Friday, November 19, 2010

Devoxx 2010 - Conference Day Two - Review

Wow this is it, the peak of the conference has just passed. Another full day is completed full of interesting talks. Tomorrow I will be able to attend only the first maybe the second session and then I will have to head for the Brussels airport and Athens. I will be writing a final post - during the flight I guess. So let's get started.

Session 1: The Future Roadmap of Java EE by Jerome Dochez , Paul Sandoz and Linda DeMichiel
Quite an interesting talk from (apart from certain parts). J2EE is evolving that became more than obvious during these days - and the update of the spec + any new things coming in will be mostly aligned with the releases on the JavaSE field. Jerome Dochez, demo-ed a simple scenario of a virtualised environment with cluster able GlassFish instances which is quite nice. It is already demo-ed though in previous times and the concept is already know to other platforms as well - so I was not fully excstatic about it - nevertheless its nice to see app servers progressing as such. 

The other big news is that J2EE is going to inherit parts of project JigSaw as previously elaborated - and we are going to have similar modularization principle as in JavaSE. This is good news - lets make the whole thing less classpath and jar intesive on the other hand I am wondering is this the end of OSGi - in terms of becoming the de-facto standard. Eventually the modularization story is lasting for years now - and I can still remember from 2007-2008 two different specs regarding this - OSGI and java module system . it seems that OSGI is not easily accepted as is.

Linda DeMichel iterated through the new JPA2 stuff coming in - already mentioned in other talks as well.  

Session 2: Project Coin: Small Language Changes in JDK 7 by Joe Darcy and Maurizio Cimadamore

This session was a re-cap of the already mentioned in previous talks - changes on the programming language that aim to increase developer's productivity rather than rapidly updating the language keyword set or profiles. Above all things demo-ed my favorites were the strings in the switch construct, the multicatch construct and the <> character on the definition of generified types. 

Break: Cloudbees. I left a bit earlier from the previous session since it was adding anything new - to the context and headed for the exhibition area - in order to see if there is anything interesting in the booths, any company worth looking at or asking information. Eventually I stopped by the booth of Cloudbees a new company started by one former JBoss exec Sasha Labourey. Cloudbees provides a virtualized development environment (in the cloud) where you can set your project repositories ,the build servers, for your team members. The team can develop remotely, can build (Hudson) and test on the Cloudbees space - without the need of any infrastructure. The current package is something like 45 euro (unlimited number of svn accounts) and is charging 1p per minute for the amount of build time - your project is reserving to the cluster (which actually runs on top of amazon ec2). Another service is shortly going to be added to the existing portfolio for a service where you just have your app ready and you want a virtualized - configured environment (mostly for java-web apps). The overall project seems to be a quite nice idea, the people behind are very talented ex-Jboss employees + the creator of Hudson -and business wise there is a market need that could make ClousBees a success story or close enough. I am a bit skeptic about the cost - depending on the project the monthly fee may rise up to 80-100/euro per month which eventually is not a great deal of money but is really targeting a small to medium companies rather than individuals. At the time being CloudBees is open for beta (free) so i sign-ed up and I will be testing the service in the upcoming days.

I don't want to be harsh but this was by far the worst talk I seen in Devoxx 2010. I am really interested in technologies related to BPMN and despite the fact that - another proprietary BPMN engine in the past has really made my development life a hell, i was curious to listen what IBM has to offer with it's new product (actually acquired the company). So the talk started and - it was like - mentioning the word Lombardi every 5 sec's - a pure marketing talk - no demo - screen shots only, no action nothing only promises and hints that this technology will solve all your process management needs. It is kind of funny devoxx is mainly a developer's conference not sales people - you can not easily trick a developer especially when he is already working on similar technologies. I browsed for a minute into the IBM site - trying to find anything more interesting than this marketing attack - which would be find for some middleman managers - but nothing - not even one direct download or a sample. So long...lombardi I wish you all the best.

Session 4: OpenJDK by Dalibor Topic
Dalibor is a great speaker and very into the OpenJDK project - famous for his involvement on the Kaffee VM and other projects - is  part of the OpenJDK governing board. Dalibor talked about how to download and build JDK7 on our machine, the current status of the project and of course future updates and route to follow. One interesting point during his talk, OpenJDK7 is currently 7million lines of code while version 6 was 5.5 . With the previous announcements of Oracle - placing the OpenJDK to the heart of JDK development and it's code becoming the core - of the offical Oracle releases - we can all acknowledge the fact that this project is going to sky rocket in terms of significance and activity. Very nice session indeed.

 Session 5: The JavaPossee live
It is the usual Java geek fun time. Java ....Java...Java Java J J J! Every decent Java developer must have heard at least once these 4 guys (Dick WallCarl Quinn Joe Nuxoll and Tor Norbye). The session was host by the first three while Tor Norbye was on Skype - live with the audience. Great laugh, great geek talk and I wish every year - they will be present @ Devoxx so we can have our own European JavaPosse time!

As I have stated many times in the blog I am great fun of JBPM (3x) - I had the luck to meet and host Tom Baeyens in one of our JUG's talks and in these last 2 years to actively work using his project. Activiti is the evolution of JBPM, a clean - pure BPMN2 process engine - that aims to make business process modeling easier for both the developers and analysts. The current version of Activiti is on RC1 phase and I will be expecting in the upcoming months a final release. The stuff already in the technology are really impressive and Activiti really provides features that were not present on old JBPM releases. One of the few that I like the most - by default the engine offers process history (of execution), there is new DB layer underneath implemented in iBatis which seems to be faster than the old hibernate implementation, the designer is better and more advanced + there is a web based designer for analysts that wish to design their concept model using BPMN2 constructs. Joram Barrez said - that is currently working on a solution of providing some sort of automatic migration for processes (this one I really need to examine - since I am doing the very same work for the project I work for - and sometimes this can be very tricky - since you are messing with the internal DB state / schema of JBPM). I hope soon enough the Activiti team to present  again to the Greek java user group.

The usual duo of code brothers - was present this year again in Antwerp to torture in a good way - the java audience . 6 Puzzlers - that made people to think re think, raise it's hand..and accept defeat. I like the fact that Joshua Bloch is many times involved on the actually implementation of the code that has some sort of obscure implementation and leads to a puzzling development experience. Early versions of the JDK still hold code that can be considered outdated or not properly implemented. I managed to get a few right - but..its not enough.Always a pleasure to be in the java puzzlers audience and listen to these two charismatic java rock stars.

My day, ended with the Java User Group Leader's BOF - very crowdy (I was really amazed).Oracle is trying get in touch with the huge Java community. Lot;s of lessons to be learnt from both communities , lots of experiences to be shared. I hope we have a nice and productive collaboration it is all about Java anyway and the people developing in Java!! Nothing more nothing less.

ps) Some other links  (sessions that I could not attend)
- The Java Spotlight podcast
- Develop mobile applications with Flex - presentation slides
- Comparing JVM web frameworks - presentation (it was a big hit @ the conference)

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