I should say something about JavaOne too, while in a Blog Editing frenzy. I can sum up JavaOne 2006 in three workds: Annotations, AJAX, and SOA. Well, AJAX and SOA aren't words so much as acronyms. Well, okay, AJAX kind of is a word if you are talking about the cleaning product, and it's funny how some of the folks have turned SOA into a word, as some talking heads kept referring to "sew ah".
Overall, Sun does one heck of a job producing this thing. The whole even is just overwhelming. It is like controlled chaos, so many people doing so many things and yet it is well organized for the most part. You had to sign up for your presentations ahead of time and your smart card was read at the door which would let them know if you were signed up or not. Big screens everywhere with the Sun/Java propganda blaring, all the signage was Sun or Java or Duke, you would think you were in a Sun building instead of Moscone center. There were bean bags, video games, movies, foosball, etc in the open areas for people to relax and hang out between sessions. Of couse Wifi everywhere, and it was funny to see people huddled around the few outlets charging their laptops (I was one of them, so it wasn't so funny when all the outlets were being used).
Anyways, all the complexity of J2EE programming (sorry it's now Java EE, not J2EE) is now gone! Instead of writing butt loads of XML descriptors for the J2EE containers, you just slap some annoations in your class and PRESTO! Write a simple POJO and spew @Session in there and now it's a session EJB. Expose it as a webservice, you say? @WebService. It's all magic. It's all...Xdoclet. Really, how writes all those EJB interfaces anymore anyways? Not that annotations aren't a welcome convenience, but it's not a revolutionary new idea that Sun just ame up with. Other things annoations are used for are dependency injections. So not just XDoclet, but Spring. Oh well, how can anyone say open source community is irrelevant when so many of the ideas are making into the new "standards-based" Java world?
SOA, everyone demo'd some sort of SOA tools it seemed. Sun kept pimping the latest NetBeans and Glassfish, which lets you do all kinds of drag and drop poop-flinging or WSDL files and services and whatever to create brilliant SOA based applications. Oracle, not to be outsold by rival crack dealers, had to push their own version of the drag-n-drop SOA tools on their own server. Eek, it's freakin' flowcharts all over again to look at these tools. And it's all so easy, you have perfect like web services already wel defined and sitting there, with one method call on each one that sends back simple strings, and we string them together with a little bit of drag-n-drop data mapping and a few conditionals, and BAM! A useless application!
Those were all in the keynote sessions in the morning. So I figured the SOA sessions would be even more detailed and in depth, but it was basically the same smoke and mirrors. At one point, a presenter was making a change and went to the browser to show us how it would just magically show the extra service or whatever, and ...crickets... it didn't work. It's all freaking magic point-n-click until something doesn't work -- then what? You have no idea what's really going on under the hood of all that graphical diarrhea and annotation soup.
I went to the Jboss party and the Eclipse party. Both were cool in their own ways. It was hard to find just a regular old neighborhood bar to go and grab a beer in San Francisco. Everthing was pretentious and/or artsy crap -- like wine bars, or places with cloth tablecloth and $50 a plate meals. I want a place where you walk in and they have beer, lot of beer, that's not $8.00 a pint, and burgers and chicken fingers and crap like that. A bar for regular Joes like me. Couldn't find it.
So the first time I really got my drink on that week was at the Jboss party. That was weird. I walked to the end of the street and didn't see the place where the party was supposed to be. Finally I saw the address on the building across the street, and it matched. It looked like an abandoned warehouse though. I walked up and a couple guys in black with headsets said "this way" and pointed to a chainlink gate. We walked down that "alley" to a side door, where another dude in black with a headset welcomed us in. I made the comment to the guy next to me that I felt like we were in a bad mobster movie, and we were about to be gunned down. Inside was a big empty room with a DJ pumpin out beats and open bars. OPEN BARS! Jack Daniels and Cokes for me please, and lots of them. Free food too, but OPEN BARS. It got weird when Fleury got up to speak, as I couldn't understand a word he said, but between his red beret and maniacal screaming it seemed like he was a third world revolutionary getting ready to overthrow some corrupt regime. Then some lady came out and did some sort of weird trapeze dance thing up in the air. Odd indeed.
Thouroughly beyond soberness, I left with a couple of dudes from Sherwin Williams, and tried to get into the SDN party. I of couse didn't have my invite, and they did. We tried, but I got turned away. As if this weren't enough of an omen to go back to the hotel, I instead stumbled over to the Eclipse party. Free microbrew beer. Sweet! I'm already stumbling and they are givingme 20 ounce glasses of really dark and strong beer. I talked to some dudes from I think Finland or Norway or something like that until the place shutdown, then made my way back to the hotel.
It was a good night. The party put on by Sun was OK, but it was 2 drinks and you had to wait in line forever since it was pretty much all of the JavaOne attendees instead of, say, just the Jboss or Eclipse users. It was cool to meet the guys from MythBusters though.
It was a good time overall, got my loot bag filled up, learned some new stuff, got some pointers, talked to some smart folks, and just plain absorbed all that is Java for a week. I would definitely go back if my company offered again.