Thursday May 15, 2008

Chronicles of GlassFish @JavaONE 2008

The Planning

For Java developers JavaONE is the biggest festival of the year and brings a lot of excitement and fun. Many product and technology releases are aligned with this event. No matter how good your planning is, you still have to go through many firedrills just before the event. Just like any other JavaONE, this year also it all started with planning, planning and pre-planning. You may be surprised to know that the planning for a JavaONE starts as soon as the previous JavaONE is over and it intensifies as we get close to the start date. For most of us, as participants, it starts when we see the invitations for proposals which usaully happens a few months before JavaONE. The activities include reviewing all the submissions and putting them under the right tracks. I have closely watched Linda DeMichiel going through this activity as the lead for Java EE track lead.  The GlassFish community did an awesome job this year making it one of the most impactful JavaONE so far! Finishing the GlassFish V3 TP2 was no Child's play especially with addition of last minute features like OSGi support. The entire team pulled it together under the leadership of Jerome Dochez and Abhijit Kumar. A lot of hard work went into creating the demos to showcase the cutting edge technology.


The UnConference

Isn't it ironic that a big conference like JavaONE kicked off an unconference :-)

This is the first time GlassFish team organized an unconference lead by Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine. It started with people jotting down the topics they were interested in discussing on a white board. The topics varied from Community development, Business aspects to deep dive technical discussions with experts. Many of the technical questions were around recently added OSGi support in GlassFish V3. Jerome did an excellent job in fielding these questions. Most people participating in the unconference were very familiar with GlassFish and using it for development or production environment. It was evident that GlassFish has been widely adopted and the community has grown significantly since the last JavaONE. Bill Shannon and Roberto led the discussion on Java EE 6 roadmap and features. In some cases it was hard to follow the conversation because of large size of the hall and poor acoustics, a lesson learned for the next time. The unconference was followed with the GlassFish party in the evening at Thirsty Bear where many community members had another opportunity to mingle and have their questions answered straight from the domain experts.

Unconference Agenda


This was the second year we had a CommunityONE day before JavaONE which was an instant hit. Thank God, we we had lot more real estate this year to accommodate the large turnout. During the CommunityONE keynote, Rich Green announced the availability of OpenSolaris demonstrating some cool features on the stage, it was impressive to see how one could hotswap a damaged hard drive without losing any data. GlassFish V2 is also available as IPS packages which can be downloaded from the OpenSolaris repository! After the keynote we had a general session on GlassFish which was one of the popular community sessions. Both, Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green came on the stage and  appreciated the community's  effort and answered  questions from the audience. Eduardo started the session with the history of Sun Application Servers and how GlassFish was born which was followed up with the future direction of the community and product. Jerome Dochez unveiled GlassFish V3 TP2 with some cool demos including fast startup time, hot reloading of classes. GlassFish V3 is the next generation Application server with following features like Embeddability, Extensibility, Modular Architecture, OSGi Support,Java EE 6 compatibility and Ease of use. For those who need a robust platform today to deploy enterprise applications, try the GlassFish v2 or Java EE 5 SDK with great performance and best in class Adminstrative/Development Tools.

 I spent time on the GlassFish pods at regular intervals which were always crowded by community members and the developers who couldn't wait to get their questions answered and learn more about GlassFish. Satya Dodda's team launched a new GlassFish Quality Community which generated huge interest from the community members and University Students attending the conference. Later that afternoon I attended Tim Quinn's session on JavaFX and AppClients which was full and audience was very engaged throughout the talk.

I also had an opportunity to spend quality time with many non Sun community members who have been nurturing the GlassFish community for a long time. These include Jason Lee, Julien Ponge and Wonseok Kim. Jason is the second most active contributor on JSFTemplating project and and a very active Mojarra contributor. Julien contributed IzPack based GUI installer for GlassFish. Kim works at TmaxSoft and has been contributing to the Persistence module in GlassFish. Kudos to these and all other community members for making GlassFish such a vibrant community!

JavaONE: The Main Event

Long lines outside Moscone were the strong indicators that this JavaONE was going to a huge success. Everybody was anxious to hear what Rich Green, Jeet Kaul, Bob Brewin and other leaders had to say about the future of Java. The stage was all set with loud music and dance making the environment very lively. James Gosling could not resist doing his regular stunts and shooting T-Shirts towards the audience. Like previous years I was not one of the lucky people to catch the shirt :-)

Another attraction of the day was Neil Young who came on the stage and shared his passion and how Java is helping him creating a high tech library of his albums. The Main theme of the JavaONE 2008 was Java+You with consumer focus reminding us how Java touches our everyday lives. 


Roberto and Jerome did a fantastic job presenting the Java EE6 and GlassFish V3 during Bob Brewin's keynote. The demos worked flawlessly and resulted in big instant applaud, many people were impressed to see the hot reloading of class in GlassFish without having to redeploy the Application. GlassFish team is proud to have engineers like Tim who believed in it and demonstrated it can be done while many others were skeptical about the feature.

Shreedhar Ganapathy and Arun Gupta delivered a bonus course on GlassFish as part of JavaU activities. Unfortunately, I missed this event due to a conflict but I was told it was a great success with room full of developers wanting to know all about GlassFish. Ken Paulsen and Anissa Lam did a great job in presenting a hands on lab on building GlassFish plugins which was a great opportunity for developers learn how to create the plugins for GlassFish V3.

Abhijit and I delivered a BOF on GlassFish on Tuesday evening. The audience was fully engaged throughout this session, the most popular segment of the event was the GlassFish Jeopardy. Unfortunately, the time for this BOF was too short and we had to cut off the Q&A session which we ended up continuing outside the room. We got very useful feedback on the GlassFish which we'll use while shaping up the future of GlassFish.


This seemed to be the silent theme of the JavaONE 2008. The GlassFish buzz was everywhere starting the day one with Rich Green's mention of GlassFish adoption in the keynote demo. More than 4.5 million developers had downloaded GlassFish within last 12 months! The number of active users is on the rise as more and more developers find the value in using GlassFish, where they can get top of the line enterprise features at open source price.

I was amazed to see the traffic on GlassFish pod even though it was not on a prime location. It was a pleasant surprise to see many large enterprises using GlassFish already or in the process of deploying. Among many passionate people manning the booth, there were a couple of people who went the extra mile and enjoyed interacting with the GlassFish community members and customers throughout the event. These two people were none other than Judy Tang and Nazrul Islam, Nazrul and his team made a huge contribution towards this JavaONE!

The final day of JvaONE started with James Gosling's toy show. My favorite device of the event was Livescribe Pen. I couldn't believe the features packed in this small gadget, it's great toy for student. I was impressed to see the demo of Visual VM which can be a great tool for developers using GlassFish and Netbeans. Visual VM is a project that aims to provide monitoring and profiling tools for the JVM with a GUI. It was demonstrated how one can easliy attach a remore instance of GlassFish to Visual VM and monitor various parameters of running Application Server.


No JavaONE can be complete without evening parties that are full of fun. This JavaONE was no different in this respect, it's too much fun to handle for a person like me.  Sunday was the GlassFish Party at Thirsty Bear followed by a reception on Monday hosted for the Java licencees. There a Solaris party also on Monday at Moscone which I missed but people tell me it was ton's of fun like other thrown by Jeff Jackson. Tuesday was "The" party at XYZ bar in hotel W which is a regular feature of JavaOne for us. The bar was packed with no room to even walk from one end to another, many of us had to wait outside for hours. It was amazing to see how people's personalities can transform only after a couple of drinks! Thursday was the official JavaONE party with popular music from Smash Mouth. The party was hosted in the open (Yerba Buena Park) this time and not indoor like previous years. For me it was too cold to enjoy the music, we tried eating ice cream hoping it'll bring equilibrium in temperature inside the body and outside :-) The outside party was beneficial to the local business as many attendees had to buy jackets and pullovers to stay warm! For me the dinner I had with my team prior to the party was lot more fun!!


My Top Tens of JavaONE 2008:

The Final Word

JavaONE is once in  a year opportunity where both vendors and developers converge to meet each other and share ideas. I couldn't have asked for a better JavaONE for GlassFish than we had this year. The next JavaONE starts on 02-June-2009, I can't wait go through this awesome experience all over again...

Thanks & Congratulations to the entire GlassFish community for this Achievement!!

More pictures of JavaONE 2008 can be found at :
To track the the latest developments in GlassFish community throughout the year check out The Aquarium.

Java EE developer resources : and



GlassFish Application Server: Fast, Easy and Reliable


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