OneWebSQL at 33rd Degree

33rd Degree is an annual international Java conference. This year it was organized in Warsaw, on March 13-15. The OneWebSQL team was there in force, discussing developer solutions and current trends in Java application development, and attending conference sessions.

More team members could attend this year because the conference was held in Warsaw, where we all live. There was Marek from e-point Localization Platform (affectionately called Lion), Ania and Iwona from the marketing department, and Jarek from the sales department, who stood out in a suit. :) From the OneWebSQL team, we had planned that Tomek, the product manager, would be at the conference on both Wednesday and Thursday, Rafał would be there on Wednesday and I would be there on Thursday. Unfortunately, our plans didn't work out again for health issues. This time it was Rafał who got sick and missed the conference.

Wednesday

I couldn't get to the conference until late in the afternoon so for most of the day Tomek was doing the honors.
OneWebSQL Product Manager at work
Here is what Tomek said: "It was a real pleasure to talk to so many sharp-minded people from all over the world. We've talked about so many interesting things, not only OneWebSQL related: what kind of systems do we build, how we program, what's hot in technology. It was exhausting but very satisfying. Gosh, I love my work!"

I came just after lunch and the first lecture I went to was Marek Berkan's talk Wielojęzykowość w aplikacjach J2EE (Multilanguage sites in J2EE). Marek talked about our largest system which runs in nearly 30 countries and how we deal with multiple languages used in each country version. The talk wasn't only about the programming issues but also about "social" issues of collaboration between various different professions: programmers, project managers, and translators. The lecture also explained the origins of our newest product e-point Localization Platform (L10n).
Marek Berkan lecture
Marek is my colleague so obviously I'm biased but I enjoyed the talk. His lecture was interesting, direct and to the point.

The other talk I attended was Backbone 101 by Nathaniel Schutta. Backbone is a Javascript library that helps you create rich UIs in Javascript. Rafał has been very enthusiastic about it so I felt encouraged to hear the talk. The talk began with an introduction about the GUI application architecture and how it changed though the years. I usually enjoy historical perspective on computer software but this time it was a tad too long (20 minutes of an hour-long lecture). After 10 minutes I was wondering "When do we get to Javascript? We're still in 1980s". The Javascript part was OK. I liked the library; it looks neat, straightforward, and declarative. I can see why Rafał likes it so much. I missed the last ten minutes of the lecture, as I had to leave early (Wednesdays are busy).

Thursday: functional programming and the quiz

The first talk I went to was ClojureScript by Tim Berglund. ClojureScript is a dialect of Clojure which compiles to Javascript. I have very mixed feelings about this lecture. The presentation gods were certainly against the speaker that day. The talk began with about 20 minutes showing the basic syntax and concepts of Clojure. I program in Clojure so I was familiar with the basics. A large part of audience didn't know Clojure so an intro like this was inevitable. Then there were another 20 minutes on Noir (Clojure web framework) configuration. We use a very similar framework at e-point so again nothing new for me. Finally, the last 15 minutes were on proper ClojureScript, except that something in the configuration failed and the code examples didn't work. All in all, I was disappointed. I went to see ClojureScript at work and I didn't get much of it. On the other hand, I know that Tim Berglund is a good speaker. What he showed, he showed well. The examples were well-chosen, the talk was well-paced. I will probably go to his other talks in the future.

The other talk I went to was Programming with Lambda Expressions in Java by Venkat Subramanian. I was told that this guy is a Java community superstar and the crowd in the room confirmed it. In the talk Venkat presented the basic concepts of lambda expressions/functional programming in the syntax of Java 8. I can see why he is so popular. The talk was funny, the speaker had very good connection with the audience. He was obviously very well prepared, the examples he gave were thought through. Venkat is a great teacher. I finally understood why laziness is so important in functional programming. Also, I can't wait for Java 8. The Java code has never looked so neat and concise.

Thursday was also the day of the OneWebSQL Quiz. There were two easy questions on OneWebSQL syntax.
Answer sheets
There were five prizes, each consisting of a one-year OneWebSQL commercial license and e-point gadgets. The winners were chosen at random. This was the first time we organized a contest during a conference and I think it worked out well. There were over 50 participants. We have to work more on the drawing rules. We had to draw several times until we found the winners who were present during the drawing. Thanks to everyone who took part in the contest! What did you think about our quiz?

Overall

Hats off to the organizers for their hard work. It's not easy to handle 800+ participants but they did it brilliantly. Well-known speakers, delicious lunches, a plethora of refreshments. My only complaint is: why were there zero female technical speakers? There was only Katrin Hippler from elance but her lecture Start as a Freelance Developer - Become an Entrepreneur was (I assume) not technical.

What did you like most at 33rd Degree?

Check out Marek Berkan's report on 33rd Degree on his private blog. (The blog is in Polish.)