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JavaOne 2006 Notes

This major Java event was one of the largest conferences ever

This major Java event was one of the largest conferences ever. Sun Microsystems deserves a lot of credit for accommodating the needs of thousands and thousands of people so efficiently and smoothly. The electronic registration for the show and receiving a special badge with an embedded chip took less than a minute. The auditoriums in which the technical sessions were held were huge - each holding between 700 to 1,000 people. How long did it take to check enrollment and let all these people into the room? Less than 10 minutes. This is clearly registration 2.0. For the most popular sessions, meeting planners arranged so-called overflow rooms in which people could watch a live video broadcast of the session on two huge screens. Serving lunch was another wonder. Fast food chains can only dream of being this efficient. Imagine hundreds of people moving into a huge food court non-stop. The entire lunch process took 10 minutes, unless you wanted to network with other people.

It seems that the slogan of show was "Innovation Happens Elsewhere." At least several executives kept repeating this mantra, meaning that Sun will keep its eyes open, watch what their competitors are up to, and try to learn from them and do better.

Brazil was another highlight of the show. Java is on the rise there, and JavaOne attendees from this soccer-or-die country are slowly considering playing with Java for a change. They were wrapped up in green and yellow flags, and, I would not be surprised if soccer is played at next year's conference. Go Brazil, go!

On the technology side, the most attention was given to NetBeans/GUI and Java ME. I didn't feel the same energy from the Java EE camp.

NetBeans 5.0 offers a nice GUI designer, and I was also impressed with the ease of internationalizing Swing applications. It automatically extracts all hard-coded text from your program into a properties file; just type in the translation of these words/phrases next to each other in a text editor. But Swing programming, with its custom look and feel, listeners, and layouts, still has a lot of room for improvement. As Sheryl Crow sings, "No one said it would be easy, but no one said it'd be this hard." Finally, a JSR was created for data binding and its pre-alpha version was demo'd at the show. "Here's the code before with property change listeners, and here's the code after." Not good enough. It's still difficult. Please take another look at the component-based programming. Look at MXML from Adobe. Look at XAML from Microsoft. The GUI innovation elsewhere is right there. I want to drive your car, but I don't want to know how the engine operates. Give me a minimum of public interfaces like an accelerator and brake pedals, a steering wheel, and tell me how to turn the music on. The argument that Swing offers great flexibility but complexity comes with it would have been fine 10 years ago. I want a simple and flexible GUI tool/framework, and I want it now.

AJAX-related topics were also popular, but mostly because everyone has heard the buzzword, and they were trying to figure out if it's good for anything else other than Google maps. No, JavaScript is not my programming language of choice. Some vendors were pushing their AJAX frameworks, but none of them looked serious to me.

Of course, the question of whether Java will be open sourced was raised. Rich Green from Sun gave a politically correct answer, "The question is not when, but how." Where do people learn to give such open ended answers? This phrase doesn't mean yes or no. Java is a lot bigger than Sun Microsystems, but Sun controls this JButton. I don't really want Java to be open sourced, as long as Sun starts moving a bit faster when it comes to responding to requests from the Java community. For example, they maintain an online list - Top 25 Java Bugs (http://bugs.sun.com/bugdatabase/top25_bugs.do ). People can vote for a particular bug to get the attention of Sun engineers. Guess what? Some of these bugs are 6-7 years old. If Sun can offer a faster way of fixing bugs and implementing the most requested language features, there is no need to open source the language. Just give an HTTPResponse for each of our HTTPRequests. Unfortunately, we are still getting the 404 error quite often. The Java Champions program should help in relaying the feedback from the masses back to Sun's engineers.

Having said all this, I'm taking my hat off to Sun Microsystems for putting on such an amazing event as JavaOne 2006. This was not just another technical conference. This was the best event that Java developers could attend. Try to be there next year.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

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Most Recent Comments
Scott Smith 06/09/06 01:48:49 PM EDT

I don't know what sessions Mr. Fain was attending, but it most certainly did *not* take "10 minutes" to get everyone into technical sessions. There were lines that stretched back and forth across the Moscone center to get into events. I missed the first 20 minutes of a session I showed up to get in line for 15 minutes before it began and I was in the middle of the line! The registration process was a complete abortion, miserable. It forced you to bug out of sessions 15 minutes early in order to race to stand in line at the next session, and heaven forbid you have 2 sessions in the same room back to back - you had to leave the room and re-enter. The new process took away a lot of what I really like about JavaOne, the free-flowing way of being able to float from session to session. I'd much rather have to sit in the aisle on the floor or against the wall in a crowded session and hear the whole presentation than stand in line for 20 minutes and not here half of what I came to see.

JDJ News Desk 06/08/06 09:40:19 AM EDT

This major Java event was one of the largest conferences ever. Sun Microsystems deserves a lot of credit for accommodating the needs of thousands and thousands of people so efficiently and smoothly. The electronic registration for the show and receiving a special badge with an embedded chip took less than a minute. The auditoriums in which the technical sessions were held were huge - each holding between 700 to 1,000 people. How long did it take to check enrollment and let all these people into the room? Less than 10 minutes. This is clearly registration 2.0. For the most popular sessions, meeting planners arranged so-called overflow rooms in which people could watch a live video broadcast of the session on two huge screens. Serving lunch was another wonder. Fast food chains can only dream of being this efficient. Imagine hundreds of people moving into a huge food court non-stop. The entire lunch process took 10 minutes, unless you wanted to network with other people.

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