Jazoon – Day 3

And the last day at Jazoon has arrived. And what a day! It was really “save the best for last”.

Opening keynote was held by Duke itself – Joshua Bloch. It was a bit of marketing for his new edition of “Effective Java” book, but he showed some pretty complex generics and enum examples. He tried to explain usage of wildcards in generics, by inventing PECS mnemonic – Producer Extends Consumer Super. You should definitely check out his new book if you want to stay on bleeding edge of Java development.

“Java SQL databases” session was held by Thomas Muller, a guy who wrote Hypersonic SQL. He compared open source embedded Java databases – Apache Derby, HSQL and H2. His favorite was H2 (aside the fact that is creator of that one too) because it is much faster and can carry heavy data processing.

“Migrate to Apache Maven”show real world experience moving from Ant to Maven. I am still not so impressed by Maven as I wrote in some of my previous posts. It took them 2 months to migrate their project from Ant to Maven. Too much dude, just too much.

Lunch – cheese with bacon. No comment.

“A quick guide to modern languages” session held by Cedric Beust. Excellent overview of Ruby, Groovy, Erlang and Scala. He showed why should we and why shouldn’t we care too much about these languages. Every has its pros and cons but the real point of story was – don’t give up on Java. Java is still number 1 and is here to stay for a long time.

“eBay’s architecture” session by Randy Shoup. I actually had a pleasure to meet him during lunch. He is a very nice and smart guy. What was really impressive with eBay’s architecture is that everything is automated – scaling, updates, rollout, failure detection and most interestingly eBay doesn’t use any transactions. Super radical but also super practical.

Okay, that’s it for this years Jazoon. Generally, much better then last year, better organization, good speakers but still very expensive comparing to JavaPolis and some other better known conferences.

Jazoon – Day 2

First keynote was held by Ted Neward. Interesting and funny like always. He is a born speaker and gets right to the point. Session was about “Rethinking Enterprise” where the main conclusion was – be cynical, question everything and don’t blindly follow “best practices” because every problem/company/domain is different and there are no best practices.

Then came Roy Fiedling. Right. Ok, he is smart and is creator of REST architectural style, he was Apache chairman, wrote Apache httpd webserver etc. But he is sooo dead boring! He obviously is not a conference guy. He can’t present anything, he can’t keep audience awaken and he is totally unprepared and confusing. All the excitement that Ted gave us, vanished quickly with Roy.

The next session was about JBI and ESBs. It was quite poor. Guy was quoting “Enterprise Integration Patterns” book and gave a very little hands-on experience.

But then came a real delicious session – Joe Walker on DWR and Comet. I am a great fan of DWR so for me it was a must-see session. And it was great. Joe spoke about all the hacks, tips and tricks behind DWR and reverse Ajax. Browser’s world is nasty and mean and Joe explained and obviously mastered it very well.

‘Managing data in SOA’ was next session. Didn’t understand a word. SOA and all WS-* specs together with REST is such a buzz that I can’t hear my thoughts of all the buzzing around. I think we need to give these guys another 5 years so they have enough time to understand these concepts themselves and then to come up in front of us again. I am a low-level developer who need to see things in a real perspective and to see real-world examples how something works before using it on some project.

“AOP meets the real world”… just starting… I have high hopes… see you in one hour…
One hour later: I’m back. Disaster and disappointment. Who brings these lamers to a conference? I am going home. Enough for today. See you tomorrow.

Jazoon – Day 1

Jazoon ’08, international Java conference, has started in Zurich. This is second time that this conference is being organized and I must admit that conference program looks much better this year.

This morning we saw opening keynotes. I was very impressed by Martin Odersky appearance. He is the one who wrote javac compiler and Scala language as well. That guy is on a good road to become a living legend. Scala was in the news here and there for a while, but it seems that now it really picks up.

I was never really a “dynamic guy” and all the hype around Ruby, JRuby, Groovy, Python, Jython etc. I tend to avoid. I believe in the story “use a right tool for a job” but I also think that if you want to use a tool in correct way, you need to master that tool. And who can master all the tools/frameworks/languages that pop up every single day? That is why I stick to Java and try to master its ecosystem the best I can. The war in “dynamic languages” world will probably be over in the near future, and I will celebrate the winner.

But on the other hand, Scala feels a bit different. First of all, it is written by a smart guy who is also a professor at Lausanne University. Secondly, it is fully compatible with Java bytecode. You can seamlessly integrate Scala in Java just as you can do it with Groovy. Unlike Groovy, Scala has comparable performance to Java. Groovy is still very slow, sometimes even 10 times slower then Java. And the main benefit of course is that Scala is fully dynamical, extensible and scalable language with support for type inference, closures and many other interesting things we miss in Java. With emerging tools coming out (Eclipse plugin, “lift” web framework), you should definitely put Scala on your to-do-list.

After Martin, Simon Phipps came out. He is a very nice guy who is also Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems. He is doing a great job of pushing all Sun’s product portfolio to open source community.
I am glad to see that people at Sun are happy when Java clones started to appear (like IcedTea). It shows that they became a serious player in OS market, ready to take up a competitive challenge.

Last keynote was held by Rod Johnson. Same old bullshit – “use Spring, everything else sucks”.

After these keynotes, we had a “lunch”. My God. For the ticket price of almost 2.000 CHF a man would expect to get something more then just a sausage with a salad. Luckily I got a free ticket as JUG leader. Otherwise somebody would be forced to explain me this sausage thingy.

And then came other regular sessions. OpenID session was mega-cool. Unlike mega-complex SAML specification, OpenID is actually written by someone pragmatic. Check it out. If you have a web site that requires authentication, you need to support OpenID!

Hmm, then came the dinosaurs. Canoo guys. I used to like them because of their UltraLigthClient for creating RIA clients. But this time, 3 old guys where babbling one hour about some project where they converted Oracle Forms to equally ugly Web Forms. Everybody was dying and slapping themselves not to fall a sleep. We were all waiting for demo at the end of session. “Uhm, sorry. Demo doesn’t work. Hehe… you know.. these things happen… hehe”. Hmmm, yes. It happens. Next please.

Neal Ford had an interesting session about internal and external domain-specific languages. He showed how you can use Java and Groovy to create domain specific constructs. Very nice.

Tomorrow is a second day. I will go with high hopes and full stomach. Nobody can survive sausages two days in a row.