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JavaOne 2007: I Feel So Mature

Posted by ronhitchens on May 9, 2007 at 1:41 AM PDT

I missed the keynotes this morning. I planned to be there, I really did, but two sick kids and an hour-long BART ride conspired to keep me away. Luckily, other bloggers here have posted informative summaries. I did make it to Bob Brewin's technical keynote after lunch.

I'm struggling a little bit to get a handle on what JavaOne 2007 is really
about this year. From what I can tell, it seems to boil down to three things: open source, JavaFX and NetBeans.

Open sourcing the JDK is big. It's important and it will help insure Java's long-term survival. It's also going to take it in new directions. I'm glad to see it happen, finally. Five years ago it would have been a game-changing play, but today it's just the inevitable next step.

NetBeans has come a long way in the last few years. I tried it out recently to do some Java code profiling. I was impressed by how much it had improved since the last time I tried it several years ago. I would choose it over Eclipse without hesitation. But I use IntelliJ/IDEA. NetBeans has become the best IDE that no one I know uses.

That leaves JavaFX. I've only seen bits of it on stage. I don't really know any specifics about it and I'm sure a lot of very smart people devoted a lot of effort to it. But it gives me a sense of dejá vù. Why do we have yet another gratuitously incompatible JavaScript/Flex/ActionScript/Groovy/whatever kinda thing? I can't help but feel that Sun has reinvented another wheel. Five years ago, JavaFX would have rocked. Today it feels like me too and I fear that it will be an orphan tomorrow.

But I suppose it's to be expected. This year falls between major JDK releases. There are a lot of incremental fixes and improvements but no great leaps forward. I guess this is what a maturing industry feels like.

No worries, there are still lots of interesting sessions to attend and old and new friends to connect with. JavaOne is always a great place to be, even when you're not sure what it's about.