Coming Up for Air

JavaOne 2009 Day 1

JavaOne 2009 started yesterday. It was a long, fun day which started with an interesting general session and ended, for me, with my very first JavaOne presentation (source and slides linked below). The reviews and reactions to the conference have been pretty interesting. Hopefully, mine will be too.

The opening general session started, as last year did, with entertainment. As opposed to the loud, attention-demanding dance team, this year we were treated to some very nice bass and drum beats courtesy of some DJ whose name I don’t know (not that it would matter if I did). After she finished her set, Sun Chief Gaming Office, Chris Mellisinos took the stage gave a quick introduction, with Sun CEO taking the stage and running the show.

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Figure 1. James Gosling and Jonathan Schwartz talk about the Java Store

Jonathan’s part of the show was the expected "Java’s doing well, and you developers are a large part of that" speech. He brought up several Sun partners to demo how Sun and Java, in conjunction with those partners, are solving hard, real world issues. For me, the best part was when Jonathan invited James Gosling on the stage to discuss the new Java Store. James talked about what the store offers, it’s plan, etc. The store has been under development for over a now, so he described the project as having now "real engineers, as opposed to me slapping crap together." Very funny, and humble, I thought. At one point, he showed a solitaire game available on the store, which, Jonathan noted, Gosling himself wrote. Jonathan asked James, "You don’t play this at work, do you?" James took a l-o-n-g time to answer, send laughter rippling through the crowd. It was awesome.

Having discussed the store, Jonathan turned the focus from the store to James Gosling himself. Dress in a jacket and tie, he described James, dressed in his typical t-shirt and blue jeans, as a role model, "wardrobe notwithstanding," to which James retorted, "Oh no. I think you have that exactly backwards." Again, the crowd erupted in laughter, prompting Jonathan to note that he was "speaking to the wrong crowd." Jonathan talked about courage, lauding James (and his team) for having the courage to create Java. Scott McNealy, to loud applause, joined the two on stage at some point. They played a quirky, but very cool Jib Jab type video detailing the creation of Java, during which Jonathan disappeared, not to be seen on stage again during the session.

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Figure 2. James, Scott and Jonathan on stage
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Figure 3. James Gosling gets a Jib Jab like treatment

Scott spoke for a while, though everybody knew what this was leading too. Larry Ellison had already been spotted in the crowd, and, as expected, Scott invited Larry on to the stage. Larry spoke about Oracle’s commitment to Java, noting how every Oracle app, outside the database, was Java-based. As best as I can tell, what Larry said next was universally unexpected: he praised both JavaFX and OpenOffice.org, commenting that he’d like to see the OOo team use more JavaFX. The general consensus seemed to be the these two projects were likely to be scuttled, should the acquisition close, so this caught a lot of people off guard. It sure surprised me.

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Figure 4. Larry and Scott on stage
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Figure 5. Scott gives Larry a Java flag

After Larry’s speech, Scott spoke a bit more, finally telling the crowd thank you and good bye, before returning to his seat to a standing ovation. His closer had a very sad air to it, as if this might be the final JavaOne. Even Jonathan seemed to be getting a bit misty as he thanked James for all his hard work. The session ended, basically, on that somewhat down beat, leaving everyone, it seemed, in a pretty somber mood. Charles Nutter right described the session as "funereal," and Tim Bray noted that everyone in the press room thinks this is, indeed, the last JavaOne, though no one really knows for sure. Even if Oracle continues the conference, and I hope they (we? ; ) do, it will certainly be different, with Sun no longer around, so in that regard, this is the end of the line. What comes next may be better, but it will at the very least be different, which is kinda sad.

Leaving the general session, I headed for the EJB 3.1 session led by Ken Saks. The line for the door wound all around the open area on the lower level of Moscone North. The line was absolutely huge. Inside, the room was packed as Ken walked through a lot of the enhancements 3.1 offers. He noted that EJB 3.0 intended to fix the usability issues with 2.1, while 3.1 aimed to add features, and that they did in spades. Enhancements like no interface session beans, portable JNDI names, embedded EJB3 container APIs, and a handful of others should make 3.1 a really, really nice rev of the spec.

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Figure 6. Me on stage in my JavaScript BOF

Since I was presenting in the evening, I didn’t actually make any of the other sessions I had scheduled. I was busy either actively or passively fretting over my talk. The time finally arrived, so my wife and I made our way to the room. It was nice getting to have her in the room. It was her first time to hear me give a technical talk. Overall, I think the session went pretty well. I felt comfortable on stage, and not a bit nervous once I started. As happened at the JUG, though, time went by too quickly. Hoping to have a more interactive session, I asked the crowd to help drive the agenda, though no one volunteered, so I just walked through my slides. I was shocked to see that I spent half my time going over the very odd variable scoping rules in JavaScript, so I had to hurry through the other slides. In the end, I only covered scope, objects/arrays, and classes (though I didn’t get to inheritance). I had to cut testing, the DOM, server-side JavaScript, etc, but that’s probably fine. Looking back, I probably prepared too much information, but that’s better than not enough I guess. I had several good questions during the session, and several other after, so it seemed that at least most people enjoyed the session. I noted on Twitter that no one yelled rude things as they left, so I’m going to take that as a good sign. I’ll know better when I get the eval results from the conference organizers.

For those that attended the session and would like the slides and source, you can find those here and here. Feel free to email me (jason at steeplesoft dot com) if you have any questions.

Today, as this is actually Wednesday morning, I will be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. I’ll try to have a recap up tonight or early tomorrow.

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