Monday, May 12, 2008

JavaOne Verdict: Pretty good, need better speakers

Walking away from JavaOne this year I don’t feel I learned about much new but there was definitely some good stuff around.

  • JavaFX was high on the agenda, but since this was the hot topic of last year it didn’t create the buzz they had hoped for. Still the had some nice demos even if the sessions themselves were awful.

  • There was some focus on cross language support in JDK 1.7, which is good new for everyone, but since JSR-233 it’s less of a scoop.

  • I was really impressed with SUN’s gaming server, DarkStar, mostly because it showed off cool 3D games that I can swoon at trying to remember the last time I had time to play games.

  • Livescribe was pretty good too. It’s a pen with an embedded Java run-time that can record what you say, write, perform translations and play games... yep, that’s right it’s a pen. For those of you who are familiar with Leapfrog (a toy manufacture and customer of ours) may have seen their FLY Fusion pentop computer before, which has all the features of Livescribe and more (I got my niece and nephew one of these for Christmas, they’re awesome), the only difference is it’s not Java.

On the desktop/middleware side there was quite a bit of buzz around OSGi, with every vendor and his dog announcing support for it in one way or another. Equinox even had a booth. I was staggered by the amount of software SUN was showcasing; everything from Open Solaris (nice new logo), GlassFish, SUN SIP server, (yes it’s still alive, apparently) and NetBeans to name a few. What was missing for me was the story that brought all these things together. It looks like they may be consolidating under the GlassFish brand, which is probably a good thing. I actually thought NetBeans looked good from a distance, but does anyone use it?

From my own experience and what others told me the sessions really weren't up to par. The content schedule was ok, though very biased towards SUN projects (their prerogative I suppose) but the speakers were universally bad it seems. SUN should probably run a day workshop before the event to train people on public speaking. Better still they might want to broaden the net to allow more non-SUN employee speakers. I think SUN really has to be careful here in order to bring new Java talent to the conference, otherwise JavaOne will just be for networking, vendor hype and swag baggers.