Last week was the eighteenth JavaOne conference and I thought it would be a good idea to write up my thoughts about how things went.
Firstly thanks to Yoshio Terada for the photos, I didn't bother bringing a camera with me so it's good to have some pictures to add to the words.
Things kicked off full-throttle on Sunday. We had the Java Champions and JUG leaders breakfast, which was a great way to meet up with a lot of familiar faces and start talking all things Java. At midday the show really started with the Strategy and Technical Keynotes. This was always going to be tougher job than some years because there was no big shiny ball to reveal to the audience. With the Java EE 7 spec being finalised a few months ago and Java SE 8, Java ME 8 and JDK8 not due until the start of next year there was not going to be any big announcement. I thought both keynotes worked really well each focusing on the things most important to Java developers:
One of the things that is becoming more and more prominent in many companies marketing is the Internet of Things (IoT). We've moved from the conventional desktop/laptop environment to much more mobile connected computing with smart phones and tablets. The next wave of the internet is not just billions of people connected, but 10s or 100s of billions of devices connected to the network, all generating data and providing much more precise control of almost any process you can imagine. This ties into the ideas of Big Data and Cloud Computing, but implementation is certainly not without its challenges. As Peter Utzschneider explained it's about three Vs: Volume, Velocity and Value. All these devices will create huge volumes of data at very high speed; to avoid being overloaded these devices will need some sort of processing capabilities that can filter the useful data from the redundant. The raw data then needs to be turned into useful information that has value. To make this happen will require applications on devices, at gateways and on the back-end servers, all very tightly integrated. This is where Java plays a pivotal role, write once, run everywhere becomes essential, having nine million developers fluent in the language makes it the defacto lingua franca of IoT. There will be lots more information on how this will become a reality, so watch this space.
How do we make the IoT a reality, technically? Using the game of chess Mark Reinhold, with the help of people like John Ceccarelli, Jasper Potts and Richard Bair, showed what you could do. Using Java EE on the back end, Java SE and JavaFX on the desktop and Java ME Embedded and JavaFX on devices they showed a complete end-to-end demo. This was really impressive, using 3D features from JavaFX 8 (that's included with JDK8) to make a 3D animated Duke chess board. Jasper also unveiled the "DukePad" a home made tablet using a Raspberry Pi, touch screen and accelerometer. Although the Raspberry Pi doesn't have earth shattering CPU performance (about the same level as a mid 1990s Pentium), it does have really quite good GPU performance so the GUI works really well. The plans are all open sourced and available here. One small, but very significant announcement was that Java SE will now be included with the NOOB and Raspbian Linux distros provided by the Raspberry Pi foundation (these can be found here). No more hassle having to download and install the JDK after you've flashed your SD card OS image. The finale was the Raspberry Pi powered chess playing robot. Really very, very cool. I talked to Jasper about this and he told me each of the chess pieces had been 3D printed and then he had to use acetone to give them a glossy finish (not sure what his wife thought of him spending hours in the kitchen in a gas mask!) The way the robot arm worked was very impressive as it did not have any positioning data (like a potentiometer connected to each motor), but relied purely on carefully calibrated timings to get the arm to the right place. Having done things like this myself in the past I know how easy it is to find a small error gets magnified into very big mistakes.
Here's some pictures from the keynote:
The very nice 3D chess set. Maya's obviously a great tool. Read the full article here.
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