By TinuA on Apr 25, 2013
Let's list the many ways to introduce Anton Epple: NetBeans Platform consultant, trainer, developer and author; a blogger; a NetBeans Dreamteam member and recent Java Champion. It's an already impressive profile, yet there's more. Over the years, he has also steadily carved out a niche for himself as a conference organizer.
He got his start hosting annual NetBeans Day events in Munich for local enthusiasts and fans of the IDE. Each year, the gathering grew in size along with interest in a wider range of topics. Eventually, JayDay was born.
I reached out to him recently with a few questions about JayDay 2013--an all-Java powwow now in its second year that attracts an international crowd of Java developers and top Java experts.
This is your second JayDay event and the agenda looks to be bigger. What extras do you have planned for attendees this year?
We got great feedback for our JayDay last year, so we felt confident to allow more attendees and more speakers this year. The most important thing is that we decided to add a second track to give attendees more choice. Another extra is the embedded part, where we will show experiments with devices and sensors--that might be extremely cool. We're also trying to make the conference unique in that we're "eating our own dog-food". For example, we created a Java game for the JayDay website, as well as JavaFX-based presentation software for some of the talks.
You've already confirmed a number of well-known Java experts: Bien, Eisele, Grunwald, Weaver, and so on. What topics are they going to tackle?
We're trying to get a good mixture of great local and international Speakers, and actually the list has gotten bigger although not all the speakers have officially been announced yet. Simon Ritter and Gerrit Grunwald will both be covering different aspects of Java and JavaFX on small devices such as the Beagleboard or the Raspberry PI. In the JavaFX track, Wolfgang Weigend will share the latest information about JavaFX on the iPad and Android. Jim Weaver will talk about the cool new lambda expressions in Java 8. Adam Bien will do some great Java EE7 live hacking, and Markus Eisele will show how to test what Adam created using Arquillian. And I'll show how to write games for any device in Java. So basically we're covering Java on any device from Pi to Cloud. But I intend to add some more speakers and talks.
What inspired you to start the first JayDay conference?
I loved the NetBeans Day worldtour events back in the era of NetBeans 5. So a few years ago I decided to revive that and I organized a couple of NetBeans Days and meetings in my area. It was great to bring enthusiasts together and to do something for the NetBeans Community. The biggest event was in 2011. That year the topics were already getting more general, so we decided to broaden the scope to general Java. This is how JayDay was born. The first JayDay took place last year (December 2012). It was a great event, but I thought it might be even better in the Summer, when we can go outside to a typical Munich beer garden for lunch and the after-event party. :-)
Can you share a few tips about what goes into starting-up a new conference?
I'm still in the process of learning myself, but these are some of the more practical things that I've learned:
- Do enough breaks. The attendees need breaks to walk around, meet and discuss the content. An important part of a conference is to be able to hang around with your peers and chat with the experts. That was the one thing we didn't have enough of last year because there was just too much great content and too little time.
- Don't be afraid to charge for the tickets--it's a good registration reminder. :-) For free events sometimes up to 40% of the registered attendees won't show up. That can be very disappointing for an enthusiastic conference organizer especially if he has to pay for the catering. Even a small fee makes a big difference.
The JayDay homepage banner is actually a game called "Duke's Revenge". (But Duke seems to have a "death wish" and refuses to budge! Am I doing something wrong...?) Can you tell us more about this?
If you click the banner, a little browser game will load and you can use the "a", "s", and "d" keys to help Duke to protect Munich against some evil aliens. :-) The cool thing about this is that the game is written entirely in Java, but it doesn't require Java to be installed on your machine. It actually runs in every modern browser, even on the iPad and Android.
What makes bck2brwsr special is that it doesn't tie you to a certain API or a set of widgets, but makes it easy to create your own APIs. It took me just one day to learn how to extend the project and create the API for drawing on HTML5 Canvas that I'm using in "Duke's Revenge". I'm really exited about this project and we'll definitely cover that at JayDay. By the way, the game is Open Source.
What would you like most for attendees to take away from this conference?
Our goal is to give them a ton of information about the hottest topics in the Java universe, and we want them to leave inspired to create their own cool projects. I guess what all the speakers of this conference have in common is that they're not only experts but also enthusiasts. They love to create cool stuff and share it with the community. So if we're able to get that across and share it with the audience I'll be more than happy!
Thank you Toni for the interview and best of luck with JayDay 2013.