Java2Days 2010 – Overview

 This week has been inspired by the power ot Java (this is how a movie like Javatar would probably start).

Offtopic

java2daysAnyway, I'm glad that I attended Java2Days event this year. It's been my second Java2Days event including the one in Oct 2009 (which I described in my Bulgarian blog with auto Google translation in EN). After few years being highly coupled with Java, I decided to do some freelance which lasts for about 2 years now. Meanwhile in addition to Java I've studied plenty of new technologies - PHP and Python in depth, different frameworks down there, few abstract programming structures for specific projects, set-top boxes etc. This makes me feel even more proud being a participant of such an event: now I am able to truly compare scripting languages and Java, dynamic against static typing in different cases - small and medium size projects, enterprise applications, distributed systems. 

Also, as a trainer in different Java-specific trainings (currently Java for QA engineers for VMware and Java EE in the Technical University of Sofia) it's priceless hearing the gossips 'from the back yard' and exploring new features from people being involved in the real process. Thanks to everyone who was passionate enough to talk on topics related to JEE, Spring, Wicket, HTML, mobile techies, Objective-C and others.

Trainers

As always, the Java community presented some of the best shots in the' training industry'. It would be really unbelievable to see Gosling on the stage, but anyway other experienced developers/directors charged the field in the right way (the light way, talking of Java).

The two trainers I was specifically waiting for this year were Andrew Lombardi and Josh Long. These were the guys I enjoyed most last year (including Heath Kesler who couldn't show up this time). Reza Rahman and John Willis also had some great moments for the public. This year all of them did their best one more time - thanks again!

There were also another speakers that I noticed this year. Alexis Pouchkine, Oleg Zhurakousky, Vassil Popovski, Arun Gupta. Eugine Ciurana made a great show 'waking up' the crowd with some jokes and live performance. 

Lectures

Java2Days this year was a mix of 3 conferences - Java2Days, Cloud2Days and MobileDay. Most of the people around (including me) expected Mobile2Days conf with mobile activity the first day, but it turned out that the mobile session is only for the second day.

The focus on Java this year was JEE and the Spring Framework. Scripting languages in the JVM also took part in the 'big three' of the list. Last year there were more presentations on different frameworks from the platform - JSF, GWT, Wicket, Spring and others. I kinda like the flame between different framework evangelists ;)

The introduction Java EE 6 lecture described some of the new features included in the JEE6 (released an year ago). So far every popular application server (and IDE) supports JEE6 fair enough to use it properly. There are noticeable performance improvements, optimizations (code-reducing ones), taking into consideration annotations (instead of the thousand XMLs) and a bit more convention over configuration (which could be a two-sides blade, but most of the time is time saver). 

Long and Zhurakousky presented Spring Integration 2.0 and Intro to Spring. It has been something between a discussion between them both and a stand-up show - Oleg was the sales manager of Spring and Josh was the interested client eager to learn that technology. It was really entertaining, good slides as well and nice overall performance.

Reza presented the DI for JEE - dependency injection was something we could have seen in Spring, but now it's fully supported in JEE (with CID as well). Some demos and real situation examples were demonstrated in this session.

After the lunch break I've been waiting for Andrew's performance. He did another Wicket presentation similar to the one in 2009. This time he recorded a screencast of his creating a Wicket demo. The screencast was recorded during the previous session so it has been almost 'on air' :) Wicket seems a neat framework to try especially if you work closely with designers (who insist on their plain HTML) and need some performance (seems way lighter than JSF for example). Another benefit of the Wicket stuff is the component-oriented architecture, ability for plain URLs (better SEO optimization) and others. Talking with Lombardi during the break we discussed different opportunities to use Wicket in a CMS system. Two existing solutions are Brix and Hippo (both in my testing TODO list).

Vassil Popovski presented the RESTful services topic. As a lead QA manager of VMware he demonstrated REST samples with some testing over there, with plenty of demos creating a bug reporting application. Good performance, real samples, nice work.

Second day I paid less attention due to additional work online and a meeting in the afternoon. Anyway, Gupta did another entertaining demo on Java EE platform as a start.

Eugene joined the sessions for day 2 as a second speaker in Vitosha hall. Gupta is a good speaker, but he's less dynamical and too monotonous for first lecture. Even though topic and demos were fine, all the guys were still sleepy before Eugene. The guy started singing "Who let the dogs out" and made us sing with him (some role singing), which naturally turned attention back to him. He proved himself as the open-source evangelist we've heard him to be. 

At 11:30 we attended the Froyo session in the Mobile hall. I was honestly disappointed on that - as a creator of Android application I expected to hear something meaningful. Despite that after 10 minutes of listening 50% of the attendees left the hall and went to hear another sessions. Nothing useful, nothing Android/Froyo related. 

After that session Emo Abadjiev has presented an interesting presentation named Objective-C for Java developers. Emo was a CEO/CTO of mine in Insight technologies and I have never seen him as a speaker. That's where the pleasant surprise came from - Emo demonstrated great technical and speaking abilities and proved his potential to be a pro trainer. It was really nice to hear his Objective-C story demonstrating his experience with writing for Apple hardware after many years with Java.

The last session I attended was the HTML 5 lecture - again from Andrew Lombardi. Useful theory, plenty of examples, great presentation show, the hall was crowded. That should be descriptive enough. Seems like Andrew was really surprised that there were many people using Opera in there and only 2 of the guys owned Mac machines. Well, pure truth - we still use Opera either on our own, or for testing purposes of web applications. And the Mac machines are usually PCs with Linux/BSDs around, so that's where that all comes from. 

Summary

I would really look forward to attend the next Java2Days here in Bulgaria. I hope that all of the great speakers would return and teach us something new and spicy. Also a good thing to think about is developing the MobileDay into Mobile2Days paying attention to development for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry (three of them has Java APIs to be used). Another interesting topic after the return of the scripting languages is Groovy and Grails with it. VMware are a general sponsor of the event and as they obtain the rights over Groovy, that shall be no that hard.

Another great reviews:

Ivan Ivanov

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7 thoughts on “Java2Days 2010 – Overview

  1. Ivan St. Ivanov

    Hi Mario,

    I personally expect more Spring talks next year. Oleg and Josh were great, but the Java EE 6 crowd seemed to be more aggressive this time. I missed Rod Johnson’s passion when talking about Spring and Java EE. Waiting for Ben Alex’s talk on Devoxx to see what’s coming in Spring 3.1.

    I also hope that we’ll see more Scala/Lift. Not only on Java2Days, but also in other events nearby.

    Cheers!
    Ivan

  2. admin Post author

    Hi Ivan,

    Great review – thanks for sharing with us. As for the talks, I actually believe that if we set half of the lectures to a given specific technology, we better name it JavaEE2Days or Spring2Days or something after that. Java is a technology broad enough to present plenty of features and powerful samples not only into JEE and Spring. Also, as you know Spring is not into the standard and being a main topic in a Java event is really out of focus in my opinion.

    My best suggestion is having 2-3 lectures of JEE, 2-3 of Spring, few mobiles (different ones), few cloud, different frameworks, maybe something more innovative like Echo2 or advanced Wicket with plugins, scripting and languages as Scala as you said etc.

    I have an invitation for Devreach event for MS guys but I’m too busy next week and I’ll pass. However in BG the regular international programming events are Java2Days and Devreach – each covering the neat stuff for Java and .NET. There are few Eclipse camps and other workshops for CMS systems and platforms (with almost 100% local trainers) and we have lack of specific seminars with people from the core themselves.

  3. Oleg Zhurakousky

    @Ivan

    Great comment and I also admire your blog (was having some hard time logging on so i’ll comment here)
    “JEE crowd was more aggressive” – yes they were. But IMHO throwing flames is the sign of weakness and that is why I won’t even comment beyond what I just said about the root of their aggression and will leave it up to them.
    “I missed Rod Johnson’s passion when talking about Spring and Java EE” – trust me, the passion is there, however you must realize that although Spring did came as an alternative to J2EE in the Enterprise Java landscape and comparing Spring and J2EE was relevant at the time, Spring has moved on and JEE/DI concepts take a very small fraction of the entire Spring stack today so comparing the two would be simply misleading. In fact the latest TSS thread (http://www.theserverside.com/discussions/thread.tss?thread_id=61023) which essentially became community vs JEE has proven just that, where quite a few people said that although JEE finally came up with usable and viable DI container a typical application of today needs way more then just DI and EE has yet to offer us an alternative for integration, batching, productivity, security and interoperability and now we are entering the age of the cloud. . . So the bottom line is that although JEE still tries position itself as an alternative to Spring they fail to mention that what they offer is an alternative to a very small fraction of Spring’s offerings. What they also fail to mention is that (in all fairness) as a developer you really don’t care about Spring, Struts, EE etc. . . you have a job to do and the only thing you care about is finding the shortest and simplest path to get the job done and Spring has become that path for many. But at the end of the day it is your decision and my job as a speaker and a developer is to make you aware of the technology and I’ll leave flame throwing to others.

    @admin (peshev i believe)
    Yet another informative and objective post.

    I want to quickly comment on the whole ‘standard’ issue. We rarely think about the meaning of some words and take them for granted especially if the word is present “as is” in many different languages (I know it is the same in Russian and I am pretty sure it is in Bulgarian). But here is one of the definitions of the word ‘standard’ from Merriam-Webster.

    “. . . something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example. . .”

    Although it starts with ‘authority’ it also lists ‘general consent’ which means that *standard* especially in the community like Java can not and must not be imposed. It should evolve naturally and possibly documented and managed later after the evolution process reaches certain state. This simply means that neither Oracle nor Spring should be in the business of imposing a standard. You – the community should chose one. JEE is a specification (nothing more) which defines a certain programming model, but i would never call it a *standard* until I see that the majority of the community has accepted it. And further more, Spring, Struts, Ruby etc… much better fits the definition of standards simply because of its adaption by the community which you are one of the representatives. The bottom line is you decide what is a standard. My job is to try to win yours and others vote by giving you a technology that you find most useful and convenient so you can get the job done. Branding it with a standard is somewhat meaningless either way. If no-one follows imposed standard, but everyone follows branded alternative, the end result is still the same – we can work together as a community and Spring has always listen to what the community has to say and that is why it had become what it is today.

  4. admin Post author

    Hello, Oleg,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Don't get me wrong. I am not standing against standards. It is always good to have an alternative (that is exactly what we have more than MS guys do). Also, Spring has been on the market for about 6 or 7 years (correct me if I'm wrong) and it has definitely been set as a non-formal standard in many companies and organizations.

    Another benefit for Spring is it's relation to different types of technologies – including the Grails framework based on the Groovy language. Congrats on that.

    It's just that I do not see Spring as a face of Java. We could have additional Spring event here, but it's good to have few different topics from the Java world on a conference like Java2Days. :)

  5. admin Post author

    Yeah, sounds like a great idea to do some specific Spring-based event. We could probably arrange something for February (in 2 months it's time for Christmas and New Year holidays). 

    Are you interested in something like that? Perhaps you and some of your colleagues from the Spring community could join the event and enlighten us? 

    Best regards,
    Mario

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