JavaOne 2006 – Day 3

Day 3… My jet lag is totally gone as I couldn’t wake up this morning. Thankfully Jason knocked on the door to wake me up and we were just in time for the IBM keynote given by Erich Gamma and John Wiegand. During the keynote, they explained the Eclipse development process and its evolution. It was very interesting and they did a good job in not turning the keynote into a company advertisement session. They concluded the general session with a demo of their new team collaboration application called Jazz. Jazz is currently a research project and it is an extension to Eclipse. It had nice feature. For example, it contained a “buddy list” listing all the developers of the project. The ones who were online were clearly indicated and the pictures of the developers who were offline were greyed out. It looked very promising as a collaboration tool but I have the impression that it is going to make part of the Rational tool suite.

Right after the general session, the first technical session I attended was presented by Gilad Bracha. He was a brilliant presenter, which made a big difference in keeping attendees interested in the topic that was presented. I guess I wasn’t the only one noticing his unusual title. Gilad Bracha is a Computational Theologist. I didn’t understand whether this was a joke or not. And later during the day, I checked his home page where it said: “Computational Theology is a term I invented to describe my work on the specifications of the Java programming language and the Java virtual machine. Initially, my work was focused on interpretation of existing specifications. This interpretive work had a legalistic, even talmudic flavor, and these specifications are, so to speak, the “holy books” of the Java platform. Hence the analogy with theology.” I found this very smart! 🙂

After this one, Jason and I decided to go for a different type of session. I followed him to the “Developing a Sony PlayStation emulator in Java”. The first ten minutes of the speech was very interesting. It was a project developed by a single engineer on his spare time. However, obviously, his company didn’t miss this opportunity to advertise their work even though it had nothing to do with PlayStation nor gaming.

During the day, we went to meet the guys in the Amazon stand, being the first proud Amazon integrators outside the USA.

We also talked to Matt Quail from Cenqua. Brendan had asked me to say hello to him on his behalf and I did so. We talked about their upcoming product called Crucible and how we see it perfectly fitting our agile process. They are a great bunch of developers and they are always good in receiving our feedback. We’ve been using their popular products Clover and FishEye for a while with great success. Currently we’re using an alpha version of Crucible and it looks like it’s going to put some more structure around our code reviews.

Without a doubt, this year in JavaOne, the most popular technology is AJAX. You should have seen the queues to get in the sessions talking about AJAX. Everybody is interesting in it because they hear about it mentioned everywhere. I attended a few sessions about various frameworks and another one that was called “AJAX Framework Smackdown”. The interesting thing in this session was that it didn’t only contain AJAX frameworks but it tried to be more generic by including someone form Flex 2.0/Flash team, someone from JSF design committee, and even someone from the desktop UI team. It was a good and very interactive session.

One of the very interesting technologies that I’ve seen in this year’s JavaOne is called JAXX. It is an XML user interface framework used to develop desktop applications. It currently generates Swing code. Having done some Swing development in the past, I know that it can easily become tedious. One of the points that I liked with JAXX was that JAXX files are compiled into Java classes therefore there is no runtime overhead at all. The demos looked powerful and it didn’t seem to have a specific learning curve of its own. I think a Swing developer can use it without any training. Unfortunately it lacks proper tooling support however Ethan Nicholas, the developer behind JAXX project, said that he was thinking about an Eclipse plugin. Debugging a JAXX application is possible through intermediary Java files, which sounds like debugging a JSP by using the Java files generated by the container. I can’t believe it’s the end of the third day already.

After the conferences we went for a quick drink in the Irish Bank, which apparently used to be a Bank of Ireland branch. It’s a nice spot.

Now I’m going to bed and tomorrow is going to be the last day of JavaOne 2006.

– Yagiz Erkan –

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