Java2Days 2011

Java2Days 2011
   Despite not winning a free pass this year I decided to attend the Java2Days conference again. Good or bad this is one of the three really serious technical conferences in Bulgaria (the other two being MS Days and DevReach). Just like last year I was left with mixed feelings from the conference.

   The event was organized better than the previous installment and was held in Inter Expo Center again. There was enough coffee and water this time and the registration went smoothly. A good number of the speakers were well-known foreigners a great deal of them working for VMware. However there were things that failed badly just like last year. Some microphones did not work and projectors were tilted. In comparison the similarly priced DevReach has almost perfect organization in much better venue with even more world famous speakers. The biggest fail however is not on the side of the organizers. I believe there are more Java developers in Bulgaria than .NET developers but still the conference had about half the attendees (measured visually) the .NET conferences get. It seems like the Java community refuses to pay for events just like it refuses to pay for software tools. On the bright side it seemed like this year the conference had more attendees than last year (again measured visually so I might be wrong).

   Most of the presentations were focused on enterprise frameworks and cloud computing software mostly in the Spring ecosystem. Those were boring for me because I have zero experience with enterprise Java. The real disappointing part was that half of the interesting sessions were pretty much the same as last year. Namely Andrew Lombardi's talk on HTML5 was just an updated version of his last years talk and Vassil Ditchev's talk on Scala contained absolutely nothing new. I am quite happy to attend Scala talks but I do not need to see the same introductory talk every year. Andrew's session was fun because he is extremely good presenter. He incorporated the tilted projector in his talk and I am starting to doubt that he tilts it on purpose. The best part of the session was Andrew's answer to a question about Flash:

   "I would like to claim that Flash is dead and you should never use it but… the last guy who did that died. So…"

   There was a good talk on regular expressions by Staffan Nöteberg that started with some of the mathematical background which I found really cool. I had high expectations for the talk on JavaFX 2.0 by Michael Heinrichs from Oracle but as it turned out it was pretty boring list of controls and animations added in the new version. The talk contained no actual code and no mention of the new XML language or the strategic value of the technology.

   While the conference is branded as three conferences (Java2Days, Mobile2Days and Cloud2Days) it is in fact a pure Java conference. The sessions that Java developers did not recognize as somewhat Java related had very few attendees. Raya Yunakova's session on Windows Azure had less than twenty attendees despite the fact that Azure seems to be pretty good cloud platform for hosting Java applications. The title of the session did not say so and the demos were using Visual Studio and .NET instead of Eclipse and Java so I guess this will remain a secret for the Java community. The other notable victim of Java conservatism was the session about Nokia phones despite the fact that one of the options for developing for low-end phones was Java. The exception from the rule was Andrew's session on developing for iOS with JavaScript but as I have already said Andew is one of the greatest presenters ever (no, he is not greater than Scott but is pretty close). The session itself was about a framework called Titanium but I did not see any advantage over the competing PhoneGap.

   The session I enjoyed the most was on a framework for generating source code for Java called Jannocessor. It was presented by Nikolce Mihajlovski who also presented on the coolest topics last year. To be honest he is not the greatest speaker ever but the topics of his sessions compensate. What is more he did not just bring his last year sessions so it was something new.

   While I found all of the cloud talks I attended quite boring the conference as a whole expanded my idea of the cloud. I knew about the different kinds of clouds (software vs. platform vs. infrastructure as a service) but I somehow thought that everything outside the big players Amazon, Microsoft and Google was not really important. As it turns out there are people investing all over the board and the definition of the cloud can vary from three servers to hundreds of datacenters and all its forms are important.

   Overall I found the conference somewhat disappointing. While it is true that I am not the target audience I feel that my experience was downgraded since last year. After all last year I was not the target audience either.
Tags:   english events 
Posted by:   Stilgar
20:43 06.11.2011


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