I spoke last week at Javapolis in Antwerp last Thursday. What a fantastic venue and well organized conference. Javapolis is the largest Java conference in Europe and is run by volunteers. It is held in a Multiplex Cinema where each session is given in a whole movie theater with somewhere between 400-800 seats in the theater. And what cushy seats! It is such a great idea that I don’t know why more conferences don’t just rent out a multiplex for their events. The sessions are video taped and the face of the presenter is projected to the left of the presenter’s screen with the two taking up an entire cinema screen.
I gave a presentation on the Alfresco project, some of the design philosophy behind Alfresco and some of the patterns of development that people are using in building content applications. You can find the presentation here. I was very pleased that so many people came to it. I was in one of 400-500 seat theaters and practically all the seats were filled with people overflowing into the aisles. I don’t know what motivated everyone to come, but they may have wanted to know what this Alfresco thing was. The content was more technical than I usually give since most people don’t care how Alfresco works, just as long as it works. It’s the nature of commoditization. But this crowd is interested in things like how we use Java and things like Spring, Hibernate and Lucene. I asked the person on the Steering Committee who invited us, Robin Mulkers, what he wanted to see and he said the architecture. I ended up fielding questions for about a half hour after the presentation.
I spent a bit of time on the exhibition floor. Unfortunately I missed Marc Fleury dressed up like a rapper since I arrived in the afternoon of the first day, but I met with him later at the JBoss booth, but only exchanged pleasantries. I didn’t want to really pry into how things are going with Red Hat. I also spent some time with Rod Johnson of Spring. Spring was very popular at the conference and things seem to be going from strength to strength with the Java framework. I briefly said hello to Joe Walker who built the DWR AJAX framework. Unfortunately, his presentation was on at the same time as mine. I spent quite a bit of time with CEO of XWiki Ludovic Dubost comparing notes. He was over at the ObjectWeb booth that seemed to be really busy, although the people manning it seemed to be even more busy working on their projects. I have seen a few posts on Adobe Flex at Javapolis, but not many people seem to be coming to their booth. We believe that Flex should be open source and more people would be attracted to it. It is definitely more powerful that what you can build with AJAX. Finally, Belgian beer seemed to be biggest attraction with the Sun booth serving out a weak beer and BEA serving out the much better Leffe.
I attended some of the session where the quality was quite good. Although there weren’t as many sessions as in Java One, it was a much more pleasant experience sitting in those nice seats with plenty of space. It must be a bit daunting for some of the sessions to have only a few people watching in a large theater. One of the sessions I found most intriguing was the session on the Continuation pattern. It was a bit like attending one of my operating system classes from Berkeley since this is where the concept came from, but the notion of suspending a thread and picking it up in the context of a web session is incredibly important in a world of AJAX, clustering and scalability. I attended a session on “Filthy Rich Clients” that was extremely well attended, probably because of a Web 2.0 world, but reminded me of my computer graphics classes in level of detail of movement algorithms. I am ashamed to say that I missed most of the keynote sessions due to other things that were going on at the time.