JavaOne Wrap-up

Wanted to post a quick wrap-up of my take-aways from JavaOne 2007.  We had a good turnout for the "Dynamic Portals" BOF and had some good discussion.  I was able to attend a number of good sessions, here are my favorites.  Eventually, the sessions will be downloadable, so if you missed them or weren't able to attend, you can check them out online.

  • TS-9516: Using jMaki in a Visual Development Environment (Craig McClanahan; Gregory Murray; Ludovic Champenois) - This was a good overview of jMaki and how it can be used easily to add ajax widgets to your web apps.  I didn't learn a lot new because I've been using jMaki for a while now, but it was good to meet Greg and see the presentation.  They were kind enough to plug the "Dynamic Portals" BOF...thanks!
  • TS-6410: Hands-on DWR (Geert Bevin; Joe Walker) - I had wanted to learn more about how to use DWR.  They gave a fun demo building a web app that played battleship in the browser.  DWR lets you remotely interact with your server-side java from javascript.  Something to consider regarding portals, maybe using DWR in the portlet container to enable seamless JS access to portlets.
  • TS-6029: Beyond Blogging: Feeds in Action (Dave Johnson) - Dave wrote the Roller blogging server and recently joined Sun.  I'm reading Dave's book, so mostly this was good for me because it was like a quick training session on the topics covered in his book.
  • TS-6836: Creating Amazing Web Interfaces with Ajax (Ben Galbraith; Dion Almaer) - These guys are apparent "rock stars".  This session was jammed, even thought it was in the afternoon on the last day.  You can read this JavaOne feature on them.  They even played Guitar Hero on stage.  Nice! :)  Actually, they were definitely probably the best speakers I saw.  Lots of good ajax information:
    • SoundManager2 - Add sound to your ajax web apps.  It uses the flash player and javascript to play.  Read about it at Ajaxian.  Also, a sound widget has been included in jMaki that uses SoundManager2.  Could be applied to dynamic portals for portlet window changes (min/max could have a "window shade" sound) and portlet addition ("pop") and removal ("zip").
    • sIFR - Allows fancy typography (beyond the limits of browser fonts) that is inline and selectable without having to create static images (that are not crawled by search-bots).  Again, it leverages flash to do it's magic.  No real specific portal implications, but cool none-the-less.
    • Canvas - I have never looked closely at Yahoo Pipes.  I assumed it was implemented with flash.  It's not.  It uses <canvas>. Canvas is an HTML extension available from Firefox 1.5+ (originally introduced by Apple for Dashboard) that can be used with scripting on the browser to build and draw compelling graphics.  It is not implemented for IE (I didn't know Yahoo Pipes was not supported on IE), but Google has built a project that uses VML to implement canvas on IE.
    • New Dojo stuff - Dojo is developing a fully-featured offline toolkit for taking ajax offline.  And new declarative data binding.  They demoed binding a data service to a dojo table, quick and easy.
    • Ext JS - And they touted Ext JS which leverage Yahoo UI library for slick widgets, specifically mentioned were drag-and-drop and data binding.
  • TS-6807: Real-World Comet-Based Applications (Jean-Fran├žois Arcand; Alex Russell; Greg Wilkin) - Another good group of presenters.  Was particularly interested to hear Alex talk since he runs Dojo and Comet was another one of those technologies I've been intending to learn more about.  They covered Bayeux, which is the early implementation of a proposed common API for comet.  An API that would make comet pluggable into your app.  Problems still persist with server support for comet, though.  To be specific, ideally comet would be implemented with a server-side that supported asynchronous servlets to handle comet requests, but we have to wait for that to be put into the servlet spec.  Until then, you can use Continuations (available in Jetty 6) or Java NIO API in Grizzly (with Glassfish).  But this limits the servers where you can deploy comet applications.  The specs need to catch up with the technology here.
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