JavaPolis 2006 – Back Home

Well, how to say that in a simple way: JavaPolis 2006 was great. Here are more details.

Organisation

First of all, the organisation was amazing. JavaPolis is not organised by Sun, BEA, IBM, Oracle… but by the BeJUG (Belgium Java User Group). Guys like you and me who decided 5 years ago to create such an event that became international and very professional. I‘ve been to many events like that through Europe (sorry, never been to JavaOne in the US) but not of such quality. On top of the quality of the sessions, these guys thought of everything: food, drinks, coffee, cakes, of course, but also free beer on Wednesday night, a distribution of french fries (yes, for nearly 3000 people) and the latest James Bond movie on Thursday night.

Exhibition

Many people were there: big companies of course (BEA, Oracle, Sun…) but also smaller one (Backbase, Perforce…) or consortium (ObjectWeb). I was happy to see some old BEA colleagues and also to be able to thank the Intellij Idea guys who gave me a free license to write my book. I also talked to Java Black Belt and I‘m going to try using their web site for my students… I might blog later abut that. And of course, all these guys had stuff to give you, so here is a photo of the goodies I brought back with me.

javapolisgoodies

Sessions

Keynotes were quite good. They give you the trends of the moment, some hints for the future and so on. Erich Gamma talked about the Eclipse way to develop software. It is based on Agile development with a warm up period of 1 month, short milestones of 6 weeks and a end game before releasing. The cycle lasts one year, is divided into milestones, doesn‘t over stress the team, give them some feedback (thanks to the community) and allows delivering good quality software. Erich, you have to come and talk to my customers, I don‘t think they know how to manage a project.

Marc Fleury again, made a big show by arriving dressed like a rapper with loud music. But what he said was interesting. He talked about open source and the different models you could use: from model 0 (you do it on your spare time) to model 5 (with dual licensing your company can make money out of it). And other interesting keynotes.

I‘ve been to most of the sessions I wanted to go but I also went to a couple that I hadn‘t planned. One that I found quite good was Strategic Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans It was a very clear talk about DDD and how you should model effectively large projects focusing on the customer goals.

Grails by Graeme Rocher was very good too. As a JPA user and supporter I was really interested by the Grails ORM that can sit on top of JPA. You are able to call dynamic methods like Book.findByTitle.sort() or Book.findByAuthor.sort () and it will dynamically interpret that and do the job without you having to define these methods. Something I will be investigating soon.

Java Modules System by Stanley Ho seems very promising because, as they say, it will get rid of the classpath hell. Just wrap jars, resources… into modules and export the classes you only want others to use. Everything will be packaged into jam (java module) files. I asked him if there‘s the intention to do the same with web apps or enterprise app (and have wam files that would contain wars and eam that contain ear) but he said that it‘s only for JSE for the moment.

Spring 2 update by Rod Johnson was a bit disappointing I thought. Rod spent one hour saying that Spring was used by some Fortune 500 companies, how many downloads they do, how a fantastic year they had in terms of release and how wonderful the world is with Spring. We all know how good it is (it brought back the Pojo programming model for god sake, that‘s something) but I was expecting a bit more technical details. Oh, yeah, I was also disappointed to see some XML config files in the slides, I though annotations had killed XML files…. we hate XML files.

My presentation

First and foremost, thanks to Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine for lending me his laptop. I hadn’t mine with me and I just had my presentation on a USB key. He saved my life. My presentation was about JUnit 4 (based on the article I wrote) and it was just a Quicky (15 minutes). I was amazed to see so many people in the room (around 150). If you look carefully at this page you will see a photo of me ;o)

Regrets

Some regrets of these 3 days. I didn‘t get a JavaBlack Belt T-shirt because they only had medium size. What a strange idea to have so many M size in a venue where 95% are men… and big ones sometimes. Oh, and I didn‘t manage to get a Duke ;o(

Conclusion

Well done guys, I will definitely come back next year !!!

Complaints

You always have to bitch about something don‘t you. Because most of the bloggers will complain about the poor network quality, I‘ve decided to bitch about the taxi drivers in Anwerp. The venue where JavaPolis took place (MetroPolis) is out of the city and my hotel was right in the heart of the old town (around 5–7 kilometres). Impossible to get a taxi from MetroPolis. Here you are, in the middle of nowhere at 10pm waiting for a bus that comes every half an hour. Every bus and tram map is written in Dutch and everybody is like you : they hope the bus goes to the right direction. Every morning, when taking a taxi from the town centre, I will tell them ”you know, there‘s nearly 3000 potential customers at JavaPolis, you should come and bring your mates to collect us. That will make you rich and make us happy. Didn‘t work, none came neither their taxi drivers friend.

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