Saturday, November 20, 2010

Devoxx 2010 - Conference Day Three - and Devoxx final thoughts


Last day of Devoxx – I managed to attend 2 session and then head back to Brussels airport and fly back to Athens. I will provide some comments regarding the talks and then some final thoughts of this year’s Devoxx.
Session 1: The Future of Java Discussion Panel by  Joshua Bloch, Mark Reinhold , Stephen Colebourne , Antonio Goncalves, Juergen Hoeller , Bill Venners
It is always an interesting thing to see a panel of important java community figures. Past and current Sun-Oracle Java architects, community leaders, open source advocates. We all share a common thing – passion for Java despite the fact due to corporate politics and conflicts – sometimes conflicts appear. The session was moderated by the JavaPossee guys and had lots of questions, which have been previously submitted online by the community. Questions related to corporate strategies and information regarding upcoming products was not answered – at least from the participants who happened to work for that corporation (Google, Oracle). One of the most  heated moment of the discussion was the Oracle vs Apache conflict while Stephen Colebourne who has recently blogged about it – sort of iterated through his old statements – “ Oracle should keep it’s promises regarding TCK and JDK” while J.Bloch reminded the panel that it was 2 years earlier that Oracle and BEA through JCP were pushing for a more open platform and specification process etc. How things change, now Oracle controlling Java and the JCP is accepting almost the very same arguments from the Apache Foundation, Google and others.  It was overall a positive discussion , all of the speakers concluded that Java the JCP should work towards an open and fair process while the Java Platform should evolve towards simplicity and developer productivity, something that was sort of lost in the past releases and platform roadmap.

It always a pleasure to listen Adam Bien, his blog IMHO is one of the most interesting and vibrant related to J2EE6 development, he is constantly addressing real world problems , trying to apply cutting edge standards from the java platform. His talk was all about that – how to realistically and effectively use some of the technologies brought in JavaEE6 in a regular J2EE project. I really like his style of presentation. One slide, introduction and then his favorite IDE boots and the fun begins. Adam clearly understands the old saying ‘ if you are in Rome you have to act/behave like a Roman’, so we are in a developer conference with 90% java devs inbound – firing up your IDE and doing some interesting and at the same time pragmatic stuff (not just demo ) is the way to go. Lot’s of nice things in the new J2EE6 spec, I really like the simplicity of EJB3.1 and as I have previously elaborated the introduction of asynchronous calls, events , the Timer service and Single. Excellent talk you should check his blog as well , lots of interesting stuff.

Some more slides of other sessions
Devoxx
I think this was most probably one of my best Devoxx /Javapolis experiences. I managed to go through the whole conference every day (more than 10 hours per day and 5-6 talks per day).
Content : 10/10
When it comes to the content IMHO it was excellent and this is the reason despite the fact that were moments where you were feeling brain drained – you always had a good reason to just attend the next talk – because there was almost another interest talk. Lots of great people from the other side of the Atlantic visit Devoxx and they fuse all the latest feeling and updates for my favorite platform – that is Java of course. At the same time devoxx is becoming more open to other technologies and trends as well. This year I had a very good overview around trends on areas like NoSQL DB, distributed caching technologies, clustering of large enterprise application or even alternative languages currently living inside the JVM. So the content was very rich – yes for sure still Java oriented but – there is a large ecosystem that resides in the Java world – of technologies built on top of Java that power systems integrating different stacks – they just happen to be created in Java :D (see examples HBase, Cassandara ). I think you get the point.

Organization: 9/10
Stephan and his team have been doing this thing for years now – every year theyfix problems or try to satisfy the attendees demand. In the past years the wifi support was the biggest concern for the majority of the people attending. This year – it was perfect I did not have not even one dropped connection – I was tweeting, emailing, uploading photos to flickr or IM-ing with friends back in Greece while 2000+ developers were doing the very same thing. It is not an easy task to support 3000+ concurrent users especially in a place where you do not own – or control. The food was decent – and eventually a lot healthier (more fruits ) which is something very good – we…the geeks tend to ..eat lots of bad and ugly stuff during conferences – a good reason for a healthy conference diet (if you exclude the beers haha).  My only request for next year would be to increase the size of the coffee cups – ha ha ha, really  I am java geek – a javaholic. Already delegated my request to Stephan we had a laugh! So yes, excellent organization congrats to the team.
Community: You can not give a mark to the community.
3000 people – it’s a big number yes there were moments where you wanted to get in on J.Bloch’s or Heinz’s  session and you had to wait a bit – I acknowledge that. But it was really nothing difficult or catastrophic, I still remember waiting in the queue on JavaONE2007 for the very same sessions -..waiting…and waiting. It’s really nice to see a theater full of geeks showing enthusiasm as you do – for people that have written your favorite Java book usually residing next to your work pc, or meeting the people behind their favorite Java podcast – the voices that make them laugh while coding – fusing some more enthusiasm when their upper manager is assigning boring or non related tasks :) .
I really like this feeling and this why I am still trying to keep the Java Hellenic User Group alive, I want to share and learn, I want to share ideas with people  that go through the same pain, enthusiasm, anxiety in their work desk with me– the people that truly love Java because this is all about.  Real developers no matter what, are always enthusiastic about technology, programmers about their tools, for some of us programming, trying to solve problems, trying to make things work it is not just a work – it part of our life and attending such an event as Devoxx you don’t feel alone – there lots of people like you out there - it's your Java friends ..from all over the world.
See you next year on Devoxx 2011 – thank you all for following my posts all over this week, it is quite an experience to see hits from all over the world. I will try to blog more often in English about Java..my love as a developer.
ps) Many thanks for the exposure on the oracle java blogs, by  Janice Heiss

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