JavaOne is over! But before we cover the last day, back to day 3.
I’m still marveling about the Treasure Island party. Terri Nunn of Berlin said that “Oracle gives the best f*****g corporate parties!” and she’s probably right. I have never been to a corporate party on this scale, well, except for last year’s Oracle party. In fact, I’ve never been to a party of any kind that big, ever.
There were almost too many bands. I would have liked to have seen the English Beat but they played early and by the time we got onto the island the set was almost over. We heard some of Berlin but we were trying to get food at the time. I caught most of Don Henley’s set, which was great. Like all of us, he’s getting older, but he seems to be taking care of his voice. He sounded pretty good. I popped over to see the Black Eyed Peas for a little bit, but I just don’t get them. I’m really out of touch. When people started talking about Fergie I thought “What does the Duchess of York have to do with this?”
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Looks like highlights videos from the keynotes are up on the web now. Check out http://medianetwork.oracle.com and click on News and Events and then choose JavaOne or Oracle OpenWorld.
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We had another fabulous lunch at Henry’s Hunan!
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Today’s sessions included Hardcore CSS with Rich Bair and Jasper Potts. I knew most of this stuff since I did my share of work on it in JavaFX, and I wrote a bunch of the manual, but I wanted to be there and show support for the team. The power of using CSS to control region backgrounds and borders and shapes is really amazing and I give Rich and Jasper a lot of credit for thinking it up and implementing most of it.
I also attended Rich GUI Testing Made Easy given by my colleague Alex Ruiz and Yvonne Price. The talk was basically about using the FEST to test Swing GUIs. The code was a bit small to read but I picked up on a few key concepts.
The last session I attended was Concurrency Grab Bag by Sanjin Lee of eBay. This was a discussion of various concurrency issues and “gotchas” they’ve run into at eBay. I was familiar with most of the material already but it was good to see a treatment of the material rooted in practice, as compared to the somewhat more academic approach from people like Goetz and Lea. I’d have thought that the conference was winding down at that point, but the session was packed and there were lots of questions. In fact, I think this was a repeat performance of the talk. The earlier one was probably so popular that they had to schedule a repeat session. [Update: slides here.]
This session was in fact in the last session slot of the conference. The audio tech put on Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) as people were leaving the room, which I thought was a nice touch.
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I usually find the end of a conference a bit melancholy, as people drift away, take off early to catch their planes, leaving the final sessions sparsely attended and the conference center lonely and empty. This was a bit different. The conference hotels were as crowded as ever, buzzing with new batches of tourists, business travelers, airline staffs, etc. checking in.
Workers were scurrying about tearing down all the JavaOne and OpenWorld paraphernalia. A few JavaOne attendees were hanging around. It was pretty easy to spot them: developers’ sense of fashion contrasted sharply with the snappy Japanese airline crew uniforms and with the trendy European tourists. Oh, the laptops helped give it away too. 🙂 I wandered around a bit longer but it was clear that there was nothing left for me to do but go home.
On that note it’s time for me to recap of my impressions of the conference.
This JavaOne was unique in many ways, not only because it was the first run by Oracle, but because it was the first not in Moscone. Sure, there were activities and events and keynotes at Moscone, but those were primarily OpenWorld events. JavaOne itself took place in two conference hotels, the Hilton Union Square and the Parc 55. (The third conference hotel, the Nikko, seemed dedicated to Oracle Develop sessions.)
I have to say that I didn’t like having the conference in the hotels. Even within the same hotel, the rooms were fairly spread out. Then there was the matter of getting between the hotels. It seemed like you were forever going through the back door to get in. At the Hilton, you either walked in through the garage or you used the employee entrance! (But the latter made it easy to punch your Hilton employee time card on the way to the next session.) The hallways were narrow and between sessions they were quite crowded with people trying to get from one area to another.
The rooms were all too small and so they filled up quickly — too quickly. As an Oracle employee I couldn’t reserve places in the session rooms. This was irritating but understandable — paid conference attendees should indeed have priority. But I also heard that even paid attendees had trouble getting in. Some popular sessions were filled even before the conference started.
Since the conference was spread out, there were no obvious gathering places like there were in Moscone, like the movie/game area upstairs in Moscone South or the beanbag area downstairs in Moscone North. If you hung out in one of those places for a few minutes, you’d be guaranteed to see someone you knew and hadn’t seen since last year’s conference. This kind of networking is what conferences are all about! In the hotel setup, the foot traffic all led through various rabbit warrens of corridors, so there was no central gathering place or main artery of traffic. Things just seemed all scattered and disorganized and it was really hard to find people. There were people I knew were at the conference, but I just never ran into them. That didn’t seem to happen before.
It’s not at all clear to me that there is any benefit of combining OpenWorld and Oracle Develop with JavaOne. (With the possible exception of JavaOne attendees getting to attend the Treasure Island event.) I don’t know if there was any cross-pollination. The only JavaOne things at Moscone were a couple keynotes; everything else there was OpenWorld stuff the suits attended. Also, as I mentioned, Oracle Develop seemed segregated in the Nikko. The only effect that combining the conferences had was to make things more crowded and expensive and to push JavaOne out of Moscone.
The technical program seemed a little flat as well this year. Maybe this was because there were some talks I wasn’t able to attend because they were full. It also might have been because of Google’s last-minute pullout. I heard they had 13 sesssions and 6 BOFs. But I also think it’s because of a development slowdown caused by the waning days of Sun and the transition to Oracle. It took a lot of energy to get through that, and a lot of people left before and during the transition, so that took away from developing stuff that could have been presented at the conference. A lot of plans and roadmaps were announced, and there seems to be renewed momentum around Java development at Oracle, so let’s hope this will lead to more material for next year’s program.