Friday, April 07, 2006

Sun Developer Days in Sydney

I went to Sun Developer Days here in Sydney last week. The two days were packed with sessions running in two halls. I was curious about what was new in Java space. I attended sessions from both tracks. Most of them were showcases of new Sun products such as NetBeans 5.0 and 5.5 Preview and Java Studio Creator.

Some of the sessions I'd like to highlight were:

  • Java SE: Tiger, Mustang and Dolphin
    • This session was a nice summary of Java language evolution, its current features and features of Java SE to look forward to in the future releases;

  • Persistence for Java SE and Java EE Applications using the Java Persistence API
    • This session gave me a new perspective onto the persistence beyond EJBs and ORM such as Hibernate. It's a whole new API that can be used if you don't want to do EJBs;

  • Effective Database Strategies for Developers & Deployers
    • This one was given by Tom Daly, an Aussie originally from Adelaide living in California;
    • It was a very good session focused on embeddable databases.

Some other session didn't match their titles and were rather confusing in a sense that I went there to get something and I got something else. Some of those session were:

  • Building great games for the mobile world
    • This one covered APIs for building mobile games, but failed to deliver anything that I would consider cool or great - it was just an ordinary mobile games development guide;

  • Optimizing Performance for Java SE and Java EE applications
    • I expected something else here, but it was a nice coverage of JVM internals in terms of memory management, similar session I saw 3 years ago at Sun Developer Day in Melbourne;
    • Oh yeah! Did you know that when you start JVM by calling java on the command line there are around 350 parameters you can set?

The excellent sessions I want to talk about were given by Angela Caicedo on Java ME and NetBeans Mobility Pack. Angela's easy to absorb approach was well met with the audience. You could see that she loves NetBeans and Java ME. She was very keen to explain everything. I give her 5 stars even when one of her demos did not work. I highly recommend to see her presentations even if you are not into ME yet, like myself. Now I am converted. I came home, installed mobility pack on top of NetBeans 5.5 Preview and started developing and deploying to my latest mobile phone. It's fun, and it's much easier than two years ago when I tried it first.

Overall, my impressions from Sun Developer Days in Sydney were very positive. Sun is making a big push for Java ME, Java 6 and community around Java. They also offer some good Java dev tools for free. As Bob Brewin, engineer and architect for Sun Developer Tools said, if you are using IDE other than Eclipse or NetBeans and you are paying for it, you are making a mistake.

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