Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Devoxx 2010 Wrap Up (Epilog)

This post ends my blogs around Devoxx 2010 that has just ended on last Friday. Overall, it was an excellent conference, very informative, and refreshing too.

If there are two things to retain from the content of the conference -- at least for me -- it would be Scala and NoSQL. I believe that these two subjects have taken so much interests from many people who came to the conference. 

The first Scala touch was on Scala lab session on 2nd day that  were packed before 9.30. Couple of programmer fellows simply could not join the session because of that. The trends were confirmed in the evening, at BOF session where again, many conference attendees needed to stay out of the room. Two Scala 2.8 presentations the next day confirmed even more the popularity of Scala in the conference. Akka presentation by Viktor Klang might not have the same success to the others, but it was still a massive achievement for a specialized library outside the language itself. Not to mention that Scala was also mentioned by Brian Goetz during his session, by Josh Bloch/Bill Pugh in Java Puzzlers too.
For the content of the presentation, I would mention Odersky presentation on the Scala 2.8 collection as my favorite presentations on the subject. The Odersky's presentation has shown the power of high kinded Scala programming language -- some are scary things -- but it shows how productive a Scala programmer might be.

Fortunately, not all things about Scala were good. Stephen Colebourne, for example, said that Scala would not be the next JVM language. I'm not sure about the reason yet, but it might be because Scala has done too much than what the Java programmers wait. Other problem was when Scala seems to become victim on his popularity when tweets on Scail - a fictitious new Scala web framework - flooded the Internet. The joke came from Scala BOF, that made association Ruby => Rail, Groovy => Grail, Scala => Scail. I was also the victim of the jokes when I retweeted a tweet on the joke - Damn !

The second subject of the conference was nosql. They were just fantastically represented. We had Hadoop, HBase, MongoDB, Cassandra, and Voldemort. We had even Mahout, one of the Hadoop sub project . I would like also to add Elastic Search to the same category. I attended almost all nosql sessions, except Cassandra and Voldemort that unfortunately were at the same time as Odersky's Scala Collection and Goetz's Project Lambda. On the other hand, I attended the two sessions of Tom White from Cloudera on Hadoop, the two sessions of Jonathan Gray on HBase (and Facebook). I would even dare to say that Tom White was one of my favorite speaker in the conference. I would say that I'm particularly impressed by the Nosql movements although still have some reserves on the subject.

The nosql trends are popular because of its ability to scale out in the presence the world of very huge amount of data, pentabyte. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, ... are the most visible use case of such application, but there are more than those guys. Twitter and Facebook had  interesting presentations where Dimitri Ryaboy  and Jonathan Gray showed an impressive list of on going projects on the subject (yes, Facebook announce on its HBase use just before the conference played in favor of nosql again) . No doubt, the movements will play important roles in the near future. I myself, am very interested in a specific conference on the subject, called Buzzwords that will take place in Berlin 2011.

Of course, there were not only Scala and nosql in the conference.
There were the future of Java where Mark Reinhold, Brian Goetz, and Dalibor Topic played important roles during the conference with their sessions on Java Modularity, Project Lambda, and Open JDK. Couple of interesting things from their presentations (note that, the cinema was full for Brian Goetz').

And of course, the Java Puzzle session by Josh Bloch and Bill Pugh, who could forget such inspiring session. Thanks for entertaining and enlightening us. 

I would like also to mention an interesting presentation on Apache Camel by Claus Ibsen. Camel is awesome. Finally,  a pretty cool presentation was made by Talip Ozturk on Hazelcast.

While the contents were excellent, there were still many things that could be improved. First, the transport. Since there were not enough hotels around the conference, a lot of people come from hotels in the center of Antwerp. The trams from city center to conference venue were simply too small and overloaded in the morning. Buses specific for the conference would have been better.

Finally, I would like to thank to SII, my employer who has financed my travel to the conference, and of course would love to come back to the conference next year. Thank you too for my colleagues at Amadeus who have shown the interests on the conference. Needless to say however, all opinions in this blog during the conference are fully mine, they are not from SII nor my client, Amadeus.  

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