On Thursday, I sat in on five sessions, and gave a talk at 4:00.
I’m not sure that there was anything at all interesting in the sessions I attended, but that might have been my pre-talk focus (the day of a talk, I tend to have a one-track mind).
I was struck by how much nicer MIDP seems these days. 2.0 is significantly more friendly. I really like the Push Registry; it seems like a very nice bit of useful functionality. I’m less clear about the timer service that’s coming in EJB 2.1; that strikes me as a little too special-purpose for a spec. In both cases, the question is: did this need to be in the specification. For MIDP, the answer is clearly yes. For EJB? It’s less clear.
Maybe the interesting thing is that, in both cases, we’re thinking about the platform as a container, managing code. Which, in a very real way, is the Java revolution in a nutshell.
I also spent some time trying to find out where AspectJ is (it went unmentioned at this year’s JavaOne) and why IBM was almost completely absent. No-one seemed to know the answer to either question.
I didn’t go Friday, because the value I was getting from most talks was close to zero. Other people have said it (including Sue Spielman in these very weblogs) but it’s worth repeating: Many of the speakers this year were awful.
More generally, JavaOne also raised the question about the utility of conferences. Do they, in this age of webs, hyperlinks, and readily accessible technical documents, make a lot of sense? Do presentations that focus on specs make a lot of sense? My guess is yes, but that we should start screening talks differently. The barriers for a talk at a major conference should include:
- The speaker should have demonstrated expertise in the subject area.
- The speaker should have significant speaking experience.
- Sitting through the talk should give the attendee more, or significantly different, information than they could find out in a comparable length of time searching the web.
I have no idea how to enforce these (especially the last one), but it’s clear that many of the talks I attended wouldn’t have passed these criteria.
Lest this seem too grumpy, let me hasten to admit I enjoyed JavaOne. I did learn a fair amount, speaking is always fun, and running into people I don’t see often enough made the week worthwhile.
How would you improve JavaOne?