JavaOne is still going on for a few more hours, so a show wrap-up may be premature. But I have to leave early, so it's time to summarize my experience, at least.
This was my sixth JavaOne. I wasn't quite sure what to expect this year; I was afraid the conference would be a lot smaller, and that the energy might be low. I'm glad to say it was great. I heard from two sources that the conference was slightly larger than last year, at just over 15,000 attendees.
- There was less swag on the show floor, but the floor was still crowded and interesting. A friend who was an exhibitor said it was fantastic -- conference attendees were interested in learning about their product, and excited about finding tools and systems that could help them.
- It's nice to hear about a focus on the desktop, and fun to read Amy Fowler's and Hans Muller's blogs on the topic. My talk on Wednesday was related to Java on the desktop, and I had great turnout and a lot of interest. But the messages are mixed -- booths on the show floor were labeled with icons indicating whether they had a focus on mobility, or the enterprise, etc. ... but there was no icon representing the desktop.
- Josh Bloch continues to be one of my role models as a speaker. I was only able to catch one of his talks this year, but it was fantastic.
- Sun, O'Reilly, and Collabnet have done a great job with the java.net site, and it's exciting to see all the activity. Sun still has a long way to go in opening up Java and the process, but this is a great start.
- Duncan is right that the real action happens outside the lecture halls. Conversations in the halls, at the show booths, meals, and evening parties are the heart and soul of JavaOne.
- This conference needs wireless!
- It may just be the crowd I run with, but so far as I can tell Sun continues to misjudge the kind of content that their attendees want to hear. I heard more than one person say that they wish the talks -- including the keynotes -- were more technical, more geared toward developers. The talks that were packed to overflowing were on very technical topics. Unfortunately, Sun doesn't collect feedback on speakers at JavaOne, and I've heard from more than one source that they don't feed attendance data back into the following year's selection process. That, combined with the fact that they don't pay speakers, keeps the technical quality lower (overall) than it could be.
- Speaking of the JavaOne speaking experience: this year all of the speakers got shirts that we were supposed to wear during our talks. Unfortunately they were hideous, and the only speakers I saw wearing them were Sun employees. I'm not here as a marketing shill, but I did want to take the opportunity to get exposure for my company (after all, that's just about the only compensation involved) so I just wore my company logo shirt. What were they thinking?
There's a mix of good and bad there, but I've had a great time. Now I have to go hop on my flight to Milwaukee to speak at the Milwaukee Java Software Symposium!