Impressions from Java Forum Stuttgart 2013

Java Forum Stuttgart(JFS) is a yearly java focused conference primarily visited by developers. The conference lasts for a day, offering 45 minute long talks plus some time in between for discussions. This was my second visit and I am happy to tell you about my impressions.

vert.x: Polyglot – modular – Asynchron

Speaker: Eberhard Wolff from adesso AG

This was my first stop. The topic seemed interesting, because at Softwareschneiderei we are using a mix of different languages and frameworks for our projects. To learn about a new Framework was a nice thing. vert.x runs on a Java VM and can be written in a mixable variety of languages like Java, JavaScript or Groovy. The main points of the presentation were the examples in Java and JavaScript showing the asynchronous features and communication between different components. Judging by the function set and the questions asked, this seems to be a framework that provides java developers a smooth transition from the synchronous world to the event based asynchronous world. Compared to NodeJS, vert.x is currently a small project containing only a handful of modules.

Java 8 innovations

Speaker: Michael Wiedeking from MATHEMA Software GmbH

This one is somewhat special. After thousands of blog entries, presentations and whatever there is only a marginal chance to get fresh news about java features. The speaker did know this and spiced the presentation up with some jokes, while showing ever increasing complex code samples. Exactly what I hoped for: reading code and having fun.

Statical code analysis as a quality measurement?

Speaker: Dr. Karl-Heinz Wichert from iteratec GmbH

We are using grails in some of our projects. As any other highly dynamic language, grails suffers from its strength: weak type system. Without acceptance test support it is hard to verify whether a given code piece is correct or not. My hope was to hear something about new trends in statical analysis that allow me to detect simple errors faster, without firing up the system. Biggest mismatch between imagination and reality that day. The speaker presented the reasons why to use statical code analysys and its current shortcomings like the inability to verify that comments match the code commented or the inability to detect complex implementations of a simple algorithm. An interesting statement was that statical analysis fails if not every aspect is checked, the reason beeing the developer trying to optimize the code against the measured criteria while neglecting other aspects. From my point of view this is not a shortcoming of a statical analysis, but of the way the people use it. It is measurable that a maintainable product has proportionally more readable variable names than an unmaintainable one, but is not necessarily true that your product gets maintainable when you rename all your variables. All in one: the speaker managed to motivate me to look for holes in his argumentation and thus to actively think about the topic.

Enterprise portals with grails. Does it work?

Speakers: Tobias Kraft and Manuel Breitfeld from exentio GmbH

Like the previous presentation, this one attracted me because of the grails context. Additionally, because of the title, I was hoping for a nice description on pitfalls they encountered while building their portals. One part of the presentation was the description of the portal they built and the requirements it has to fullfill. Another part was a description of the grails platform. They use grails to deliver snippets for their portal that is organized as a collection of such snippets. Very valuable was the part about the problems one can encounter when using grails, where they honestly admitted that the migration from Grails 1.3.7 to 2.x did cost them some time. To detect regressions during platform upgrades they recommended to put extra effort in tests.

Car2Car systems – Java and Peer2Peer move into the car

Speaker: Adam Kovacs from msg-systems

After the impressive lunch break my brain waves almost reached zero. The program brochure missed any interesting titles for the next round so I went for the least common topic. The presentation turned out a lucky find. The speaker managed to keep the right level of detail, without diving too deep or scratching the surface. He described how Chord, an implementation of a distributed hash table, can be used to share locally relevant traffic data like traffic jams or accidents. To increase the stability and the security of the network he introduced the use of existing transmitting stations and certificate authorities.

Kotlin

Speaker: Dr Ralph Guderlei from eXXcellent Solutions

There were two reasons I wanted to visit this presentation. The first was: My colleague already showed me some features of this language. The second: the language is developed by the company that also develops the IntelliJ IDEA. Good IDE support is practically built in, isn’t it? The presentation covered syntax, lambdas, type inference extension methods and how kotlin handles null references. It looks like kotlin is going to become something like an improved java. I hope for the best.

Enterprise Integration Patterns

Speaker: Alexander Heusingfeld from First Point IT Solutions

Another Presentation that gets selected because of the least boring sounding title and another success. In the first minutes I expected an endless enumeration of common well known patterns. This was only true for the first minutes. The topic quickly shifted to asynchronous messaging and increasingly complex patterns to handle it. As two frameworks with similar range of functions he presented Apache Camel and Spring  Integration

Bottom line

The event was as always fun. Unfortunately it was not possible to visit more presentations due to their “parallel execution”. Have you been an JFS too and want to share your impressions about same or other presentations too? Post a comment!

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