J-Spring 2005

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On Thursday, May 12 2005, the Dutch Java Uusers Group (nl-jug) organised a Java conference entitled J-Spring 2005. This article describes my findings of this conference.

Conferences always seem to have a little exitement over them. On the one hand, many people sharing the same interests as you are gathered together to, well, share those interests. On the other hand, the topics presented show there are many different ways of approaching these shared interests. Attendees will probably ask themselves questions like “Will I be able to teach anyone anything new?” and, especially in case of attendees with much experience in these now so famous interests, “Will I be able to learn anything new myself?” Java conferences are no different. By the way, please note this was my first nl-jug conference and I by no means claim to be a Java expert.
The conference program contained presentations convering tocpis with wide enough spread for anyone to be able to attend anything interesting. Besides that, many companies had provided stands where they explained their point of view with respect to Java. Nothing unusual for a Java conference ;-)
After some introductionary word by nl-jug president Klaasjan Tukker, the day kicked off with Oracle’s Duncan Mills. Duncan explained his view on why customers often have a hard time choosing Java for solving their problems. I suppose his excellent presentation can be summarized by an example he gave himself: An experienced Java programmer he once met complained about the sheer amount of available technologies to solve any part of his problem. Which one to choose? For an encore, Duncan went on to present some new focus points for any serious Java developer : EJB3.0 (POJOs galore!) and JSF. Having played a little with JSF myself, I definately have to have another look again. Duncan showed us how to use JSF to have a single application run in a browser, in Gaim, on a Palm and even in telnet!
Next I attended a presentation about Tiger aka J2SE 5.0. Having worked with tiger for a few months now I didn’t expect to encounter many new features I didn’t know of, which was true. Getting a single, albeit short, overview of these new features was very nice though. Sun’s Matt Hosanee proved to have excellent knowledge about this topic and is a nice presenter as well.
After lunch I attended another presentation by Matt Hosanee. This time he did a presentation about optimizing Java performance including garbage collection mechanisms, heap size tweaking etc. Unfortunately Matt had a way too long presentation for the hour he was assigned to for which he warned us and apologized for in advance. However, once his presentation becomes available online on the nl-jug page we should have a good and extensive introduction into this topic.
Next, Sun’s Raghavan “Rags” Srinivas was up. Rags introduced us to “open *”, or “open everything”. He used this term, invented by himself so he claims, to explain to us Sun’s vision on open source, open standards and open protocols. Quite an interesting topic, I think, and I think he is right in saying that most people don’t realise to what extend Sun is involved in open projects. Perhaps a bit too much Sun evangelism and at some points it appeared Rags doesn’t present much to technically skilled people (he explained the public key mechanism and CVS to us *grin*) but the message is clear: Sun and open * go hand in hand.
The one but last presentation I attended was entitled “A Proof Of Concept For IGN Belgium”. The presentator, Stijn van den enden, explained how his company had received an assignment by ING Belgium for some financial applications. Well presented graphs showed timing and transactional measurements of a few different implementations Stijn and his colleagues have experienced with. Unforutnately, this presentation took too much time to be completed in one hour, so I missed the end of this presentation.
The final presentaion I attended was presented by Rod Johnson and Alef Arendsen and dealt with the Spring Framework. At the beginning of this presentation, Rod and Alef maked clear that this wouldn’t be an introductionay talk about Spring, but would focus on the new and future features of this framework. Having not worked with Spring before, some parts were kinda hard to follow for me. In general, Rod and Alef display a very impressive knowledge about Java/J2EE application development and all the pros and cons of using Java. I guess in some cases they show too much knowledge and take some not-so-trivial details for common knowledge. But despite their warning of not presenting an introduction to Spring, I know have a much better feeling of what this hot framework is about.
In general, I am very pleased by having attended J-Spring 2005. Well organised, fun to attend, interesting stuff to hear about. These words characterize my overall feeling of this day. I’ll be there again with J-Fall 2005 :-)

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