Monday Nov 21, 2011

Devoxx 2011 Trip Report + Pictures

3350 attendees from 40 countries lived in "paradise" for 5 days last week. This paradise had 170+ rock star speakers delivering 200+ hours of technical content in about 150 sessions. And it truly was a paradise with a clear differentiation from other Java conferences.

There were several Oracle speakers at the paradise covering the entire gamut of Java platform. I delivered a Java EE 6 hands-on lab (new content), showcased Java EE 7 and GlassFish 4.0 early work at the keynote, and participated in a panel to talk about Contexts and Dependency Injection.

The demo in the keynote showed how to deploy a Java EE application in a managed environment. The demo showed a Conference Planner application that can be used by conference organizers to display sessions, tracks, and speaker information. This same application can be deployed and display data from JavaOne 2011 or Devoxx 2011 based upon the SQL chosen for database initialization.

If javaone-sf-2011.sql is chosen for datbase initialization then the application looks like as shown:

If devoxx-2011.sql is chosen then the application looks like as shown:

And of course, clicking on Tracks, Speakers, Sessions shows you information from the respective conference.

The complete source code for the application and detailed instructions are availaable at In short:
  • Download the sample app and unzip
  • Download GlassFish build b05.
  • Download platform-specific Load Balancer template
  • Run "bin/" to configure GlassFish
  • Pick javaone-sf-2011.sql or devoxx-2011.sql for database initialization

You can also watch the application in action in this video:

A breaking news shared at the conference was that Devoxx France is coming from April 18- 20 and 75% of the talks will be in French. Stay tuned for more details on that. I'm sure Antonio and gang will put up a great show out there!

Just a tip for the first timers to Devoxx ...
  • A bus leaves from Brussels airport to Antwerp city center between 4am - 11pm at the top of every hour, takes about 45 minutes, and costs 10 euros (only cash).
  • Take a tram #6 (going towards Luchtbal) from Astrid station (next to the city center) and get off at the last station for Metropolis. It takes about 15 minutes. Purchase a day pass at the station using kiosks (much cheaper) or you can buy in the bus as well (about double the price). Either way, cash only.
Here are a few pictures captured from the event:

And the complete album here:

Thank you Stephan for giving me an opportunity to speak at my first Devoxx. I hope to be back next year, just in time for Java EE 7 going final!

Sunday Nov 20, 2011

It happens only at Devoxx ...

After attending several Java conferences world wide, this was my very first time at Devoxx. Here are some items I found that happens only at Devoxx ...
  • Pioneers of theater-style seating - This not only provides comfortable seating for each attendee but the screens are very clearly visible to everybody in the room.
  • Intellectual level of attendees is very high - Read more explanation on the Java EE 6 lab blog. In short, a lab, 1/3 of the content delivered at Devoxx 2011, could not be completed at other developer days in more than 1/3 the time.
  • Snack box for lunches - Even though this suits well to the healthy lifestyle of multiple-snacks-during-a-day style but leaves attendees hungry sooner in the day. The longer breaks before the next snack in the evening does not help at all. Fortunately, Azure cupcakes and Android ice creams turned out to be handy. I finally carried my own apple :-)
  • Wrist band instead of lanyard - The good part about this is that once tied to your hand then you are less likely to forget in your room. But OTOH you are a pretty much a branded conference attendee all through out the city. It was cost effective as it costed 20c as opposed to 1 euro for the lanyard.
  • Live streaming from theater #8 (the biggest room) on
  • All talks recorded and released on over next year. This allows attendees to not to miss any session and watch replay at their own leisure. Stephan promised to start sharing the sessions by mid December this year.
  • No need to pre-register for a session - This is true for most of the conferences but bigger rooms (+ overflow room for key sessions) provide sufficient space for all those who want to attend the session. And of course all sessions are available on anyway!
  • Community votes on whiteboard - Devoxx attendees gets a chance to vote on topics ranging from their favorite non-Java language, operating system, or love from Oracle. Captured pictures at the end of Day 2 are shown below.
  • Movie on the last but one night - This year it was The Adventures of Tintin and was lots of fun.
  • Fries with mayo - This is a typical Belgian thing.
  • Guys going in ladies room to avoid the long queues ... wow!
  • Tweet wall everywhere and I mean literally everywhere, in rooms, hallways, front desk, and other places. The tweet picking algorithm was not very clear as I never saw my tweet appear on the wall ;-) You can also watch it at
  • Cozy speaker dinner with great food and wine
  • List of parallel and upcoming sessions displayed on the screen - This makes the information more explicit with the attendees.
  • REST API with multiple mobile clients - This API is also used by some other conferences as well. And there always is
  • Steering committee members were recognized multiple times. The committee members were clearly identifiable wearing red hoodies.
  • The wireless SSID was intuitive "Devoxx" but hidden to avoid some crap from Microsoft Windows. All of 9000 addresses were used up most of the times with each attendee having multiple devices. A 1 GB fibre optic cable was stretched to Metropolis to support the required network bandwidth. Stephan is already planning to upgrade the equipment and have a better infrastructure next year.
  • Free water, soda, juice in a cooler
  • Kinect connected to TV screens so that attendees can use their hands to browse through the list of sesssions.
  • #devoxxblog, #devoxxwomen, #devoxxfrance, #devoxxgreat, #devoxxsuggestions
  • And Devoxx attendees are called Devoxxians ... how cool is that ? :-)
What other things do you think happen only at Devoxx ?

And now the pictures from the community whiteboard:

And a more complete album (including bigger pics of community votes) is available below:


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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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