Well, J-Spring 2006 is already over. The NL-JUG did it again, it was very well organized, great atmosphere, nice goodies, lots of interesting topics. J-Spring and J-Fall keeps feeling more and more like a reunion to me, I see more familiar faces each time, which is great. 🙂
Lots of Dutch speakers this time, making it feel more like a Dutch conference, which is good. The topics where also more diverse, ranging from real-time development to composing music in Netbeans… Of course some speakers were better than others, most speakers I’ve seen came up short on time at the end. This was really a shame as the best slides were often last. Timing a presentation is hard and takes practice, I hope at the next J-Fall speakers will time their stories a bit better. These are the sessions I went to:
Applying the High-Level Benefits of Java to Real-Time Development Challenges: the opening keynote session. Kelvin Nilsen gave a very technical story, the contents seemed pretty sound but was very detailed at times. You could tell he came from an Ada company, lots of military examples and very few jokes, I would imagine the DoD does not have a good sense of humor. When you do an embedded Java presentation you are supposed to show some gizmos with blinking lights on it, at least, or a robot or little car or something. Unfortunately Kelvin did not bring a Java-powered tank, that would definately helped the presentation. 🙂 Ironic for a talk about real-time, Kelvin ran out of time at the end. Real Time Java does seem to get momentum, both in the embedded as in some enterprise markets (eg. BEA has some custom solutions for telcos with require low latency solutions), so it was a good subject for the keynote.
Building Cutting Edge Applications with Business Rules Technology: a session by ILog. French people trying to talk English always makes it listening a bit to ‘Allo ‘Allo, fortunately the slides had lots of text. 😉 Business Rules engines are interesting technology so I was interested in some example situations and some examples how to integrate it in a real Java application. Unfortunately the presentation turned into a ILog sales demo pretty fast. The Eclipse plug-in was very nice and seemed usable, but it felt akward that a lot of ILog features were shown, while no examples were given on how to integrate using the Rule Engine API JSR 94 specs.
Component-based ontwikkelen met OSGi: van embedded tot enterprise: this talk was really interesting. I have been working with the OSGi based Eclipse RCP framework for a few months now. OSGi is both a simple and powerful solution that solves real problems. Marcel Offermans showed some OSGi stuff I wasn’t aware of and talked a bit about Java politics. The OSGi alliance and Sun pretty much fight with each other, that’s why Sun comes up with new stuff that solves exactly what OSGi already does, but in a more complex and non- backwards compatible way. Apache and Eclipse is using OSGi a lot, and Spring plans extended support for OSGi in their 2.1 release, so it definately is gaining momentum.
Duncan Mills presented the Oracle Keynote. Duncan told a bit about how frameworks would evolve in the near future, what a framework really is and why modern frameworks need to provide real abstractions and be extensible. Great talk, I fully agreed with him that some of the sentiments on the Internet (as anti-XML configuration, anti-extensibility) are short-sighted or just plain wrong. Duncan is a great speaker and this showed when he had a fight with his microphone, he solved it nice with some jokes. Afterwards people talked about him like “the guy who messed around with his microphone was really great”. 🙂
Evidence based performance tuning of enterprise Java applications: this talk evolved around optimizing the performance of “biggest Dutch web shop”. It started with some open doors and general tips how to measure performance and prevent performance issues. Project managers and customers should not forget about performance because without a decent performance any solution will just be inadequate. Some good examples, although Jeroen Borgers seemed nervous and had to rush at the end. The talk was geared at people with a decent Java experience, he assumed everyone knew about stuff like a profiler or Tuxedo. Unfortunately using a profiler or some other metrics tool is not that common knowledge at all in my experience and some questions from the audience showed it. Maybe not every performance problem is the fault of the manager after all? 😉
Functioneel testen: hoe verzeker ik de kwaliteit van mijn web-applicatie?: a talk by Bob Forma on how to test. He started out great but as the presentation progressed he seemed at a loss for words, sometimes talked himself into a corner and ran out of time in the end. It seemed he did not practiced his talk enough, but he managed to get pace again when he showed a demo on Selenium. Selenium seemed like a nice tool, Bob showed some extensive demos how simple it could be used. Since stuff like AJAX places more burden on web testing it would be interesting to see how Selenium would handle that, but this unfortunately got sidetracked somewhere in the presentation.
Integrating security into the J2EE development process: again starting out with some open doors Eelco Klaver quickly progressed into some real world examples of security issues. He showed some examples on how to improve the process (using RUP as an example process) by introducing some extra forms of analysis and requirements. Some very nice suggestions, I’ll download his slides when they are available because they contain some good pointers on how to tackle security in the development process. Eelco ran out of time too, probably because the audience asked a lot of questions which he managed to answer fine. Very interesting talk for everyone that sticked to the end of the conference. 🙂
After all those presentations our weary heads were aching for a beer, while listening who won the prizes like an X-Box, iPod or TomTom goodies. Too bad I didn’t win anything, but I still got a T-shirt, a cube with a little light in it, and a bunch of other stuff. Finally, we said “see you at J-Fall” to each other, and went home. Too bad it’s only twice a year…