Monday, December 10, 2007

University Day One - Javapolis 2007 - My Review

So this is it, the first day of Javapolis has just came to an end for me! It was a very good start and I have to say that I had a quite nice pick of sessions- so I was very satisfied with the content. Before I go any deeper on the sessions and some of my thoughts, lets have a look..of the Javapolian gear!

This year we have a star wars theme on Javapolis! The bag, the T-shirt the brochures everything! So all the Javapolias received this conference pack! Cool isn't it! May the source be with young developer!

Last year there were some complaints regarding the Wifi access during the conference! I think this year the things are improved a lot! There were still some moments that lots of people were offline but overall after the first hours (the system - network was being calibrated) I was always connected during the talks! That was quite amazing actually because you could google, for related material of the talk, exchange info with friends who were attending another session, take some pictures live during the talk and post it ( iPhone magic :P ). I think that a laptop or any device with wifi capabilities is highly recommended in such a conference -having internet access during a session - enriches the overall experience you have as an attendee.

So let's start with my choice of sessions and some comments!

Early in the morning I picked ' Java Generics and Collections in Action' by Maurice Naftalin who is one of the authors of Java Generics and Collections. I have to admit that any talk regarding generics and collections is always important. Well it is amazing, we are almost heading to Java 7 now but it true that a vast majority of Java developer still avoids the use of Generics, or misuses them, or it has not yet grasped the full potential of this feature that came along with Java 1.5. I know that lots of people keep complaining about the syntax, some others do not like the way that are implemented - the fact is that Generics are here and they are going to stay! I still find some obscure things as a developer at the same time I have to admit that at some points they have simplified lots of things! Anyway I am happy that people like M.Naftalin, can sense that the Java Developer Community needs a bit more time, probably a bit more resources and education around Generics. The talk was very constructive - and most probably when I get back home I will have a second look to some chapters of the book. So excellent and constructive start for me!

My second session was Google Apis by Dick Wall! I am a great fan of the Javaposse so I could not miss a talk by one of its creators! Actually the talk was related to some extend with the previous one! Dick Wall has gone through, introducing the use of Google Collections APIs. Quite interesting topic I would say. I have not used Google Collections before. I think this misconception about not being fully implemented or this...always beta of Google kept me away! Eventually after the talk I think I have changed my mind and I will at least download it and play with it! After the talk we had a small discussion with some friends! Can we use such a library in our projects? Are we going to be somehow bound to a certain vendor's libraries for such an important thing? Collections is something that is all over around a object! I had a second thought on that. For years now we have been using third party libs for this critical functionality - like Apache Commons. Ok Google is not Apache, But they are distruting the code in an similar manner, Open source, and enrich the api as much as they can and ..last but not least this code is being by Google itself in its project it's tested. Anyway tough call but definitely we could re-reconsider - some of the features of their library are really interesting! Dick Wall continued his session demostrating various google Apis (Calendar integration, Spreadsheet integration, open social). At some point he was demonstrating some functionality of Picasa - I was a bit impressed! I am a heavy Flickr user (Pro) but this editing and auto enhancing (web based) of photos, was very convenient. So another hint for me to give picassa a second try! Very enjoyable happy second session!

My third session was BPM in Action by Hilde Janssen (yes yes a lady). In the recent months I have entered the world of BPM, the world of processes, workflows. Very challenging topic, difficult to master, needs time and patience..and luck! When the session started I was wondering, what tools are going to be demo-ed? Are they so clunky as those I use ? (Bea Workshop 9.2). Are they any better alternatives? I have to give credit to the speaker - I mean such a topic can not be introduced in 45 minutes ..but she tried. Though the tools were not helping at all! Watching the demo it was watching me work Bea WorkShop (WLI), slow designer start up times, crashes, 1 Km of exceptions, debuggers that sometimes work..and all that stuff. It was a bit unfortnate but WebMethods which was demoed - gave me the same feeling! I am wondering..guys IS THERE ANY decent designer for these stuff? And why almost all the designers are built on top of eclipse....I still haven't tried jBPM's offering in a project. I am really curious!

My last session was 'Hudson, a Continuous Integration System'. Being 'lately' a user of Continuum , its nice to see that other open source alternatives exist and provide similar functionality!

This is more or less my first sessions for Javapolis University Day 1!On Sunday I had the chance to meet again JUG leaders and Java Champions , on the early gathering.more are expected to come tomorrow. Its really nice to see all of them and I am really looking forward for the Java Champions and JUG leaders BOF!!!!

So ..thats all for today...tomorrow more live posts and photos...the day is full of interesting talks!

Javapolian Paris Apostolopoulos (aka papo)

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