Desktop Matters Retrospective
An essential ingredient for a community is periodic face-to-face meetings. Although events such as JavaOne have served the purpose in the past, this event was stricly about the Desktop, and (unlike JavaOne) was very small and most intimate.
I most enjoyed getting to meet a number of java.net bloggers such as Kirill Grouchnikov, the author of the Substance look and feel, and members of the Sun Swing team including Shannon Hickey, Chet Haase, Hans Muller, and Richard Bair. Of particular interest to me was the chance to meet people behind independent open source frameworks such as Wolf Paulus, the author of SwixML. It's also always a pleasure to revisit with old friends Ben Galbraith, Dion Almaer, and Scott Delap, whom I know from speaking tours with NFJS (no fluff just stuff).
What I value most about such conferences is the chance to connect with the community, the people who were drawn to this conference, speakers and attendees alike, because of their involvement with desktop technologies in some respect. They came to share and discuss. This was not a dead audience. Talks were interactive, and Ben made sure to heckle speakers that didn't get their fair share of questions.
Personally, I was very humbled by the feedback I received about my talk. There's nothing more encouraging to one's work than getting positive feedback so personally.
I enjoyed informal conversations with fellow speaker Kai Toedter of Siemens, and Etienne Studer who delivered two presentations: the first on the ULC product from Canoo (which imho rocks), and the second on IntelliJ IDEA's GUI designer where Etienne's facility in the environment made me reconsider my own intimacy with the product. It was also an honor to get to meet and listen to the people behind JIDE. David Qiao gave a great talk.
So, now that DM is over, and now that I'm home, I can finally say that I feel like I know at least a few members of my community, and it's a good feeling.