Java2Days 2010 Trip Report

Java2Days 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria was my first trip to Eastern Europe. I spent more time flying than actually in the city because of personal reasons but enjoyed the conference. There were approx 500 attendees but this being the only major conference in this part of the world, its only bound to grow.

The Day 1 conference started late and some initial speakers took extra time and thus by lunch time there was an hour long gap. My talk on "Running your Java EE applications in the Cloud" was bumped to end of the day in order to get back in track. Yes, the conference did get back on track but I lost a significant chunk of audience because of further delays by other speakers after lunch. Anyway the slides are available:

The talk explained

  • Oracle's definition of Cloud and talked about Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud, a.k.a "Cloud in a box"
  • Light-weight ness, extensibility, and simplicity/ease-of-use of Java EE 6
  • How to run Java EE 6 on Amazon, RightScale, Elastra, and Joyent
  • Comparison of multi-cloud vendors
  • What Java EE currently offers for the Cloud and what's coming in Java EE 7

The other talk demonstrated how NetBeans provide extensive tooling around Java EE 6 & GlassFish. The slides-free talk showed how NetBeans makes you a lazy, aka productive, programmer and showed the wizards, code completion, integrated javadocs etc for Java Server Faces 2 (JSF), Context & Dependency Injection (CDI), Java Persistence API 2 (JPA), Servlets 3.0, Enterprise Java Beans 3.1 (EJB), and Java API for RESTful Web Services (JAX-RS). The complete sample application build during the talk can be downloaded here. Here is a review from one of the attendees:

No ivory tower or Chinese slides. Just NetBeans, Glassfish and the developer! I hope that more and more people think now that Java and Java EE in particular is much better than the various strange combinations like RoR, PHP or some other awkward framework that promises developer heaven.

Check out screencast #30 to view the complete set of Java EE 6 Netbeans tooling. Java EE 6 tooling is also available in Eclipse and can be seen in the screencast #31.

The speakers' dinner to a local BBQ was one of the highlights. Enjoyed Rakia, local food, beautiful performances by local dancers, and then learning some basic steps with them. I wonder how many other conferences are going to provide a speakers's dinner event like that ;-)

Enjoyed meeting Andrew Lombardi, Reza Rehman, Vassil Popovski, Damon Edwards, Eugene Ciurana, Geroge Reese, James Ward, Werner Keil, other speakers, and of course Alexis!

Many thanks to Emo, Yoana, Iva, Evo, Bobby, and rest of the Java2Days team. Their warm "airport to airport" hospitality started at the Sofia airport where Emo came to receive some of us and went all the way back to the airport when Evo ensured that I'm checked in at the airport. Looking forward to participate again next year!

Some travel tips to Bulgaria ...

  • Bulgaria is not part of EU yet and does not accept Euros so make sure to withdraw some local currency from the ATM machines.
  • Any spirits/alcohol/wine from the duty free needs to be checked in if you are flying through EU.
  • Taxi drivers take local currency only, no credit cards.
  • 1 Bulgarian Lev is apporx $0.75.
  • Language will likely be an issue but with a local team member this was well taken care for us.
  • Make sure to try out some Rakia, it's 40% alcohol made with either grape, apricot, and plums.
  • I was told to not run on the streets because there were drug addicts in at least the part of city where we were staying.
  • Sofia is not a small city and the traffic can be intense during peak hours so plan accordingly.

And finally some pictures ...

And the complete album:

Next stop is Silicon Valley Code Camp which starts in about 3 more hours. This is the 5th anniversary of the conference and 4th mine (2009, 2008, 2007). With about 3000 registered attendees, this is going to be quite a conference. If half of the registered attendees show up, then this is going to be the biggest US conference after JavaOne!

Technorati: conf java2days sofia bulgaria glassfish javaee6 cloud netbeans


Bulgaria is part of EU since 2007 (see )

Posted by Stevo Slavic on October 09, 2010 at 12:53 AM PDT #

Hi Arun,

Just to make small clarification. Bulgaria is in EU. But it is not part of the Euro group. So here we still use our local currency.

Thanks again for the great presentations.

Posted by Doychin Bondzhev on October 09, 2010 at 05:25 PM PDT #

Bulgaria is actually part of the European Union since 2007, it's just that we do not use Euro yet. Credit cards etc are not supported by taxi drivers, though you can pay in most shops, malls and trading centers :)

Posted by Mario Peshev on October 09, 2010 at 08:36 PM PDT #

Thanks everybody!

Bulgaria does seem to be part of EU but wonder why Euros are not accepted yet. Also, why the security guys at Munich told me that only liquor bought from an EU airport can be taken as handbag otherwise must be checked in.

Any ideas ?

Posted by Arun Gupta on October 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM PDT #

As far as I know when you buy something from Sofia airport you should get special plastic bag where you place all the liquid stuff and then seal the bag. This is only in case you are going to change planes later on another airport. You usually take this from the shop you bought the stuff.

Posted by Doyhin Bondzhev on October 10, 2010 at 03:51 PM PDT #

Only 16 of the 27 Member States of the European Union use the Euro currency.

EU members that have chosen to retain their national currencies include Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Posted by Nigel Deakin on October 10, 2010 at 09:01 PM PDT #


They did seal Rakia in a plastic bag but the officials at Munich airport said that only liquid bought within EU can be hand carried and Bulgaria is not part of it. Seems like a case of confusion to me. Fortunately I had time to catch my connection so I cleared customs, packed Rakia in my bag, and then checked in again.

Nigel, thanks for the data point!

Posted by Arun Gupta on October 10, 2010 at 10:56 PM PDT #

Looks like officials in Munich don't know that Bulgaria is part of EU since Jan 1st 2007.

Posted by Doychin Bondzhev on October 11, 2010 at 01:14 AM PDT #

Hi Arun, great meeting you in Sofia last week.
Emo or another organizer spoke of around 700 people, but maybe the 500 was just paying visitors and the other could include staff and speakers...?

In any case, it seems among the top 3 to 5 conferences all across Europe dedicated to Java. And considering its JUG-driven community approach, next to probably just DevoXX or very few others like that in all of EMEA region.

Is Red Bull sponsoring that photo with the bear btw ?;-)


Posted by Werner Keil on October 12, 2010 at 06:24 PM PDT #

Hi Werner,

I enjoyed meeting you as well. Its certainly amazing that all of the major European conferences are JUG-driven and they bring really good numbers. It shows that there is relentless demand for Java and related technologies all over :-)

I put the Red Bull next to bear, he was looking so tired ;-)

Posted by Arun Gupta on October 12, 2010 at 10:20 PM PDT #

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.

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