Today Devoxx, otherwise known as "the Java conference in a movie house", kicked off with the first day of its two days of university sessions (to be followed by three days of conference sessions) in, as always, Antwerp, Belgium. Before anything else, the Devoxx newbie, of which the undersigned is one, slowly becomes aware of sitting in a plush seat in a cinema, rather than a plastic chair in a hotel. That's a pleasant change, as is seeing the face of great speakers on a massive movie screen, such as Sang Shin, Pete Muir, and Chet Haase, rather than bad actors like... oh, where does one start.
Further awesomeness about the concept of holding a Java conference in a movie house is that you get to enjoy the holy trinity of popcorn, nachos, and programming all at the same time and in the same place:
Above you see JavaTools community leader Anton Epple enjoying the fringe benefits of conferencing in a movie house. And in the background there are actual movies playing, as I type these words.
BeJUG founder and key Devoxx organizer Stephan Jannsen told me today that 2500 participants are signed up to attend the conference this year, making Devoxx the world's largest independent Java conference. Some of the other noteable contenders for this title would be conferences such as JFall (the Netherlands) and Jazoon (Switzerland).
During the first of the two university days, i.e., today, the status of Devoxx was very clear, judging by the caliber of speakers, as well as the range of topics addressed: from Chris Richardson, the founder of CloudFoundry.com and the Head of Cloud Computing at SpringSource to Sun technology evangelist Sang Shin. The whole program can be found here.
JSF 2 and Beyond
Of particular value was the deep dive into the JSF 2.0 spec, with 3 key JSF people, Dan Allen, Peter Muir, and Andy Schwartz introducing various aspects of the related specs. I thought they all spoke great: very clearly and with in depth knowledge of their subject matter. For example, attendees of this session ended up with a very thorough overview of what the Java EE 6 spec has as its core goals: extensibility (allow more components to be standalone, via EJB 3.1), profiles (subsets of the 'full' platform, such as the web profile), pruning (farewell CMP, JAX-RPC, JAXR, and JSR-88), technology improvements (JSR 316, managed beans; JSR 299, contextx and dependency injection, and JSR 303, bean injection, i.e., constrain once and validate everywhere), and updates (Servlet 3.0, JPA 2.0, and EJB 3.1).
I found it interesting to hear EJB 3.1 being positioned as particularly useful for rapid prototyping of applications (i.e., via not having interface views, packaging up in WARs, async & timer support, and embeddability). It was also cool to be told that these 3 speakers weren't just there to tell us about the JSF spec (and other related specs), but to invite us to become part of the process. Sure, that's what one is always told in sessions of this kind, but here it seemed to be really in earnest, with nothing more being needed than an account on java.net to log feature requests for JSF 2.0.
Part of the rest of today I spent preparing for a short presentation for tomorrow afternoon, on OSGi, together with the aforementioned Anton Epple. (Also because I believe that at a developer conference one should be splitting one's time 50/50 between attending sessions and talking/programming with other conference attendees.) All in all a great day and I'm looking forward to the rest of what Devoxx has to offer! .