Rather confused conference attendee (JAX LONDON 2016 - Volume 1)

This fall me and my colleague attended JAX London. It is a JAVA based conference for all types of software craftsmen - developers, architects, and dev-ops. The central topic of the 10th year anniversary was innovation! The conference was about various aspects of development - from creating user stories and managing security to containerisation of applications.

How did it all start? The first day was a workshop day - yay! It was the best possible way to learn something, to try what we haven’t tried before, and to experiment with technologies. There were 6 workshops (but 2 were placed on a different date, and we already had our tickets booked), so we could choose from 4 different ones. I chose a workshop on Docker and containerisation, which was explained from the developer’s perspective. And to be honest, this was my best decision of the upcoming days! The fact is, that I won’t be using this knowledge much in practice as we have an ops team for building environments for our JAVA applications. However, the more we understand the processes that are needed for running what we build, the better software we develop.

The speaker showed us a few examples of cloud environments based on Cloud 9. This was pretty awesome. We used an online IDE for work that had all the building and versioning tools already prepared. After going through some theory we could build and run applications (small and super easy). We’ve learned how to configure an environment and limit RAM and CPU for cloud (all that stuff that magically happens, because normally it’s all set up by the dev-ops). I would definitely enjoy spending more time working on more difficult tasks at this workshop.

 

The only thing I did not like was that the workshop was originally designed for 9 people, but up to 35 people attended. Even though we chose the workshops we want to attend when buying the ticket (months before), attendees could change their minds and choose a workshop on that day. Well, many changed their minds for this workshop. This wouldn’t bother me if only the room, environments, chairs and wifi routers were also designed for this amount of people. Anyway, I can only recommend cooperation with Daniël van Gils. He is a great professional and a patient teacher.

[You can also check Cloud 9 HERE ]

 
After the interactive workshop, 2 days of lectures started as the core of the conference. And again we had to make our choices on which lectures to attend. There were a few keynote speeches in the auditorium, and the rest were ordinary talks on different topics. We agreed with my colleague to split, so we can both learn something new, and then share it within the company. Some of my choices were lucky, but some of them not that much. Here is why.


I grasped that the main idea behind the conference were open-source technologies. But I’ve seen contrast between the open source movement ideology and the actual content of many presentations. At some of them, I felt like on a sales parade full of super products everybody must buy. This was rather confusing as the idea was to open source.

In fact, I completely understand there will always be people promoting their companies and products. But the way how a product is presented to a bunch of developers makes a difference between satisfied and disappointed audience. At a developer’s conference, I would expect the presenters talking about how interesting the product development was, what technologies were used and not selling the actual product. The most important information is the idea behind the product, its implementation and the design.


Great example of open source movement is for example Netflix. Although Netflix is a product anyone can afford, all the interesting libraries they developed over years are now open-sourced and available for free. You don’t need to buy anything. Everyone can even contribute. This is innovation. I think sharing is the crucial thing in the today’s world.

 


But let’s look at the bright side. There were some good presentation. Some were even great! Two of them touched me the most. The first one, was about security designs, presented by Eoin Woods. What surprised me was the fact that most problematic security issues have not changed over the last 10 years. He explained that the basic security principles are still not present in every application. These standards don’t change much and developers should improve it globally, since security is the backbone of any potentially successful service.

[More about Eoin can be found HERE ]


The other awesome lecture was presented by Lukas Eder. He showed us very quickly what SQL has to offer. A lot of developers know SQL on a certain level, and most of us use databases every day. Lukas’ presentation had 263 slides(!) and yes, he went through them all! The audience needed some time to comprehend that loads of information. I think that was the trick though. Every part of the lecture was interesting, presented in an amusing way and with one goal - to rethink SQL. It is neither dead, nor a weak language. A lot of statements can be mapped to Java 8 functions, if you know what are you looking for. One day, I would really love to attend a workshop with him, to try it all myself and to “train the SQL muscle”. Spoiler alert - it’s the brain.

 

 
The JAX London conference has taught me many things, but mainly it made me rethink what I knew or what I should learn. And that’s the reason why people should go to a conference. When you work on the same project every day, after some time, you tend to look at things from the same perspective. When there is a problem, you provide a solution. However, the process of getting to a solution should be updated regularly…


I love the principles of ‘Java world’ and the fact that it is not only about the language. You can use different programming languages that actually use JVM. I have learned about containerisation, creating user stories, security designs, large data analysis methods, API simulation for testing and more. Although there were speeches I didn’t like, I stay positive. But I will be super-selective in the future…


I hope this article helped you get some insight into Jax London. In Part 2, Michal Braško will explain more on lectures he attended. Stay tuned...

Publikované: 30. nov 2016 17:20
  • Jarmila Jančigová

    Java Developer

    Jarka pracuje v Davinci Software na pozícii Java developer. Preferuje prácu na backende a vyvíja veci test driven development spôsobom. Keď nepracuje, rada maká na Power joge, počúva hudbu a objavuje výmysly zahraničnej kuchyne.

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