FIRST @ JavaOne Wrap Up, videos, photos, and links...

I've finally caught my breath after JavaOne - we had a busy week. We were able to bring FIRST to a lot of technical people that had never heard of FIRST, and let people know that Java was coming.

JavaOne Pavilion

We had local FRC teams demonstrating robots in the pavilion, along with representatives from FIRST. This was very popular at the show - anytime the robots were running we had an audience.

Some related media:

Technical Session and BOF

Eric Arseneau and Brad Miller presented TS-4945 "FRC-FIRST Robotic Competition" (slides to be posted). And Derek White and Brad Miller lead the Birds-Of-a-Feather session BOF-4953 "FRC-FIRST Robotic Competition" - but the teams were the stars of the BOF.

Setting up for BOF

James Gosling's Toy Show Keynote

Brad Miller and James Gosling talked about FIRST and Java in front of a live audience of thousands and webcast to many more. I helped with a demo along with Scott and Austin.

This was the most nerve-wracking demo I've given, and it wasn't even due to the huge crowd. Imagine running a demo using WiFi in a room with 20-30 industrial-sized access points in the same band. Then add in thousands of laptops. In rehearsal we spent between 2-30 minutes each time to get a link between the robot and the driver station! We started the morning by linking the robot to the router, and left everything on (battery powered) for an hour and a half. When we were called on stage for the live demo, we had to do a quick check for power and connectivity. We had backup plans for the backup plans, but luckily didn't need to use them.

Correction: The C++ experience on the new cRIO-based robots isn't as neolithic as James makes out - the IDE includes modern debugging support. But it's not Java.

Duke's Choice Award

As mentioned previously, WPI won the Duke's Choice Award for it part in porting Java to the new robot system, enabling teams to use Java in next years competition.

Correction: Please refer only to this version of the press release. Other versions make some inaccurate claims.

Thanks

This wouldn't have happened without the work of a lot of people. I'd like to thank the FRC teams for coming to JavaOne right in the middle of final exams, and sharing their robots for the demos. I'd especially like to thank DJ and Scott of team 971 for coming every single day of JavaOne! And I'd like to thank James Gosling for his support and forbearance. You'll note that Brad Miller was involved in just about everything. Jim Beck from FIRST helped get the teams lined up, Eric arranged the whole FIRST @ JavaOne experience, and a pile of Sun people helped everything run smoothly (well, as smoothly as it did).

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Out of the fog... of bits, bytes, and really small Java Virtual Machines, by Derek White. The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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