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Stories from our speakers, participants and volunteers

Each year, more than 2.500 people take a few days off their busy everyday life to attend JavaZone. Some do it as speakers, some as participants, and some as student volunteers. Every JavaZone attendee is unique, but they all have one thing in common: the passion for knowledge and the desire to learn new things.

We have collected the stories of a few people who attended JavaZone 2014 here, and have asked each and every one the same two questions: why did you attend JavaZone, and which talks were your favorites? We'll add more stories as we approach JavaZone 2015. If you want to share your story too, please get in touch!

Kenneth Pedersen

Technical Project Manager at Miles

I have been doing lighting talks three of the last four years attending JavaZone. Doing a lightning talk is much less scary than doing a full hour-long presentation. You get to present your favourite subjects, try out your presentation skills and you get valuable feedback. I encourage anyone to try it!

For me one of the most interesting presentations in this year’s JavaZone was "I-Tier: Breaking Up The Monolith" by Brian McAllister from Groupon. I especially liked gaining insight in how their architectural decisions was carried out in a large and distributed organisation. I also enjoyed "Practical Considerations for Micro Service Architectures" by Sam Newman for providing valuable tips and Nathaniel Schutta's "Mind the Gap: Architecting UIs in the Era of Diverse Devices" for showing exactly how hard it is to test your apps on the multitude of devices out there.

Espen Grønli

Architect at Flatirons Solutions

JavaZone is a great place to meet some of the brightest minds in the business. With their wide range of lectures, they offer something for everyone, whether you’re interested in improving your programming skills or succeeding with continuous delivery. It provides a great setting for broadening your horizon and getting inspired.

Amongst the many great lectures in 2014, one of my favourites was “Practical Considerations For Microservice Architectures” by Sam Newman, where he eloquently describes the benefits and challenges associated with distributed applications. Additionally, Sam shares in his experiences with deploying services independently. Sam manages to explain complex solutions in terms that everyone can relate to, independent of their experience level.

Another favourite was “Understanding Java byte code” by Rafael Winterhalter. Rafael gives a comprehensible introduction to byte code manipulation, and forms the basis for using class transformers to manipulate and deploy byte code in running applications. A field that becomes more and more interesting as a tool to eliminate excessive boilerplate code and increase portability.

Simen Sommerfeldt

Enterprise Architect and CTO at Bouvet Oslo

I have attended JavaZone every year since 2004. Not only is it an important source of competence for me – it is also an alumni where I meet people in the business for gossip and a party!

In my view, the conference was instrumental in the tremendous competence lift we had in industry in the Oslo area during the 2000’s. From the get-go, JavaZone encouraged local talent to talk alongside with international celebrities. This had a very positive effect on the local Java-community: People who could find innovative solutions and identify best practices – and share them – were awarded with fame and peer recognition. As as side effect, many people think of it as a bit daunting. But with the right preparations and coaching it can be a very exciting and rewarding experience - at least it was for me!

I have given two talks at JavaZone: In 2013 I was allowed to present our local initiative to teach children coding, and last year I gave a presentation about the current state of “The Internet of Things”. The people who work behind the scenes are very professional and helpful. I can attest to the quality of the service, since I had rather special needs last year, with a plastic skull, two Arduinos and a Raspberry PI that needed a network connection.

Two of my favourite presentations in 2014 were Per Jørgen Walstrøm about how he made camels dance (duh.. Camel the integration framework) and Jeff Genender about how "Building a Country on Open Source Java" – in Ecuador. It makes me wonder what would be possible here in Norway

Kjetil Husebø

Developer and architect at Miles

As a first-time JavaZone visitor I met a firework of impressions. Kudos to javaBin for the fantastic format; everything was centered around the show floor, never a long way to the sessions. A very good spread of talks, consistent high quality, some variations in presentation skills, but overall very good.

One of my favourite talks was "I-Tier: Breaking Up the Monolith" by Brian McCallister. In a delightfully humorous and ironic manner Brian showed us the road that Groupon had travelled, breaking down the monolith to small and manageable subsystems. Lots of good examples of what went bad and what went well. Another favourite was "The Adventurous Developer's guide to Application Servers" by Simon Maple. A really energetic and dynamic talk on selecting application servers. He was passionate and had plenty of good documentation underway, clearly having properly tested the different alternatives, presenting everything in a good way.

Johannes Brodwall

Principal Software Engineer i Sopra Steria

I always go to JavaZone! It is THE place to feel the pulse of what people are excited about and what is just a hype. And of course, it's always nice to catch up with everyone in the Oslo Java community.

This year, being a speaker was a bit of a roller coaster. I had more than one talk and I wasn't totally satisfied with everything. But the talk that worked best, I was able to convey something really useful to people which is always a great experience.

I watched several lightning talks and I always get a lot out of these because of the information density. I especially found Sigurd Fosseng's lightning talk on "Web Components?" useful and straight forward. As a second talk, I always enjoy listening to Christin Gorman. Her talk on "Fix That!" was inspiring and fun.

Mario Ek Aparicio

Architect at Miles

JavaZone is to me a kind of industry party where you meet colleagues you haven't seen for a while. It was nice to walk around talking to both known and unknown people. As usual JavaZone had put together a very strong program.

One of my favourite talks was "Continuous Delivery for Architects" by Neal Ford. A very well-organised talk describing many important principles of Continuous delivery and Micro Services at a fairly general level. A must see, if you want a good introduction to the topic. I would also like to highlight a fun and different talk on mathematics that challenges common sense and intuition. The talk has no direct relevance to IT, but it challenges how we look at problems in everyday life and it shows why the most intuitive solutions often are not the right ones: “Kontroversiell matematikk” by Christian Magnus Berg

Arun Gupta

Director, Developer Advocacy at Red Hat Software

I've been speaking at different Java conferences for many years and heard only good things about JavaZone. I've been especially intrigued by JourneyZone and an opportunity to engage with other speakers in a high bandwidth setup for 2-3 days. However my sessions were rejected for 3 years in a row which piqued my interest all the more. An athlete by nature and practice, I kept trying and finally the Program Committee liked my submission in 2014. Got a little boost and was extremely happy with the acceptance. Overall, I had an excellent time at the conference.

Found several unique aspects:

  • International cuisine and top notch food quality (Louisiana BBQ, Mexican, fresh pizza from oven, Indian, Sushi, Smoothie, Creme Brûlée, Juice bar, Meatballs, and much more)
  • JavaZone movies have always been a joy to watch
  • Ability to sit on Game of Code Source Throne (picture)
  • Overflow rooms done right
  • Plenty of space for networking with attendees
  • Continuous Delivery of video recordings of the sessions

I had the opportunity to give 50 New Features in Java EE 7. Since the replays were made available instantaneously, I'm always more keen on running a "hallway track" and this allows to engage with other attendees in a lot more relaxed setting.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this is the biggest developer gathering in the Nordics. To me, it was not just about numbers but the quality of attendees was awesome as well. I had the opportunity to meet several Red Hat partners and have meaningful conversations with them. JourneyZone was definitely icing on the cake. Ability to run a sail boat with other speakers is a very unique experience. Climbing up the mast up to 80 feet and set and wrap the sails, just priceless! OK, I couldn't go beyond 30 but it was still a great experience.

Bjørnar Almli

Developer and architect at Miles

A few years had passed since my last participation and JavaZone has a reputation as a good conference. These combined made up a good starting point for me to go to Oslo for some professional input. A well organised event with great food and very good quality talks among the ones I attended.

Favorite talks: A great example was Hadi Hariri's "Refactoring to Functional", with a practical approach to how functional programming can be used. In the web development area Brian Sletten's "Polymer: Shadow DOMs, Custom Components and the Future of Web" stood out. Polymer is based on new web standards like Shadow DOM, HTML imports, custom elements and Object.observe. The project has come very far in a short time and can, according to Brian, very well be used in web solutions already now.

Martin Skarsaune

Senior Developer and Co-Owner at Kantega

I have been attending JavaZone since 2003. I find the 2 day conference an effective place to pick up on new ideas, trends and knowledge. In addition it is THE meeting spot for the community, and the food selection is outstanding :-o. The conference also offers a really practical solution in the overflow room, where you can follow any of the ongoing sessions with both video and audio.

Last year, there were actually two lightning talks that gave me the most valuable impulses: Kjetil Valstadve challenged established Java conventions in a refreshing way in his talk defending the use of public fields. Rafael Winterhalter introduced a really clever framework to unit test your code for concurrency issues.

I also got the chance to share some thoughts of my own both in a lightning talk and a presentation. The experience was very rewarding for my part, and the feedback has been good. The video was published just a couple of hours later, and after a few weeks I received questions all the way from China! After the conference I took part in JourneyZone, where both local and international speakers stood shoulder to shoulder carrying out the duties on an iconic old sailing vessel. It was a great arena to discuss and get to know each other on a personal level.

Jan-Preben Mossin

Developer at Miles

JavaZone offers a good opportunity to attend a major IT conference without going abroad. With a large selection of topics to choose from, I usually found at least one presentation I wanted to attend. I especially enjoyed that other JVM languages and Javascript got some focus.

My highlight from the conference was Fraser Green and his presentation, "Akka in real-time", where he stressed the importance of thinking about "Domain Driven vs Work distribution" when designing actor-based systems. The talk also provided some useful tips for using Akka and actors in general. Primarily recommended for those who have some previous experience with Akka. Another favorite was Rafael Winterhalter's "Understanding Java bytecode", which gave a good intro to JVM byte code. Although the practical value for everyday Java development perhaps is limited, it is always fun to understand more of what really happens when the code is running!

Stein Inge Morisbak

Practice Lead Continuous Delivery and DevOps at Bekk and founder of DevOps Norway

JavaZone is one of my favorite conferences. It attracts the most renowned speakers from all over the world, yet the local speakers often offer some of the best talks of the conference. It is a great place to meet programmers and other IT-professionals. The socializing and discussions are always valuable. I also have to mention AweZone which is the most awesome conference party I have ever been to!

I was privileged to give a talk my self, "Kill 'Em All – and the ultimate developer will rise again!", about all the unnecessary roles within IT. Giving a talk at JavaZone is a great honor and a wonderful experience. The staff hosting JavaZone is very professional and the audience is always great. I would highly reccomend everyone having something they want to share to submit a proposal.

My favorite talks of the conference is hard to choose, but I really enjoyed Jøran Lillesands lightning talk "Presentasjon 2.0". He took presenting to a whole new level using new and old web technologies to interact with the audience and make slides come alive with rich futuristic media. In "Continuous Delivery for Architects" Neal Ford talked about how to work with architecture in a Continuous Delivery world. His thoughts about how to reduce intra-component/service coupling, and microservices architectures were really valuable to me.

Mark West

Manager and Coding Enthusiast at Bouvet

I love JavaZone! The conference is organised in a manner that allows me to brush on the latest happenings in the Java world, while also giving me time to meet old friends and make new acquaintances.

Other things I enjoy about JavaZone? The overall quality of the talks, channel surfing in the overflow room, an intuitive mobile app, lightning talks and most importantly for us busy conference attendees - all day food!

At last years JavaZone I really enjoyed Simen Sommerfeldt’s talk about the Internet of Things, which has inspired me to get started with my own hobby project. From a pure Java perspective I learnt a lot from Arun Gupta’s talk about 50 new features of Java EE 7 – although I was pretty exhausted at the end!

Last year I also got the chance to speak at JavaZone and gave a lightning talk about the etiquette of community driven events. Experiencing JavaZone from the perspective of a speaker was a really positive and rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to everyone! In fact I enjoyed contributing to JavaZone so much that this year I have joined the JavaZone Programme Committee!

We hope these stories have inspired you, and look forward to seeing you at JavaZone 2015!

Best regards,
javaBin, on behalf of the norwegian Java community.