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Java One Day 0

Posted by cayhorstmann on May 5, 2008 at 10:18 PM PDT

Last year, Java One Day 0 was Netbeans Day, in a cozy hotel. This year,
the Java One week started much more grandly, with Community One, at the
Moscone Center. There were tracks for a number of open source communities,
including NetBeans, GlassFish, MySQL, OpenSolaris. Frankly, I preferred the
cozy hotel, but I can see that it is savvy marketing by Sun to have a
large-scale free community event.

Ian Murdoch (the ian in Debian) gave the
keynote speech. My mind wanders in keynotes, and here were some of its
destinations. style="float: right; margin-left: 1em;" />

  • His boss, Jonathan
    , likens open source to the thousand tributaries giving rise
    to the mighty href="">Amazon river (not
    the shopkeeper, although that too might
    be a valid analogy)—the reverse of href="">this
  • Maybe the MySQL acquisition makes more sense than I thought. As a
    card-carrying member of the chablis and brie set, I had always preferred
    PostgreSQL, but MySQL is a blue-collar database, just like Java is a href="">blue-collar
  • Core + edge. There is an open-source core (Java, OpenSolaris, etc.),
    and vendors add value at the edge. I thought of href="">Donald
    Knuth and TeX, and how he insisted (wisely, I think) that it be the
    immutable core, whatever its flaws. Maybe that's what will happen with
    Java, and innovation will come at the edges, with new languages and
  • This doesn't work so well with a closed-source core. Amen. At my
    university, we use the wretched href="">Blackboard software that is sold to
    CIOs, not users. Over the weekend, I googled to find out how to import
    quiz questions to Blackboard. I got a zillion hits on how to do this for
    Moodle, an open-source alternative, in a
    variety of formats. With Blackboard, there is a solitary third party
    product for the job that uses Windows. Too bad I don't.
  • One problem with the OLPC is that the
    coders aren't it's users. Amen. src="" /> style="float: right; margin-left: 1em;">
  • Open source lets you be brilliant faster. Amen.

Charles Nutter gave an interesting overview of languages that run on the
JVM. There were the usual suspects: Groovy, Jython, JRuby, Rhino, Scala, and
some more exotic ones. (Note to self: Check out href="">Clojure and see if it makes href="">software
transactional memory easier to understand.) Charles' advice: The era of
doing everything in a single language is over. Be a polyglot.

Sadly, the Netbeans talks were far from riveting. Instead, I walked off to
the exhibit area and had a chat with href="">Winston Prakash and a very friendly
fellow from the Prague office about the JSF visual designer. The Netbeans 6.1
editor isn't bad, provided you don't use absolute positioning and ignore the
useless backing bean that it insists on generating. But it could be so much
better. An improved visual editor is being planned, but apparently href="">JSR 276 is going
nowhere. That's too bad. Wouldn't it be nice if you could use your favorite
JSF library (ICEfaces, href="">RichFaces, href="">ADF
Faces/ href="">Trinidad, href="">Woodstock) in your favorite IDE,
with visual builder support? It has taken far longer than I expected for
these components to appear, but now that they are there, I want to drag and
drop them, and not be stuck with the drab standard components. (Check out href="">this blog by my graduate
student Ashlesha Patil...)

There was a very nice presentation on href="">EclipseLink. It looks like a
great JPA provider, blazing the trail to JPA 2.0 and offering amazing
configurability. But it surely takes the prize for the most confusingly named
product of the day. Recall that Toplink WateredDown, erm, Essentials, is the
JPA provider in GlassFish. The original Toplink is now open-sourced with the
Eclipse foundation, hence the name. Where can you find it? In Glassfish 3,
which you can install into NetBeans (!). The Eclipse IDE has not yet caught

style="float: right; margin-left: 1em;" />

My favorite event was a fun presentation about using robots in computer
science education. These aren't your usual Lego robots. They have several
processors on board for “cockroach reflexes”, and they can be
equipped with a Java-powered href="">SunSpot for its brains. The
presenters demoed a nifty development environment based on href="">Greenfoot. You can prototype your robot
in the safety of your laptop, and then download the program into the SunSpot
to control the actual hardware. There is a href="">maze-solving contest going on
at Java One. If you have any brain cycles left for coding at Java One, give
it a try!

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Last year's (2007) NetBeans day was part of the CommunityOne event

If you ever do need a good Virtual Learning Environment and can bear to work with something based on PHP then Moodle really is very, very good.
I have worked with Blackboard and Moodle and I find Moodle to be much nicer (its GPL too). Thanks for Core JSF by the way.