The afternoon General Session was filled with quick looks at some of the technologies being shown and discussed in the technical sessions, but it also included a correction about the release of the Java 7 SDK. It seems that the announcement made in the morning was incorrect. The version being released is not the final Java 7 SDK, but the preview. The timetable laid out has the "feature complete" version being released in October and a Release Candidate coming out in February 2010. Sigh.
On a happier note I originally forgot to tell you that JavaFX 1.2 is now available, but it works out because it give me something pleasant to take away the Java 7 sting.
As it turns out, the realse of JavaFX 1.2 is kind of a mixed blessing. There are some new features, most notably the UI controls like Button, TextBox, RadioButton, CheckBox, and Label many of us have been pining for. The downside is there's still no Tree or Table control. One other thing to be aware of is that there are changes to the APIs that are not "upward compatible" - which means you'll need to modify your source code. The updated SDK is also not binary compatible so anything that's already compiled may break. Documents describing the changes you'll need to make are on the JavaFX site. It may be a little frustrating, but I've heard it's worth the work.
While I'm sure there were many excellent sessions, I was only able to attend a few:
- In "Return of the Puzzlers: Schlock and Awe" Josh Bloch and Neal Gafter did a fine job of presenting another round of deviously simple programs that don't behave the way you think they should.
- Bill Venner's presentation, "The Feel of Scala" took an interesting approach. He presented a lot of Scala code and provided just-in-time explanations of what we were seeing. It was unusual, but it worked. In fact, it was interesting enough that I'm currently on the lookout for a good book and downloading the latest release as soon as I find a stable connection to the interntet.
- In "Don't Do This! How Not to Write Java Technology Based Software" Dean Wampler of Object Mentor shared his top ten list of things that you can do to really screw up a Java application. These may fall into the anti-pattern category because many of them are the sort of things that seem like a good idea.
- "Meet the Java and JavaFX User Experience Team" was a nice opportunity to hear from the people involved in the user experience side of Java and JavaFX. These folk have the fascinating and difficult job of figuring out how to make the creation of compelling applications using Java and JavaFX easier to accomplish.
- The last session I attended, actually a BOF, was titled "Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5/6 Sun Certified Enterprise Exam: Theory, Practice, Real World" and it was lead by Humphrey Sheil, who is one of the examiners that grade parts two and three of the exam. As someone who's taken (and passed) the beta version of the exam, I found the talk very interesting and full of helpful suggestions. I was a little disappointed in that there was little mention about a JEE 6 version, but if you're interested in becoming a Sun Certified Architect for JEE 5 I strongly recommend listening to this session once Sun makes it available on the Sun Developer Network website.
That was it for the night. Day two is only a few hours of sleep away.
Burk Hufnagel reporting for DZone.