Friday, May 19, 2006

JavaOne Day 2 - Josh Rocks, But It's Ajax All the Way

Every year, JavaOne throws up the theme of the show. This year it's Ajax all the way. Every tech session on Ajax is booked, the most notable among them being the flagship session on "An Introduction to AJAX" by the founders of, Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer. As has been mentioned in the conference report by John O' Conner
Using simple but effective examples, the two made a compelling argument for using Asynchronous JavaScript with XML (AJAX) to create dynamic, responsive applications that are easy to deploy and that require nothing more than a common web browser.

Besides this flagship from the creators, there were many other sessions which focussed on Ajax, RIA, SWT and the likes which promise to bring heaven on the client browser.

Josh Rocks!

I attended three sessions by Joshua Bloch, one of them the famous Puzzlers Session with Neal Grafter. Their book "Java Puzzlers - Traps, Pitfalls and Corner Cases" has been doing great in this year's JavaOne, but in their tech session the two wizards set the floor on fire with new additions to the puzzlers collection. Great show and I enjoyed every bit of it. This was preceded by a solo from Josh where he discussed some of the advanced Java patterns and idioms, which he promised to load in the next edition of Effective Java. Cool stuff! The icing on the cake was the BOF on "Collection Connection", which happened to be the eleventh edition of the show. Eleven long years - yet the Collections Framework is evolving, a definite sign of a living language (or perhaps Dynamic Language, as Gilad would like to mention it). The BOF was brightened up by the lumious anecdotes which Josh mentioned while recollecting his struggle with Binary Search in his CMU days. Overall the BOF was extremely enlightening with good indications of what to expect from the Collections Framework in Mustang and Dolphin.

Don't Ignore the Scripters

Two very interesting sessions which I attended on the second day of the conference included the ones on Groovy and JRuby. The Groovy session, led by Rod Cope had entertainments written all over. Some of the crazy things which he demonstrated included opening up new excel worksheets, filling up with data, formatting stuff, generating charts and ultimately putting the entire control within a Swing panel with buttons and callbacks - all with 20 lines of Groovy code! This is developer's productivity, at its best.

In the session on JRuby, the creators, Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo, were there discussing passionately their experience trying to bring up the most powerful scripting language on planet into the Java Virtual Machine.

Can Java Studio Creator Eclipse the IDE World ?

Sun has come out strong with the message to use the Sun Java Studio Creator. Based on its much hyped NetBeans development environment, the creator has lots to offer as a rapid web application visual development tool. The Creator comes bundled with the Application Server, a database named Derby, data binding facilities through drag and drop, Ajax enabled JSF components, portlets as a project type, bunch of goodies for writing Web Services, themes and what not!. It will be really interesting to find out how the Big Blue responds with all the happenings in its Eclipse world. Tomorrow, I will find out what IBM has to say in the General Session to be addressed by none other than Erich Gamma.

In today's general sessions, both Oracle and BEA, led with their efforts towards contributing stuff to the Java space. BEA mentioned about their "blended strategy" of fusing commercial software and open source software towards development of enterpise tools that will make programming an enjoyable developer experience. The director of developer relations at BEA reiterated that BEA has been a key player in the open-source space. The company is a board member of the Eclipse Foundation and sponsored such projects as Apache Beehive, Apache XMLBeans, Eclipse AspectJ, Eclipse WTP, and more, besides being the first application server to provide certified support for the Spring framework.

Overall, day 2 at JavaOne had the all pervasive theme of Rich Internet Experience with Ajax leading all the way. Amidst all the industry frantics and open source hullahs, Gilad Bracha's session on "Superpackages: Development Modules in Dolphin" went almost unnoticed, with half of the hall empty. It had some important points though, which promise to make modular developments much easier in Java. But, at least for today, Ajax rules !

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