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Javapolis conference - Antwerp

Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
i am attending the Javapolis conference in Antwerp, Belgium this week. With a conference feel of 200 Euros (about $260) Javapolis has to be one of the great values in the conference world. it is certainly the closest thing to a JavaOne available in Europe.

Javapolis lasts a full week. Monday and Tuesday consisted of Javapolis University, which consisted of 3 hour courses morn8ing and afternoon. Today we started the conference portion which is a bunch of one-hour sessions plus a floor show for vendors. Thursday is the same, and friday is 'business day' with presentations about Java in a business context. i won't be there Friday but will try to gove an overview of what I attended and how I liked it.
Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Javapolis University

Right away I had a difficult decision to make - whether to attend an AspectJ class or an Asynchronous Messaging Architectures class. I plumped for the latter on the theory that AspectJ would be easier to find in a class or to do out of a book. Also my next consulting gig is very likely to be a messaging architect thing.

Gregor Hohpe gave a great class. Lots of good content and paced precisely right. I was so impressed I went out and bought his book. The best session I've seen here.

BPEL in Action - Business Process Execution Language. I selected this over JDK 5.0 in Action by Joshua Bloch and regret the decision. Oh it's alright but they kind of presented it as an open standard but the Oracle product was what they were really presenting. A little horsepuckey there, I thought.

Tuesday Morning I started with Spring in Action by Juergen Hoeller and Rod Johnson. Another hard choice, as Mary Poppendieck seminar on Lean Software Development sounded attractive. Fortunately I didn't know what I was missing with Mary. The Spring class was excellent. Just a hair behind the Hohpe class, and only because the pacing was a little too forced. Spring is the real deal, folks, and I would urge everyone involved in the J2EE space to give it a long look.

In the afternoon I took in Craig "Struts" McClanahan's seminar on his latest project - Java Server Faces. The first half of the class dragged quite a bit and he lost about a third of the audience at the break. Which was a shame because he really improved afterward. I think he was jetlagged maximally. I got a free licensed copy of Sun JSF Studio (or whatever it's called) and a free Sun Press JSF book for asking a question, Yay!

I'm glad I took the JSF class because another guy reported that the Hibernate class stunk (my other choice).

At 6 PM Tuesday there was a 'Birds of a Feather' session about Dependency Injection hosted by Rod Johnson (Spring) and Howard Lewis Ship (Tapestry and HiveMind). Both Spring and Hivemind use Dependency Injection to reduce the complexity of resource location and the like, enabling the developer to configure this info in an XML file and access the info through an interface rather than changing the code. This allows one to write code as Pojos and allow the framework to do most of the setup coding for you. I'm not phrasing this well at all. It's a lot better than I make it sound....
Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Day 3 - first day of the Conference

The keynote speakers were Richard Ross of Javalobby and Tim Bray of Sun. Against all tradition (or so I understand) the keynotes were both great. Ross spoke about community and offered resources for community participation (which is what I'm doing right here).

Bray was supposed to speak about RSS but pulled a switch on us, instead speaking about why (and when) not to use Java. Not exactly popular with this crowd. I didn't much like it at the time, but found it thought-provoking. So much so that I took a Groovy seminar in the afternoon instead of TestNG (a JUnit replacement). So Bray's grade has soared with me at least!

I took a seminar on Java clustering on Spring and Weblogic. Too ambitious, he lost much of the audience. This is a common problem with the one-hour sessions I find. The presenters try to pack two hours worth into an hour and it doesn't fit.

Then the amazing Gregor Hohpe again, for Event-Driven Architectures. Too fast-paced also but Hohpe is such a good speaker that I felt I took several things of value away despite the tsunami of information.

After lunch I took a seminar by Dave Chappel about the Java Business Integration System (JBI) and Enterprise System Bus.A major disappointment. Chappel is one of the big names in EAI and B2B and I was really looking forward to seeing him. But it was pitched at manager and Solutions Architect level and I found relatively little of much use to me in it.

By this time I'd had enough about SOA (Service Oriented Architecture and decided to take in Mary Poppendiecks 'Make More Money'. The title was a bit misleading because it's really about the software productivity crisis and how Agile methods help us to create business value and ultimately get paid more. Mary and her hubby Tom are salt of the earth and I'd like to get them invited to do a book promotion on the Process forum.

Groovy is great. Check it out. I attended the talk by James Strachan and Dion Almaer (of TSS) about Groovy. It seems to be a concise language like Perl or Jython but which looks a lot like Java, uses Java standard libraries, and runs in the JVM. It seems to have a lot more bang per line of code than Java does and is not strongly-typed. I saw enough to be very interested but not enough to do it justice in a review like this.

Apache Beehive was my last seminar today. It remains a question mark to me. I think the guy tried to put three hours into one - which meant I got very little. I'm also pretty wrung out and was before I attended that presentation. So that may have something to do with it.

At this point I'm just as glad tomorrow is my last day at Javapolis. It's wonderful and exciting - but also very tiring. It's like trying to drink from a fire hose. I'm finding that I cannot do full justice to everything available much as I wish to. Tomorrow I start at 9 and the last BOF ends at 8 in the evening - and I have to travel to Brussels after that! Going to be long day. Then a trans-atlantic flight the next day!
[ December 15, 2004: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
 
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