First days of JavaOne and CommunityOne

I’ve been spending the last few days in San Francisco, attending CommunityOne and JavaOne. We are right now up to the second day of JavaOne, so I felt it would be a good idea to take a look at what’s been going on during the first two days.

I will not talk about the general sessions here since I as a rule avoid going to them. So, I started out CommmunityOne seeing Guilloume talk about what is new in Groovy 1.6. Pretty interesting stuff, and many useful things. Although, one of the things I noted was that many of the default usages of AST transformations actually just make up for the lack of class body code. Things like “@Singleton” that neeeds an AST transformation in Groovy, is a very simple thing to do by executing code in the class body in Ruby.

After that I saw John Rose talk about the Da Vinci machine project. Pretty nice stuff going on there, really. The JVM will really improve with this technology.

Charles Nutter did a reprise of his Beyond Impossible JRuby talk. It’s a really good talk that focuses on the things that you really wouldn’t think possible to do on the JVM, that we’ve had to do to get JRuby working well.

Guido talked about Python 3000 – much of that was really a look at the history of Python, and as such was really interesting. Unfortunately, my jetlag started to get the better of me at that point, so my focus could have been better.

For me, the first day of JavaOne started out with the Script Bowl. This year the languages represented was Jython, Groovy, Clojure, Scala and JRuby. I think they all did a pretty good job of showcasing the languages, although it’s very hard to do that in such a small timeframe. I think I sympathized the most with Rich Hickey (creator of Clojure) – the reason being that the Clojure model is the most dissimilar from the rest of the languages. But this dissimilarity is actually the key to understanding why Clojure is so powerful, so if you don’t understand it, you’re just going to be turned of by Clojure’s weird surface semantics. (Hint: they are not weird, they are necessary and powerful and really cool). Rich did a valiant effort to conveying this by talking a lot about the data structures that is Clojure, but I’m unsure how much of it actually penetrated.

Tom did a great job with the JRuby demos – he had a good flash 3d game running using a JRuby DSL, and then some slides showcasing how much benefit JRuby gets from the Ruby community. Good stuff.

After that I went to Rich’s Clojure talk. I’ve seen him give similar talks several times, but I don’t get tired of seeing this. As usual, Rich did a good job of giving a whirlwind tour of the language.

After lunch I went to the talk by Konstantin about JetBrains MPS. I was curious about MPS since I’ve been spending time with Intentional lately. I came away from the talk with a pretty different view of MPS compared to going in, actually. My initial reaction is that MPS seems to be pretty limited to what you can do with Intentional.

Then it was time to see Yehuda Katz talk about Ruby – this was a great intro to Ruby and I think the audience learned a lot there.

The first evening of JavaOne was really crazy, actually. I ended up first going to Brian Goetz and John Rose’s talk about building a Renaissance VM. This was a bit of an expansion of John’s CommunityOne talk, and gave a good overview of the different pieces we’re looking at in JSR 292, and also other things that should be in the JDK in some way to make a multi-language future possible.

Tobias Ivarsson gave a BOF about language interoperability on the JVM. This ended up being more about the interface injection feature that Tobias has been hacking on. We had some pretty good discussion, and I think we ended up with a feeling that we need to discuss this a bit more – especially if the API should be push or pull based. Good session by Tobias, though.

And then it was finally time for my BOF, called Hacking JRuby. This was actually a pretty mixed things, containing lots of funny small pieces of JRuby knowledge that can be useful if you want to do some weired things with JRuby. The slides can be found here: I think the talk went pretty well, although it was in a late slot so not many people showed up.

The final session of the day was a BOF called JRuby Experiences in the Real World. This ended up being a conversation between about 10-12 people about their JRuby experiences. Very interesting.

After that I was totally beat, and ended up going home and crashing. So that was my first day at JavaOne.