Thursday, November 19, 2009

Devoxx Day 3

It was a very busy day, and unfortunately I could not live update - but better late than never.It's my first time to use ScribeFire as well, let's see how it will perform.

So this was the official start of the Devoxx - Conference. The previous 2 days are usually marked as University. Official key notes are held during the Conference days. Most of the people attending are targeting the conference, so it was quite busy from the morning. We are 3 greeks now, D.Andreadis who is currently managing the team around Jboss Application joined the small greek devoxx audience.

So the keynote. It was split into 3 mini 1 hour sessions. First of all it was Oracle, then Sun and then Adobe. I was quite interested on the Oracle one, the big question during this conference and some others to come - is what about Java? what about the merge? why is going to happen to this and that technology.

Steve Harris
from Oracle stepped up, and started quite nice I have to admit. A bit of humour and some slides about Oracle. And that was the end of it - (5 mins nice - the rest boring and confusing). Suddenly slides saying that this presentation was reviewd by laywers - no comments about the merge - and again no comments about the merge. He was wearing a GlassFish T-shirt - showing some kind of new corporate bonding but it was quite fake in my eyes. Some minutes later they started demo-ing something called Weblogic - DM. A modular version of Weblogic based on Microkernels and profiles. Reminded me some Spring stuff a lot. A small web app was also there written...not in Java but in Scala (WFT!!!). So we had an oracle manager wearing a GlassFish tshirt- demoing Weblogic- DM with the assistance of a tie enabled developer (WTF!!!) and they were showing a Scala mini web app which did not work, and an oracle propriatery management tool for the server. Most probably the worst keynote ever..or at least the worst talk I have seen in all the Javapolis - Devoxx I have ever attended.

I stayed for the next session which was about J2EE 6 and what is currently happening. Speakers were the 2 main spec leads. Lots of interesting stuff , mainly covered by previous J2EE 6 sessions anyway. The big news is that on Dec 10th J2EE6 will be final and official! Great news and now we all have to wait for the majority of application servers supporting them. Eventually I would highly considered adopting lots of the new features - I am certain that will pay off in productivity and flexibility on the long term.

I have to admit I skipped the Adobe keynote, even though most of people seemed to like it. I am not that interested in their stack nor their technologies. I guess when i have to I will catch up. At the moment i preferer to stay focused on what I really do @ work and what puts me on the regular payrol.

Quick break and back for a JDK 7 Update by Mark Reinhold. One of the most interesting talks about the upcoming changes on the JDK and in general on the Java language to an certain extend. The bad news is that JDK 7 and all the related changes will be available sooner than Sept 2010. Now when it comes to specific things, the big announcement was that Java 7 is going to include closures!!! but in a simpler form that we have seen in various papers and talks during the last 4 years (BGGA etc.). It seems that after so many years still the majority of Java developers feel a bit weird. Personally I have not decided if I really really want closures. I mean you could still have them and not use it.

Lunch break (lots of people) and it's time for the father of Java. It is always inspiring to see the James Gosling, even if his presentation is not tottaly related to topics that you are mostly interested. This time he presented a pet project of his, that now is being developed as a service by Sun, the famous Java Store. A JavaFX application that is very close to the famous apple store, but for java applications. At the time being a prototype is out and the weird thing due to legal implications is that only US citizens can use it and sell opr buy apps. They are working with local legal and tax departments to resolve issues but is going to take a while. I have to admit i was not so much impressed about the whole stuff on the other hand maybe a new mini market is emerging for the legions of pure java developers world wide. Ah... by the way..James Gosling has been presenting using a Mac..again. So he is back the apple borg ship!! hehehe!

After a loonger break (I needed one) I attended my last proper talk of the day. Project Coin by Joseph D.Darcy. I heard about project coin during the JDK7 talk. Actually project coin is an initiative to gather - evaluate and push all these small but important improvements we want on the Java language - that will make our development experience better. Very very interesting stuff, since these are the changes that will come to our IDE in some months. New ways of using collections and maps, some really powerfull but dangerous at the same time constructs for concurrent programming (see ForkJoin). Unfortunately no multi  exceptions catch statements , that was really something I am in great favor. If you want to see what is coming , have a look on the official site of project Coin.

Another short break and it was time for the famous JUG leaders BOF. Quite a few new faces comparing to previous years, and some old good friends. The most important thing was that James Gosling was there, trying to answer any question coming from the community, but nothing related to the merge. It quite strange since lots of people were just eager to know about the future of Sun and the future of Java. I have my moment as well and I did 2 questions. It seems that everyone enjoyed them. So the first one was -

1. 'what is your impression about the evolution of Java, lots of buzz for dynamic jvm hosted languages, java slowly evolving are we getting closer to the era of - java becoming the next COBOL?

2. Can you make a comment about the terrible findbugs metrics posted in a presentation yesterday about the latest oracle jdbc driver?

Eventually after the second question all the room was laughing.James Gosling decided to skip the second one saying ..what is the first question again..and here is what briefly what he answered.

Eventually he said yes we are sort of becoming the next COBOL. The reason that the language is not evolving fast enough is that there is a huge community and many involved parties that constantly have contradicting views about even the smallest changes. The process of updating the language spec has become very painful.

It was quite answer by the inventor of Java but the most interesting thing came a few minutes later. Someone asked him - what is your biggest fear and concern about Java? He replied...actually it is the previous question - meaning Java not to become absolutely the new COBOL. He pointed out that the usage of Java world wide is huge, it is inevitable that legacy systems will exist and maybe some java systems are already considered like that. He still believes though that new features should be added to the language and we have still way to go and Java can stay fresh and alive for a long time.

When it comes to the new dynamic languages that are gaining momentum lately, like for example Scala (there is a huge trend here in Devoxx about Scala), he said that Scala, Ruby and all the other JVM based languages are fine, but there is a big problem. They are domain specific. Meaning their whole existence is focused on certain things and they do not come close enough to the way java is considered to be an all around language! He pointed out that Scala is cool, but you need to see 5 times a scala talk to start understanding what is going on!

I could not agree more..with him. I have the same opinion on these new cool dynamic languages. Yes..good for some stuff but eventually we still do things with all around languages, which are widely adopted, fit to the majority of the developers available and have good solid mechanisms. If you ask me, what new language I would prefer to learn, it would be something really close to the profile of Java. I really think C# is a far better choice rather than Scala or whatever. Not because is very close to Java but it is an all around languages build on top of a proven concept (the Java concept) adding new interesting stuff that Java has missed!

Very nice experience anyway, the BOF and I was very happy to see good old friends, talk about how the crisis has affected our JUG operations, and how our JUG's are going to exist after the merge. Eventually the answer is simple. Nothing will change as long as Java exists- java local communities will exist and will try to talk and promote the use of our 'beloved' language! Yaaay!

The night was over with a late night lunch along with the whole JBOSS team. I was very lucky to meet and talk with various important Jbossians or see some old speakers again like Manik Surtani (creator of Infinispan). Thanks Dimitri for the invite anyway, it was inspiring.

A nice day..should end with a nice photo..and for a Java developer is only one!!

ps)scribefire is not bad at all by the way.

1 comment:

  1. Overall I was very impressed with Devoxx. Everything including the movie theater venue, quality of the speakers, and professionalism of the attendees was top-notch. Stephan Janssen definitely puts on quite an amazing show.