Three days at Devoxx'08 have really refueled the engine with new creative ideas for the (near) future. The conference was well organized at an excellent location: MetroPolis, just off the Antwerpen city center. We didn't make it to the opening keynote on Wednesday so we missed the JavaFX commercial but by lunch time we arrived and could listen to Brian Goetzke explain the concurrency API and how we should stop thinking in Threads and move on to multi core parallelism. The same afternoon we saw the future of rich internet applications or at least Adobe's version of it; saw a bloke from New Zealand explain the wonders of easyb and behavior driven development; were slightly disappointed by the filthy rich android clients talk because of its very dry nature and lack of cool effects and finished up with a great talk by Peter Kriens, one of the founding fathers of OSGi. As it turned out OSGi was quite hot because of the new directions SUN is taking with java and modularity in project Jigsaw.
Thursday was my personal big day with my BOF scheduled for 20:00 at night. The day started with a great keynote by Josh Bloch who showed some excerpts from his book Effective Java. We got in early so we also got to see the dancing girls, as opposed to those who watched the keynote from adjacent rooms :-). Next up Ivar Jacobson, Mr. Use Case who explained how to be smart on software projects. Later that day I came across the book The Mythical Man-Month by F.P. Brooks; quite interesting how such a relatively 'old' book can still be up to date as exemplified by Ivar Jacobson's talk. Next up more talks on JavaFX, a weird live video connection talk by javaposse.com with free beer, and a boring overview of jBoss SEAM.
My own talk on DSL and GWT went really well; the hour of day was not one to attract large audiences but those who had ventured into my room all stayed until the end. Some really good questions also during the talk and a few interested people at the end while we were gently being shoveled out of the room by the next speaker. A big sigh of relief after two months of preparations and we took the first tram back to Antwerpen city center to taste a few Belgian beers.
Friday morning three concluding talks: a pretty impressive live demo of the new Spring DM server demonstrating how one OSGi could real-time be replaced by another while the main application kept running. Java + XSLT 2.0 was a bit too high level but the final presentation was a really good presentation on EJB 3.1 and why we should reconsider the idea of never ever doing EJBs again. Good stuff.
So all in all three days well spent; I bumped into a few people I'd worked with years ago, made some new friends, scored three new (black) t-shirts, bought two new books one of them signed by The Josh Bloch himself and just generally enjoyed being immersed in Java for three days on end! I'll try to summarize my own talk on DSL and GWT in a later posting.