JavaPolis 2005 opened up with a two day university program. JavaPolis University means 3 hour in-depth sessions on a topic of your choice. With about 20 topics to choose from there is a broad selection of sessions. I went to see a session on ‘Business Rules Engines’, mainly about the JBoss Rules Engine project (codename Drools). Considering the length of the session, the speaker shoud have taken a different approach. A 3 hour lecture (literally reading the slides out-loud) is an awful way of opening a week of JavaPolis action. Although the way the session was presented wasn’t very attractive, (and I don’t mean dozens of typos in the slides here) rules engines is a subject that I have been thinking about for a while. So it somehow inspired me in way and I promised myself to experiment some more on this subject when I return home.
The afternoon session that I picked was titled ‘Web Services in Action’ and was presented by Dennis Sosnoski a genuine subject matter expert. Dennis had some problems getting the screen resolution right which delayed his presentation for about half an hour. After a few reboots of his Mandriva Linux equipped widescreen laptop, and lots of advice from at least 3 people he decided to start anyway with limited resolution. What is it with those Linux systems, anyway? Although the start of Dennis’ presentation was unfortunate, he really made up for it during the rest of the afternoon. He delivered an excellent presentation, with lots of inside information on the latest Axis 2 builds and other recent developments in Web Services world. Dennis told us about the new Axis 2 architecture and spent a lot time on ins- and outs of Axis XML data binding capabilities. Axis 2 comes out of the box with Apache XMLBeans or a custom Axis Data Binding (ADB) framework similar to the one in Axis 1. Dennis promised us to have Jibx support available soon. A personal promise, considering his involvement in Jibx. The remainder of the session was about WS-* implementations due, and compatibility with Microsoft’s Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), f.k.a. Indigo. It gave me the impression to stay on the lookout for an Axis release build due early 2006.
All-in-all my first impression of JavaPolis 2005 is rather good, although there are both pros and cons:
On the plus side there are definitely lots of friendly people around. The atmosphere surrounding the conference is simply great. The Metropolis venue is also very convenient with lots of free parking space and very, very nice seats. The seats are actually too comfortable, making it really hard to stay awake during some boring moments. (Quite possibly there could be a correlation here with some of those ‘Bollekes’ from the previous night :o) Downside of the seats however is that most of them also feature stains that you really don’t want to know about :o)
Amongst the positive things are also the free drinks (coffee, water, sodas) available all day, and the free wardrobes.that keep you from tossing your coat around all day. Also let’s not forget to mention the conference goodies…a nice backpack and a t-shirt depicting spoons in dubious positions matching the cool conference theme. Another thing that struck me is that considering the rather large amount of people I hardly didn’t hear any pagers or cell phones during sessions, which is a relief compared to other (mostly) overseas conferences that I have been. And no, this is not because people in europe can’t afford a cell phone :o)
The only negative thing about JavaPolis so far is that there is no (free) wireless internet available. This kind of conference more or less demands internet access. Being disconnected nowadays is like having an expensive car but no fuel at hand. If some presenter points me to a certain URL I’d like to go there immediately. Blogging is also a lot harder without internet access, but fortunatelly the hotel I’m staying has a wi-fi hotspot on which I’m spending way too much money now.
So much for day one coverage…now off to the hotel bar for a nightcap…