Thursday, June 4, 2009

JavaOne Thoughts and Observations

It's now the second to the last day of JavaOne 2009 and I've had a chance to reflect a bit on what's been going on. First, I have to talk a bit about my experience as a speaker at the conference.

- On Tuesday we got interviewed by Java Talk Radio (who knew there was such a thing!); the interview is available at:

- I had a conversation with Rod Johnson (inventor of the Spring Framework) and he later tweeted that he thought Log4JFugue was a "brilliant" idea.

- Dave Koelle and I gave our presentation yesterday and it was extremely well received. The room was full, not a single person left during the presentation, we got laughs and applause in the appropriate places, and several people approached us afterwards asking to collaborate with us.

- I got to play my Native American Flute during the presentation to illustrate a musical point...and I really enjoyed performing. I think I should do more of that.

- This morning at breakfast I sat down at a table where some people were already sitting, and I said hello. One of the people looked at me and said "Hey, you're that Log4JFugue guy!". That was fun, and it turns out the person wants to work with me on some extensions to the product.

Switching gears to the conference itself several key ideas stand out.

- cost cutting was painfully present in lots of small ways: the conference backpack was very cheap, the food quality was much reduced from previous years, most of the entertainment was recorded rather than live, and most significantly the conference attendance was way down.

- there didn't seem to be an overall theme to the conference. I think the official theme was ubiquity but it didn't feel pervasive.

- no one would touch the question of whether there would be a JavaOne next year...even Larry Ellison who made a guest appearance ducked the question. Its possible that this is due to a "quiet period" required by the upcoming merger but uncertainly is scary.

- dynamic languages or more generally other languages that run on the JVM continue to gain in popularity. I think this is a really good thing. When I went to school engineers were expected to be fluent in multiple languages (assembler, fortran, pascal, prolog, etc). But after a while it seemed to C/C++ and then Java took over and a generation of programmers grew up thinking that they only had to learn a single language. It feels like things are coming full circle back to the notion of using different tools for different tasks. So Java 7 won't have closures? No worries, just write the method needing the closure in Groovy.