Mobile & Embedded Developer Days Recap
By Christine Dorffi on Jan 29, 2008
Roger Brinkley, Terrence Barr, and a cast of way fewer than a thousand successfully pulled off the first Java Mobile & Embedded Developer Days on January 23 to 24 at the Sun campus in Santa Clara, California. Some 200 Java developers and Sun employees attended the sessions, while a live video stream with IRC chat allowed worldwide participation. The meeting facilitators conscientiously checked the feed for questions to put to presenters.
Note: Read Terrence Barr's blog with links to photos and other blogs on the conference.
At the conference, Sun made several announcements:
- open-sourcing of the new JXTA Java ME MIDP2.0 Proxyless implementation
- OpenCable Platform Developer Community
- BetaVine and M&E Community Collaboration
- open-sourcing of the Project Squawk OS (Java ME-compliant virtual machine for the Sun SPOT platform)
There was also strong interest in Noel Poore's talk on developing applications for JavaFX Mobile.
Forum Nokia's Hartti Suomela followed Gosling with a discussion of Java ME Security domains and access to APIs. He listed the top 10 security domain issues and noted that the MIDP 2.0 spec contains the recommended security policy.
Two talks were offered in the next hour, and I skipped Sean O'Sullivan of Rococo Software on JSR 82 (BlueTooth APIs) to listen to C. Enrique Ortiz, eZee Inc., on "Near Field Communication in Mobile Commerce." Ortiz expounded on proximity-based apps, where short-range radio technology is activated when 2 NFC-compatible devices come within 4 centimeters of each other -- such as smart posters and phone readers connected to point-of-sale networks. Paying with your cell phone is becoming a reality in Europe and Asia much more quickly than in the United States.
Sun's Roger Meike then led off a session on Sun SPOT technology, swarming behavior, and real-world installations. Bruce Boyes of Systronix demoed his SPOT-powered Trackbot and explained why cockroaches were of interest in this world (their leg-motor functions are local rather than having to travel from the brain). Ugh. Another reason for me to fear them.
Joe Polastre of Sentilla Corporation showed his light-up drink coasters. He discussed "motes," really really small devices (smaller than a quarter).
Later that afternoon, following the lightning talks (see later), Sun's David Pulrabek talked about the future of Java ME development tools and Karol Harezlak spoek about building slick apps with SVG and advanced graphics. I went to Bernard Traversat's presentation of the new JXTA Java ME MIDP 2.0 proxyless implementation, which was open-sourced at the conference. JXTA is a network protocol for creating peer-to-peer network for sharing content between any networked consumer devices.
A lively and sometimes prickly panel discussion on developing and deploying content in the real world ended the formal sessions. Enrique Ortiz played the part of a Java developer asking questions of the experts on the panel.
The day ended with an informal "camp" where over 2 dozen folks chatted over Dan Green's plethora of radio (and other) toys and Roger Brinkley's collection of over 300 antique wooden golf clubs. The last people drifted off at 1:30 a.m.
Sun's JavaFX architect Noel Poore opened the second day's talks with one on developing apps for JavaFX Mobile. Attendees were pleased to see more technical details than previously provided to the community.
I chose to hear Erik Hellman, Biekenge Institute, on combining Open GL-ES and Mobile Sensor API for a gaming technique, and missed Sun's Oleg Pliss on PhoneME and VM architecture, design, and implementation.
In the afternoon, Sun's Hinkmond Wong talked about developing with Project PhoneME, while Nokia's Carl Snellman described smashing maps on mobile devices with JSR 293's Location API 2.0. Sun's Eric Arseneau then went over Project Squawk. Patrick Curran led a discussion of the JCP standards organization.
Sun's Rick Hillegas talked about tear-off databases on mobile phones, which he described a being like a stack of Post-It notes you can detach when no longer needed. Rakesh Radhakrishnan covered identity-enabled mobile clients. Roger Riggs then disccused seamless integration of multi-tasking apps with CHAPI, while Vasily Isaenko covered conformance and quality-testing tools for Java ME.
The day ended with a free-flowing fish bowl. Attendees were encouraged to go up to one of five bar stools, pick up a microphone, and lead a discussion of any relevant topic of their choice. The discussions covered video-enabled content tools, Motorola's
One feature I really liked were the lightning talks, which gave presenters between 5 to 8 minutes to provide a taste of their topics. The lightning-talk presenters were then available for more detailed conversations during breaks or poster sessions. There were 3 sets of lightning talks, each comprising 5 speakers.
Until Next Year...
All in all, it was a very smooth conference for a first time out. Roger and Terrence kept the sessions running pretty much on time (or compensating if not), and Debbie Dunbar kept attendees comfortable, well fed, and warm during a rainy couple of days.