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JavaOne 2010: Is The Glass Half Full?

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Here follows my impression of this year's JavaOne 2010. It may appear controversial or very opinionated.

First are the good impressions of the conference overall:

  1. Considering that around twelve months ago this we were all wondering whether there would be JavaOne conference in 2010, I think Oracle should be congratulated for the keeping the event this year on in the first place.
  2. I valued the chance to network with existing developers and architects in the areas I want to see progress. I met some old acquaintances and
    discovered new folk at this conference. This JavaOne has still been the place to meet developers, engineer and architects from around the world.
  3. Generally, the Oracle staff engineers, I personally felt were just as friendly and outgoing as last years event. The format was changed for us Java Champions and the JUG Leaders, however I think many of us enjoyed the Sunday, the half-day dedicated unconference.
  4. At many conferences in past, there have been a lot of complaints about the number of marketing or purely sales-driven technical sessions. I can honestly say with good faith that there was no such marketing talks this year, at least in the talks that I was privileged to attend.
  5. The Mason Street Tent was really good idea, it hosted the venue for the JavaPosse party, the Lego brick stands, ironically sponsored by Google; and best of all, the fresh coffee kiosk which we could ever the everyday from the Tap Brew Coffee Company. 
  6. The quality of the nosh [British dialect "food"] was rather better in variety than the stock Moscone Center Fittle that had been served at previous JavaOnes.
  7. People were blown away by the grandeur and excellence of the Oracle Appreciation Event. Everyone I spoke to had a good and great things to say about the event who chose to get on the shuttle buses to Treasure Island.

There are also not-so good impression of the conference.

  1. The hardest thing about this conference was the amount of leg work you had to do in order get from one session, especially the sessions were in different hotel. The JavaOne 2010 was co-located conference taking place simultaneously with Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle Develop. JavaOne was contain inside three hotels: The Hilton Union Square; The Nikko Hotel, across the Mason Street tent; and the Parc 55.
  2. I hardly ever met another delegate from the OpenWorld or Oracle Develop in person. In fact I never ventured to OpenWorld at all. This was a sign that this the business and sales community are not the same people , but have focus in either business or technology.
  3. As I went around JavaOne, I talked with several Java Champions and JUG leaders about their impressions of the conference so far, some of them felt unsure of the wisdom of co-locating this JavaOne conference with the others.
  4. The scheduling software was a nightmare for many people, especially the mobile iPhone and Android applications, who relied on it totally for their planning. I can say one or two regular attendees were not amused when they missed a session, because they did not see an update. 
  5. A great number of attendees went to the wrong building to see a keynote. For example the very last key note on Thursday with Ray Kurzweil and the Java Frontier were not streamed to the Hilton Hotel, because many delegate went over there to see, rather than walk 10 minutes to the Moscone Center.

General for past attendees, it was felt that JavaOne 2010 was the second-class citizen of the larger OpenWorld. They just could not understand why Moscone was not used for a separate conference. In fact, I would go so to say that the previous JavaOne goers would really be happy with a June / July 2011 date for the next JavaOne. I can hear the objections already by Oracle about this, because from the business point of view, it is all about unity, demonstrating their are rewards for being an Oracle customer,  and of course it all about the notion of a family.

For all we know that JavaOne 2010 in September could have been definitely been co-located event, because of logistics and business operational concerns. I understand that runing a conference with this size of attendance over 40000 people can take 12 months to hire venues, plan, organise and execute successfully. Still, my personal suggestion probably would be to attempt a summer conference, which separates JavaOne from OpenDevelop.

Having said all of that, this IT business is a youthful business and it will always be, the people are coming to Java world now, probably do not care too much about co-location and comparing past and current impressions, they just want to learn Java and get better at it and get good. The networking and privileges, we all know, come latter when you get experience and a reputation. In this business of information technology, if one is to survive it, the beer glass has to be, most of your working life, half full. I probably could not be back for the JavaOne if it takes place in 2nd October 2011, because that date is difficult to justify for family and employee / contractor clients reasons time away for tech; and being that date is so close to Devoxx, which is my closest geological hub for a local Java conference, namely Devoxx. It definitely makes sense for me to wait 1 month more to attend Devoxx in 2011. (Of course, I am assuming Stephan Janssen will keep Devoxx in the mid-November month time frame.) I would only attend JavaOne 2011 if I was selected to speak at a technical session or a BOF; and it is only because of the close potential date/time proximity, would I decline.

In short, for JavaOne, there must be optimism. After all a lot can happen and change in a year. I would prefer a summer time Java conference, personally. Sun Microsystems used to call their conference, "JavaOne, The Worldwide Developer Conference" and that used to mean USA, the biggest in its traditional homeland, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and it certainly meant the most important Java conference in the whole world.

PS: I would like to thank Justin Kestelyn, Nichole Scott, Victoria Lira and the other Oracle community staff for their organisation of my JavaOne 2010 experience.

From http://www.jroller.com/peter_pilgrim/entry/javaone_2010_part_5_is

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