Soundbyte 62: San Francisco


Good morning sounds the most appropriate, as I’m sitting in my hotel room on Sunday evening. The nine hours time difference means that you’re enjoying your breakfast when this gets published. After arriving yesterday and hooking up with my friends, we had some excellent Chinese food in Chinatown in a place with an excellent view. We lost some people due to jet lag, but most of us ended up in an Irish bar for a few beers. A band was playing songs from the 60’s, and we were enjoying the show. Finally, close before midnight, we agreed to call it a (long) day. That sixties band confirmed to me that I really had to start this soundbyte with a classic by Scott MacKenzie. Whilst you might not know his name, I would be surprised if you never heard this song.

This morning started another great and sunny day. This time we hooked up for lunch at Pinoccio’s in the Italian district before going to the opening keynote, which started later that afternoon. Most new announcements regarding the future of Java are usually revealed during this three hour session. We already knew that project Jigsaw, Oracle’s modularity framework for Java, is not going to make it into Java 8. We did see a glimpse of “jmod”, a package manager for Java 8, that allows you to automatically download parts of the JVM and your application and looks mostly like a Linux package management tool. Definitely a step in the right direction. What was immediately obvious was that a lot of attention was given to modularity in general, as this word popped up every other slide. Other news in the Java Enterprise side is the focus on productivity when creating web based applications, multi-tenancy and cloud based deployment. Sound familiar? To me this very much validates our Amdatu strategy and given the roadmaps that were shown today, we are at least two years ahead of the competition here.

There were definitely more highlights, such as a fully functional scene builder for Java FX, which was used to build a scheduling application for the conference. They demonstrated it on the three major desktop platforms and an ARM based embedded platform running Java SE for ARM. From a technical point of view the platform definitely looked solid, but I am still hesitant about the relevance of Java FX since it does not run on the major mobile platforms (iOS and Android). Another highlight was a Netbeans component to write and debug HTML5 and Javascript, running in Google Chrome, directly from the IDE. Changes were instantaneous (in fact you did not even have to “save” the file to see them. Other interesting news are some of the new language constructs that really do seem to help us deal with parallelism more effectively.

So what about the lowlights? There were some. For one, there were a lot of parts of the keynote that were filled with buzzwords with little meaning or substance. Also, attendance was rather low. No figures have been released, but Paul confirmed that there were more people at JavaOne in Moscow when they gave their talk than here. To me this does not necessarily mean that Java is less popular than it was five to ten years ago, when JavaOne was much bigger. Instead, I think the community has grown and become more diverse and decentralised, with many different ecosystems and communities that all innovate on top of the virtual machine. Conferences like Devoxx, EclipseCon, Øredev, JAX, ApacheCon, FOSDEM and JFall seem to confirm that.

Our JavaOne sessions start tomorrow, when Paul and Bert kick-off with a two hour tutorial on mixing OSGi and Java EE, followed by my talk about Apache ACE and using it to deploy modular applications in the cloud. On Tuesday, Bert will be part of a panel discussion on Java EE and the Spring Framework. Next up will be Paul, who teams up with Lincoln to do a talk about all the good stuff in JBoss Forge. Later that day Paul and me will do a session on Leren op Maat, showing how we built that on top of Amdatu and Apache ACE. Finally, Bert and Paul do their real-world Java EE 6 tutorial, where they will try to cover all the relevant APIs in this two hour session. On Wednesday, Paul and Bert will do their familiar Spring to Java EE talk (probably for the last time as everybody should be migrated by now). Finally, on Thursday Mark and HansG will wrap up JavaOne with their talk about Enterprise Search in Action. In total, that’s 8 sessions, something we can all be really proud of!