By JavaCecilia on Dec 10, 2012
Last weekend, I took the train from Stockholm to Gothenburg to attend and present at the new Java developer conference jDays. It was professionally arranged in the Swedish exhibition hall close to the amusement park Liseberg and we got a great deal out of the top-level presenters and hallway discussions.
Understanding and Improving Your Java Process
Our main purpose was to spread information on JVM and our monitoring tools for Java processes, so I held a crash course in the most important terms and concepts if you want to affect the performance of your Java process. From the beginning - the JVM specification to interpretation of heap usage graphs. For correct analysis, you also need to understand something about process memory - you need space for the Java heap (-Xms for initial size and -Xmx for max heap size), but the process memory also contain the thread stacks (to a size of -Xss), JVM internal data structures used for keeping track of Java objects on the heap, method compilation/optimization, native libraries, etc. If you get long pause times, make sure to monitor your application, see the allocation rate and frequency of pause times.
My colleague Klara Ward then held a presentation on the Java Mission Control product, the profiling and diagnostics tools suite for HotSpot, coming soon. The room was packed and very appreciated, Klara demonstrated four different scenarios, e.g. how to diagnose and fix latencies due to lock contention for logging.
My German colleague, OpenJDK ambassador Dalibor Topic travelled to Sweden to do the second keynote on "Make the Future Java". He let us in on the coming features and roadmaps of Java, now delivering major versions on a two-year schedule (Java 7 2011, Java 8 2013, etc). Also letting us in on where to download early versions of 8, to report problems early on.
Software Development in teams
Being a scout leader, I'm drilled in different team building and workshop techniques, creating strong groups - of course, I had to attend Henrik Berglund's session on building successful teams. He spoke about the importance of clear goals, autonomy and agreed processes. Thomas Sundberg ended the conference by doing live remote pair programming with Alex in Rumania and a concrete tips for people wanting to try it out (for local collaboration, remember to wash and change clothes).
Memory Master Keynote
The conference keynote was delivered by the Swedish memory master Mattias Ribbing, showing off by remembering the order of a deck of cards he'd seen once. He made it interactive by forcing the audience to learn a memory mastering technique of remembering ten ordered things by heart, asking us to shout out the order backwards and we made it! I desperately need this - bought the book, will get back on the subject.
The most impressive presenter was Axel Fontaine on Continuous Delivery. Very well prepared slides with key images of his message and moved about the stage like a rock star. The topic is of course highly interesting, how to create an infrastructure enabling immediate feedback to developers and ability to release your product several times per day. Tomek Kaczanowski delivered a funny and useful presentation on good and bad tests, providing comic relief with poorly written tests and the useful rules of thumb how to rewrite them.
To conclude, we had a great time and hope to see you at jDays next year :)