2013 sweetheart AngularJS takes a back seat to Docker at Devoxx 2014

While AngularJS was everyone's sweetheart at Devoxx 2013, this year at Devoxx 2014, it appears that Docker, along with all of the usual suspects, from Scala to Java 8, is the new hot topic.

What happened during Day One of Devoxx 2014? As one might imagine, it was the first of two days of general ramping up, with university days, shorter sessions, a general unpacking of boxes, and a setting up of booths. After that, the fullblown Devoxx conference will be unleashed from Wednesday to Friday. During this full week of daily sessions of various kinds, attendees will get to experience 5 days of being one of 3,500 Devoxxians from 40 different countries, with 200 speakers, all while another estimated 400 thousand developers will be enjoying the presentations online via parleys.com after the conference is over. While sitting in the main movie house of Antwerp, in many cases chewing popcorn while watching speakers on large movie screens and listening to top level speakers from around the world, including key speakers from JavaOne 2014, Devoxx attendees will be spoiled for choice. In short, this uniquely eclectic combination of hot and cool factors is going to be making Devoxx 2014 the largest Java conference in the world, aside from JavaOne itself, and certainly the most significant display of Java power outside of the United States.

Docker is hot

Speaking of which, the encroachment of alternative and diverse technologies into the Java space is continuing unabated. Multiple Devoxx 2014 attendees have comments on how while AngularJS was the dominant technology last year, at Devoxx 2013, this year is the year of Docker. Docker advertises itself as an increasingly adopted open platform for developers and system administrators to build, ship, and run distributed applications. The broadness of its definition and the breadth of its scope leaves a lot of room for interpretation and, similar to AngularJS last year, its sweet spots are yet to be identified. That makes for a vibrant technology space, interesting discussions, and full rooms at conferences such as Devoxx.

Devoxx is throwing up interesting and diverse topics of discussion, as many a bartender in Antwerp will be able to testify.

How and where will Docker be popping up as a solution over the coming year is, as yet, unknown. However, the energy around this technology is driving discussion and, at this stage, marks Docker as the current winner, until buzz moves to another technology during this week, of the hottest technology at Devoxx award.

Hardware

With the rise of The Internet of Things, hardware has increasingly become a dominant force at Java conferences. Not only do devices such as Raspberry Pis and Arduino decks add an element of immediacy and relevance to code-oriented sessions, they're fun, too. A Devoxx4kids workshop session, after looking at workshops for kids interested in programming around Scratch and Minecraft, focused on the fun factor inherent in hardware such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and robots. What better way to capture the imagination of a child than to let it relate to 'live lego', after being taught how to hack the hottest game of the planet, i.e., Minecraft?

'Big kids', that is, the adults guiding children during their hacking sessions, had several other hardware technologies to learn about during the first day of Devoxx. In particular, an IoT 'magic show' focused on 'wearables', while a parallel session showed how to communicate with the 'linnstrument', which is a new expressive electronic instrument invented by Grammy award winner Roger Linn.

Java, too

Aside from newer technologies, such as Docker, and a continued underlying throbbing presence of HTML5, JavaScript, and mobile, at least 50% of the day had some kind of focus on Java itself. Indeed, Java continues to innovate. A morning university session on WebSocket and an afternoon session on lambdas and Java 8, were complimented by evening sessions on Java web topics such as Java EE and Spring.  

Interestingly, a perfectly convincing presentation on the hybrid HTML5/Java EE tooling provided by JBoss Developer Studio hid itself behind an Eclipse-oriented title and abstract. After all, as a later session on IntelliJ IDEA showed, there's no need to pretend Eclipse is the main kid on the block anymore, since just like the Roman empire, it's maybe time to say Eclipse has played its role and its time to shine is over, especially as usurpers of various kinds are waiting eagerly in the wings.

Beyond Java

The world of Scala is an interesting one, standing as it currently does in the shadow of, in particular, lambdas in Java 8. In the Scala BOF, held late in the evening, discussion coalesced around the impact of Java 8 lambdas in the context of Scala. As Scala has championed lambdas for years, the recent resurgence of innovation in the Java language platform might be giving some development teams pause in terms of Scala adoption. Far from seeing these developments as being a detriment to the continued steady growth of Scala adoption, the feeling in the room was that the popularization of lambdas via Java would potentially leave developers wanting more and enable them to being more open than they might previously have been to Scala's richer alternative. Of course, here 'richer' is in the eye of the Scala enthusiast's beholder!

Devoxx, as always, is throwing up interesting and diverse topics of discussion, as many a bartender in Antwerp will be able to testify by the time the week is over! Look forward to more reports in this series as the conference continues this week!

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