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Talking About JavaOne 2007

Posted by gsporar on May 30, 2007 at 7:12 PM PDT

Unlike past years,
I did not blog during JavaOne this year.
I posted one entry the day before JavaOne started,
providing a recap of NetBeans Day San Francisco. But other than that, I was silent. This was
by design. I find that time spent blogging takes away from time spent
going to sessions, socializing, and most importantly, sleeping.

This blog will serve as a substitute. It is a bit tardy in arriving because
after I got back from JavaOne I came down with the flu. So I am just now getting
back to full strength.

At last night's meeting of
the Austin Java Users Group the topic
was a recap of JavaOne. I talked about
what I saw, along with three other members who attended: Rich
Cohen, Rob Ratcliff, and Michael Yuan.
So while this blog entry might be late
in arriving, it has more content because I will try to describe some of the comments
from Rich, Rob, and Michael.

Rob started things off with some excellent photos, videos, slides, and the
demo from his JavaOne technical session,

Designing Scalable High-Performance Rich Clients from the Trenches
. I
had attended Rob's session and the demo was pretty cool: synchronization
of sensor data, plotted geographically (and in other ways as well) in a Swing
application. Lots of non-trivial problems to solve to get all that to work

Rob said he mostly attended the Desktop talks and he seemed pleased with
the quality of them. He and I talked about how much we both enjoyed Ben Galbraith's
Debugging and Optimizing Swing Applications
presentation. Rob also showed the JavaFX and
World Wind demos. It
had been several years since Rob had last been to a JavaOne and he commented on
how much the crowd control has improved.

I was up next and in contrast to Rob I had no presentation slides, interesting pictures,
or cool demos. Rob was kind enough to leave the World Wind demo up on the
screen. For my money, World Wind was the coolest looking demo I saw at JavaOne
this year. I spent most of my time, however, talking about JavaFX. In particular,
JavaFX Script. To me,
there are several pieces to watch for in order to gauge
how much of an impact JavaFX Script will ultimately have:

  • A compiler. Right now the language is interpreted. Luckily, there
    are some really smart people around Sun who know how to write compilers.

  • The deployment piece. Creating an appealing application quickly
    is not helpful if the potential users
    cannot get the JRE running. Again, some
    smart people are working
    on this.

  • The media piece. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to easily support playing
    movies within a Java (or JavaFX Script) application? Read more about this
    in an entry from Chet Haase.

  • The tools. Right now there are
    plugins available, which is a good
    start. But in addition to improving those plugins, it seems like an
    entirely new set of tools is needed to compete against things like
    Adobe Illustrator.

Rich Cohen was up next and he described some of the talks he enjoyed the most.
I recall he specifically mentioned the talk on
Concurent Software
. Rich also commented on something that I noticed this
year as well: the schedule was changed so that there was a break during
lunch time. The last couple of years they scheduled technical sessions during
the lunch hour and this year (thankfully) they did not.

Michael Yuan finished things up with a really good presentation whose central
theme was: the big news from JavaOne 2007 was that there was no big news.
He used as one of his data points the fact that most of the books on the top 10
list at the JavaOne book store were books that were available last year. I
think he makes an excellent point. He admitted that JavaFX Script looked
interesting, but that it is of no relevance to him (and by extension, to many
other JavaOne attendees). This is a direct result of Michael's focus on
Java EE, which in all fairness is where a lot of the work in the Java world
is done today.

Michael's real passion is mobile devices, however, and his comment on JavaFX
was very clear: "Thanks, but no thanks." His concern is
the lack of handsets and he is skeptical that the major handset manufacturers
will sign on to the idea.

There were quite a few questions and discussions with the audience. All three
of the other presenters said nice things about NetBeans Day San Francisco, so
I told the story of
Bob Beasley and his Doggie Oral Reward Kit (D.O.R.K.)
was built in part with the
NetBeans Visual Web Pack
and a Sun SPOT.

One of the questions I was asked about JavaFX Script was: "What is the
advantage of this over Flash?" to which I responded: "Easy access to the
wide world of Java software out there." Another question was: "How does this
compare to SVG?" to which I paraphrased a comment from
Chris Oliver, the inventor of the
JavaFX Script language: "I didn't like describing my user interface in XML."

So all in all, a fun evening. The photo below is of me, Michael, Rich, and