Sunday, December 14, 2008

Devoxx 2008: Conference Day 1

[Originally posted on the JavaBlackBelt blog]

One of the best things about conferences (if you're a consultant, at least), is catching up with a lot of former colleagues at once, even if it means missing the JavaFX/IBM keynote (the IBM part is widely deemed to have sucked). I also got the chance to talk to the guys at the Kaazing stand, following up on Nicolas's hype of a few weeks back. To complement his post, here's an impromptu, Scoble-style interview with John Fallows, Kaazing's CTO.

Of course, I was there for the sessions and saw a couple particularly good ones.

Brian Goetz outlined the evolution from concurrency to parallelism, reminding us that the free lunch is over. He took us on a tour of the fork-join API, discussed work stealing and the higher-level abstraction (in terms of parallelism) introduced by ParallelArray. He also stated that closures could have made the API a lot nicer, to which audience-member Joshua Bloch could not help but respond that they introduced a lot of overhead for relatively little gain.

Bill Venners gave an awesome talk entitled The Feel of Scala. Most Scala tutorials and examples I've read make the language seem really hard and concentrate on its functional aspects. Venners took a different approach, focusing on the wonderful DSL-ish syntax he relatively easily created for ScalaTest and augmentations to the type system such as type inferencing, structural types and traits.

Pete Muir's Introduction to Web Beans reassured me that Java web frameworks really are moving towards full-stack environments (UI, persistence and integration), but wasn't too exciting in itself. I wonder if we'll ever get to something like a Java version of Google App Engine.

How to Hack and Secure your Java Web Application is a great title, but things got off on the wrong foot when the presenter spent five minutes explaining the benefits of the wiki ("Everyone has the latest copy of the information!" - you don't say) and it kind of went downhill from there. The only benefit here was learning about the extensive security resources and tools OWASP has created.

I'm looking forward to the videos coming up on Parleys so I can catch up with some of the talks I missed. Were you at Devoxx? Let us know in the comments!

Some other Devoxx postings:
The Java Posse's live podcast
Jasha of Hippo CMS
Guido Kollerie
The Java Blog has an extensive report, starting with University Day 1.