Thursday, May 22, 2008

JavaOne 2008 - Java Recrystalised

This year after JavaOne, my wife and I took a holiday. We hired a car and drove round California and visited some of the amazing National Parks the USA has to offer. I was under orders not to speak about or mention the conference - I was supposed to be switching off and relaxing. Well, at Sequoia, we took a tour round the amazing (and badly named) Crystal Caves. While I was down there it seemed to me that the events of the hectic week just passed came together somewhat. Crystalised you might say.

It had seemed to me that on the surface, there wasn't a lot new out there. Most of the sessions I'd been had told me a lot, but its wasn't exciting and new. But then I realised that there was a more subtle trend - lots of things had instead been re-imagined: Glassfish 3 was now OSGi based and modular. Then there was a better Spring (which now claimed to be a better EJB 3.0 container) and also a new Guice (which claimed to be a better Spring). In other areas, there were calls to re centre the human and re look at our mental models behind things we take for granted - Kathy Sierra was a surprise guest at "How to Write the Next Great Java Book" and implored us to consider the audience's psychology when addressing them. In other areas Hudson was Continuous Inegration with a human face and Mylyn tried to challenge IDE information overload and allow you to code "at the speed of thought". Even the Aussies at Atlassian implored us to put the fun back into our builds.

The Re-imagining continued. Applets were back with a vengance breaking the browser / desktop boundary and gaining a spontaneous standing ovation for the team when they came on stage and new JVM languages were now accepted as first class citizens: we took the Red Pill with Groovy, heard how JRuby is being accepted in the enterprise from Ola Bini, and Scala came out of the academic shadows with a large crowd in attendance for Martin Odersky's latest update. Finally JavaFX Script continued to gain momentum, being discussed from a language design perspective by its creator, Chris Oliver.

And there it was. Just as my thoughts had crystallised, so it seems has the Java Ecosystem. Re crystallised in fact, from the same basic substrate - the JVM - but under changing conditions - dynamic languages, harder problems, new communities. It's still an interesting time to be invoved in the Java world. Just don't expect to be writing just public static void main(String[] args) for ever!

No comments: