I was very fortunate in that on my way to Kentucky, I was able to stop by at the Montgomery County (Maryland) JUG for a Java EE 7 session. The JUG was very kind in agreeing to schedule an off-cadence meeting to accommodate my trip. I have been to the JUG several times over the years and it is always a good experience with solid attendance - this time was no exception. Whenever I can I'll try to schedule another talk with the JUG. I essentially presented the same Java EE 7 deck we have been using for a while as our main talk (embedded below) - just taking time to do a bit more of a deep dive (the session lasted two and a half hours with almost everyone staying until the very end!).
Since the JUG meeting lasted much longer than I expected, I didn't arrive at Louisville until late the next day (yes, I drove :-)). With just a few hours to spare, I did my first talk at Code PaLOUsa titled "Using NoSQL with ~JPA, EclipseLink and Java EE". The talk covers an interesting gap that there is surprisingly little material on out there. The talk has three parts -- a birds-eye view of the NoSQL landscape, how to use NoSQL via a JPA centric facade using EclipseLink NoSQL, Hibernate OGM, DataNucleus, Kundera, Easy-Cassandra, etc and how to use NoSQL native APIs in Java EE via CDI. The slides for the talk are here:
The next day I presented one of my most favorite talks titled "Applied Domain-Driven Design Blue Prints for Java EE". The talk is essentially about the Cargo Tracker Java EE Blue Print project. The project is an attempt at reviving and modernizing the much needed Java EE Blue Prints effort to demonstrate some architectural best practices for Java EE. The talk has three parts -- a brief overview of DDD theory, mapping DDD to Java EE and actual running Cargo Tracker DDD code with Java EE/GlassFish. The talk was well attended and I got excellent feedback on the talk later. InfoQ recorded the session so hopefully it will be available to a broader audience soon. The slides for the talk are here:
After the conference I took some time out to enjoy one of the most unique experiences in the World - the Louisville Mega Cavern. To my knowledge, it is one of the largest man-made Caverns open to the general public anywhere. A truly massive former limestone mine, during the early days of the Cold War it was used as a fallout shelter. If that isn't fascinating enough, it might be the only place in the world you can zip line through a primitive limestone mine!
While the zip line was a truly awesome experience (there's five of them total across various parts of the mine), I wouldn't advise it for the uninitiated. With pitch dark corners, jagged rocks, mud/dirty pools of water, sudden sheer drops, simple rope bridges and fast/long inclines I imagine it could be a very scary experience for folks that have never been inside a primitive cave or cavern (natural or man made) - check out the pictures below. You have been duly warned :-). However if you feel you can make it, it is definitely worth doing if you are in the area.
All in all Code PaLOUsa, the Maryland JUG and Kentucky were worth the while. To boot, I didn't have to take a dull long flight :-).