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JavaONE 2005 day 1 wrap-up

Posted by bsandersen on June 27, 2005 at 8:04 PM PDT

Day one has come to a close. Though there are about 14,000 15,000 people attending the event, it is still pretty easy to simply bump into old acquaintances. Even before entering the Moscone Center, while standing in the alumni line, Greg Wonderly spotted me and said hello. Greg is well known in the Jini community and an all-around good guy. While wandering around on the show floor I nearly ran over Bill Venners, founder of Artima, because I was too busy gawking at stuff rather than looking where I was going. Bill was carrying a high-end microphone and digital recorder interviewing people for his site.

There was a lot of interesting stuff on the floor today, but not all of it in obvious places. The java.net booth held a series of 20 minutes talks that continue through the rest of the show. I caught one other talk (other than the one Steve Harris did earlier) by the folks from IENJINIA who have made a development environment for teaching young people how to program. Rather than show them a platform for 2005, they have created a platform that would be more likely to be found in 1985. The system allows young programmers to create 1980's style video games that would have looked familiar on an old Atari or Commodore 64 machine. The limitations imposed by the environment are specific and purposeful, leaving only the key concepts important for learning programming. Very ingenious, if you ask me.

If attendance is any indication of following, Eclipse people have nothing to worry about. The "What's new with Eclipse..." session eclipsed attendance projections and people were ultimately turned away. The unique approach this group has taken, making all elements of the environment plug-ins in a very egalitarian architecture, has proven both robust and flexible. Some of the future work mentioned in the talk made me perk up my ears including the bit about requirements management.

Speaking of requirements management, Simunication, Inc. has a product that allows you to create a scaffolded "western movie set" version of your application to show to your customers. Anybody old enough would probably remember Dan Bricklin's Demo Program, popular for the very same purpose 20 years ago. I don't want to be disrespectful here: it was a great idea when Bricklin did it in 1985, and it is a great idea today. It also looks like the kids at Simunication did a nice job with it. Their next move is to create actual requirements statements that could be tracked in standard requirements tracking packages. Given how difficult the problem of requirements elicitation is, I'll take all the help I can get.

That's it for today. One day done and three to go. I'm going to rest-up and go again in the morning. Goodnight everybody!

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