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.