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JavaZone Trip Report

I wrote this post while I was still in Oslo, the thing about ...
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JavaZone Trip Report

Yoga Statue
I wrote this post while I was still in Oslo, the thing about a trip report is you want to write it as soon as possible when things are fresh in your mind.
First off, JavaZone is indeed the most fun conference I've been to (to be fair, haven't been to comicon) , you get there are 8:00AM and a bit later a cover band goes on stage in the middle of the Pavilion show floor and just blasts a short set. I filmed it a bit (sorry for the bad quality the galaxy nexus is many things but it is not a good camera). To understand the meaning of the picture you see here scroll to the bottom for some personal notes...


JavaZone has this thing where as Nate put it there is " continuous delivery " of food and its actually good food (hint, hint JavaOne guys...). I would call it non-blocking IO but either way I gained at least 1kg from this "feature".
The place is pretty spectacular, they have sort of rooms and stages like you would expect in a concert (because it is a concert hall) and some pretty odd rooms like room one where the audience is on both your sides (DP: Double presentation), I'd like to do that the next time around. But one of the best idea's is the overflow: there are 7 rooms and all of them are filmed (presenter and slides, again hint JavaOne guys). So you can go into one HUGE area (that is completely full) where all 7 rooms are projected on the screen at once. You can lend special earphones and listen in on ALL 7 sessions by changing the channels! This is REALLY, useful when you are conflicted between two sessions or when a session is completely full.

I hope other conferences take to doing this sort of thing, its remarkably useful and shows the amazing creativity of the guys behind the show, so kudos to everyone involved! Speaking of their creativity I'm hoping everyone around here liked all the videos on their channel ! (my favorite is the Shining).

One tip for speakers attending JavaZone: ask your own questions...
Oslo is quiet (really quiet), the airport was practically silent... So when sessions were over very few questions are asked and they are usually overly "polite". My solution was simple, I just added a "suggested questions" slide after the Q&A slide. So I was able to fill up almost all remaining time with questions. 

My Session

My session went rather well despite me being so sick I nearly fainted before it started, I tend to bounce up with an audience though so I think it went well.

Sessions & People

I met a lot of great people and attended a lot of great sessions so I might forget some, especially guys I had brief conversations with.

is an absolutely amazing speaker who spiced everything with humor and made a subject I normally don't care about (JavaScript libraries for MVC) interesting.

had a truly amazing presentation, I've seen people do startup pitches that were as beautifully refined as this. But I never saw anyone talk like this for 1 hour with such amazing slide flow and posture. The subject matter of github and flat startup culture (e.g. gortex who if you read Gladwell you should be familiar with) is an interesting one as well. Nate, Matthew and Trisha all spoke in room one (the DP: double presentation room) and they all handled a complex stage like that admirably well.

had a great talk about scaling enterprise software for multi-core/multi-machine setups, it was great and hands on with demos. We also had some great talks about software architecture and the mobility effort going on in US enterprise companies. Very interesting stuff.

had a very interesting abstract talk about design as a process, it was spiced with great geeky British dry humor which was very funny. She talked about building the right team dynamics to create the proper design environment for API's that will match various constraints. Designing an API that will last and grow is a hugely difficult challenge that we are handling on a daily basis. She was mostly talking from the server developer side of the fence but it was interesting for me as well although our constraints and options are radically different.

Brian McCallister
did one of those amazing sessions where tools and information kept flowing yet it was still something you could follow and understand. He gave a lot of tips for MANY useful tools from around the web that most of us just don't run into on a day to day basis. These are mostly small things you can just add into your toolbox and start using for small tasks.

On a chance encounter with Ed Burns , I attended a talk from Douglas Crockford which was indeed fascinating despite being a JavaScript session. I disagree with quite a few of the points he made, but its always interesting to hear well formalized and eloquent discussion from such an amazing speaker. His concepts for asynchronous testing seem remarkably useful. I'll have to look at them in the future.

I skipped the Ed Burns session because he has 4 sessions in JavaOne so I'll definetly catch him live there (the end time slot was really unfair pitting him against Jonas Bonér and Heinz . Worse there was a band playing outside during the sessions too). Luckily I'm catching up to his and other great sessions in the videos.

I went to the talk by Henrik Olsson on a whim, turns out it was his first conference talk ever... He did very well regardless (had he not mentioned that I wouldn't have known). They have an interesting story, they started working with JavaFX 1.1 and when 2.0 came along Oracle apparently killed 1.1 and created a licensing complexity that prevented distribution of 1.1 applications (you weren't allowed to distribute the runtime and they would remove it from their webservers by December). So they had to rewrite the whole codebase in 9 months. People always ask me why should they trust a startup to be here tomorrow... Well, this sort of shows that you shouldn't trust multi-billion dollar US corporations either.

Heath Kesler
made a great presentation that just went over my head for quite a few things (serves me right going to an advanced talk while being such an obvious novice), I haven't done "proper" server side programming for so long. I should probably brush up on some of the things he mentioned. App engine spoiled me.

The talk from Jonas Bonér was interesting about a subject I normally don't really know much about, server side development seems to be changing dramatically. I really do need to brush up a bit on Scala.

My Trip - Personal notes

I landed in Oslo at the night of the election where they replaced their current government, apparently its a big deal here. I ordered a room on AirBnB (being adventurous). I arrived at 1am to the apartment and I couldn't get in, the guy I rented from wouldn't answer the door bell, both phones or anything.
So I started walking in the middle of the night thru all of Oslo looking for vacancies, hotels were all booked because of the election and a big football game the following day. So no vacancies whatsoever. Eventually I found a hotel at 4:00AM. I was really upset at the guy from AirBnB but still wrote a relatively tame complaint... Turns out I booked the room for next week (oops) so it was all my fault, its always important to keep restraint and not take things personally.

Unfortunately I was a little sick due to the long trip and runaround so if you met me at JavaZone and I was "weird" I have an excuse for that...

The picture at the top of this article is something I took outside of the hotel I stayed in on the first night. I'm an awful photographer. Really bad. But since my spouse is an Ashtanga Yoga Teacher I had to take a photo of this statue in the Yoga pose. Then this old couple came into my frame and made it the best picture ever. I used it in my JavaZone demo.

Notice: This post was automatically converted using a script from an older blogging system. Some elements might not have come out as intended.... If that is the case please let us know via the comments section below.

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Posted by Shai Almog

Shai is the co-founder of Codename One. He's been a professional programmer for over 25 years. During that time he has worked with dozens of companies including Sun Microsystems.
For more follow Shai on Twitter & github.