Oh no, not again
So we begin again. Another JavaOne.
The place has certainly calmed down. Which is to be expected. The first JavaOne was at the rush of the .com boom. Everything was new, everyone was doing business with everyone else, new ideas, new possibilities. Every corner hid a new frisson. You felt you could just live off the vibes.
By now it's much more staid. After all, Java isn't this amazing new thing, it's a well-established part of the programming field. Then, finding someone with six months Java experience was really amazing, and that was almost certainly "playing with it because it was interesting". Now it's just another language that pops up on resumes everywhere The price of success, of course, is that you are now established.
For those who enjoyed the whirlwind, though, you have to dig harder. There are still a lot of really cool things that are being done. Some are just cool because they're cool, no matter the language. Others are cool because Java makes them possible. There are still things that Java does that other languages just can't do, or can't do smoothly, mostly having to do with mobile code, security, and nearly complete platform transparency.
I'm going to be looking for those. Plus, of course, looking for folks I meet only here, once a year. Frankly they're more interesting than a lot of the sessions. While it's nice that someone is presenting the current draft of version 1.3 of the JSR 9,324 spec on adapting to .... [snore]. Hey, it's probably important to someone, and if it's right up my alley I'm there, but generally I'll find out about this stuff when I need to, and faster by using online docs.
But the arguments in the hall about Jini vs. JXTA are not online docs. The folks at tables by themselves, who you ask to sit with and then get to know -- they're not online docs, either. The people who are still nutty enough to be running around causing a fuss without being paid to are online nuts, but they're not online docs, at least not ones you're going to run into. (Paying people to cause a fuss is pretty pathetic, and has always looked pathetic, yet marketing folks keep trying it, which is even more pathetic.) The unknown ideas that show up that get you thinking a new way? Who is going to point you at those online docs?
Which is why the BOFs are often more interesting, more vital in both senses, than the talks. Look around. Find a couple you not only don't recognize, but that look like they might open to something new. If you haven't been to two or three BOFs like that, you've wasted your trip.
After ten years of JavaOne it can't be the exciting innovation it once was, but it still has exciting innovations. So post up the sideways things, the interesting things you're going to look at. Let's help each other find the good stuff, the stuff you might not put into your trip report, but that you regale others with over coffee or beer. It can't be all spark anymore, but let's keep connected to the spark anyway.