JavaOne 2007 was covered by bloggers (unofficial and official) on a day to day basis as the event was unfolding. Thus most readers already know of the event highlights and the key new new things to look out for. Also, some of you were present there (that’s how the numbers of 15,000+ participants was achieved) and had most of the information ahead of all the reporting. So what am I going to talk about here? Well ! as the topic suggests I am going to discuss about something I am choosing to call the “4Ps”. Without delay then let me introduce these 4Ps. Its Presentations, People, Participants and Paraphernalia.
So here we go….
The big ideas - oops! I mean announcements :) were made in the general sessions. Of course! thats what general sessions are for! The first day started with Java technology saving the world and the keynotes (or general sessions) ended with the theme - “anything is possible with Java” (I don’t think Sun used this slogan but I guess that is what was implied). Doesn’t this sound familiar? I could almost feel the presence of the power and the faith.
Anyway, let us look at some of the technical presentations and the BOFs. Surely, we cannot discuss all of them. There were far too many of them - perhaps over a 100. (If anybody calculated the exact number of sessions then please do leave a comment behind on the same.)
1. F3 (Form Follows Function) reincarnated as JavaFX and was presented as the next savior of the mere mortal user interface arena. The camp was divided quickly, as with all things new and catchy, into two - the believers and the skeptics. The believers who turned into early evangelists quickly pronounced the alternative’s doom. The skeptics starting cursing Sun and its lame efforts. We have started seeing some viewpoints on this on our own site as well. In fact Tim took the effort to hack some code and put it up online. Thanks Tim.
Personally I think it is an interesting proposition and holds promise. What needs to be seen is how mature does it become quickly and how well is it adopted. I also think that the open sourcing of Java and the openjfx project in particular should add value in this area.
2. Java goes open source. Presentations on why and how and the future of this open sourcing did catch a lot of attention. It was old news but certainly still new enough for people to discuss and debate. The current issue of the LinuxJournal - free copies of which were being doled out at JavaOne - includes an interview with Simon Phipps and has an editorial analysis titled - “Is GPL Java Too Little, Too Late?”. The best thing about that editorial analysis is that the editor has decided not to miss the chance to proclaim that his predictions rarely go wrong and mentions that $5 Java hosting (like PHP) would be possible once Java is open source. Wondering who edits the editor’s work :)
4. Talking about making friends, Java technologies have taken a step further with Microsoft - they have actually started dancing together. One of the sessions on Java and .Net interoparability was about taking the two to tango. Check out the project tango (WSIT).
5. Ajax is never enough. Ben Galbraith (and Dion Almaer) could well have asked for a $5 fee to attend the session and made enough money to buy themselves drinks for the rest of the year. The lines to the session twisted and turned a few times and then spilled over to the staircases. The interesting demos around inclusion of sound and typography were impressive.
6. JSF and JBoss Seam (in particular) created a lot of buzz in a show, that had a lot of client side eye-candy, and I thought that was commendable. Almost all JSF and Seam session were well attended and there were quite a few of those. The inclusion of ajax with jsf was certainly one of the areas developers were very attracted too. Not to forget the top selling book at the JavaOne bookstore was “Core Java Server Faces” by David Geary and Cay Horstmann. (Manning books on Groovy and GWT were in the second and third position as per the list through day 3.) The JBoss Seam book also featured in the top sellers list. (I think they had 15 in the list)
7. Java 3D and JOGL (Java Binding for Open GL) is growing up to become a serious choice for building really rich applications. Some of the demos were truly outstanding. Google for the “rotating globe with java 3d” and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
8. The grammarians. Joshua Bloch, Brian Goetz, Neal Gafter and Bill Pugh had some excellent sessions, as in the past, on the details of the language constructs. Most of the session were well attended and well received. However, I thought the session on testing concurrent applications did not have too many new ideas apart from the ones that many already know.
There were more presentation , especially the ones of NIO and the project grizzly, that may be worth talking about but I am going to stop here and pick the next topic - i.e. people.
Before I start talking about individuals let me mention that I am only going to say good things here and include those people who I thought were interesting in the context of JavaOne.
1. Romain Guy and Chet Hasse did not disappoint the participants when talking about - “filthy rich clients”. I understand the book by the same title is coming out later this year. I will surely like to get a copy of that one.
2. Joshua Bloch is by far my favorite Java grammarian. As always his Puzzlers were difficult, entertaining and educational.
3. Joshua Marinacci and Robert Cooper of the Glossitope team had a very nice BOF about their project. Yahoo widgets and Google Gadgets have created excitement in the adoption of widgets on the desktop. This project provides the infrastructure to build such desklets with java.
4. Andi Gutmens of Zend showed a lot of patience while presenting. There was for some reason blaring music in the background (from one of the adjacent rooms) that was overwhelming and his co-presenter from BEA (who later mentioned he was sick) was barely audible even with the microphone.
5. Mathew Bohm (who was a co-presenter with Craig McClanahan) at some time during his demo actually started dancing and jiving to the music, that played with the demo. It was quite something :) I havn’t seen presenters do this in conferences. The best part was that it didn’t seem that odd either.
Ok time to move on to the next topic - i.e. Participants
1. A lot of people from outside the United States showed up. Nothing unusual but always reassuring that JavaOne is indeed a big event that the world of Java cares for.
2. I think the free t-shirts at the booths were by far the biggest favorites. The Eclipse folks had a little treasure hunt to get a certain number of stamps from the Eclipse Foundation members to get a free t-shirt or a hat. You could suddenly see a lot of java developers of all types lining up at the otherwise fairly sparse SAP booth. I guess it pays to be an Eclipse Foundation member :)
3. IBM stands a chance against Starbucks. In its commitment to Java they took another great step at JavaOne - doled out free coffee to participants who could wait in lines to get it. A lot of participants did show interest.
4. Lines, lines and more lines. Thats what happens when you have so many turn up. The participants waited in lines to get into the sessions, get lunch, get drinks or the free t-shirts. However, the conference was very well organized and kudos to the patience of all the participants.
we finally come to the last of the four topics - Paraphernalia
1. The day 2 evening was the party day. There were parties organized by Adobe, JBoss, Google, IBM and some others. Plenty of drinks and good time to catch up with friends and folks. The lasting effect was the sparse attendance in the day 3 morning general session.
2. The after dark on the 3rd day was a random bag of entertainment programs. It included the grinder as a performer as well. The event just reconfirmed that technology in general and application development with Java technology in particular is a man’s world. Not to forget the battle bots champion was a bot named “subzero”.
Guess that may be all, as a quick summary of JavaOne 2007. Folks chime in if I missed something.