Wednesday, 12 October 2011

JavaOne 2011: Roundup

Having been back in London for a few days I've had some time to digest the madness that was last week.

My lasting impression of JavaOne is almost entirely positive.  Granted, it was my first major conference, so maybe I'm just not jaded yet.  But let me tell you what I loved about it (yes, I did cover some of these in my last post):
  • First and foremost, the people.  I don't remember meeting a single grumpy person. Everyone I spoke to was there to get the most out of the experience, regardless of how many times they'd been previously.  In my experience, techies are not conditioned to be socially comfortable, yet introductions were made and the conversations flowed easily.
  • Of course it wasn't just the attendees who were friendly, the staff and organisers were approachable and helpful, and it was nice to have people hanging around to direct you.
  • One of the (few) advantages of having the event over multiple hotels was the outdoor space between them.  It's unfortunate that it rained,  but I really liked being able to hang around outside.  I especially liked that they had provided power points for your laptop, so you didn't have to be cooped up indoors to update your blog.  I also thought that having to walk between the venues was good exercise, given I didn't make it to the gym last week. However I can see why people want to move the event back to one central location.
  • I personally found the sessions less useful than the networking.  I mostly attended the high-performance / concurrency sessions, but I probably should have been to ones about things I didn't know (e.g. other JVM languages).  My favourite session was Martijn's Diabolical Developer session, but then I'm a fan of stand-up comedy.  
  • Another favourite was the Java Posse live podcast.  I'm ashamed to admit that I've never listened to one before (my excuse: I don't listen to podcasts at all because I don't have a long commute to work, which would be the ideal time).  I thought it was great how everyone felt like a part of the Java Posse and not a passive audience.
  • I really felt that Oracle was trying its best to invoke the spirit of community.  Maybe that's because when I wasn't in sessions or having random conversations, I was in Java User Group or Java Community Process events.  It seems pretty clear to me that the inclusion of SouJava and the London Java Community in the JCP EC has shaken things up a bit.  But then, I would say that - I'm biased.  But the vibe I was getting across the whole conference was that having the community involved in this key decision-making organisation is a step forward.  I would even go so far as to claim that it inspired a number of other players to seriously consider getting on board rather than complaining from the sidelines.
  • On a related note, I really enjoyed the final keynote on community. To me, that was an indication that Oracle takes our participation very seriously.  I liked that it was split into a lot of different interviews and panels, all quite short, which showcased the variety of the Java platform community.  I came out of that feeling pretty warm and fluffy about the future of our technology, and proud to be an active part of it.
Stuff I was not so bothered about:
  • Vendor keynotes.  Pretty dull to be honest.  I understand why they had them but after the first one I didn't turn up to any more.
  • The other bad points I already mentioned in the last post.
Personal highlights:
  • Picking up the Duke's Choice Award (video - note: only seems to work in Firefox for me) for the Disruptor. Yeah yeah, I'll shut up about it at some point, let me have my moment of glory.
  • Co-presenting a session on the Disruptor with Martin.  He invited me to stand up with him when we realised I could go to the event, and I was terrified of the thought.  So I did it.
  • Meeting and being interviewed by the JDuchess ladies.  The video doesn't seem to be available, so maybe I was rubbish, but it was a cool thing for me all the same.
  • Talking about the Disruptor for the Java Spotlight Podcast and the Oracle news guys (again, I can't find the content for this yet).
I had a really brilliant time, and would love to repeat the experience again as soon as possible!

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