Has the interest in Java peaked in London? What about the rest of the United Kingdom? There are many of you, who were around in early 2008, might remember that Eoin Woods decided to close the London Enterprise Java User’s Group EJUG (http://www.ejug.org.uk/) . He moved on to contribute in the software architect movement, especially in the UK.
There was Nathan Sawathekey’s JSIG ( http://www.jsig.com/confluence/display/JSIG/Home) which was until a few years ago was very popular for getting the heads up Java technology. For instance, Jason van Zyl presented Maven 2.0 way back in 2006, and where I met up with him and asked for a JAVAWUG talk. JSIG regularly held lunchtime meet-ups at Sun Microsystem’s office in London. Unfortunately for the entire London Java community, Nathan put the JSIG in hibernation way back in 2007. It is still a sleep.
There is,then, also the Coding the Architecture group (http://www.codingthearchitecture.com/) . In London, it was run by Simon Brown until last year, before he decided to move back to Jersey. I am unsure if they are regularly meeting now.
It seems many Java user groups have sunk without a trace. The most troubling trend is that there, whilst we all have work, life and families. I believe that the Java activities and communities are rather slowing down now. I am not exactly sure why it is slowing down particularly in London, where there is still plenty of work advertised using Java. Professionally we are still using Java, but is it because we want to or is it because we have to or rather we are told that the have to?
Those of us who are going to conferences, like Devoxx (http://devoxx.com/)and have been to quite a few in the past years, may have a similar view. Attendances are down compared to the boom years, however, the QCon London 2009 event in Spring, surprised us all and it was still very attended. There are already publishing QCon London 2010.
Overall, I suspect that Java is becoming a niché technology as the rest of the JVM landscape takes shape. In other words we are becoming divided into regions, following the programming languages, even though the platform stays the same. So are developers, designers and architects fragmented in their minds on how they view the perceived value of the Java ecosystem at least in the UK? Or is this a symptom that the recession also triggers a malaisé in innovation, experimentation and motivation?
It is very difficult to bring quality to an event organising business or club, if you do not find the support or the motivation to continue. If the audience are not interested, then as an organiser then you cannot get the best acts. If you don't believe me look at companies like ... and you realise that is a Catch 22 situation and something must give. It's time for my favourite word: innovation. New blood more be born or is that "join this earth". [Metallica - Ah nevermind, Nirvana - Sorry these pun should be forgetten because I am digressing ...]
Everyone sort of knows that the best time to push a new idea or a start-up business is in a recession, because the labour and operational costs are cheaper, presumably. Yet it is only the few of us, who are very brave and have enough courage to go at it, often alone, without support. In a recession we tend to keep more to our selves, become very dysfunctional, share less, trust less than we ever did. Of course, trust is the key word, because there is distinct lack of it in a recession. Paradoxically, it is the because we are trying less that we accuse others more of their lack enthusiasm. Again it is a perceived idea. The vector of change across society is smaller in magnitude and change slows down. How can we, then, affect new change? One thing is that we should take more responsibility for our community and our actions. We should all accept the role of leader and stop following and start doing more of what we want the world to become. Contribute ideas and help us. A sorry excuse, is to blame the lack of money, because that did not prevent Dyson, Edison, Levi's Roots, Roddick or countless others from succeeding. They all decided to work around the problem of money and never loss motivation for achieving! We must make more time to experiment and share our experiences. The second excuse is to blame, a lack of time. The answer to that riddle has been known for a very long time, we make the time. The third excuse is to say it is too much effort. What? Don't you know that journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Enough said.