Monday, March 18, 2013

Back from 33rd Degree

33rd Degree conference have changed location this year. This time the action took place in Warsaw. It seems that 33rd Degree has outgrown its venue in Krakow and the organizers decided to pursue the possibility to expand the conference.

The venue

I realized that the venue "configuration" counts a lot. This time the conference was located equally on 2 floors of the Gromada Airport hotel. Actually it was a fair separation for both vendors and speakers, but there's a caveat. If the fancier sponsors are on the top floor and the most famous speakers are there as well, then the vendors who locate in the "bunker" should be worried. Actually the speakers who get to speak in the other floor should be worried as well. Literally, on the first day when I arrived, I could not wait in the line for a cup of tea at the top floor and at the same time it was dead empty at the bottom floor. This is just how the crowd moves, and it is very hard to fix it.

My talks

My first talk Do you really get your IDE? happened to take place at the bottom floor at the same time when a beer party was starting at the top floor. I was almost sure that noone will be interested in coming to the talk and my bet was that only 5-10 people would show up. I was totally wrong. The room was full. Very surprising. Since it was a BOF format and a lot time was consumed by conversations in the middle of the talk, I didn't really cover all the cool tricks that I wanted but I would count this talk pretty successful anyway - it was fun and entertaining. I hope I can "sharpen the saw" in delivering this talk a bit more since people really enjoy learning the tools.

My second talk was about JRebel and how it can be used for updating Java applications. Not so many people came this time, probably because JRebel is a well known tool already and Baruch has dragged all the attendees in his talk instead.

Other talks

I usually don't attend that many sessions at the conferences since I know a lot of speakers personally and can learn from them directly in off-line conversations. However, this time I decided to go and listen and learn some cool stuff at the sessions.

Leading the technical change by Nathaniel Schutta. The talk title and abstract did not fire up my curiosity. I just know that Nathaniel has a style delivering the presentations and I wanted to go and learn from his performance. The idea is very simple actually: instead of bullet points Nathaniel creates a slide per bullet point and makes it look attractive so that when the next slides comes he can see it from his laptop screen and then he knows what and how he should say. That is why the delivery is so smooth, no matter which topic he presents. Of course Nathaniel didn't skip the book he co-authored, the Presentation Patterns - very useful book for everyone who wants to present at the conferences.

Being Honest - Rethinking Enterprise Java by Adam Bien. Adam is a very energetic speaker and I actually like his presentations about Java EE very much. But this time the technical aspects of the presentation didn't do good. The large room was full, but the screen was way too small for everyone to see the code. Plus the mic wasn't really working and it was quite hard to listen, so I could help myself but leave the room for some other talk.

So I made it to the talk about Kotlin by Hadi Hariri. Kotlin's ecosystem is doing great steps forward. Unfortunately I didn't see the whole talk. In the part that I grasped this time Hadi was talking about the features that allow creating DSLs and he presented his own development, Spek, the specification framework for Kotlin.

Scripted: Embracing Eclipse Orion by Martin Lippert. This was very unfortunate. Very nice talk about very nice tool with almost empty room. I call it "bad marketing". Martin is a good speaker and he talks about interesting topics, but it seems the title of the talk turned off the crowd. Who cares about Eclipse Orion at this kind of conference? Besides, nothing in the talk was really about Eclipse Orion. It was about Scripted - a kick-ass browser based JavaScript editor, very interesting R&D project developed at SpringSource/VMWare.

Programming with Lambda Expressions in Java by Venkat Subramaniam. Venkat's talks are so perfect it is hard to get a seat in the room. Attendees usually occupy the room in advance before the talk starts and those who are late steal the chairs from other rooms in order to get a seat. Nothing really advanced in the topic, but Venkat presents it with passion. Very entertaining.

How we took our server-side application to the Cloud and liked what we got by Baruch Sadogursky. Very interesting talk for those who want to learn the basics of multy-tenancy and approaches in implementation for SaaS. Baruch talked about the solution they chose for the hosted version of Artifactory - what were the challenges and pitfalls.


33rd Degree was definitely a success for the organizers but still there's plenty of details to improve: technical equipment would be the first on the list. Something needs to be done for managing the crowd - most of the time people are late for the sessions by a lot (with exception for the Venkat's talks). This is very distracting for the speakers, I think, even if they say it is not.

The great thing about 33rd Degree is that Grzegorz works super-hard to organize it all: get the great (NFJS) speakers, cool vendors (Atlassian, Plumbr, JetBrains, etc), and the venue, which is actually very nice: plenty of space, great food, very close to the airport. plus, the price for the conference is still very affordable.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Talking at 33rd Degree conference

Once again, I'm back to 33rd Degree conference, taking place in Warsaw on March 13-15.

I'm going to have 2 talks there:

Do you really get your IDE?, which is actually a BOF. This is my first time experience in running a BOF, so I'm not really sure how it turns out. I want to discuss with the folks, how the IDEs are used and how are the developers using the IDEs. I will play a bit with the code in IntelliJ IDEA and probably jump into other IDEs as well.

Reloading Java applications like a Pro. At many conferences I've been talking about the very root of the turnaround problems in Java, the reasons and pitfalls. But this time I decided that it would be much more fun to showcase what JRebel can do for different types of Java applications. I plan to talk about the mechanics of the updates and what is happening inside Java application when JRebel is doing it work. Hopefully I can fit several demo scenarios into the talk: for Spring based application, for JavaEE, maybe something for non-conventional apps and desktop apps (e.g. JavaFX).

I'm glad that 33rd Degree organizers allowed me to talk about JRebel directly. At many conferences the organizers are actually quite hesitant to accept any talks about commercial products. However, every time I give a talk on some technical topic, the attendees actually are eager to ask questions about JRebel rather than about the talk topic itself. It means that JRebel is more interesting, than, for instance, Java bytecode. So why bother about the commercial side of it?

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