Matthew Phillips
    Michael Ernest
    Mike Curwen
    Junilu Lacar
    Desai Sandeep
    Pauline McNamara
    David O'Meara
October 15, 2001
    Dave Vick
    Joseph McGuire
    Paul Stevens
    ersin eser
    Kyle Brown
November 17, 2001
    faisal mahmood
April 17, 2002
    Jose Botella
    Simon Brown
    Michael Pearson
    Rob Ross
    Jessica Sant
    Dirk Schreckmann
May 24, 2002
    Corey McGlone

Page maintained by Marilyn de Queiroz