JavaPolis 2005 is in town. Well, not my town, it is actually in Antwerp in Belgium. It is the largest conference on Java/J2EE technology in Europe, with this year attendees from 35 countries. 2005 is the 4th edition of JavaPolis and it may be the first where the number of visitors from outside of Belgium exceeds the number of Belgians. All in all I believe between 4000 and 5000 attendees are expected.
Nice things about JavaPolis are
its price – it’s dead cheap at about $180 for two days of University sessions and another $180 for three days of conference. Another good thing is the venue: Metropolis, are large cinema-complex in the outskirts of Antwerp. Large rooms, theater-style with great visibility and audience capacity of up to 800 or so. Most important of course is the content. And that is quite allright too. Many well-known presenters, authors of popular Java books and representatives from open source projects as well as some evangelists for the major players in the arena cater for in general quite interesting presentations. A broad range of topics, from the latest developments in JEE 5 and J2SE Mustang and Dolphin to important methodologies and prominent open source products. In addition there is the RAD race where 15 teams do a shoot out – whose technology stack will prove most productive. This race was yesterday (Tuesday); the result will be in on Thursday.
The major commercial players have made sure to have a strong presence at this conference. Premium sponsors are Sun and Oracle (and Xplore, a local company). They have both sent a number of their well-known speakers. From Oracle I have seen at least Duncan Mills, Mike Keith, Jonas Jacobi, John Fallows and Steve Muench. Sun sent among others Graham Hamilton and Linda DeMichiel. Other sponsors include BEA, Microsoft, JBoss, Sonic Systems and Borland. From the open source community, well known projects with strong representatives include Spring Framework – Rod Johnson, Alef Arendse, Jurgen Hoeller,Rob Harrop -, JBoss, Eclipse, Apache MyFaces and many more. BEA, Borland and Microsoft have stands at the exhibition. I am not sure though about the presence of IBM. Seems like they have a strong absence…
Next to three hour presentations, one hour presentation-sessions and BoF meetings, there are Quickies. Brief presentations of about 15 minutes to quickly get acquainted with some new topic. Between sessions, there is the familiar low-threshold to get into discussions and idea- and experience exchanges with other conference attendees. And stand in line for the lavatories. (except of course when you are female, though the percentage of women at this conference does not seem too bad; we (AMIS) are making an appearance with 2 women out of 7 attendeed, which is above average, but all in all I have seen much worse).
Main themes and important topics for this year’s conference seem to be: JSF (Java Server Faces), EJB 3.0 (especially for persistence), Agile Development, AOP, Rich UI technologies (apart from JSF there is Wicket, Flex, and others), SOA & WebServices and Business Process Management (BPEL, BPM), as well as many core language features. Then there are more frameworks, such as RIFE, SEAM, Shale, WebWork and tools such as Maven and of course IDEs such as Eclipse and NetBeans.
One buzz-theme I picked up in at least two talks was the "Configuration by Exception" paradigm which states that you only need to configure what deviates from the default, thereby tremendously reducing the volume of configuration data. EJB 3.0 persistence is one great example of this paradigm in action.
By the way, you can tell Belgium is a small country: I think I know approximately one person from Belgium – and here he is, bumping into me during the first lunch break: Didier Laurent of Oracle. And he is very nice too, by the way.
Note that all talks and presentations will be made available on JavaLobbby, The Server Side and the JavaPolis Wiki. This will be around April. Also note that last year’s conference is available on DVD – as this year’s will be too, again around april 2006.