I had, again, the pleasure to attend the JavaPolis event in Antwerp, Belgium. This conference is characterized by it’s great atmoshphere, very much open and friendly. Also, the exhibition was very prodcutive for me, and in the evenings Red Hat and Sun competed on who is getting us most drunk with their free beer.
My “Agile” session, on Monday, went really well. And in fact, this year there were many sessions about the “soft” side of software development, technieques and practices. It may sound weired at first, and I keep getting the following question a lot: “Why is it that so many people are more and more interested in others experiences of agile and lean methodologies implementation”. Well, I’m not sure that I have the full answer, but it is clear that this is indeed the case. More and more people are trying to build software better. There is no common denominator to the software being built, the problem domains vary between Command And Control Systems, middleware products to business applications, all are trying to improve their practices and to learn from one another. This atmoshpere of knowledge sharing and experiences exchange seems to be the core value of JavaPolis, and I really like it a lot!
Many of the tools is this area have been presented as well; It was also very nice the see the progress the Rational guys had with Jazz. What I liked most in Erich Gamma’s presentation about Jazz was the analysis of the rational (no pun intended) behind the tooling, and the fact that these guys are actually using their own tools. In fact, most of the companies who deal with tooling around software development management are heading to similar directions. TeamCity is now at it’s third release, and Atlassian is also putting their products more tightly integrated.
I personally think, that the tools that are going to be the most agile in their core will get the most adoption. The key for “Kaizen” – continuous improvement, is to review your practices and improve on them immediatly as you need to. Tools tend to be very good as a starting point, however, it is yet to be seen how well they can be adpated to organizational changes in practices. Time will tell.
Roberto Chinnici of Sun presented the direction of JEE. They call it “Right Sizing JEE”, and by that they intend to reduce the bloat of the platform. The proposed way to do it is through profiles. Where the first one to be defined by the expert group is the “Web Profile” – probably Servlet, JSP and JPA. Sun essentially adopts the trend of Jetty/Tomcat Hibernate/JPA as the defacto stack for web applications. The JEE expert group is relaxing the spec by only well defining the integration points. I think it is a very good move from Sun.
The presentation that got most of the attention, was of Joshua Bloch, which was initially called “Effective Java Reloaded” and than changed to something like “Will Java adopt closures”. Bloch was expressing his concerns that Java may get to a state of over complexity that will make the language unusable. This is why he is reluctant to support addition of closures into Java. In his opinion there should be pre-spec implementation of closuers that will enable getting feedback about what/which/how/if closures should be supproted in the language. One of the interesting questions from the audience were about his current position inside Google. He didn’t provide a clear answer, however, his immediate next act on stage was to recruit people to Google. So, you can guess by that what is it that he does for Google.
One last thing, for those of you who attended my sessions, I would really love to get some feedback, please feel free to do so.
I really enjoyed JavaPolis, see you all next year.