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JavaOne XI - Field of Themes

Posted by dmax69 on May 16, 2006 at 8:15 PM PDT

Field of Themes

“For everything that matters.” That’s the power of Java, or at least another one of the themes at the conference this year. It’s a nice slogan, though it doesn’t mean very much.


The extent to which everything that matters can be contained, enhanced or enabled by a computing-based system or application, we might suppose that Java is germane. I feel obliged to question the assumption, however. Clearly, the things that matter most do not fall anywhere near the domain of computability…but I digress.

The power of Java for everything that matters, or visa versa, are but a few of the many themes emerging at JavaOne this eleventh year. Another theme is “You’re in Good Company” as evidenced by the signage promoting those brands that associate with Java.


A very effective albeit subtle theme this year is the unstated one from last year, the “Age of Participation” in action.

In the mid-70s, I admit to momentarily having once been a partner in a discotheque, the first ever in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, which catered to the pre-Saturday Night Fever crowd in the salad days of the disco era. I was quite young and very naïve when it came to business, discovering too quickly and too late that a minority ownership in a small firm can be a recipe for unhappiness. But there was one thing I did learn from that adventure that was good, and it taught me a very effective lesson when it came to engaging customers at an important level.

Teams capturing photos of develpers at JavaOne

The senior partner of said disco had the wherewithal to take photographs of patrons as they enjoyed the club. He would then have the photographs processed into old-fashioned slides, and then project the photos on every wall of the club on old-fashioned slide projects, along with 8mm copies of old silent film clips and early innocuous disco lighting. Mixed with the Phildelphia beat of the early disco sound, the subtle impact of the images of all of our patrons dynamically gracing the walls of the establishment not only created an atmosphere…it also kept those same patrons coming back for more…to see themselves…to participate more personally and more meaningfully in the ambience of that disco. We made it about them, the customer…which is a theme I see unfolding at JavaOne this year.

Teams of photographers are taking photos of developers at JavaOne, the results of which are creating the "Power of Java" collage that is on display in the hallway of the Moscone. It is reminiscent of the 1999 JavaOne, when a Java-enabled ring was given to attendees, the processors of which were devoted to a slowly emerging fractal image. Only this time, the image is less technology-focussed, and more developer focussed -- it's all about the customer.

The collage made of images of developers taken at JavaOne

From the outset, the general session was devoted to Java success stories featuring real Java engineers. Even though Ed Zander made an appearance, it was mostly about Scwhartz and developers. In between clips of Gosling and Gage, slides featuring photos and stories of Java technology heroes are filling the copious screens strewn about the Moscone depths. This year, more than past years, it has been not only about Java, but about the developers who daily make it the established platform it has become.

And perhaps that is the most subtle theme in today’s JavaOne, and the next two interesting realizations in this bloggers account:

2) At the dawn of its second decade, Java is now the legacy platform, made so by its customers -- the developer community that made the choice to use it.

3) If computing and a network is involved, Java is somewhere in the mix fundamentally because of software developers.

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