September 19, 2007

The night I broke Duke's arm

The night I broke Duke's arm

Yesterday, I was humming this old reggae song from (I believe) the 80s. It's probably a good thing that this is a plain blog post, because, first, I can't sing and second, I actually hate the song. Nonetheless, I have been humming the stupid song all day. Why? Because I was looking forward to a major event that was going to be held at the Dutch Capgemini headquarters: The Javanight.

In spite of the above mentioned song, Javanight was a huge success. I thank and praise the organizers. There was too much to see but I selectively picked and sat out two talks, before I walked away, enlightened and quietly humming some old reggae song, to catch my train.

First there was the keynote speech by Steve Jones. The auditorium was packed to the ceiling. Steve's speech was very entertaining and misleadingly witty, but contained an important message: Sensible Java developers should speak up more in the JCP forums, and dumb, 'ADHD' Java developers should shut up (and preferably be sacked (these are Steve's words, not mine...)).

Steve's best slides (imho) were about "cleaning up" Java (we don't need midi support in an enterprise server). To start, there should be a single Java core that should provide the bare necessities for anything Java (just basic language stuff, support for designing by contract and, oh yeah, async support). Java SE and Java EE should further be completely customizable in the sense that it should be possible to pick what you need from them and drop all the rest. Hear hear!

After Steve's performance the lot of us lined up for a Chinese/Indian/Indonesian mashup (a typical Dutch dish). During the buffet there was plenty of time to socialize and visit the stands of the Javanight sponsors. From the friendly Sun people, I got a cute styrofoam Duke which you only got if you knew its name (duh...).

I further attended these talks: Jan Ypma's (Capgemini) talk about Model Driven Architecture, and Ted Farrel's (Oracle) talk about Building RIAs with JDA (A JSF framework). I am very glad that I choose Jan's talk. Very inspiring, kept my full attention until the end. MDA is important. If used properly, it ensures consistency, code quality and maintainability throughout the entire software development cycle. What impresses me most is the fact that Jan has already done several MDA projects and has built up very valuable knowledge on how you do (and shouldn't do) MDA.

It was during the first half of Ted's performance that the terrible accident happened: I broke the cute little styrofoam Duke's left arm. It must have happened while I was listening to Ted, presenting us an endless list of all the cool features of Oracle's JDA. I must have gotten a tiny bit impatient because I was rather aggressively squeezing and stretching poor old Duke, until suddenly, the left arm came off . I sincerely apologize Duke, I really mean you no harm.

Now I come to think of it, the arm came off fairly easily. I hope it does not mean anything in a metaphorical sense.