If you're new to the JavaOne game, a little pearl of wisdom that you need to pay attention to is this: you can't wait until the conference starts to put together your schedule.
There is no shortage of sessions at Oracle’s annual mega-conference, and you'll always be able to find some session or seminar in which a chair will be free, but if you want to get into the sessions you are most interested in, and you want to hear from the speakers you admire the most, you'll want to make sure you've used the JavaOne schedule builder and reserved yourself a seat.
It seems like this year Big Data is a hot topic with the OracleWorld crowd. Many of the Hadoop sessions have acquired waiting lists that number into the hundreds; but those sessions all seem to be down at the Moscone center, not in the group of hotels that make up JavaOne.
For the JavaOne crowd, it looks like the masses are pretty interested in learning about mobile development and anything about WebSockets, as sessions related to those topics are maintaining sizable waiting lists. And from a personality perspective, it seems that every session involving Adam Bien or Oracle's Cameron Purdy is selling out as well.
But don't despair, there are still lots of great sessions left to attend, so either download the JavaOne mobile app, or log onto the JavaOne website and start using the veritable Schedule Builder.
Advice for session selections
My personal advice for anyone overwhelmed with the number of available choices is to allow the speaker to play a big part in deciding which sessions you're going to attend. I've always found that I get more out of a session with a speaker that keeps me interested and speaks in a compelling manner than a session with a less skilled orator, regardless of what the topic of the session is. And helping to facilitate this process is the JavaOne schedule builder that allows you to sort through the sessions based on the speaker as opposed to simply the session titles.
Three of my favorite speakers are the evil Matt Raible, Cliff Click of Azul Systems and Rod Johnson of SpringSource fame, but a quick search indicates that they are AWOL from the conference, so that's a bit of a disappointment.
Adam Bien is always a compelling speaker as well, although his sessions are filling up. The session named Java EE 6/7: The Lean Parts already has a waiting list, although three of his other sessions still have availability.
Reza Rahman is another fan favorite. His sessions always got the highest ratings when presenting at TheServerSide Java Symposium, and he also tends to be a bit controversial especially with his relentless defense of Java EE and server-side Java.
The session I'm looking forward to the most is Emmanuel Bernard's Introduction to Ceylon. Too bad it's at 3:30 on Thursday when I'll be 26,000 feet in the air on my flight back to Toronto. Emmanuel has always been a key personality in the progress of JBoss' Hibernate API, although this time he seems to be leaving the Data Persistence world behind and concentrating on new languages and the Bean Validation framework.
If you are interested in JPA, then Michael Keith's session on JPA 2.1 Tips, Tricks, and Examples is the one you'll want to attend for sure.
An interesting "Birds of a Feather (BOF)"
Jeff Genender, Ben Evans and Martijn Verburg are also three highly entertaining speakers, which is why you'll want to check out the Finding and Solving Java Deadlocks session which features all three of them. For that matter, any session featuring Martijn is worth attending. If you can attend the 101 Ways to Improve Java BOF on Monday at 5:30, I'd recommend it.
And if you're more interested in Java that resides more on the client side, you can't go wrong with seeing what Stephen Chin has to say. Next year they may have to give Stephen his own conference, because I don't have enough fingers to count all of the sessions he's delivering. Suffice to say that if you're interested in JavaFX, he's the man to hear from.
If you're more on the JSF side of client development, Ed Burns is the guy you want to check out. However, his Complete Tour of JSF 2.2 session has already sold out, so you better get your name scheduled into one of his other two sessions soon before they hit capacity as well.
Finally, the two other speakers I'm interested in seeing are Brian Goetz as he speaks about Lambdas, and of course, Martin Odersky speaking about what's new in that little invention of his called Scala.
If there’s someone who’s not on this list that you think is a must-see, add it to the comments section. And if you see someone at the conference that really knocks your socks off, let us know, and we’ll see if we can’t pick their brains for an interview or two with TheServerSide.