Reza Rahman's Blog

  • February 18, 2016

DevNexus 2016 Trip Report

Guest Author

DevNexus 2016 was held in historic Atlanta on February 15-17. For those of you not familiar with it, DevNexus is the most significant Java centric (but not Java focused) conference in the South Eastern US and now perhaps even at a national level. It was started by JBoss Java Champion Burr Sutter and organized by the Atlanta JUG (currently lead by Vincent Mayers, Gunnar Hillert, Pratik Patel, et al). I guess at this point I am somewhat of a DevNexus veteran myself. As usual DevNexus attracted a bevy of world class speakers including Stuart Marks, Stephen Chin, Heather VanCura, Venkat Subramaniam, Yakov Fain, Burr Sutter, Freddy Guime, Bob Paulin, Jason Porter, Rafael Benevides, Scott Kramer and so on. Topics included Java SE, NoSQL, mobile, cloud, Docker, HTML5/JavaScript and of course Java EE. This was a solid, fully sold out year for DevNexus!

I started the conference by running a whole day workshop titled "Have You Seen Java EE Lately?". The talk is principally intended for folks that have not stayed abreast with Java EE, especially past the J2EE era. It is also good for newcomers with little or no exposure to Java EE. This is a talk I had been wanting to do for a while. It is highly appropriate for some venues and gives me an opportunity to share some of the things I have grown to value the most about Java EE over the years. I have done this talk a number of times with various Oracle customers, but this is only the second time I did the talk at a major conference.

I start the talk with a historical perspective of how the platform has evolved right up to Java EE 7. I then talk about what Java EE really is today and what it is not. The vast majority of the talk is spent covering major Java EE APIs like JSF, CDI, EJB, JPA and JAX-RS. I explore the APIs and Java EE as a whole heavily utilizing Cargo Tracker as a demo mechanism. For each API I do a high level overview of motivation, features as well as explain what makes them uniquely valuable before diving into a representative demo and code walk-through. I finish the talk by discussing the vibrant Java EE ecosystem as well as discussing Java EE 8. The slides for the talk are below (click here if you can't see the embedded slide deck):

Perhaps I should not be but I am taken by surprise as to what degree some of this is new to attendees. They particularly marvel at the simplicity, productivity, lack of configuration, annotation driven meta-data, lack of complex third-party build dependencies, very lightweight war files and fast deployments that Java EE has offered for many years now.

I started the conference late afternoon the next day with one my most recent talks titled "Down-to-Earth Microservices with Java EE". The talk has two aims. The first is to try to do the right thing in explaining what microservices really are, what practical value they offer for most of us and when you should consider them (or not). The second aim is to demonstrate why Java EE makes perfect natural sense for developing sensible real world microservices, so called "monoliths" and everything in between. I also briefly explore the work that some parts of the Java EE community is doing to support what I lovingly call "microservices Nirvana" (spoiler: I don't think most of us can or need to achieve this Nirvana state). The slide deck for this talk is below (click here if you can't see the embedded slide deck):

Despite being later in the day the talk was packed. It is clearly popular, on the mark and well received. There was good Q & A during the talk and some very nice feedback afterwards. I presented this same talk along with Steve Millidge (C2B2, Payara co-founder) at JavaOne. You can view the JavaOne recording of the talk here.

Overall this was another great year at DevNexus and I hope to be part of the conference next year.

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