WJax 2014

Well, first of all, thanks to @rheinjug, for providing me with the tickets, I’ve won! Yeah! ;))

For me conferences are always a good time, and I really like the energy and inspiration I draw from a conference. And WJax was no difference!

Let’s dive right into of what I saw at WJax 2014.

The basics

It’s quite a large conference in a large venue, I would guess around 2000 people there. The overall setup was very good: Large enough rooms, little technical difficulties, good tram connection, nice food, not that much queueing up and acceptable WIFI coverage. Have seen this far worse, thumbs up!

Sadly the conference was overshadowed by a strike of the german train union, so lots of people had some difficulties getting back home. Quite some conversation went about that. But the organizers did a good job communicating this and trying to leverage things.

The topics

Microservices

The main topic this time was ‚Microservices‘ and all the things buzzing around that term: Docker, DevOps, Cons/Pros of the Application Server.

I think the idea of Microservices sounds quite appealing: Small, self-contained and focussed applications.
One the one hand Microservices might help you prevent monolithic architectures, allow you to establish quicker turnaround times and give you and your team some sort of organisational independence,
On the other hand, if your system consists of too many Microservices you might experience something like a Microservice hell.
Newer companies like Etsy, Netflix or Groupon use and/or coined some of those microservicy ideas.
Stefan Tilkov did a very good one about this. He presented ideas how you can borrow some of these newer architectural approaches in an existing enterprise world. Liked that. I think we will stumble upon some of those concepts sooner or later.

Docker provides tooling to assist you in achieving quicker turnaround times for your applications. It allows smart packaging of your application and its context (i.e. OS), so you could take your application (and its container/os) from your dev box to your staging and production environment.
Loads of talks about that. There seem to be rough edges here and there (Continuous Delivery tool support, dealing with databases, clustering, etc ), but nonetheless a very influential and promising tool. It naturally shines, when used in an DevOps environment.

The discussion about whether we still need an application server or not is closely related.
On the one hand people argued, that the application server provides a stable ground, which may need some refinement here and there.
On the other hand people said, the application server is too big, needs application specific adjustment anyway, does not allow you to port a random JEE application, that vendors are too slow, etc.
Some kind of middle ground was the notion to use a plain tomcat with spring, instead of waiting an average of 3 1/2 years to be able to use a newer JEE version.

One surprising outcome for me was, that most people on this conference agree on the 1:1 relation between an app and an appserver. Given that it would not be a harsh step to embed some kind of server in the application itself.

Some talks dealt with REST and Hypermedia. Learned how this could make your application logic more transparent. Things seem to be a little rough and ‚in progress‘ in that field.

I somehow managed to miss the talks dealing with ‚reactiveness‘ altogether. Important topic. Shame on me.

JavaScript

Though there was a JavaScript day I would have expected a little more buzz around AngularJS and JavaScript.
I saw an interesting talk how to combine AngularJS and TypeScript. I like how TypeScript provides with optional typing, the usage with AngularJS seems a little clunky to me. AngularJS 2.0 seems to go that way, we will see if that feels better.

I missed one talk that summarized the current state of JavaScript development.  Did not sound promising looking at the abstract, but reviewing the slides, it seemed to have been great.

Non Dev stuff

Two of the best talks I saw at WJax were both dealing with non dev stuff.

One talk by Elmar Jürgens was about the proper usage of quality measurement tools and processes in your project: Use simpler metrics, don’t control the developers, don’t show quality numbers to management unless you provide context to those numbers. Entertaining talk and well done slides!

The other talk by Stefan Toth was about architectural decisons and how you can defer them. It presented no fundamental new insights, but it showed the idea to explicitly use and try to extend a learning phase, to make your decison more elaborate. You will know more about your project as time passes by. Also very entertaining talk and great slides! Thanks to Stefan Zörner for pointing me at this talk.

Java 8 / JEE 7 /Spring

Quite some talks, but I felt that I heard most of those topics elsewhere. An interesting one by Lars Röwekamp questioned existing JEE Patterns.
I am a little bit tired of Java 8 and JEE7 talks. I want to finally use it in everday work. And it seems to me that I am not alone in that.
Not that much on Spring, though Spring Boot (a way to build self-contained applications) looks promising to me.

Alternative Languages

Is saw very little on alternative JVM languages, though I heard a good talk by Silvia Schreier and Philipp Schirmacher about real world Clojure. I always wondered how Clojure would work in an ordinary web app. This talk showed it and saved me some time.

What else

Other notable bigger topics, that I not dug deeper into were the Internet of Things (IoT) and white collar stuff like BPM and friends.

The conclusion

Hell of a lot of talks. It was a difficult decision all the time, I probably missed some more good ones.

Less geeky than for example Devoxx, more focussed on business IT. Which could be either good or bad. Though I appreciate the nerdy and perhaps more visionary approach of other conferences, I liked the „down-to-earth“ (if you might call it so) approach. The attendees seemed to work in similar contexts. So I could connect to most of the experiences that were presented. I would definitely go there again, if getting the opportunity.

Achievement Unlocked: EclipseCon Speaker

So it’s finally done!
I gave a talk about Eclipse RCP in our Form-based application last Friday (04-11-2011): Tickling the shoulders of giants.
I was awfully nervous, but after all it was a great experience and everything went pretty well.
Considering the time of the talk (Last day of the conference, right after lunch), there were quite some attendees. Though the 30-40 people appeared rather lost to me in this quite large venue (130+ seats). ;)

I cannot remember that much of the actual talk, it kinda just happenend in a trance-like state.
I finished it a 1 or 2 minutes ealier than estimated, I wonder what I’ve forgotten to say ;).
Some quick questions answered and it was done.
The people I talked to afterwards seem to have liked it.

The slides are available via slideshare.

You can download them here aswell.
The slides and my talking were recorded and I’m really looking forward to see this recording.

[UPDATE]

The recording can be viewed here.

Or here:

 

Looking forward to the next talk.

7. Düsseldorfer Web-Montag

Am Montag, 13.10.2008 war ich beim "7.Düsseldorfer Web Montag" im BarCo. Im Folgenden ein kleiner Bericht:

Der Web Montag ist:

ein informelles, nicht-kommerzielles, dezentral organisiertes Treffen, das zum Ziel hat, all diejenigen miteinander zu verbinden, die die Zukunft des Internet gestalten. … Alle, die mit Web 2.0 und benachbarten Themen zu tun haben und interessiert daran sind, ihr Wissen zu teilen und sich miteinander auszutauschen, sind herzlich willkommen.

Das Publikum war dann auch sehr gemischt. Der Geek-Faktor hielt sich doch in Grenzen.
Am Montag gabs es dann zuerst zwei kürzere Vorträge.
Den Anfang machte Alexander Benker mit einer etwa halbstündigen Abhandlung über Getting Things Done:
GTD ist eine Selbstmanagement Methode, deren Grundlagen er in dem Vortrag kurz vorstellte. Schliesslich erfuhr man noch, wie er GTD in seinem Arbeitsumfeld (mittels Outlook umsetzt). Ich werde an dieser Stelle kurz Wikipedia bemühen, um die Kernpunkte von GTD zu umreissen:

GTD basiert auf dem Prinzip, dass eine Person ihre anstehenden Tätigkeiten notiert und somit den Kopf frei hat für Wichtigeres. Diese Elemente werden in ein System eingepflegt. Das System liefert kontextbezogene Aufgabenlisten für den Alltag. Die Person soll sich somit auf die Erledigung ihrer Aufgaben konzentrieren können, ohne befürchten zu müssen, etwas zu vergessen. Diese Selbstmanagement-Methode soll effizientes und belastungsfreies Arbeiten ermöglichen.

Eine durchaus interessante Herangehensweise. Vielleicht lege ich mir mal das Buch zu diesem Thema zu. Als Tipp, Alexander Benker empfahl dringend zur englischen Ausgabe zu greifen

Als nächstes haben dann die Macher von Queap ihre Idee der optimalen Suchmaschine vorgestellt. Queap basiert nicht wie "Yahoogle" (Zitat) auf dem "simplen" Auffinden eines Wortes auf einer Webseite. Aus dem Blog:

Bisherige Suchmaschine, nennen wir sie einmal Yahoogle, benutzen die kontextuelle Suche, auch als Bool´sche Suche bekannt. D.h. das Suchwort wird lediglich mit dem vorliegenden Text einer Webseite abgeglichen. Wurde das Suchwort gefunden, so gilt die Seite zunächst als Treffer, damit als potentielles Ergebnis. Da es in der Natur der Sache liegt bei mehreren Milliarden an Webseiten nun mindestens auch Millionen von Treffern.

Queap nutzt hingegen Algorithmen aus dem Bereich der neuronalen Netze, um die Inhalte zu verstehen. Aus dem Blog:

Queap hingegen führt keine kontextuelle Suche durch, sondern erkennt den ganzen Inhalt einer Webseite, Wort für Wort, Satz für Satz. Die Verbindung eines jeden Wortes mit einem weiteren, sozusagen jedes
Zeichen und damit auch jede Wortkette, ergibt eine bestimmte Inhaltsaussage. Ganz so, wie ein Mensch aus der spezifischen Aneinanderreihung von Zeichen und Worten sich den Sinn eines Satzes erschließt.

Auch ein sehr interessanter Vortrag, der insbesondere vom Kontrast zwischen "Verkäufer" Roy Uhlmann und "Geek" Dr. Klaus Holthausen lebte. Die Technologie und die gezeigten Ergebnisse hörten sich vielversprechend an. Auf die Frage hin, ob den Qeap als Startup überhaupt genug Kapital habe, eine Serverfarm der Größe aufzubauen, um Google Konkurenz zu machen, erwiederten die Beiden, dass es 36 Server bräuchte um das deutschsprachige Internet abzubilden. Mal sehen wann Google sich rührt ;) Falls sich jemand fragt, was der Name bedeutet: Zum einen waren alle relevanten Domains noch frei, zum anderen ist es ein Kunstwort aus quantum und leap oder qeue und heap.

Dann ging es in den gemütlicheren Teil über und man hatte Gelegenheit zu quatschen und zu "netzwerken" oder auch CACert Punkte zu sammeln. Alles in allem ein sehr lohnenswerte Veranstaltung. Ich denke, ich werde beim nächsten Mal wieder hingehen.
Ach bevor ichs vergesse: Jeder Zweite auf diesem Web-Montag war eifrig mit seinem IPhone beschäftigt und es wurde sogar vereinzelt mitgetwittert! ;)
Weitere Information findet ihr auch im Blog des besagten Tim Bruysten.