JAX London 2012

Seemed like a quiet conference this year. Not really sure why, maybe it was the layout of the massive (and extremely dark) main room; maybe it was the awkward L-shape of the communal space; or maybe this year people were more interested in listening to the (really very good) sessions rather than participating or meeting other people. Whatever the reason, it felt quiet and almost low-key.

Performance seemed pretty high on the agenda, as you'd expect from a London conference, with a number of things on offer:

  • A great keynote from Kirk Pepperdine and Martijn Verburg, covering a massive range of things to care about when thinking about performance on the first night
  • A high-level talk about Java Performance from yours truly (which I may run again for the LJC if there's interest, but it's more likely to be a one-off)
  • A deep dive into writing lock-free coding by Mike Barker
  • And a talk from Kirk exploring your GC logs.

It was great to see a number of LJC regulars presenting, especially as my own schedule has been so crazy I haven't seen many of them for a long time. So I missed sessions from Bruce, John, Sandro, Russell, James & Richard, but I heard good things about the sessions and was really pleased to chat to all of them.

The highlight of the conference for me though was Brian Goetz's keynote and subsequent session on lambdas. I've been looking into lambdas because I think it's a really interesting addition to the language and I've heard a lot of noise about them. What I thought was most interesting about Brian's talks though was less the information on what they were and how to use them, and more the challenges that face language designers when they have a language which is used by 10 million developers and has been going for nearly 20 years. Ouch. It's amazing they get anything done, let alone something like lambdas which the language was never designed to support.

In keeping with the new job, I went to a few sessions on the Big Data Con - frankly an unfortunate name I feel. Brendan's Mongo & JVM talk was useful, especially given that I might actually be presenting that at some point. What I'd love to see though is a more interesting story around the Java driver. It seems people believe the Java driver needs a little love.

The other interesting NoSql talk was from Tim Berglund's NoSql Smackdown, which was a really great way of highlighting that the NoSql databases are not all solving the same types of problems. The room was packed and the questions were intelligent, so it seems there's still a lot of interest in this kind of introduction to the technology.

Lessons learned:
-Commuting through Victoria Station sucks. I knew this last year but it's just got worse.

  • The iPad + stylus combo is not as precise as the graphics tablet, so I'm probably going back to that for illustrations. But I'd still love to do free-drawing with the iPad on the projector at some point.
  • Not everyone can follow the deep-dive tech talks, but they still prefer them to introductory talks, maybe because they feel like they're learning something (well, that's my opinion).

I took practically no photos because I kept forgetting I had my camera. I think it's the weird subterranean effect of the hotel basement. Either that or I've turned into a conference zombie - not an unlikely suggestion. And I've still got Devoxx round the corner...


  • Trisha Gee

    Trisha is a software engineer, Java Champion and author. Trisha has developed Java applications for finance, manufacturing and non-profit organisations, and she's a lead developer advocate at Gradle.