Live From JavaOne

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I'm here at JavaOne this week in San Francisco sitting through the usual spiel of vendor pitches and technology presentations. As always, the conference is a bit of a zoo...long lines for popular presentations, lots of things going on.

The Freebee

Monday, the free CommunityOne conference, was quite impressive considering the price ($0); Sun put on the dog this year and provided both lunch and dinner (complete with dance music, beer, and a belly dancer). Lots of good talks at CommunityOne this year--Glassfish, Netbeans, and other Sun projects were heavily represented, of course, but there were others as well. The quality is not quite the level of the talks at JavaOne, but it's still the best bargain in technology convention-going. What surprises me is that there aren't more people in attendance; maybe everyone is saving their energy for JavaOne.

First Day

The key difference between this year and last is the strong presence of non-Java technologies: Ruby (and Ruby on Rails), Groovy (and Grails), and Scala. The more "ecumenical" Sun, as Tim Bray once put it, is starting to show. Getting into the non-Java spirit, I attended a lab for doing Ruby on Rails in Netbeans 6.1. Netbeans is really shaping up to be a first-class IDE for doing Rails development, and the recently released 6.1 version doesn't disappoint in this regard.

Chris Oliver gave a talk on JavaFX Script, showing off the new plugin-cum-compiler in Netbeans 6.1. Despite the somewhat lukewarm reception that JavaFX has gotten around the Web since the great fanfare of JavaOne 2007, this session was packed. Unfortunately, there isn't really any news on the progress of JavaFX Script. I guess "it'll be done when it's done" is the operative word. Despite this, the demos were good, and should thrill anyone who has to do Swing development currently. Chris explained the interesting concepts of bound functions and variables, a language feature that should remove a lot of the repetitive UI updating that frequently needs to be done when coding in Swing. Just bind a variable and anytime it changes, the associated expression will re-evaluate. Cool.

Joshua Block also gave his annual talk on Effective Java, coinciding this year with the release of the Second Edition of the book. There were some useful tips here, but nothing jaw-dropping. Maybe all the low-hanging tips and tricks in Java have already been picked. Nevertheless, I bought the book anyway because I figured it would come in handy later. After all, he is still one of the reigning alpha nerds in Java land...

Well, that's my quick take for today. Tune in later for more news...

(Correction: JavaFX Script will ship in Fall 2008 -Brennan.)

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