Yeah, I know, JavaOne is sooooo last week.
Here are a few thoughts in retrospect and some pictures.
“The Zone” of three conference hotels (Hilton, Nikko, and Parc 55) still has its issues, but perhaps I’m getting used to it. I miss Moscone. Most of the hotel meeting rooms aren’t very good for large crowds. They do seem large enough in terms of sheer capacity; I wasn’t shut out of any sessions like in previous years. The problem is that the ceilings aren’t high enough in many rooms, so the screens were too small and too low to see over the tops of the heads of people in front of you.
There were some rough spots with the A/V hookups but most things eventually seemed to get worked out. Capturing video from the presenter’s computer, along with the audio feed, seems to be a pretty effective way to capture the talk. The recordings were posted within a couple days, and I was able to run through a few of the sessions that I had missed. This was quite helpful.
Taylor Street (west of the Hilton) was closed this year instead of Mason to make room for the Taylor Street Café instead of the Mason Street Café. It was mostly the same, though unfortunately it blocked my usual route into the City, which is to go right up Taylor to the Hilton. Other than that, it was quite nice. It’s still kind of odd to sit at a table or on a couch where everything is slightly sloped. IBM provided beer (which is apparently a rare occurrence). The Buzz House serving coffee throughout the day was quite helpful at times. The Candy Bar (pictured below) was quite an innovation and I made it a point to visit daily:
As members of the JDK group at Oracle, we’re always trying to figure out the latest, cutting edge technology to present. And indeed we provide a lot of that. But we constantly forget that there is a broad range of attendees at JavaOne. Many attendees are not on the cutting edge, but they are there to learn about current stuff. To that end, my colleagues Joe Darcy and Mike Duigou and I presented a two-hour tutorial called JDK 7 in Action. By definition there is nothing new here; JDK 7 was released over a year ago. Yet we filled the room.
These people were serious about learning about Java 7. At most sessions people spread out in the room, leaving empty chairs scattered throughout. In this case, 15 minutes before we started, the first several rows were already packed full. Somebody said that after we started, there were no empty chairs left at all in the room. According to the records, there were nearly 200 attendees! Joe did a survey at the start of the talk, and the majority of attendees had Java 6 in production and were looking to migrate to Java 7. (Somewhat fewer were on Java 5, and just a smattering were on earlier releases.) So I think we hit our target audience. I hope we presented material to their satisfaction.
Networking (“the hallway track”) was quite good. I saw some familiar faces from the London Java Community, including the usual suspects Ben Evans, Martijn Verburg, and Trisha Gee. Here’s a picture of Ben in his element:
(I’m not sure how the beer bottles made it into the session room.) Other familiar faces in the hallway track included Sonya Barry, Regina ten Bruggencate, and Cecilia Borg. It’s a bit odd “networking” with other Oracle folks like Sonya and Cecilia. However, they don’t work in my office, and I don’t talk to them regularly, so it’s great to get some in-person time with them. Here’s a pic of Cecilia presenting at the Bugathon BOF:
I also met some new folks (one of the main goals of the hallway track!) including Richard Warburton and Jim Gough of the LJC, and John Yeary of GreenJUG. (Richard, if you’re reading this, I still owe you that email!)
I spent entirely too much time in Jasper’s. In fact maybe the networking should be called the Jasper’s Track instead of the Hallway Track. Jasper’s does have pretty good martinis, though.
Trisha Gee gave a session entitled The Problem With Women, which is rather an unusual topic for a developer conference. It is a problem, though, since there really are too few women in software and in technology and science in general. Here’s Trisha presenting:
There was some presentation but it was mostly an interactive workshop. I did pick up a couple interesting insights. One was an observation from the woman next to me (didn’t get her name) who said that although Barbie dolls are usually considered a stereotype of women (“math is hard”) there is also a line of career-oriented Barbie dolls that includes astronaut, doctor, architect, marine biologist, and even president. This is significant to me as I have a young daughter who I don’t want to fall victim to whatever forces drive girls and women away from science and technology. Trisha has posted a writeup of the session.
Finally, the Community Keynote on the last day of the conference featured a surprise appearance by James Gosling. He gave a demo of the tracking software for the Wave Glider unmanned marine vehicles. This was pretty cool. But what was really cool was the return of an old JavaOne tradition, which was throwing T-shirts to the crowd:
I’ll finish by quoting myself from Twitter: “It made me very happy to see James Gosling at #JavaOne again, throwing T-shirts!”
Overall, an excellent conference. I can’t wait until next year.