Soundbyte 64: What happens in San Francisco, …

7 oktober 2012

In line with Marcel Offermans’ Soundbyte 62, which he entirely wrote in English, I will do the same. We are now a couple of days in the JavaOne conference. We slowly recover from the jet lags that we all suffer from. Every night we do wake up one hour later then the night before (with the exception of the occasions where colleagues or family members from the Netherlands try to call you and only realise too late that it is in the middle of the night in San Francisco). By the end of our stay in San Francisco we will probably sleep an entire night of 8 hours and then we have to leave for Holland again, directly picking up another jet lag.

Anyway… JavaOne 2012. What I noticed this week is the enormous diversity of the quality of the sessions. Some of them are extremely good and well presented, some of them are good but extremely bad presented and some of them really suck (pardon my language, but I don’t know another word). But then again, with between 15 and 20 sessions running simultaneously, there is a lot too choose from. I especially liked the sessions about alternatively JVM based languages, such as Scala, Groovy and others. I think it is very good to not only stick with the JCP driven Java language, but to also experiment with alternative languages, and make them capable of using them in production environments as well. They actually bring in innovation in the JVM eco system, that is being picked by the JCP process. Remember Groovy with its capability of using strings in switch-case statements, they are now also present in java 7, and what about Groovy’s closures, will be present as lambdas in Java 8. Oracle (it is still strange to mention Oracle, where had to say ‘Sun’ for such a long time) called upon everybody to, in one form or another, step up and participate in, help or contribute to the JCP process and make the Java eco system even better in the future.

Another thing I picked up from the conference is JavaFX 2.0, the successor of Swing. For you all who don’t know JavaFX, it is a user interface library and platform for creating modern java application UIs that feature rich graphics, animation, media, controls and more. The good is that JavaFX applications do not require web start, but can be deployed standalone or be embedded in web pages as well. It is possible to actually package JavaFX based UIs in .APP (MacOSX) or .EXE (Windows) executables and distribute them via the app stores of the Mac and the Windows platform. I liked the fact that CSS can be used to style and skin your UIs, the scene builder to rapidly lay out your UIs in a Visual Basic kind a way (ouch ;-)), alternative JVM based languages such as Scala (ScalaFX) and Groovy (GroovyFX) can be used as well and it’s support for HTML. Exciting times for the UI people I think. The pressure of supporting the iOS platform is increasing, so it seems to be a matter of time to be able to create rich iOS apps using JavaFX as well.

The best (?) was saved for last as a surprise guest showed up at the community keynote, the ‘father of java’ James Gosling. It was his first appearance at JavaOne since he left Sun and before Oracle acquired Sun. He presented his work at his current employer Liquid Robotics, where they produce autonomous, wave powered robots for marine data collection. His biggest problems where to keep its energy use and data transfer at an absolute minimum. Data is transferred via satellites, costing $1 per kb. “We don’t have a Big Data problem”, Gosling said. He mentioned that the latest generation robots employ and ARM processor running Linux and he showed of a java Swing application that uses ‘World Wind‘ libraries for its geo maps. Gosling comments on the java Swing application saying that he loves HTML, especially jQuery, but there are things you simply can’t do using HTML.

In line with the saying about ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas‘, I would like to extend that saying to the JavaOne in San Francisco ;-)… with the exception of one thing. On wednesday Oracle arranged a concert from Pearl Jam for all 50.000 people from the Oracle OpenWorld and the JavaOne conference. The evening started with ‘Kings of Leon’, after which Pearl Jam entered the stage. The evening ended with a performance from an old punk band called ‘X’. Pearl Jam was phenomenal and the crowd turned wild when they started playing ‘Alive’. I will therefore end this sound byte with a video of Pearl jam performing ‘Alive’, The video was taken by me personally using my iPhone… Enjoy…

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