JavaPolis trip report (well kinda)


So, JavaPolis lived up to what I was hoping for (expect for the Geronimo talk that I now realized was canceled by reading this).

Most packed sessions I attended: Hibernate, JMX (see Éamonn's blog). The following is basically a few notes I took during some of the sessions I attended (I don't believe I'll have to courage to write about all of them). Note that all JavaPolis slides are now online.

Tiger (JDK 5.0)
Joshua Bloch/Neal Gafter (now at Google)
Fun to see Josh and Neal presenting Tiger from a Mac... no demo obviously (so much for the "in action" part of the presentation).
I had attended very similar presentations (or seen slides) but found the frequency table to be a very nice example combining many different new language features. I also learned that the compiler generates different code for arrays and for collections in the new for loop (not the case with C# where it is recommended to not use foreach with arrays).
While the new for loop syntax seems to please everyone, it cannot be used for
- removing elements as you traverse a collection
- modifying the current slot in an array or list
New keywords break many things in IDEs (assert in 1.4) and may require changing variable names.
Annotations do not really impact J2SE developers today, but DBC (Design By Contract), AOP, Testing and others are right around the corner.
...and obviously there's the upcoming J2EE 5.0 which will heavily leverage annotations (EJB 3.0, JDBC 4.0, etc...).

Spring
Juergen Hoeller / Rod Johnson (Interface 21)
Rod did the introduction and talked a lot about Struts being very nice but not covering all application needs (same with data frameworks).
"Spring does not compete with J2EE, only with EJB (and even more with in-house frameworks)". Cannot reuse code written for EJBs. EJB is described as an example to an "invasive" framework). "The Entity Bean part of the specification is  very invasive, each new feature break to code" (that's Rod talking). "As usual, EJB does things in a clumsy, inflexible, way" (still Rod talking...). Rod never mentioned EJB 3.0 which reuse lost of good ideas (POJOs, IoC, etc...) that day. In his other (shorter) talk, his message was "EJB 3.0" will not be around before another two years.

The rest of the talk by Juergen was very factual with no marketing and no EJB bashing...

EJB 3.0
Linda DeMichiel (Spec Lead, Sun)
Before Linda started talking to a crowded room (although not as much as for Gavin's Hibernate talk), the facilitator asked how many people were using J2EE (everyone raised his hand) and how many were using EJB today (3/4 kept their hand raised). Interesting to see how common wisdom can be wrong... (note I'm not saying they all love EJBs)

So, if you haven't already read about EJB 3.0, it's all about simplification for the developer, big use of annotations, and a new persistence model for POJO (Plain Old Java Objects). Linda seems very happy with the way EJB 3.0 is moving forward and the expert group seems to get along very well.

To all the people I talked to after Linda's talk, it really felt like a slam dunk (finally!). The only withstanding question was availability of the spec and the technology. It's amazing to see how this third iteration changes the way people look at J2EE and EJB in particular. While Rod Johnson's first book was a master piece, I feel his attempt at ignoring EJB 3.0 is not the right strategy.

Hibernate 3
Gavin King (JBoss)
(probably more people than for the keynote): in a year the project has gone from part-time Gavin and the community to 4 full-time engineers and the community. Obviously Hibernate 3.0 will serve as the EJB 3.0 Entity Manager (Gavin is on the expert group) in the JBoss product. Eclipse tooling (done by Max Andersen), Gavin claims that this is a preferable solution to having a separate standalone workbench. Hibernate v3 may be the last version (sort of joke to explain J2EE integration I guess). Very interesting call for unification of Web and EJB containers/technologies. Gavin had several slides up on JSF & EJB needing to merge with the will to have EJB methods be event handlers for JSF components or provide the EJB container with access to the web context. Another interesting evolution would be making the domain model available to front-end technologies.

TestNG
Cédric Beust (Google)
As always (other presentations, blogs or mailing lists), Cédric spends a fair amount of time explaining the problem he's trying to solve: building a better JUnit which has flaws which have an impact on the code you write (yes, not a good thing). TestNG uses annotations of javadoc comments to achieve a technically better unit framework. As Tim Bray points out, most people have worked around the JUnit limitations and tools support is already ubiquitous. So let me whish Cédric to be successful with this challenge as I'd like Sun to be successful with NetBeans!


Marc Fleury (JBoss)
Marc seemed upset to be scheduled in the Business track (I'm not saying this because he didn't dress as Zorro or Joker). He rushed through the business slides (which I though were an interesting example of Professional Open Source) to get down to why he loves JDK 5.0 annotations in EJB development. By the time he was done, I'm sure he had lost every manager in the room...


On the networking side...
Fun seeing Peter Zadrozdny, now a VP at Oracle pitching a nice "JSF community" story (in front of Craig MacClanahan). I met Peter when he was starting WebLogic France (just before BEA acquired them). Good luck on your new job Peter !

For a while, I though IBM's was not around. They had a little booth and almost no presence.Makes me think they really operate in their world with their customers.

Craig MacClanahan was brilliant as always in his 3-hour (which became 4-hour) session on Java Server Faces (in action!) with a great tour of the technology, demonstrations and a nice Q&A session. Since it was a technical session and not a sales pitch, Craig was almost afraid to show Java Studio Creator. He shouldn't. It's a great tool and something that I would recommend anyone willing to start with JSF as it is really THE technology Creator is built upon.

I had not seen Vincent Massol for years and did pretty good (JUnit, Maven, Offshoring) since that time!

I also finally met with Vincent Brabant, an active NetBeans community member.

And of course, I had all my Techno Celeb diners...

Comments:

So I take it from your blog that everything from Sun is absolutely amazing and everything from Microsoft is evil. mmm.. that already does not look like some objective talk to me. Cherry on the cake being your talk(s) about Creator which listening to you is the best thing since sliced bread. Yeah right. You sure need an IDE to build again a new incomplete unproven framework where Roger Kitain said in the last Live chat: dpl: Considering the significant changes that you are proposing in JSF 1.2, would you recommend waiting to start using JSF for new projects? Roger Kitain: Depending on your timeline or requirements, for starting your new project, you can wait. But nothing, of course prevents you from playing with 1.1. All right. Thank you. Back to 'real business' and no bs marketing.

Posted by anonymous coward on décembre 27, 2004 at 04:21 PM CET #

Maybe you did attend the Microsoft talk. Did you like it?

If you read my words carefuly, you'll notice that I mention Creator as being a great tool to learn JSF. Creator still has a long way to go, but it is a big step in the right direction. JSF will evolve for sure and so will your favorite framework (do I hear some frustration seeing such good JSF market acceptance?).

Thanks for sharing your thoughs.
-Alexis

Posted by Alexis MP on décembre 28, 2004 at 01:02 AM CET #

I think you should rather hear the frustration of seeing that much bs marketing when an unproven technology. Please don't hear what you want to hear. I haven't seen any indication (despite what you bs) that there is any sort of enterprise acceptance toward such tool. But I can feel though that you have a lot of frustration toward Eclipse people..or should I say IBM. :) You must obey your master, young Jedi. The light, one day, you will see.

Posted by anonymous coward on décembre 28, 2004 at 02:10 AM CET #

You obviously have a problem with Creator. Not sure why. This is a 1.0 product, but have you used it? Do you care to help us make it better by sharing your bad experience?
Just curious, what makes a "proven technology"?

-Alexis

Posted by Alexis MP on décembre 28, 2004 at 05:27 AM CET #

What's the problem with Creator ? It's a 1.0 buggy product as with all 1.0 products. No problem with that. You recommend it. What's the problem ? After all you don't use it yourself, so it never gets in your way, I'm fine with that.

I could myself recommend anyone to go surfing to the Baikal lake and bring a pair of sandals. :)

Anyway, no I have no problem with Creator...it's just like..but why is it not a plugin to Netbeans ? Is it because Netbeans is a too cool product to build a new IDE ? it's probably because you don't want people to be forced to use Netbeans. Clever...What about an Eclipse plugin btw ;)

mm..ok. it's just an IDE, really I'm fine with that. Oooh, no you say.. it's to build webapps ? Wow ! Really ? You mean using a 1.1 JSF technology ?

Wait. I don't get it.

Someone just said that...drums...., considering the chaos that they will make with 2.0 there is really no point in using JSF 1.x API... but to "play"

Oh my, does that means that Creator is actually just a facade to help you swallow the JSF pill ?

Nooooooo ! Cannot be ! my precious...cannot be.

JSF and Creator is for corporate developper, master, it's to get developpers captive master. They will do so many mistakes using this new technology that it will be chaos...and they will be tied to JSF, master, and Creator will be the only way master...only way. hehehehe.

Posted by anonymous coward on décembre 28, 2004 at 11:15 AM CET #

Fun reading. You must have spare time. Use that wisely to back-up some of your statements.

> After all you don't use it yourself, so it never gets in your way, I'm fine with that
How could you know what I do?

> ..but why is it not a plugin to Netbeans ?
Creator is built on NetBeans and if you had used it you would know as any update (we're up to update 5 now) is a bunch of NBM's (i.e. NetBeans Modules)... I guess that answers your Eclipse question also.

> considering the chaos that they will make with 2.0 there is really no point in using JSF 1.x API
You came up with "chaos". I'm sorry to report you seem to be confused between JSF 1.2 (the current JSR 252, part of J2EE 5.0) and JSF 2.0... On 1.2, Roger (you seem to trust him) says "The JavaServer Faces 1.2 technology release provides a minimal enhancement of the JavaServer Faces 1.1 specification".

> JSF and Creator is for corporate developper.
Creator is marketed as being for corporate developers. JSF just isn't bound to one specific type of developer. Only Creator makes choices on top of JSF (use JSPs) so corporate developers don't have to make them. JSF doesn't force you into Creator (or any other tool). Where did that come from?

Now, it's been 3 posts and you haven't come up with anything constructive or specific here. Come on, give me something real or move on...

...Oh, and I wouldn't recommend Lake Baikal with or without sandals. Way too much pollution...

-Alexis

Posted by Alexis MP on décembre 28, 2004 at 02:11 PM CET #

>How could you know what I do?

What do you think ?

>Creator is built on NetBeans and if you had >used it you would know as any update (we're up >to update 5 now) is a bunch of NBM's (i.e. >NetBeans Modules)...

fork != extension

> I guess that answers your Eclipse question also.

Not really.

>You came up with "chaos". I'm sorry to report >you seem to be confused between JSF 1.2 (the >current JSR 252, part of J2EE 5.0) and JSF >2.0... On 1.2, Roger (you seem to trust him) >says "The JavaServer Faces 1.2 technology >release provides a minimal enhancement of the >JavaServer Faces 1.1 specification".

You don't look like very aware about what you are promoting. 1.2 is far from being a minimal enhancement itself considering the tricky fixes and 2.0 will be obviouslly a major gap which will be the difference between a Wright aircraft and a Cessna. I admit the pre 1.2 versions were extremely limited and unusable in production while we are coming close to something more playable. Which did not stop you from promoting it :)

>Creator is marketed as being for corporate >developers.

You will notice that I used the Sun term about this one and that you jumped right in.:) Corporate by your definition is to do something quick and dirty..like...mm..oh, you want to get the VB developpers, right ?

>JSF just isn't bound to one specific type of >developer. Only Creator makes choices on top of >JSF (use JSPs) so corporate developers don't >have to make them. JSF doesn't force you into >Creator (or any other tool). Where did that >come from?

Explain to me why is: 1) Sun doing JSF 2) Sun doing Creator What could drive 'corporate' developers to Creator ? Do you think that 'corporate' architects evangelized by Sun evangelists could be a factor ? Why is Creator important to Sun ? is it so that it pushes fast toward JSF adoption ? Why ?

>Now, it's been 3 posts and you haven't come up >with anything constructive or specific here. >Come on, give me something real or move on...

Like if such sentence was constructive... Being psychotic is not an alternative to neurotiscism.

>Oh, and I wouldn't recommend Lake Baikal with >or without sandals. Way too much pollution...

Pollution stops at your door. Right.

I leave you at your thoughts. See you later :)

Posted by anonymous coward on décembre 28, 2004 at 04:34 PM CET #

btw, I did not like the Microsoft slides.

Posted by anonymous coward on décembre 28, 2004 at 04:35 PM CET #

So acting psychotic finally got me some answers. Good.

>> After all you don't use it yourself, so it never gets in your way, I'm fine with that
>What do you think ?

Funny...

>fork != extension
NetBeans Platform != NetBeans IDE

>1.2 is far from being a minimal enhancement
So you don't trust Roger Kitain anymore? JSF 1.2 is even time-constrained because it needs to make it into J2EE 5.0. As for 2.0, it's way too early to tell. It's very unproven technology at this point...

>Explain to me why is: 1) Sun doing JSF 2) Sun doing Creator What could drive 'corporate' developers to Creator ? Do you think that 'corporate' architects evangelized by Sun evangelists could be a factor ? Why is Creator important to Sun ? is it so that it pushes fast toward JSF adoption ? Why ?
1) Because Java sucks at rapid development (and because we needed a standard web component model).
2) Because Java sucks at rapid development (and because we needed better tools for that).

Creator is important to Sun because it proves RAD and Java can go along just fine which means more developers will come to Java (in this case, it's comparable to the Java Scripting effort). It also proves NetBeans is a great technology to build such a tool.
Oh, and JSF is a mean, not a goal.

>btw, I did not like the Microsoft slides.
And I think Microsoft has excellent tools we need to look up to. There, I've said it.

>Pollution stops at your door. Right.
No, nor does my culture.

Posted by Alexis MP on décembre 29, 2004 at 09:56 AM CET #

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