JavaOne 2004: Discussing where the conference is heading

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News: JavaOne 2004: Discussing where the conference is heading

  1. Allen Holub writes about JavaOne this year: "The most interesting thing about this year’s JavaOne was that it wasn’t—interesting, that is. Over the years, the conference has gone from one of the best technical conferences that I’ve ever attended (in 1996, if I remember right) to one of the most vapid".

    There is talk that next year JavaOne will be merged with the SunNetwork conference, which would mean even more of a SunFest.

    Read more: From JavaOne to JavaOne-Half

    Threaded Messages (24)

  2. Great article. I agree as well. The last one I went to (about 2 years ago) just sucked. The marketing sessions were horrnedous, and the 'technical' ones were totally worthless. Plus, pretty much all the speakers were terrible. I hope Sun made the most of my company's $3000.

    (BTW, this is the kind of articles TSS should be linking to, not some idiots blog ranting about something he knows little about)
  3. My company, a specialist Java development shop since 1998 in New Zealand, would send a developer or two each year to JavaOne.

    We stopped after JavaOne 2003.

    I'm sure it makes the Sun top brass feel cool to be addressing such a big crowd of Java developers in the huge morning sessions. But they're just preachy marketing gumph. They teach me nothing, and I was confused why we were wasting our time paying to attend 2-hour Sun advertisements.

    The best talk I went to was by a guy who had spent one week running benchmarks on different JVMs of different so-called 'performance enhancements' you can do to your Java code - and seeing if they really helped. Something that was simple to do, easy to talk about, easy to understand, and it helps you develop better. He was an expert on hotspot compilers so he could then answer questions if you had any. I was there 15 minutes early, so I got a seat - he started 10 minutes early because the small room he'd been alotted was so full they'd blocked the doors to stop anyone else getting in. Such talks were sadly very rare.

    There were few talks that left me thinking "Aha! I must remember that, it will be useful." There was much, much, much too much crap about 'the future of Java' and about 'the future of' various specialist technologies (almost none of which has yet come to pass). This is interesting in a way, but not relevant to what I build.

    And there was much, much, much too much arrogance by app server providers (Sun included) who clearly assumed that their audience was not nearly as bright as them, and who obviously never had to eat their own dog food.

    I was left feeling oddly ashamed of the conference, as if the Java technology I work with deserved better.

    Sean
  4. I thought 2003 was the low point, and this year was a little better. The 2003 conference program was pretty shameless - full of sessions about the SunONE app server that no one wanted to attend. This year the selection of the technical program was better, with a number of high-powered, independent technical voices.

    But some of the fundamental problems, like keynotes that are just empty, long marketing sessions, and the army of lawyers and graphic designers who attack the slides before they go on, remain. I'd like to see the community have more say on the conference, because I think it's worth saving.
  5. I thought 2003 was the low point, and this year was a little better.
    Ditto.

    And here's the funny thing from Allen Holub:
    "The most interesting thing about this year’s JavaOne was that it wasn’t—interesting, that is. Over the years, the conference has gone from one of the best technical conferences that I’ve ever attended (in 1996, if I remember right) to one of the most vapid".
    I could say the same exact things about everything he writes, which used to at least have some educational value (back in the days when he wrote about C and before I learned C++) and now he is like a technologically-staid C programmer giving advice on OO programming or trying to explain why Java sucks.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Shared Memories for J2EE Clusters
  6. this year was my first year attending the java one, and quite frankly i was less than impressed. it indeed was less than interesting.

    i attended the no fluff just stuff series last year before attending my first java one conference. i'm going back to the nfjs again this year. IMO, there's more value in the nfjs event than the java one. sure san francisco was fun, but the event was covered with marketing materials, tons of guys in the red button down shirts (that's the sun folks), and tons of "technical" speaks that talks about future and upcoming products. nothing for me to put into my tool box for use today , when i get back in the office on monday. going to the nfjs symposium, you come back to the office on monday with a bag full of new tools to put to use.

    i'm not affiliated with the nfjs folks, i just really really like what they've put together. i wish they'd come around more than once per year. i'd pay out of pocket.
  7. Maybe Java has, like all other techie things before it, has made it to its [ somebody help me here...I'm thinking of a term that I think comes from the area of astronomy where something, without fanfare, simply stagnates...like a White Dwarf maybe???] endpoint of growth.

    One could argue that Java is now mature. The added features in Java 5 are attempts to retain relevance, perhaps.

    I'm not trying to be provacative. Does anyone else see it?
  8. Even though I didn't go so all I can do is "observe" ...

    I don't believe the problem is Java. In some areas Java is not mature. From what I could tell, somethings in JavaOne did cover that immature area - the Desktop. I though the news was good. JDNC, JDIC, Looking Glass etc. and the fact that the desktop was important. I was happy that I was going to be a programmer again. Not a web master, not a web designer, not a ... .

    The problem seems to be the quality of the delivery. Too much marketing and lawyering and political correctness. Maybe I was lucky and all I got to experience was the result - the blogs (Thanks Cameron, Hani, ...) and the anouncements.
  9. JDNC,<snip>. and the fact that the desktop was important. I was happy that I was going to be a programmer again. Not a web master, not a web designer, not a ...
    +1
    .V
  10. Holub: "The most interesting thing about this year’s JavaOne was that it wasn’t—interesting, that is. Over the years, the conference has gone from one of the best technical conferences that I’ve ever attended (in 1996, if I remember right) to one of the most vapid".
    I could say the same exact things about everything he writes, which used to at least have some educational value (back in the days when he wrote about C and before I learned C++) and now he is like a technologically-staid C programmer giving advice on OO programming or trying to explain why Java sucks.
    I think his "Java threads" series was quite good. And I do not remember him saying that Java sucks ;)
  11. What Allen Writes[ Go to top ]

    I could say the same exact things about everything he writes, which used to at least have some educational value (back in the days when he wrote about C and before I learned C++) and now he is like a technologically-staid C programmer giving advice on OO programming or trying to explain why Java sucks.
    The state of the tech-publishing industry is a topic for another thread, but I'd like to address the comment about my writing. JavaWatch is meant to be a review-and-opinion column, so there's no scope for the hard-core technical writing that you (and I) miss. I'd love to do a column like "C-Chest" or "Java Toolbox" again, but there's no venue for it.

    The tech-publishing industry is in trouble generally. JavaWorld almost went belly up last year, and they're not paying for content at all. IBM DeveloperZone is not accepting any regular columns. On the book side, Wrox went under (and was acquired by Apress) and all of the publishers that I know of are worried---even O'Reilly.

    As a consequence, I've been concentrating on putting the hard-core tech stuff into books. There's a new book ("Holub on Patterns: Learning design patterns by looking at code" [Apress]) due out on Sept. 20, and I'm working on another threading book that will address the new java.util.concurrent utilites.

    If you're a magazine editor (online or otherwise) and want a columnist, drop me a line (http://www.holub.com/allen.html).

    And I don't think Java sucks! It's my language of choice.

    -Allen Holub
  12. What Allen Writes[ Go to top ]

    Allen,
     I think you've done a good job in your SD Time writings (No one is perfect and no one agrees %100 percent). Definitely better than the previous person. And tons better than the .Net guy - He is so misinformed and misinforms so much (i.e. his comments on Mono and OpenSource).
  13. Sorry Cameron, to me Allen's articles about Java and OO always were from the best of breed. He not teaches pure technologies and APIs, but how to better use these technologies in the sense of OO. Because his well founded design thoughts are opposed to the main trend and sins in the broad Java community (procedural code around "getters" and "setters"), makes him so fighted by the mainstream. Allen, continue.
  14. Sorry Cameron, to me Allen's articles about Java and OO always were from the best of breed. He not teaches pure technologies and APIs, but how to better use these technologies in the sense of OO. Because his well founded design thoughts are opposed to the main trend and sins in the broad Java community (procedural code around "getters" and "setters"), makes him so fighted by the mainstream. Allen, continue.
    I'm glad you glean something from what he writes. Having learned half of what I used to know about C programming from his books, I have nothing but respect for his contributions in that arena. In the Java space, I do not have the same opinion, because I've found several of his suggestions to be onerous and even borderline dangerous. However, just because I'm critical of some of his suggestions doesn't mean that I want him to stop writing .. it just means that my technical opinions differ from his.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Shared Memories for J2EE Clusters
  15. At least he got to go. (Poor me :( ) I got to go with my wife to the Merchandise Mart in Atlanta instead.
  16. Allen Holub writes about JavaOne this year: "The most interesting thing about this year’s JavaOne was that it wasn’t—interesting, that is. Over the years, the conference has gone from one of the best technical conferences that I’ve ever attended (in 1996, if I remember right) to one of the most vapid". There is talk that next year JavaOne will be merged with the SunNetwork conference, which would mean even more of a SunFest.Read more: From JavaOne to JavaOne-Half
    I too went to the first JavaOne in 1996, but like then, this years (and last year's) JavaOne was no worse or better. IMO, most of the info at JavaOne (or any conference) can be obtained online. So, for information, conferences are generally useless.

    Go to JavaOne to meet people, to meet developers, and to go to the parties. Use it for people networking purposes. It is worth it.

    Bill
  17. This was the first year that I attended JavaOne as well and I went on my own personal funds. I would do it again in heartbeat. I agree that there was a too much marketing in the general sessions and we heard too much about Ringtones, but then again no one forced me to go to the general sessions either. There were plenty of opportunities to bypass the marketing and go right for technical content (and if you so chose, not have one bit of spare time to do much else but eat). After the third day I realized that some of the best content of JavaOne was in the evenings, during the BOFs. Staying up late for the BOFs was worth sleeping in during the general sessions.

    I agree with the other gentleman that said JavaOne is more than just a means to gather information. It's networking, meeting the folks that you correspond with over the web and whose world class tools you use day in and day out. Quite on the contrary to Mr. Holub's lashing of the conference, I think it's one of the best investments I've made in my career. As a consultant that spends the majority of my time immersed in the business domain of my client, I found it refreshing to get away and see what other folks are doing with Java and it was nice spending the time focusing on pure technology.

    As long as I can afford it, I'll definitely be attending JavaOne again. If they change anything IMHO, they could eliminate the general sessions or change them to be panel discussions like the discussion they had on Open Sourcing Java.

    Jason
  18. Perhaps it's ironic, but the exhibitors who pay huge fees to be at these large conferences are asking the very same questions -- was it a good investment, and should we attend again next year?

    We had a booth at JavaOne this year, and it was good to see customers and old friends stop by to say hello. But, some of the most engaging chats that I had weren't at our booth, instead they occurred during the breaks and other informal gatherings. I personally met several very interesting people at the event, and so I would agree with other comments that while the learning opportunities are the primary reason people want to attend, the networking opportunities are also very useful.

    In that regard, I'm thinking that smaller conferences seem to be more focused, more informal, and more rewarding for both the exhibitors and the attendees. I'm also thinking why exhibit at all, when I can just go as an attendee and still benefit from the informal meetings and chats that I value so much? BTW, as a consultant and magazine columnist, I was registered as press (so maybe that's why I have a slightly different perspective).

    David Deans
    http://daviddeans.webhop.net
  19. The Serverside Symposium was far better technically and really had the more useful info with the fresh EJB 3.0 news, etc. To be honest, I think most people wander around the floor at Java One just looking for chutzkahs (sp?), the freebies vendors are handing out.
  20. Is "chotchkes" the word you're looking for?
  21. Yeah, looks good to me. Thanks :)
  22. Improving JavaOne - William Grosso
     http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5462
  23. He has a point...[ Go to top ]

    ...I went to last years Java One (my first one) and it was well worth it. But the bitter part about it was that virtually nothing that was featured last year has materialized. Only now is Sun _about_ to release Java 1.5 (as it was then called), JSF has taken some while to be usable from last years Java One.

    So, yes it was worth it, though I was totally astonished that they had a lot of abysmal presentation with even more abysmal content, in particular in the area of web services. But given that I could put almost nothing from the interesting stuff I looked at last year (1.5, Project Wax or whatever the VB like tool was called, JSF, J2ME ...) into action there was rather no reason to and look at it again.

    Although the food degraded massively towards the end of the conference and I got a bad cold because some of the emptier auditoriums did not warm beyond 12 degrees (celsius)....
  24. After missing JavaOne 2002 I was really excited to attend 2003. However I was sad to say that it was the worst of all JavaOne's I had attended. Sun seemed to have taken the approach that it was the only company that had anything worth while to say on the subject of Java. Very little input from any other vendors or people doing interesting stuff in the industry. The Sessions and BOFs were badly presented with almost no energy. At one point it reminded me of being stuck at a University lecture on a Friday afternoon having run out of beer and cigs.

    To get the conference back on track Sun needs to take a leaf out of "The no fluff just stuff" conferences or TheServerside symposium. Cap the attendence to say 2000, get people like Rod, Gavin, Cameron or Scott to present (or other people who have some energy and respect in the community) and make it easier for people to speak rather than the nightmare process of lawyers and strict presentation format it is now.

    Personally I see JavaOne's attendence continuing to drop over the next few years as people discover more developer oriented conferences to go to. I must admit I do not see myself going back at the moment and I live 15 mins from the Moscone.
  25. It's relative[ Go to top ]

    I began coding in java in 1995, and back then we were scratching and clawing for anything we could find on coding in Java. *ANY* content back then was considered valuable and top-notch. I used to read *every* email posted to comp.lang.java.* back then as we were all hungy for info.

    Fast-forward to today, and Java technology is pretty ubiquitous and we have matured as Java developers. Perhaps the problem is that JavaOne can't be all things to all developers. The platform is broader than the average developer's interests. I humbly ask to continue the constructive dialog so Sun can make next years JavaOne better.

    I personally found the scripting sessions, open source java discussions and AOP discussions to be excellent. The Looking Glass community and bloggers meetings were also very good. I'll also reiterate other comments that the primary benefit (for me) is the interaction and relationships built with my peers.

    John Clingan
    Sun Microsystems