Last week I got back from my first JavaOne conference which I attended with the rest of the IDR Solutions team. This was a brilliant experience and now that I have recovered from the jet-lag I can reflect on what I learned. I have summarised my highlights from the conference below.
1. NetBeans Day
The conference began with NetBeans day. This gave us the chance to meet James Gosling in person and hear about how he uses NetBeans. We recently learned that NetBeans is becoming an Apache project, and James encouraged everyone to buy someone from Apache a beer to help this project along. There were many other speakers sharing their experiences of using NetBeans too, both on NetBeans day and throughout the rest of the conference. Highlights included NetBeans being used by rocket scientists to display their data, demonstrations of applications using the Java 9 module system and Anton Epple even created a GUI for his toothbrush using NetBeans.
2. Giving a talk
As well as attending many of the talks, I also gave a talk alongside my colleague Zain, entitled Write Better Code: Become a More Productive Java Developer with the NetBeans IDE. This was our first talk at a conference so we were very nervous, but we hope we encouraged people to start using the NetBeans IDE.
3. The exhibition stand
Having a stand in the exhibition hall was a good way to meet potential customers, and other people at the conference. One of the main things I took away from this was how important exposure is. Most companies use documents for some reason or another, so for us it is very important for people to know that we exist. You can have the most useful product in the world but if people don’t know about it, it won’t make much difference how good it is. Just having a presence at the conference was a helpful way to make ourselves known to people, and demonstrate our products to them.
4. The talks
When I wasn’t at the exhibition stand, I also got the opportunity to attend lots of talks. These were an invaluable source of information, as I learned loads about the tools we use day to day at work, and also about things I had never even heard of before. My key tip would be to always arrive early for your talk, as many of them are very popular and fill up quickly (even if you have booked in advance). Plan your schedule in advance, but with backup options. The opening keynote was a great way to hear exactly what is happening in Java right now, and the community keynote had a very entertaining Star Wars theme.