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Post JavaZone 2007

In other news, this week I attended JavaZone 2007. Here's a wrap-up:

Wednesday

I was going to attend Stephan Janssen's talk on Web 2.5, but unfortunately the room was completely packed when I got there. So I headed over to Johannes' talk. Not surprisingly, his room was stuffed full as well (and appearantly he never got his projector working). So I ended up wandering into Kaare's talk on open source. As always Kaare delivers a quality talk (with cool slides!), but I can't help being slightly disappointed he chose a more exiting and technical subject.

I headed on to catch Craig McClanahan (hey, wasn't that hard to spell) and his talk on jMaki. It's not the first time I've been presented to it, got some of it on Jazoon. jMaki certainly is a platform to be reconed with for JavaScript developers, and I hope it (or something similar) will become a de facto standard for the range of JS-widget libraries appearing today.

Around then I discovered my phone had been constantly been ringing and messaged because I had missed stand-duty on Objectware's stand for about one hour and a half :)

A real eye-opener was James Coplien's talk on the fallacies of Agile. I say eye-opener because, even though I recognize many of his points as common knowledge/sense, we still need to get these points ruffled up again once in a while. He did sink to some low levels in order to get his message through. Actually, he used the exact same tricks of exaggeration, exclamation and statistics as the opposition does (them being agile evangelists). He said "TDD/Agile is fashion", well I have to add that being anti-agile is quite the fashion too these days. I hope his talk (and his mood was shared by many others at the conference) will inspire to more heated, but healthy, discussions at the coming XP- and agile meetups.

I attended Anders NorĂ¥s' great talk on Java DSLs, the interesting 100 KB Kernel talk, Martine Devos estimation talk which didn't really give me anything new. After that I missed a talk because we started handing out beer at our stand :)

Finally, it was Totto's SOA roleplay BOF, and even though it was poorly attended, we got free beer and learned some valuable lessons about software infrastructure, and the industry as a whole. If you didn't understand SOA before this BOF, you certainly got the idea of why the term has appeared and become such a huge area of industry attention.

From there on out there was free beer (unfortunately they "ran out" before I got there).

Thursday

I got up to attend the AOP Java Grid Computing talk, but unfortunately each time the speaker was about to make a point, his insanely americanized but still incomprehensible accent made it impossible for me to keep up. I went to Alex' talk on Test'n'Groove. Definitely a subject I'll look more into.

I went into Matt Raible's comparison of web frameworks. I had already caught the essence of the talk from clicking though the slides earlier on, but still its nice to see Matt on stage. He's a good speaker and I like his pragmatic approach to everything. It's funny, all the really clever developers I know can't stand Matt's whining/opinions/implementations. All the average developers, however, love him because he figures out how stuff works. And that's why he's so popular, I guess. Clever developers like to figure stuff out on their own.

After that it was on to Jacobsen's talk about practices. Same shit, new wrapping, I figure. His "Deck of many practices" is naturally important for project managers who don't know their way around, but for seasoned project managers who have been through the whole RUP and Agile thingie, all these practices should be common knowledge. Nice framework, but we hate frameworks. I prefer to consider them guideline recommendations.

Then I made the stupid mistake of not getting into the how-to-call-a-method-talk (room was too full), instead wandering into an Ajax talk. How dare these guys label their talk with intermediate/advanced? This was frigging JavaScript for beginners. When they tried to explain the concept of manipulating the DOM for the second time after 10 minutes, I left. Loudly.

Then I made an even worse mistake of wandering into Eivind Waaler's Struts 2 talk. Okey, okey, I should've figured out this would be nothing new to me, but I thought "Hey, it's labelled intermediate/advanced as well, so it must be something new". This was an introduction to Struts 2, not a bad one, at that, but it could've contained some strategies on testing interceptor stacks and web integration tests.

Then it was on to the Space Based Architecture by Owen Taylor talk. Now this was JavaZone material! Taylor is by far the best speaker I've seen this year, and the subject of the talk was of course very fitting as we have been playing around with JavaSpaces recently. Maybe you saw the 3D-animation on the big screen inside our stand? That was a distributed ray-tracer image generation application shared between 5 computers (counting 22 CPU cores), sharing the bits of image generation on a JavaSpace!

The bad parts

I'd like to quote Totto (from here):
"We know that the participants need a lot of coffee and mineral water."
There were *two* coffee areas, with two coffee dispensers on each. On thursday morning, the line in front of the coffee was about the same length as before wednesday's lunch (pretty long). There were no water bottles in sight, only tiny plastic cups and jugs filled with water. Look, it's thursday morning, after PartyZone. What I really need is an IV bag filled with soothing water. Bringing a tiny cup into the first lecture ain't gonna cut it :)

Also, be tougher on rating the talks. If the subject is "Introduction to.." , label it green.

Oh, and the chairs! The friggin tiny chairs! I never knew Java programmers were that wide-shouldered. Bad enough that the talks were stuffed, but there was not room for one man on one chair. Keyword squeeze. Nuff said.

Oh, and another thing! If you're a speaker, and you're done with your talk (which you should do on time), don't drag on the time asking for questions if your out of time! Once the clock hits it, say "Thank you" and wait for applause. If there are no questions, say thank you quickly and let the audience applause and leave.

Which brings me onto the audience: Don't leave the room before the friggin talk is done! Even if the speaker has gone past her time, I'm trying to pick up what's being said in the Q&A and your slamming of chairs, feet and doors is giving me a hard time doing exactly that. Don't get up before the talk is done!

The good parts

Well arranged, as always. Good range of quality talks. I enjoyed the topology of the stands and the speaker-rooms. I liked the 360-scene. I like free beer (even though I got very little).

Well, way past my bed-time now. I'm sorry I didn't get to do live blogging during the conference like I did last year and like I did under Jazoon. There's just been too much todo on my hands to be dragging the laptop around with me (not like I would've been able to fit it on my laptop with those tiny chairs). Funny, it just struck me that if you had mixed the good parts from Jazoon with the good from JavaZone, you would've had gotten the perfect conference.

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