I wasn't sure what to expect. The leading European conference, Devoxx, was holding their inaugural US leg in 2017. Did I want to go? Was it going to be fun? I finally pitched the idea. It’s a conference by developers, for developers. It lived up to its name, I am extremely pleased that I decided to go.
Conferences are great for a number of reasons. As Bruce mentioned previously it’s important to attend at least one conference per year. Hearing from industry experts on new technologies and upcoming ideas is critical when making technical choices. Seeing how others have implemented solutions gives a good idea on how to move forward in your own use cases.
Some of the key areas I was able to spend time in - Docker, Data Streaming APIs, Architecting for Failure, Prototyping, Java 9, Microservices, and Web Components. There are so many more to list out, but across the board you can see as the industry changes, the core competencies of engineers change as well. Trying to figure out how to apply this to my day job will lead towards innovation in our development processes. Having the opportunity to explore within my technical domain is great, but being able to tackle something new like deployment with Docker, and UI development with Web Components makes all the difference to me. There is a ton of information to share, but here are some key highlights
Docker is coming up and is nearing the level of having toolkits available for common development and deployment runtimes. Something to watch out for.
Companies need to begin the adoption of web component frameworks, even if we’re leveraging shim based frameworks. It makes your code less framework centric and more common UI elements across many different application tiers
The Eclipse Foundation hosts many projects outside of the IDE. It’s also more than Jetty, there are many projects covering the multitude of technology
Writing good unit test cases is a hard problem to solve, not everyone gets it the first time.
Managing your data in a distributed deployment is hard. Separating query and transaction stores may still make sense, but ensuring that you keep the data in sync is critical.
ElasticSearch makes for a great indexing tool on top of Hibernate, simplifying the development effort
Beyond the actual conference sessions, being able to meet people I interact with in the open source community is important. We may work together virtually, but meeting in person helps strengthen bonds. It’s always great to meet up with some of the technology companies I deal with regularly, including Tomitribe, Red Hat, and IBM.
Being a speaker is usually different than a regular attendee. You have the extra pressure of putting together a presentation or two, answering questions and sharing your knowledge. I ended up putting on two talks, focused on CDI 2.0. Both were well received. It’s always great to interact with attendees after a session, answer questions and have a conversation one on one.
Most conferences end rather subtly. Staff start packing up chairs and kiosks. Session rooms start to empty out. Devoxx ends on a lighter note. We ate some pizza, drank some beer and got to have a final session with the JavaPosse. Having been a fan of theirs for many years, it was an exciting opportunity.
So, at this point you might be wondering - what happened to the JavaPosse's foam cowboy hats? Well, they've made their way over to Sparta Systems.
For now you'll find them around the Engineering teams' areas. We use them as part of our agile processes, and even sometimes inspire others to dress up as their inner cowboy. They work well with our paired programming model.