Right now i’m in Wiesbaden, attending the JAX 2008 conference.
The mood is somewhat different compared to the DOAG i used to visit the last years. The people are more open minded, partially much younger and generally try to be much cooler. And for the sake of it, some are even more interesting and after all, there isn’t that ongoing whining about Oracle not engaging in Forms 6i Client Server any more (although, i must admit, i somewhat like Oracle Forms 6i, maybe it’s a love/hate relationship, trust me, i know both worlds, Java and Forms).
The sessions suffer from one big problem: Many of them just seem to play powerpoint karaoke: Throw in a bunch of crappy slides with a handfull code snippets and sing-a-long to that stuff which means basically: Hind behind the slides.
Let me tell you: This is so boring and pointless. In the past i tried to be polite and always stayed to the end of a session but the last 2 or 3 conferences i can’t stand it any more. I can read myself, thanks. If you haven’t got anything additionally to say, just pass me the slide and i’m fine.
The 3 most interesting sessions where the sessions spoken freely with the slides just illustrating the speech. I especially liked Brian Chans presentation of Liferay Portal, Rod Johnsons keynote on the future of J2EE and the most witty one, Ted Newards talk about the renaissance of languages. It was funny, included the audience, was well prepared and freely hold, not to forget the topic: It wasn’t about the nth framework around the corner but about the nearly philosophy topic about the “perfect programming language”.
I really wish that i’d be creative and intelligent enough to design a language that is not predestined to die an early death, but i ain’t. But i can distinguish a sharp tool from a spoon if i see one and i can adopt to it very easily. And in that sense i share Teds opinion that a discussion about abstracting things and about the tool itself is of much more value than implementing some arbitrary pattern (i.e. one be the GOF) in just another framework. For example, many implementations of some patterns in frameworks have been rendered obsolete by more powerful and more expressive languages and i’d like to see this trend go on.