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Air Hacks: Travel Through Java EE Development with Adam Bien

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Air Hacks: Travel Through Java EE Development with Adam Bien

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Explore Java EE technology with renowned expert Adam Bien as your guide in his unique workshop series: Air Hacks. The interactive "all coding" workshops cover a range of topics tailored for beginning and advanced Java EE developers, from learning to start a real world Java EE 6 project in one day, to architect-ing and designing User Interfaces. In this interview, Bien discusses how Air Hacks came to be and the next set of workshops scheduled for March 2013.

How long have you been organizing Java EE workshops at Munich Airport?

airhacks.com started in March 2012. The first edition caused some AttendeesOverflowException--I booked a room for 20 seats, and got over 30 registrations.
To cover the demand, I organized two additional events in July and October. For better scaling, in subsequent workshops we got the largest room available at Munich Airport.

Since starting Air Hacks, each [quarterly] series has gotten longer by exactly one day. This is due to feedback from attendees wanting to go more deeply into particular topics. I extracted these specific topics and dedicated a day to them in subsequent workshop series.

Listen to Adam Bien discuss Air Hacks on NetBeans Podcast #63

Why an airport?

I like Munich airport. It has good food (from Sushi to the best Kebab in Munich) and good coffee. It's a nice venue--well-located and easy to get to. The workshops take place about 100m from Terminal 2--the international terminal. Munich Airport is also convenient for me--I only have to drive an hour.

What's the ideal approach: Take an individual workshop or the complete set of workshops?

Attendees can participate in a single workshop (one day), return home to fully absorb the material, and then gather questions to ask at another workshop months later. Some attendees participate in all the workshops in a particular series.

In the series coming up this March, you can participate in all four days at once. But from past experience, attendees are usually overwhelmed with the Java EE niceness. :-) A longer break between workshops is really useful because attendees have some time to think over the topics from the workshop.

What can attendees expect to get out of the Java EE series in March?

As much real world experience as possible. I try to answer all questions with working code. We deploy about 100 times a day. I use slides only as a guide (ToC) to make sure all topics are covered.

You're known to demo almost primarily with NetBeans IDE. Are most attendees familiar with or use the IDE as well?

I use NetBeans exclusively. Sometimes I'll switch to IntelliJ just to work with something else. I rarely use Eclipse; but sometimes my clients force me to. :-)

I really enjoy working with NetBeans. Even in my screencasts you will see just NetBeans.

Although I’m using NetBeans during the workshop, nothing we are doing is NetBeans specific. Sometimes I switch to plain text editor to explain some concepts. Some attendees start off with Eclipse, but usually they end up using NetBeans. Java EE projects should be IDE-agnostic. NetBeans does a good job to ensure that.

Still, NetBeans is perfect for workshops. You get the whole environment (IDE, application server, database and documentation) installed in a few minutes.

Can you single out two features in NetBeans IDE that are great specifically for Java EE developers?

1. Great out-of-the-box experience and productivity.

2. Seamless integration of Java EE APIs, documentation and tools. From JPA-QL code completion, really good Maven 3 integration with code completion, effective dependency computation, to HTML 5 JSF 2 auto-completion and CDI editor support. Without any plugins, configuration or setup.

What's coming up in Java EE 7 that's interesting to you?

I'm personally interested in the new stuff such as: Batch, JMS 2.0, Caching API, Concurrency or JAX-RS client. However, my consultancy projects will also heavily benefit from JPA enhancement. I'm really looking forward to Java EE 7.

Where are Air Hacks attendees coming from?

The attendees come from all over the world. I've had attendees from Czech Republic, Slovakia, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and also Germany.

How often do you plan to host the workshops, and always in Munich?

So far, three times a year and it's going to always be in Munich. Air Hacks is my attempt to centralize my workshops and to reduce the amount of time I travel. I try to write as much Java code as possible. For me writing code is still fun.

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