Looking around at JavaOne 2007, scanning the crowds of fellow conference attendees, something made me wonder: am I a geek? I like to think of myself as a man of the world, someone with a broad interest in a wide variety of subjects, a firm grasp on the world around me, well versed in the political and to some extent cultural debate. I like my sports, my books, my family and friends… I am not sure what it is that makes you qualify for geek-ness, but I never actually thought I fitted in.
Now I have started to wonder. I have been in lines longer than those for the most popular attractions at major themepars, just to attend a session on JMX. I have discussed SCA over breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have cried bitter tears after having been turned away from a room that was packed for a presentation on JavaFX Script. I have made fun of Eirik for photographing screenshots with basically some command prompts until he pointed out that that was pretty rich coming from someone spending his free time in San Francisco sitting in his hotelroom programming charts in SQL… My fellow RD(O)FMs convinced me that I have got more or less everything it takes to be geek. In abundance. So let me wear it as a badge of honor…
To prevent you from getting a wrong idea about the crowd at the conference though
, I should point out that it is actually a pretty mixed crowd. It’s developers and architects, administrators and testers, the odd functional or business analist. Its men and women (a much higher percentage than I think would attend such an event in The Netherlands). It young and somewhat older. Its people speaking many different languages – in addition to Java, Ruby and Groovy. I have attended presentations by people from BR, IE, UK, DK, US, DE, FA, CA, (listing countries by their iso code (or Locale setting): is that somewhat geeky too?)
JavaOne 2007 has a lot of Q&A, or should I say Queue & A? We are standing in long lines a lot – waiting to get admitted to the next session. Queuing for Servlets, Portlets, Facelets, Weblets, Midlets and Toilets. There are some 10 parallel sessions in most slot, with rooms having capacity ranging from 500 to 1500 or so. The least attended session I attended still had over 250 people. There is ample opportunity to talk to fellow programmers and architects, peers from everywhere. There is also the option to speak to the experts, the guys (well, it is mainly guys) whose names you know from book covers and discussion forums. Java ‘geeks’ are typically very nice people. Open, passionate, eager to learn and to share. (I sound like a marketing brochure, don’t I?).
JavaOne 2007 must be one of the hottest events on the planet in terms of wireless activity. Almost every other person has a computer device – from laptop to PDA – for reading (and writing) mail, writing blogs, trying out the software that is being discussed on stage etc. Between the sessions there is fierce competition to get to the power sockets – that’s the one thing that’s not wireless yet. You can have a hard time finding your way across all the legs laying around in the corridors, attached to people typing away at yet another blog.
The real zoo out here was the Java Pavilion, the exhibition ground with many dozens of vendors presenting their Java related offerings. Some have a pod – a small desk with 2 square meter of wallspace, others a 30 by 30 meter ‘booth’ with many pods, presentation theaters, bars and many many giveaways – the so called goodies. I am proud to declare I have scored exactly one goodie; proud in a sense that some people are somewhat unrestrained in scouring the various booths for stuff to take home.
JavaOne 2007 at least to some extent about finding new inspiration. Getting ideas for new avenues to explore. Being convinced of trying out some things. And getting enthused.
For me that has happened. I am bringing home a pretty long list of things I am eager to start looking (further) into. The list includes: SCA, JMX, JMeter, GlassBox, JavaFX Script, Groovy, JMaki, Open ESB, Apache Tuscany, BD-J, Spring & AOP, OSGI, EclipseLink, Project Wonderland (https://lg3d-wonderland.dev.java.net/) – open source project for creating SecondLife-like 3D Worlds that can run desktops in 3D projection) and DarkStar game server, Mobile Devices, Oracle Coherence and – I probably should try it out at least once – NetBeans. I will also go on with the work I am already doing with JPA, JSF, GlassFish and JEE in general
I am writing this blog as I am watching the James Gosling Toyshop session. He has just brought on stage BluRay – the next generation of High Definition Television, the successor of DVD, now available in retail shops. A BluRay disc has 50Gb of storage. Most players have persistent memory as well as internet connection. BD-J is the application environment we can use to develop BluRay applications, superimposed over the movie or other disc content. See: http://www.blueboard.com/bluray/. It looks interesting! As a demo of what can be done, BD Live Players were demoed – BluRay players connected to the internet. Allow social networks of people watching a movie together, playing for example trivia games on line. Or tap into background information on the internet on actors, geogrpahical locations etc.
Note that in four weeks time, all presentations – slides, audio and transcripts – will be available on line. To watch on line the sessions we missed in reall time, available also to everyone who could not attend in San Francisco this week.