Devoxx 2012 - Conderence Day One - review

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Excellent T-Shirt of one Devoxx-ian while waiting to enter Room 8 for today's keynote. Big day, today the main conference is rolling! I had an early wake up and arrived quite early at the venue waiting to enter room 8 where the main talks were scheduled.


Welcome Announcements

Stephan did an overview of this year's Devoxx which is sold out! Yet again, no wonder why, Devoxx is the best Java Developer European Conference for many years. I wish it continues to be.

Devoxx4Kids was presented, an excellent initiative that could be 'copied_ in other countries as well. It is so nice to teach programming to kids and show off the potential of technology. I would really love to do a similar initiative back in Greece through our Java User Group ( I will keep a note on this and check for any potential connections. Watch the video ( Devoxx4Kids 2012 from Roy van Rijn on Vimeo)

After that, we had a short introduction of Devoxx France, an initiative which spawned from the famous Paris JUG and it is really a great thing for the big French Java community. The French have a very vibrant JUG, lots of members and a quite big IT market to back them up, Devoxx France and in general many other things happening was a matter of time to explode in terms of activity and support. Great job by Antonio Goncalves which I happen to know from the JUG leaders community and previous Devoxx/Javapolis events. Lots of Java love from France!

Clip_DevoxxFrance_2012 from Graphicaline on Vimeo.

But .wait a minute if we have Devoxx France what about the Brit's! Well here we are, Devoxx London (UK) has been announced. It is going to happen on March 2013 and is a two day event. This is great news for all the Java geeks around Europe. More events, more knowledge sharing and lots of opportunities from people travelling either from south or north to reach a Java conference. I really like that the European Java Developer community is standing up and creating events and buzz around our beloved language, Java is alive through it's community that is a fact!

Make the Future Java

We had an overview of the future plans of Oracle related to Java. Nandini Ramani is VP of engineering at Oracle. Among several things noted, I could see a steady push by Oracle on the embedded Java field , it seems Oracle is still believing that Java is relevant on this domain (I believe so to). JDK 8 is expected in Sept 2013 and Oracle is continuing to work with Apple through the OpenJDK project, in order to provide a solid port for the Mac. Yaay from me! Keep then coming. I am already using the preview - builds of JDK7 and those provided by Oracle. This initiative seems to go just fine! Last but not least Oracle is pushing hard on JavaFX, by updates and a solid roadmap. I have not explored this tool yea (in terms of worth noting development) but lately I am getting feedbac by many people that is looking more interesting than the past and more solid. Overall, despite the different mindset and strategy of Oracle, despite the first bumpy years of taking over the Java myth from Sun, the switch seems to be working al-right. There are clear paths and strategies in many fields and Java is not dead at all. Keep it up Oracle!

When Geek Leaks

Neal Ford is a software architect working at ThoughtWorks. He is a well known geek, working in several big systems and juggling with many programming languages. He is also known as an author with an impressive list of books, you may find them here. His talk was about effective presentations and anti patterns. Excellent all round talk that blended lots of stuff and had references from different fields. I am sure we all have revised some of our presentation skills principles. Some of the stuff in his talk are included in his latest book Presentation Patterns, if you are into presentations in your day to day work I highly suggest to check his book out.

What's new with Google App Engine and Compute Engine

I have been night hacking on the Google App Engine, latetly. I have to admit I am quite excited about the overall thing while learning new tricks and tips. So this talk was a must for me. Excellent overview of the current status and things to come. I am always happy to attend talks by Alexis M.P, which we had the chance to co-host during his Sun ear in Greece as well, as a Glassfish evangelist.So, Google app engine is getting ready for JDK7 soon enough. They are also finishing up the project eu data centre locality meaning you can be sure that your data and app is deployed on EU data centres. We also had a short introduction to the Google compute engine service ( pre-configured linux vms within the Google App engine ecosystem) and Google SQL Cloud (MySQL instances available to be used either as standalone or within App engine apps). Hey did you know that the game Angry Birds is actually using Google App Engine services -cool!.

When it comes to Java, we had short talks around the GAE maven plugin and the integration of your GAE project with Jenkins ( C.I).

Closures and Collections

I am great fan of Maurice Naftalin. I still remember his talk in previous Javapolis /Devoxx events around the new Java Collections and Generics. What a buzz at that point. Many of you must have red his book (co-author) around Java Generics (one of my favourites actually) from Oreilly. Maurice, hoped along the λ expression train and gave a speech around the impact of the JDK8 upcoming lambda expression additions to Java Collections. Really nice talk that made you think about the impact that λ can have in your day to day code. I am still afraid of people misusing this interesting feature added in the Java language but this is another story, post. If you want to improve your λ expression awareness (like me) have a look on Maurice's new initiative - LamdaFaq -> all about Lambdas and friends

Fork Join, lambda & parallel() parallel computing made (too ) easy

I think Jose Paumard is my favorite speaker for this year. I attended his talk during the university phase and this one was my second in the row. He continued elaborating on the parallel computing tools that we already have in java and yet things to come. Some of the examples were present in the University session. He demo-ed a potential solution to the travelling salesman problem, using parallel programming techniques, trying to fit the algorithm in the parallelism world. A great note from his talk : not all algorithms are meant to run in parallel mode

Agile ++ When Agile Goes Well

Very interesting talk, (e_ven though I was getting a bit dizzy by Israel B.R - he was constantly moving while talking - tip for his next talk - try to disrupt it :P_). So we had 2 developers from the famous LMAX company, providing services on the financial sector. We must have heard LMAX (like many of us) by the recent paper of the LMAX Disruptor, a very interesting library, addressing parallel and concurrent computing problems. The talk though was not about Disruptor but about the release and development process within LMAX and how they incrementally shifted their Agile tool set in order to make it fit and work in their demanding release time frames. Releases every 2 weeks (1.5 actually), pressing business partners, high expectations and limit's on software quality. LMAX is for sure a challenging company to work for and these guys/girls are really lucky. During the talk they note several obstacles of modern software development methodologies, present in many software houses. Problems on estimating tasks, breaking down tasks, choosing the appropriate agile approach (Scrum. Kanban etc), handling work load on several sub groups within the same department, testers overload. I could relate to many of their examples from my experience. The answer some times is not clear, especially within different organizations with different needs, different business offering but for sure time should be allocated to teams and developers to re-think their processes and incrementally improve it.


Busy day, 9am to 8pm. Tiring but exciting at the same time. So many new things, so many things to note down and think about them in the future.

I was happy enough to bump into old friends that haven't seen them for a while and find out how they are doing and talk a bout many things - the Greek recession included, like _uncle' Kirk Pepperdine , Dimitris Andreadis , Geertjan Wielenga and Bert Ertman. Tomorrow is my last full day so, stay tuned for another review tomorrow night.

Good night from cold Antwerp! Java love to all of you!