Saturday, October 23, 2010

JavaOne Has Been Replaced

I just got back from SpringOne/2GX. It was an excellent experience. The enthusiasm and interest level of the attendees was great. The content, both on the Spring side and (of course) the Groovy and Grails side, was top-notch. There were nine tracks loaded with sessions that covered all kinds of topics related to software development in the Java ecosystem. There were long breaks with plenty of stimulating hallway conversations. Even the keynotes were informative. At most conferences, I skip the keynotes. I've become so used to them being just sales pitches from people who don't even use the tools they're talking about. That wasn't the case here. One of the highlights of the show was Graeme Rocher's keynote demo of the new NoSQL DB support in GORM.

As excellent as it was, I'm not saying that SpringOne/2GX has replaced JavaOne.

The week before SpringOne/2GX, I took two of my sons to the StrangeLoop conference in St. Louis. This conference covered several important areas of software development. There was good coverage of Java and alternate JVM languages and frameworks, along with a bunch of other languages and technologies. It wasn't held in a big conference center or a nice hotel, but in three different buildings, each with a unique atmosphere. This “small” midwest conference featured industry luminaries that you might have expected to see only in the Moscone Center. To see them on the stage of a St. Louis night club was something else!

Just this afternoon, after opening registration less than 4 days ago, the CodeMash conference in Sandusky, OH, sold out. This conference, like StrangeLoop, covers a broad range of technologies. Though there is a bit more .NET than I would like to see, :-) it is another excellent event, bringing speakers from across the country and attendees from across the globe.

I could go on. There is the Silicon Valley Code Camp, the Houston TechFest, and so many more. But you get the picture.

For several years now, JavaOne has been turning into more of a vehicle for pushing a certain technology (coughJavaFXcough). The attendance has been gradually dropping. As developers stopped going to JavaOne, they began to find other events to meet the need that JavaOne was not filling. Or they started their own.

The Oracle acquisition and the subsequent decision to make JavaOne an afterthought to Oracle's annual event didn't help, but JavaOne was already on its way out. It was destroyed the way so many companies are: by pushing what it wanted its customers to have rather than providing what its customers wanted.

So I can't point to a single conference that will be the new JavaOne (although Über Conf comes close). But I can look out at all the technical gatherings happening around the world—Devoxx, JAOO, the JAX events, the GR8 events, and so many more. And then I can look closer to home and see all the “small” conferences that are providing big benefits to attendees and speakers, and I can say it without a doubt. JavaOne has been replaced.


Kevin Hoang Le said...

JavaOne has been replaced indeed, but only partially by what you reason, and mostly by Google I/O.

Dave Klein said...

@Kevin, I didn't mean to leave out Google I/O, it just slipped my mind since I haven't been to it (yet). While I don't think it's a "mostly", Google I/O is certainly a big part of it.

Anonymous said...

JavaOne has been ... deprecated *g*

jac said...

I agree that UberConf comes close to replacing JavaOne. I attended UberConf and it gave me the feeling that I had just "drank from the firehose!" Tons of good speakers with not alot of BS.

Kamal Mettananda said...

JavaOne is replaced or JavaOne is obsolete?

Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

I think that you and others are writing JavaOne's obituary prematurely. Few people can afford to go to multiple conferences in a year, and JavaOne, even in its new incarnation will continue to attract a crowd. I suspect that Oracle will make adjustments in response to feedback from this year's event to improve the experience for Java developers. They have no reason to seek to kill the event.

Dave Klein said...

Daniel, I didn't intend to write an obituary for JavaOne. I don't think it is dead, I, and many others, just don't really care if it is. It's not a question of whether or not it will be held next year, but whether there is any reason to attend if it is. I don't even quite agree with Kamal that it is obsolete.

JavaOne is not dead or obsolete, just replaced with a plethora of more compelling alternatives. Those weren't there in the early days of JavaOne and if it had been managed better, they may not have ever come.

As to not being able to attend more than one conference, most of the events I mentioned cost so much less than JavaOne that you could go to two or even three, including travel costs, depending on where you live. For example, someone living anywhere in the US could attend both StrangeLoop and Codemash for a combined tuition of less than $400. Add $300 airfare for each and your still about $500 less than the tuition alone for JavaOne. We don't even need to compare the $88 rooms at CodeMash to the $225 rooms near the Moscone.