JDD is an annual Java conference organized every fall in Kraków, Poland, since 2006. This year it was held on October 25-26. As usual, e-point, the company where OneWebSQL was born, grew up, and become a product, was a sponsor of the conference; and we had a booth to promote OneWebSQL, L10n and the company in general. There were three of us: Ania from the marketing department, and Rafał and Agnieszka from the OneWebSQL Team. Marek from L10n was supposed to go with us too, but, unfortunately, he came down with flu.
Day 0: decency or health?
Rafał: On Wednesday about 4pm, we left the office and got onto the train headed toward Krakow. We traveled non-stop for three hours, which was rather like a flight experience. Our company booked rooms in the same hotel where the conference was organized, which was very nice. Fall is not my favourite season for a walk. Brrrr! The hotel is brand new, and it's high tech, almost everything is automated. It scares me a bit. It's kind of ironic, eh? That same evening, we met the folks who organized the conference. They started unpacking our "marketing weapon" and preparing our displays. That was very nice, so we had enough time to find a warm restaurant at Kazimierz (part of Krakow).
Agnieszka: I almost didn't go to JDD. On Wednesday, the departure day, I got a really bad cold. It had been brewing for a few days and on Wednesday it peaked. Cough, sore throat, runny nose, and general fatigue. Fortunately, the medicines helped. The one person afraid that she might catch the bug was Ania, who was to share a room with me. I proposed that she could choose health over decency and stay at Rafał's room, who, with Marek absent, had a free place in his room. For some reason, Ania declined and stayed in our room. She told me sternly to cough in the other direction, slept with her head under the cover to protect from germs and took vitamins almost every hour. I think she ate more pills than I did even though I was the sick one ;-) (So far she's still healthy, so the vitamins might have worked.)
Day 1: the most colorful booth
Agnieszka: The conference started on Thursday. We registered before breakfast and during breakfast we explored the contents of the conference bags. Inside there was the usual stuff: a handful of leaflets, some leashes. But where was the schedule? Why didn't b____y organizers put the only thing which is really useful at a conference? We were bashing the organizers for over an hour, until Łukasz, a guy we knew from the OneWebSQL workshop, told us that the schedules were inside our badges. Eureka! I wished that the session abstracts were included in conference materials as well. They had been emailed to us Wednesday evening, but I got them when I was already in Kraków without Internet access and a chance to print them out.
Rafał: The first day woke up early. We had to finish our booth, connect the computer to the large screen, etc., and have breakfast, of course. Being aware and standing is quite an energy consuming activity. Some people recognised us from previous conferences and started asking "what's new?" We've got a new feature (reverse engineering) at a "ready to release" state. We share it. Many people were really interested in it. Most of the projects they were involved with were in "maintenance" phase, so this feature may help them in this area. There was a small group of beginners, but most of the developers had battle proven experience. It was a benefit, as it is easy to talk when both sides share the same history. On other hand, hey can ask really non-trivial questions. Some of the questions became HOWTOs or blog entries. I've not forgotten about you :).
Agnieszka: Many people told us that we were the most colorful booth. All other companies' booths had a blue-white-red theme. Our banners were orange for OneWebSQL, blue for L10n and navy-green for e-point. Rafał wore red, Ania wore green, and I wore blue - the RGB team. With outfits like that, we should develop and start promoting some image processing software.
We were mostly working at the booth, but I went to some of the talks. First, I went to the opening talk by Rebecca Wirfs Brock and Joseph Yoder "Pragmatic, Not Dogmatic TDD: Rethinking How We Test". Ever since I joined the OneWebSQL team, I liked to listen to test-themed lectures in search of better ways to organize and manage our tests. The title of this talk was promising. I don't really do TDD (I do write tests though) and it turned out that Rebecca and Joseph's talk wasn't really addressed to me. The bottom line of their talk was: keep an open mind and do not stick religiously to the TDD rules (or really any other set of rules), use your common sense when writing tests. All in all, I enjoyed the talk but I was hoping for more straightforward pieces of advice.
The next talk I attended was Jessica Kerr's "Functional Principles for Object Oriented Development". I expected something different from this lecture. Because I only read the words "functional" and "object-oriented" in the title, I thought it would be about how to do functional programming in Java. What it really was about was what the title says, the functional principles in Java/Scala. What the principles are, why you should use them and what are the benefits. I have some background in type theory and functional programming and, in a sense, there was nothing new for me in the lecture. I knew those principles anyway. However, it proved to be refreshing and I enjoyed the talk thoroughly. When Jessica said that the list filtering for loop must die, I thought "Yes, finally someone has said that; there is finally someone in the Java community who thinks the way I think". I think that this lecture might influence my day-to-day programming. It also reminded me that I should finally take a look at Scala and Haskell.
In the evening, we went out for dinner and I finally got to see Kraków's Main Square and St. Mary's church. I wish we had time to do a proper walk around Kraków Old Town. In the end, we only had about 15 minutes at the Main Square, since it started to rain and we had to go back. I went straight to the hotel; with my cold, I didn't feel like after-partying.
Rafał: Thursday we ended up at a conference party. As we arrived at the club, Anna was shocked. There were over 50 male geeks sitting and drinking, most busy on laptops, it was quite weird view. Don't worry, computer guys can party. But "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"; sorry, no more about it :).
Day 2: back home
Rafał: Friday was not as busy as the previous day. Almost everyone had visited the booth and learned about the new products and features. I now had time to talk with other sponsors. I observed the rhythm of life. When there was a break between lectures, people gathered in our room, bringing noise and warmth. When they went to the lecture rooms, our place becomes quiet and cold. I mean really cold in terms of temperature. On Friday, some attendees supprised me by returning after doing some homework (to visit our homepage); they asked new questions or made some suggestions. I went to Sławomir Sobótka's talk about positive psychology for IT specialists. It was amusing how he talked about human beings in a strict, highly defined, computer way.
Agnieszka: We weren't as colorful as the day before. Only Rafał kept a red blazer on; we women were more subdued. The booth was more peaceful. I guess that those who wanted to ask questions had already asked them.
I went to Grzegorz Borkowski's talk "ThreeTen (JSR 310) the new Date and Time API in Java 8". The title says it all. It was a very solid talk. First the speaker summarized problems with the current Date and Time API in Java. Then he presented proposals for the new API in Java 8, which is based on the Joda time library. The speaker wasn't a showman, but I got what I wanted. The examples Grzegorz gave were very "timely", as the autumn time change in Poland was the following weekend.
I wanted to go to the "Android Essentials" Tutorial by Jessica Kerr but I felt guilty about leaving Rafał to take care of the booth on his own again and I didn't go. Someone told me that the talks will be available online so maybe I'll watch it later.
Rafał: We left the conference just before the very end. We had to catch a train at 5pm. The silence in the taxi signaled that everyone was processing new ideas, contacts, and information. Hmmmm -- what can I say? See you at the next event!