12/15/2007

Back from JavaPolis 2007 ...

Yesterday I returned back from Javapolis 2007 ... after a long week of diversified power fueling.

I arrived on Monday in Antwerp. It took me about 2.30 hours by car driving from Cologne through the beautiful Netherlands to Antwerp. The most grave part of the small journey was the final meters in Antwerp city during the rush hour. There was not only the early evening traffic, it was also some kind of stress test for my navigation system. The street plan is .. unique? After checking in to the hotel "Express Holiday Inn" in Antwerp city I did write a techical article which will be published in a leading Java print magazine beginning 2008. Please keep interested. ;) Tuesday morning then I did a touch-and-go: after breakfast I drove to the Metropolis center. The line stops near the hotel and arrives at the congress center only about 10 minutes later.

So there was the university day 2 in front of me and I started with the three hours session "Be productive with JSF with Ed Burns and Yara Senger". The content was well presented but not really new. I expected some more details but it was nice to hear that JSF 2 will include some more convenient way to customize standard components or even write owns. Ed was the leading presenter and Yara did a charming and cushy co-speaking.

After the break I dropped into the sessions "Introduction to Java SE 5 and 6" with Sang Shin (just to see him again, he is a smart guy) and "Guidelines and Hints to EJB3 and JPA" with Linda Demichiel and Kenneth Saks. Nothing new here too and I left the room in order to explore this year's exhibition. Many companies were visible there including JetBrains. On their booth the JetBrains guys promoted IDEA and TeamCity (which was released in its version 3, free in the Professional Edition). JetBrains also hosted some sessions, beside Eclipse and Netbeans. Later on I joined the "Ivy" session by Xavier Hanin. I really like Ivy -- I mentioned it in my book as an alternative to Maven 2 for dependency management. Xavier pointed out that there are stilll struggles to use Ivy inside Maven 2 for the dependency management and that its usage is pretty straight forward. But: Maven 2 does a lot more than dependency managmenet so both tools have their value. The last session on Tuesday was "Easy GUI testing with FEST" with Alex Ruiz. With FEST you can write functinal tests embedded in JUnit and TestNG tests. FEST uses a fluent interface to find and control Swing components. I just wonder why these Oracle guys do develop a new framework and do not support Jemmy?!

During the day I met the first guys I wanted to meet ... and it was nice to see old friends again. At 8 pm the speakers' dinner started in a restaurant downtown. I drove there by taxi together with Michael Van Riper (since this week also called "TT") and after arriving there we met Dick Wall, one of the (Google) guys of the Javaposse and we had a drink before the others came. ... And then the party started: it was great having the opportunity to speak to these persons. Thrilling that also James Gosling (Java godfather) joined, I met James during an intimate round table dinner in Frankfurt during the Sun Tech Days one week earlier so my focus was more on the other who-is-who. I was in touch with Neal Gafter for some weeks concerning a talk for the Java User Group Cologne and I got his GO there for a Closures talk in March 2008. As the party was over I went to the hotel and surprisingly there was an after-party with about 15 people including some Sun Microsystems people, Ed Burns, Javapolis crew ... I have to mention I was a bit sick the next morning. The last beer in the lobby must have been bad.

... so I skipped the morning keynotes on Wednesday and started with the JavaFX session by Jim Weaver. I have spoken to him the night before and he is a very nice guy. Afterwards I joined the Google Web Toolkit sesson with Dick Wall. GWT is nice enabling writing Java code which is transformed to a web appliation (Javascript). So you have the chance to write unit tests on your original code for example. There was also the Clustering/Scaling happening with Guy Nirpaz from Gigaspaces (gave a talk for JUGC). I had the same taxi with Guy the day and he is a nice guy. Thanks for paying the trip. Later on I went to the EJB 3.1 event with Kenneth Saks. The content was not that new but the main reason I was there was to have a good seat for the next session: The future of Computing panel with James Gosling, Neal Gafter, Joshua Block and Martin Odersky (who also gave the Scala talk at Javapolis). The light this-and-that talk was amazing and moderated by Carl Quinn -- one of the highlights of this years Javapolis. Afterwards there was the Java Champions BOF. Rags Srinivas, CTO of Technology Evangelism at Sun Microsystems, and others dropped in there too. Klaasjan Tukker from the Netherlands raised some good points concerning the JavaFX debate. It was not perfect how the champions have been included into the information flow in this case. Afterwards the closures BOF with Neil Gafter took place and he explained us the content of his proposal. Neil wrote a prototype for his specification which is complete more or less. He also included function points and rewrite Doug Lea's jsr166y fork-join framework with closures (with and without function types). Neil asks for feedback so everyone should download the prototype and work with closures. After a small hello into the "Java DB and Apache Derby" BOF I returned to the hotel ..

Thursday was probably the most thrilling day. In the morning I missed the bus to the Metropolis twice -- you should know that it is better to raise your hand if you stand at the bus stop and want to take the coming bus. Thanks to Neil and Josh (both staying in the same hotel) I know now where/how to get the bus. The keynotes were another highlight of this year: Adobe Flex respectively the relaunch of Parleys.com. Parleys is the web portal hosted by the BeJUG to collect and publish Java conference talks. It is based on state-of-the-art frameworks and has a new front-end in v2. It is based on Flex/AIR and will be released beginning of 2008. Great work Stephan and Benjamin!!!

After some meet-and-greet and recovering I joined Josh's session. Originally planned as a "Effective Java Reloaded" session (Josh is working on the second edition of his book as you know) it was revised short-hand to be "the closures controversy" session. Wow!! Javapolis managed it to break the freeze between Josh Block and Neil Gafter, keep in mind both are working for Google. Josh discussed Neil's proposal and pointed out what James Gosling said ten years ago: Java is a consolidation language. It is not a science language but includes many "useful" facets from other language to be easy used and widely spread. Generics did had the problem to add much complexity to Java especially because its inclusion of wildcards (done a bit quick on the trigger). And this is the problem Josh sees in Neil's proposal. It is pretty complex and only very few guys will ever need the new functionality. So his suggestion is to include only as much new complexity and functionality into the programming language needed to solve the original problems: in his opinion one problem is "function methods" (you already have a solution with anonymous classes more or less), the second is ressource management.

Afterwards there was the Javaposse live -- beer was sponsored by Atlassian and the four speaker guys were split up: Dick and Carl were live on stage, the other two guys connected by Skype from US. It was fun -- especially as Josh and Neil participated. A very relaxed, nice chat evolved where Josh ended up with a beer in his right hand, a micro in his left and a scarf tied over his head. Another step forward for the Josh/Neil - Closures debate ... and much, much fun!!!

Later on I visited the Web Beans talk with Bob Lee and had a look into the Java Puzzlers (this time again Josh and Neil not like at JavaOne). Josh and Neil also presented a list of possible new language features in a BOF, more or less small sugar ones:
-Improved type inference
-Enum comparison
-String switch
-Chained invocations & Extension methods
-Improved catch clauses
-Array notation for Map, List
-Typedef
-Serialization annotations
-Self type
-Properties

Let's see which ones will get it into JSE 7.

Google and Atlassian sponsored free beers afterwards ... I was part of another delegation (JUG Leaders, Aaron Houston and Nichole Scott from Sun Microsystems, the new JCP chair Patrick Curran, Chet Haase, for several seconds Crazy Bob, ...) in the same bar which was gladly sponsored by Sun Microsystems.

Finally we went back to the hotel where we got some further drinks. Panos and Paris from Greece as well as Michael "TT" Riper joined the last evening happening more accidently. The last night was pretty long compared to the others and I went back to Cologne next day.

Thanks to Stephan Jansen and his BeJUG crew to make this real .. !

The week was thrilling like the year before. Javapolis is the most influencing, the biggest Java conference in Europe (sold out with 3200 people) with the best speakers. It itself sets benchmarks e.g. in the Closures debate and bringing Neil and Josh together to one table. Javapolis is also community driven with many big company sponsors. It is very cheap to get a ticket and the relation of price/quality is awesome. Beside that all JUG Leaders (and an additional JUG delegation) have free entry for the whole week. I do not want to mention the free drinks, the give-aways, the unique atmosphere (without any airs and graces) -- as you see many many points other conference can learn from, especially in Germany.

BTW: do you know what a teetotaler is?

1 comment:

Dan Hardiker said...

A teetotaler is someone who doesn't drink alcohol, usually they are recovering alcoholics.