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JavaOne 2008 – Day 4

Day four at JavaOne was a bit of a blur due to it’s smaller population and shorter duration. Add that to the fact that I caught a red-eye back home and didn’t sleep all day on Saturday, and Friday and Saturday became one large day. But I digress.

Regretfully I left my notes at the office today, so check back tomorrow for the details on the sessions that belong in this paragraph. But until then…

The best part of Friday was the General Session demo of the Livescribe Pulse smartpen. The Pulse is a regular pen with an IR camera attached that scans a special kind of paper while you write on it. The pen features accelerometers and what I would assume is a pressure sensor that allows it to tell when, how, and what you are writing. It also records all sounds that are happening while you are writing, and can temporally associate the sounds to the written notes on the paper. This can all then be transfered off of the Pulse onto a (Windows only for now) computer and even published to the web, complete with sound and animated writing. The best thing about the Pulse is that it’s based on the Java ME platform and exposes a (apparently complete) development API, meaning pen-based applications can be designed that make use of all of the pens features. I have not yet had a chance to experiment with the API, but it’s on my schedule for tomorrow, so more details are to follow. Until then, check out these YouTube Videos for some more details.

For anyone interested in developing (or discussing the development of) Pulse applications, I started a Ning-based social network. If you were lucky enough to acquire a Pulse at JavaOne, please join!

JavaOne 2008 – Day 3

Day two’s keynote was from Intel, basically the same as AMD’s evening general session yesterday. Blah, blah, blah, we improved JVM performance, blah, blah, blah.

With that out of the way, it was off to Groovy and Grails: Changing the Landscape of Java Platform, Enterprise Edition Patterns, which was unfortunately a bust. I think I’m grails’d out. The only thing new here was a couple new metaprogramming methods that I probably would have found by myself. Not that it was a bad session, it was just the same as the other Groovy sessions so far.

Next came Mylyn: Code at the Speed of Thought. Very cool. I can see Mylyn being very useful, especially when dealing with junior developers. Mik Kersten, the presenter and the Mylyn creator, also noted that there was a “statisticly significant increase in the productivity of a 100-developer test group.” Sounds promising, but I’ll need to play with it to see if it will fit into my employer’s methodology.

There were other sessions, but the only other one worth mentioning was Developing Semantic Web Applications on the Java Platform, which was a panel moderated by Henry Story, Sun’s Semantic Web Evangelist (I want an evangelist job title!) From this session, I was introduced to Twine, Tabulator, GRDDL, and Mulgara. Definitely worth a little more investigation!

Tonight was JavaOne after dark, the closing party held on Thursday night so that everyone can catch a red-eye home tomorrow night. This year’s bash featured Smash Mouth, and turned out to be pretty entertaining when they played a few Zepplin songs before closing the show. (An amused on-looker said they ran out of their own songs so they started playing something people would know!) I was able to grab some video with my camera, which I’ll post to YouTube when I get home, but sadly there was no encore and we were back in the hotel by 9pm.

JavaOne 2008 – Day 2

The general session this morning was not quite the same as yesterday morning’s, which I suppose is understandable, but it was still pretty informative. Today Oracle showed off its developer tools, which are interesting, but being mainly JSF, not very appealing for my own use.

My favorite session of the day had to be Groovy, the Red Pill: Metaprogramming — How to Blow the Mind of Developers on the Java Platform presented by Scott Davis. This session was incredible. Scott speaks like a televangelist and by the end of the presentation seemed to have half the audience ready to stand, shout AMEN, and follow him as a new religious leader. I now have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Groovy is an amazing and powerful language and that I’m going to try my hardest to make it part of some project I’m doing in the near future.

My second favorite presentation was definately Creating a Compelling User Experience presented by Ben Galbraith. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking or new for me, but it was a very well-done presentation on design for the typical Java engineer. Ben made a variety of good points, including my personal favorite, pay attention to users goals but don’t let them design software.

Third runner-up for favorite goes to How to Implement Your Own OpenSocial Container on the Java Platform by Chris Schalk and Paul Lindner. This session basically covered Apache Shindig, which I did not even know existed. Also mentioned in the presentation were Guice and Enunciate, which I will definitely be investigating further.

Not much shwag today, and I didn’t win anything from any of the drawings (despite wearing my Swing Application Platform shirt), but overall a good day. Although if I can request anything from the JavaOne gods, how about a little variety for lunch, or at least a different kind of pasta salad with the sandwiches!

JavaOne 2008 – Day 1

In case any of you missed my tweet, I learned so much today that it actually took me a good twenty minutes to remember what my first session was about!

I eventually remembered, it was The Duke and the Elephant: PHP Meets Java. Interesting concept, but doesn’t seem ready for prime-time quite yet because it does not support JIT compiling the PHP to bytecode like the other scripting languages like Groovy and JRuby do. If you’re interested, the project is WebSphere sMash and it is being developed by IBM and falls under the umbrella of the ProjectZero incubator. It is being developed transparently, the source code is available, but it is not open source.

Session number two was by far the best of the day, JAX-RS: The Java API for RESTful Web Services. This session covered the basics of REST and then went through an incredible live-coded example using the JSR-311 reference implementation Jersey. I love the simplicity of the annotations and the fact that Jersey can run as a Java SE app without a web container opens the door for some interesting implementations.

The next two sessions really weren’t that interesting, but after dinner I went back to the Moscone Center for Jersey - RESTful WebServices Made Easy. This session was not as technical as the JAX-RS session, but still provided some neat demos (including an example using a SunSpot), and offered some insight into the Jersey project. Because I enjoyed the REST sessions so much I’ll be checking out the blog’s of the presenters: Marc Hadley, Paul Sandoz, and Jakub Podlesak.

So far, other than the food, I’m very impressed with JavaOne, and I might even go as far as saying it is better than TheServerSide Symposium was last year. Although the Cult-of-Java is almost as extreme as the Cult-of-Apple, which I do find pretty odd. The keynote was entertaining and interesting, but not that interesting!

Manning eBooks

Last week at the Emerging Tech Conference I dropped my card in the fishbowl at the Manning Publications table to win a free eBook. Turns out I actually won! This morning in my e-mail I found a free eBook copy of Groovy in Action. I haven’t read any of it yet, but I would like to thank Manning for the book, and I will definitely write up a review when I’ve had some time to read though it.

Until then, if you’re interested, Groovy is a scripting language that runs in the Java Virtual Machine. Until the Emerging Tech Conference I really was not all that interested in Groovy, but then I saw a presentation on Grails, a Ruby-on-Rails like application framework that uses Groovy instead of Ruby. The neat thing about Grails is that it’s really just a wrapper around a Spring Framework back-end, including a Hibernate-based persistence layer. I still need a chance to play with the whole stack, but it’s definitely on my list of things to do because it offers a lot of the neat things about RoR without learning an entirely new language and set of libraries. So far the only downfall I see is that like RoR, Grails really doesn’t run on a shared (read cheap) hosting setup, so if you want to put a Grails app into production you probably need a Java App Server, which typically costs quite a bit more the PHP hosting.

The Web Framework Battle Royale

As you have probably guessed from the subtitle of this blog, I’m a Java guy at heart, in most cases I live and breathe Spring. This doesn’t mean my eyes aren’t open to the fact that there are other web frameworks out there, in fact I’ve done my share of experimenting with RoR, CakePHP, and even Django; as soon as I get a chance I’ll also be playing with Grails. With that said, I’m going to step into the ring.

At the Philly Emerging Tech conference last week there was a panel I wish I would have attended entitled “Battle of the Frameworks! A Roundtable Debate - Which Framework Will be Left Standing?” An amazing topic, but with a fundamental flaw; why does only one need to be left standing? There’s a framework for every budget, language, and style of programming out there; different frameworks are what makes the industry grow and innovate. I work for a company that works for big companies, big companies seem to have a tendency of throwing unreasonable amounts of money at simple problems because some other big company has attached their name to a so-called solution. Is this the right way to make a website? Probably not, but I can’t argue with it because it pays my salary.

Once you step away from the “Enterprise” languages and app-servers you find yourself wandering through an interesting new world of start-ups, consultants, and hobbyists. These are the people who push the new breed of framework, they’re also the ones that push innovation on the web, these are the people that invented web 2.0, and the people that will discover web 3.0 right around the time the “enterprise” figures out what web 2.0 really means. The new frameworks are for innovating entrepreneurs, the old ones are for corporate behemoths. If you fall in between, my personal money’s on the solution with the least amount of risk, and I highly doubt that it’s the one that requires a rack’s worth of servers and $250,000 worth of software licenses.

That’s my two cents; for a different perspective, check out Giles Bowkett’s commentary on the web-framework panel, there’s nothing quite like bringing a little Plato to the table when discussing a near-fistfight at a conference panel. (I saw Giles’ presentation on Metaprogramming at the conference, and I have to say, the more I think about it the more interested I’m becoming in the topic, even if it is a Rails thing.) On a related topic, Giles mentions Obie Fernandez in his post, who’s company Hash Rocket offers the service where they design version 1.0 of you website in three days on rails. Mind you, I’m sure this is version one from the 37signals perspective, but do you really need to risk hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time to find out your idea is not going to make it? Besides when was the last time you saw a full-featured Java EE app built in three days? Ladies and gentleman, there’s plenty of room for plenty of frameworks and all of the competition and debate that goes with them; I for one cannot wait until the next contender steps into the ring.

Philly Emerging Tech Day 2

Loved the keynote this morning by Floyd Marinescu the CEO of InfoQ, it probably would have been better yesterday because it introduced a lot of the technologies being covered in the individual presentations, but beyond that, very interesting.

Next, I checked out OpenLaszlo 4.0 - Java ME, Ajax and beyond, I wasn’t too interested, so I don’t have much to say. Next, I attended WS-* vs. REST: Myths, Facts and Lies by Paul Fremantle of WSO2. Paul’s presentation was excellent and incredibly informative on both SOAP-based web services and RESTful services.

As with yesterday, the afternoon was not as good as the morning, I attended Designing RESTful Rails Applications which was mainly because of wanting more information on RESTful applications. This one was a little too Rails-centric for my taste, but it exposed a flaw in REST that eliminated some of the wow-factor in the concept. Apparently HTML does not allow for HTTP requests of the non-GET or POST variety such as DELETE or PUT, which means a web-based front-end is not purely possible. Apparently Rails works around this, but I’m not thrilled with that solution either.

Finally, I attended an excellent presentation on Hibernate Search by Emmanuel Bernard. Hibernate Search is a system designed to capitalize on Lucene’s indexing ability in conjunction with Hibernate annotations in order to map search results to Hibernate entities. Very cool, and definitely on my list of things to play with.

Philly Emerging Tech Day 1

Day one of the conference was pretty interesting, definitely better in the morning that the afternoon, but at least lunch was good! The Keynote was interesting, by Lucinda Holt from Commerce360, an impressive look at being in the right place at the right time and choosing the best horse to back. The first session, on the changes in Spring 2.5, was interesting, but nothing new since I’ve had my nose in the 2.5 docs since the version was released. The second session I attended was on Grails, hugely interesting, and I can’t wait to play with it! The speaker was spectacular, and technology itself looks a lot more promising than RoR because it compiles to byte code and is deployed to a standard Java app server.

After lunch the Ruby session on Metaprogramming was fascinating from a geek perspective, but provided very little in terms of business use for a Java programmer, or a Ruby programmer for that matter. Finally, I’m sitting in an OSGi presentation which is so interesting I’m writing this blog post. Oh well, tomorrow looks to be a little more interesting.

Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise

I won’t be at the TheServerSide Java Symposium this year, but I will be going to JavaOne. To hold me off until then I’m heading down to the Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise at Drexel. It looks like the typical pipe-dream of a java conference with the requisite talks on agile development and web 2.0; although their definition of web 2.0 seem more like RIA with Flex than my preferred definition. As of now, I think I’ll be in the following sessions:

March 26th
March 27th

Assuming the wireless is working I’ll probably be blogging and/or twittering from the conference so stay tuned for my thoughts!