The Java Conference in Milan was a pretty good experience on the whole. Took a train there in the morning, and managed to arrive just in time for James Gosling’s talk. It wasn’t a bad talk, but he’s not a great speaker – you can tell he’s more of a technical guy who’s interested in the details, and perhaps would do a better job of transmitting some of what he’s interested in/working on in a small group or individually. He did talk some about utilizing Java in real time embedded environments, which I found interesting, because those guys tend to be very careful, ‘no bullshit’ sorts of engineers, who have people’s lives riding on their work. It’s not an environment where enterprisey fad things go over very well.
In general, the technical level was reasonably high – I was pleasantly surprised, expecting a bit more in the way of marketing driven presentations.
Indeed, the association of Java with Big Business sorts of applications has long been something that has turned me off on the language. As an individual, or part of a small team, I’m much more interested in systems like Tcl and Tk or Ruby on Rails that let me do more with less code. I’ve felt that it made more sense to avoid competing on terrain where the differentiating factor is the ability to crank out massive amounts of code (getThis, setThat, etc…), because alone, I can’t take on a larger group.
As I was explaining some of this as part of ‘Why I wrote Hecl’ to one of the other guys slated to talk about J2ME in the speakers’ lunch room, I was talking about how “non e` che Java mi piaccia in modo particolare” (I’m not particularly wild about Java), the person I’m talking with starts gesticulating at me, and I turn around and look, and who should be there, talking with someone else, but James Gosling. Hope no one provided a translation for him!
To tell the truth, I think Java has its place. It seems to be an appropriate technology for something like OFBiz, or other apps that genuinely do need to be reasonably large and complex. Just that I have more fun with other languages like Ruby and Tcl.