mercredi oct. 19, 2011

How to build a successful Java User Groups (JUG)

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JUG's are an increasingly important part of the larger Java community (see recent JCP elections) and yet only a fraction of Java developers attend regular meetings (as we found out at JavaOne).

Before I start I probably should say that while I don't have hard data to back this up, I've seen a large number of JUG's be created in the past 2-3 years, more than 10 years after Java was first introduced, accounting for maybe as much as half of today's active JUGs. In France alone, there is more than a dozen active JUGs that were created, all in the last 3-4 years. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of interest for Java, quite the opposite.

I don't run a JUG nor am I really active in one but I've been visiting many of them in the past few years (they tend to be the format that I like best), I've seen a good number of them take off, some crash, and I interact with several JUG leaders on a regular basis, so I thought I'd share the ingredients that I believe are key to a successful JUG.

First, you need to have a venue. It may sound obvious but the lack of a regular (hopefully free-of-charge) room for your meetings is often the reason for JUG activity going down or simply disappearing. Universities seems to be the best solution after company meeting rooms.

Second, you need sponsors. While this can cover for Pizza & Beer (or Wine & Cheese, you decide), maybe more importantly this should help you cover for your speakers expenses (travel + hotel). While those speakers employed by large companies should be able to expense their entire travel, you don't want to miss out on the independent consultants. Another option is to have formal JUG members paying a yearly fee. This works well once you have a well established set of events, including maybe a yearly (international) conference.

Third, last, and not least - you need good content. This is content that addresses your JUG's interests and it doesn't have to be always about bleeding edge technology of the latest and greatest JVM language. Some folks take JUG's as a training, others mostly as a get-together, and probably also a good chunk as a way to stay on top of what's new in the Java ecosystem. You need to balance different topics but my recommendation would be to have a small set of folks decide on the agenda. Voting or large groups of folks deciding don't usually work too well.

While all of the above probably applies for any technology user group, JUG's are a bit special because they are loosely federated by mailing lists and interactions are facilitated by Sun initially and now by Oracle. If you are starting a JUG, you probably want to read about it on this all-in-one page, be listed on java-user-groups and start chatting with fellow JUG leaders, they are a great bunch and will most certainly have tips for you.

I should of course not forget to mention that you'll need energy and passion to keep a JUG running. Lot's of it!

lundi oct. 17, 2011

October trips and a new JUG

JavaOne was good this year but that was just the beginning of traveling for my month of October.

I'm just back from a very well-attended inaugural session at the Lava JUG (in Clermont Ferrand, France) covering Java 7 (together with Julien) and some JavaOne 2011 news. The event had 120+ participants. So pictures here. It's always great to hear about new JUGs popping up close to 15 years after the creation of Java (more on JUGs in a future entry).

This coming week, I'll be in Romania:
Cluj Napoca on Wednesday 19th, 2011 in the Golden Tulip Hotel. Send email to register.
Bucharest on the next day: Thursday 20th, 2011 in the Intercontinental. See event page for details.

The week after (October 27th), I'm participating in fOSSa in Lyon, France. This is, as the name implies, an Free/Libre open source software conference and I'm happy to see that Serli's Jerome Petit is also listed as a speaker to discuss the benefits he see for his company in their numerous open source contributions (GlassFish and others). Let this talk enlighten many others!

lundi sept. 12, 2011

Rentree 2011 chargée

Je ne sais pas si les classes seront chargées mais l'inspection académique a mis le paquet sur le nombre d'événements Java pour cette rentrée 2011.

JUG Summer Camp le 16 septembre, déjà une tradition (La Rochelle)
Soirée CDI au Mars JUG le 20 septembre (Marseille)
Programme NormandyJUG, début le 20 septembre (Rouen)
Open World Forum fait la Java, le 23 septembre (Paris)

Le tout donc sur une semaine et toutes ces conférences/réunions sont gratuites.

lundi juil. 18, 2011

Lancement Java 7 au LyonJUG ce jeudi

Julien Ponge et moi-même serons à Lyon pour la soirée Java 7 du LyonJUG. En attendant, voici un entretient croisé réalisé par Agnès Crépet et Cédric Exbrayat sur Java 7 et autres sujets connexes et posté sur le site Duchess France.

Rendez-vous Jeudi 19h, à l'INSA de Lyon!

mercredi avr. 27, 2011

Visiting BruJUG

Quick note to share that I'll be in Brussels tomorrow (April 28th 2011) for a GlassFish session at the BruJUG. Details on this page.

vendredi nov. 05, 2010

JFall 2010 - Yet another great Java conference

The folks in the NLJUG certainly know how to build a community and run events. JFall 2010 was in a new location this year (rather small Nijkerk, but you can get to pretty much anywhere in The Netherlands by train) and it was sold out at 1000+ attendees. And this is just a couple of weeks before Devoxx, another major Java conference literally miles away.

The conference started off with Danny Coward's keynote which was really well attended. His content had meat (JavaME, JavaSE, JavaFX, and JavaEE) and the feedback was positive. At diner with Bert and the rest of the NLJUG team the day before, I was told that my Java EE 6 talk had the most registrations and indeed the room which was used for the keynote looked far from empty even with 6 tracks in parallel. My talk focused on Java EE 6, how we got there, and what's causing the revival of flamewars on some community sites and overall excitement for the new platform. I managed to cram servlet3, ejb31, and cdi10 in a 3-minute closing demo. Reading the tweets after the talk seemed to indicate that people liked the session and learned several things.

Later in the day, I delivered a hands-on lab no less than three time with a total of 60 or so participants getting a feel for Java EE 6. The updated code and instructions for the labs are here. This went well after I realized we'd have no network and moved to non-Maven projects. GlassFish 3.0.1 and NetBeans 6.9.1 proved to be a good simple and sufficient combination for the labs (most people installed them on the spot).

I really enjoyed the discussions there on the night before, after a my talk, over lunch, during the labs and on the train on my way back. Lots of energy. So much for a dying Java community and technology!

lundi août 30, 2010

Back from Brazza

I was fortunate enough to visit Congo Brazzaville (just celebrating their 50 years of existence) to present at the jCertif conference, probably the biggest Java event in central Africa. I was expecting an adventure and an experience. I wasn't disappointed. So of course this is Africa and I probably shouldn't be surprised to see children cross the runway only seconds after the plane had landed. The food (fish, meat, chicken and bananas!) was great and the crowd welcoming. I had had a taste of what to expect when chatting with Max Bonbhel, the organizer of the conference, a leader of the CongoJUG (great logo btw), and overal an entrepreneur.

Max had arrived a week early (he lives in Canada) and had to find a venue, sponsors and take care of all the logistics. He did great with the event finally taking place in the National Center of Congress with the support of the ministry of New Technologies and major telcos as the sponsors. He also managed to get the two of us to appear for an interview on national TV the day I landed to promote the event (and our respective topics).

Congo Brazzaville seems to be, like other countries in this part of Africa, (finally) experiencing a shift to broadband with a fiber backbone coming up in 2011 and the younger generation starting to slowly take advantage of the new IT opportunities this will bring. Infrastructure is still a big concern with the capital city still experiencing unplanned and \*planned\* electricity outages (not a good idea to be in the elevator at that time). For anyone telling me that Internet access and bandwidth are no longer a problem anywhere in the world, I can now share that downloading a 50MB GlassFish archive will take a good 8 hours (download size does matter here, CDs are welcome), that SVN worked sporadically for me (if at all), and that watching streamed video is just not an option. Internet access is still very expensive and you are asked to think twice about bandwidth. This obviously makes it still a bit hard to do business on the Internet but with infrastructures improving by the day the country is waking up to the possibilities.

The conference itself was held in an impressively large room which I understand is where the parliament meets. Access to the conference wasn't free but costed only about the price of a softdrink. About 300 people participated, some coming from neighbor Congo (CDR), others flying from Togo, Kenya and other countries. Max kicked off the day with a talk about web 2.0 and the impact it will have from a social, technical and business point of view. Mike Levin (freelance consultant, Swampcast podcast,, ...), straight from Florida and also a JUG-addict (he runs no less than 4 JUGs) then got down to some more details about the technical building blocks of web 2.0 development. It was great to meet Mike (we stayed in the same hotel) as I could help him with his French (the official language here) and he'd teach me the lingala (local dialect) words he had learned (Keetoko!). We also found out that we had a great deal of people in common. Check out his post about the conference.

The next speaker was Horacio from Togo talking about Talend. His talk was a great balance with a few slides to set the stage on ETL's and about a half an hour demo which is usually too long for people to follow along but this one progressed very nicely. I then presented on Java EE and GlassFish (slides), trying to start slow for the people that hadn't used it before but also covering Java EE 6 new features for the more advanced crowd (I got some pretty advanced questions during lunch). Finally Stanyslas from Kinshasa presented the NetBeans platform for building rich applications and in particular the RAMS (Refugee Assistance Management System) application he's building for the United Nations' HCR (refugee organization). A good didactic talk, NetBeans Platform extraordinaire Geertjan would have been proud!

The event continued for another 3 days of training and preparation for the Java Certification. This is free training and the deal is that if you attend (80 people showed up on the first day) you need to train others yourself in the next 6-9 months. This is just a moral obligation and training a couple of people over a few hours is good enough. I think this is a great initiative and a great way to build communities, something that feels pretty natural to the people I've talked to while in Congo Brazzaville.

While writing this it occurred to me that I've now traveled to all main continents (still working on Antartica) to talk about GlassFish!

lundi juin 14, 2010

Visites Alpes JUG et GenevaJUG (22/23 juin 2010) - Java EE 6 et GlassFish

Direction les montagnes (et pas n'importe lesquelles) la semaine prochaine pour parler de Java EE 6 et de GlassFish à Grenoble le 22 juin (à l'Alpes JUG) et à Genève le 23 (au GenevaJUG). Au delà de mes sujets de présentation favoris, ce sera l'occasion de voir ou revoir des têtes connues et j'espère d'une bonne discussion (avant et pendant la 3ème mi-temps). Aller, pour lancer le débat :

• Spring est-il soluble dans Java EE 6?
• Tomcat est-il soluble dans GlassFish?
• OSGi va-t-il nous sauver comme Maven l'a fait en son temps?
• GlassFish est-il soluble dans WebLogic?

Réponses la semaine prochaine! Venez nombreux!

mercredi mai 05, 2010

RDV à Lausanne ce jeudi 6 mai 2010 - GlassFish et Java EE 6

Karim et le reste de l'équipe du LausanneJUG m'ont convié à venir aujourd'hui jeudi 6 mai à présenter sur Java EE 6 et sur GlassFish v3.

Comme d'habitude j'espère pouvoir faire un maximum de présentations et que les questions seront nombreuses. RDV à 18h30 dans les locaux d'Octo.

La copie d'écran à droite est tirée de la page d'usage de GlassFish : qui propose désormais un petit champ de recherche pour localiser votre ville.

mercredi févr. 03, 2010

Le Paris JUG a deux ans!

Ne faites pas comme moi, ne loupez pas si vous êtes sur Paris la soirée pour fêter les deux ans du ParisJUG le 9 février 2010 dans le 17ème (attention c'est pas la Sorbonne du quartier latin...).

Antonio et la bande on préparé une belle soirée avec Sacha Labourey (que j'ai déjà raté lors de son premier passage) comme intervenant dans la séance plénière. Je regrette beaucoup de ne pas pouvoir être là, je pense que mes oreilles Sun/Oracle vont siffler ;)

Je compte bien suivre la soirée sur Twitter (juste pas jusqu'à la fin du resto ou de la quatrième mi-temps orchestrée sans doute par Cyril & co. :)

jeudi janv. 14, 2010

Java EE 6 et GlassFish v3 ce mardi à Rouen

Et hop, un JUG de plus pour Java EE 6 et GlassFish v3.
RDV cette fois-ci au NormandyJUG ce mardi 19 janvier 2010 à 19h00 pour une soirée avec Antonio et ma pomme à l'UFR Sciences et Techniques du Madrillet.
Détails sur le site du JUG.

vendredi déc. 04, 2009

JUG Toulouse ce mardi 15 décembre (et conférence virtuelle GlassFish v3)

Ce mardi 15 décembre j'interviens au JUG Toulouse (un des plus beaux site web de JUG!) sur GlassFish v3. Voici l'annonce. Je compte passer que peu de temps du Java EE 6, non pas par manque d'intérêt ou overdose mais plus parce que Antonio est bien plus doué que moi pour traiter ce sujet en si peu de temps. Il sera donc plus question de GlassFish v3 qui sera sorti d'ici là (je croise les doigts!).

Pour tous ceux qui ne seront pas à Toulouse ce soir là, l'équipe GlassFish organise une conférence virtuelle à l'occasion de la sortie de GlassFish v3 et de Java EE 6. Spec leads, project leads, et autres ingénieurs seront tous là dans votre fureteur/navigateur. Pour s'inscrire. Les présentations seront ensuite disponibles en rediffusion.

Enfin, 2010 s'annonce pleine de visites de JUG et je dois dire que j'aime assez ces formats.

mercredi sept. 16, 2009

Nice fait sa Java sur le serveur ce vendredi 2 octobre

Le RivieraJUG, Polytech'Nice et Telecom Valley organisent une journée autour de Java EE. Il y aura deux intervenants de JBoss/RedHat : Peter Muir pour parler de Seam et JCDI (ex-WebBeans) et Tom Baeyens pour parler de jBPM. Notre Antonio Goncalves national clôturera la journée par une session sur Java EE 6. Quant à moi ce sera une présentation sur l'état d'avancement de GlassFish v3, en route pour Java EE 6. Je pense reprendre certaines démonstrations faites lors de la conférence JavaZone autour d'OSGi et du système de packaging. Des retours d'expérience et des pauses pour faire de networking sont également prévus.

L'événement est gratuit et se déroule à Sophia Antipolis sur le site de Polytech. L'agenda quasi-final (de 13:30 à 21:15!) et tous les autres détails se trouvent ici sur le site du RivieraJUG (accès direct à l'inscription).

jeudi juin 25, 2009

GlassFish et Java EE 6 à Niort mercredi prochain

Antonio pour la partie Java EE 6 et votre serviteur pour GlassFish v3. Détails ICI.
Comme le dit Wadael, espérons que GlassFish y gagnera en assurances! ;-)

jeudi juin 18, 2009

GlassFish at Lyon JUG

JUG's in France have been popping up here and there at an amazing rate in the past 18 months since Antonio and the team have started the Paris JUG. I think we're somewhere in the 12 JUGs or so. For a country that didn't have any really active one only 2 years ago that's just amazing.

I was down in Lyon earlier this week for a JUG meeting (this was only their third meeting) on Groovy and GlassFish where over 60 people showed up. Come to think of it, when adding up all the JUGs, I think we average about 1000 attendees very months, that's the equivalent of a pretty decent conference. The feedback I've received was pretty good. I did a demo-heavy presentation focused on GlassFish v3 (most importantly the modularity and extensibility) and the 30-minute Q&A session took me to demo v2 (Enterprise Manager), explain the pricing model and monetization strategy, discuss more generally the Java EE and app server statuses, and deflect the best I could some Oracle-related questions...

My slides are here and you can read some notes on the event here (in French).


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