JBoss World – A rookie’s retrospective

I just joined eXo a few months ago as a technical evangelist, having just graduated from engineering school in Paris.  Last week I was in Boston at the 2010 JBoss World / Red Hat Summit, so I thought I’d share my perspective as a first-time attendee. With Red Hat announcing the new JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform Site Publisher, which is powered by eXo’s Web Content Management module, the eXo team was out in full force (Bob Bickel, Benjamin Mestrallet, Benjamin Paillereau, Julien Viet, Jerome Agnola and myself). The announcement was big for eXo, but it was even better to see the enthusiastic response from the attendees I talked to.

The event kicked off Tuesday evening and it was easy to find our booth.  People were lining up to grab one of our new “Pimp My Java” t-shirts, along with the coordinating eXo “pimp cups” that could be filled with drinks at the bar.  We found ourselves running out of giveaways earlier that we thought.

We met even more people Wednesday, as most of the eXo team members gathered in the booth after Jim Whitehurst’s keynote introduction. In his speech, Red Hat’s CEO explained why Open Source software is more relevant than ever.  Customers are increasingly concerned with openess and modularity, to avoid having resources locked into their IT projects. Open standards and interoperability are something I’ve heard a lot about since I joined eXo, so it was great to hear this message repeated by the CEO of the biggest open source company out there.

That afternoon I spent most of my time giving demos in eXo’s booth and had some great discussions with people who dropped by. It was interesting to hear so many fresh ideas and opinions, and talking to “real-life” developers definitely helped me gain some perspective on our product. I already knew our product’s features and capabilities, but now I got to hear exactly what kind of apps people want to extend and build with it. Once again, the main concern everyone kept bringing up was integration. Being able to reuse existing code, hardware or data structures is the starting point for 99% of customers. On top of that, I heard a lot of people say that integrating a WCM solution with their existing applications is a key concern, so being able to get that on top of EPP5 is a huge plus for Red Hat customers.

The day ended with an on-site party and barbecue where I was able to meet some of eXo’s partners and fellow Red Hat team members, as well as Jim Whitehurst, who was casually chatting with attendees.

Thursday was big for eXo as Red Hat announced the EPP-SP portal in the morning keynote, and Benjamin Paillereau, product manager of eXo Content, held a session on Social Publishing on EPP-SP in the afternoon. After we hit up Faneuil Hall for the closing party, we all joined the pub crawl taking place nearby.  That’s where we were psyched to find Noelle, Red Hat developer evangelist, wearing the eXo t-shirt!

All in all, the conference was a great experience for the whole eXo team – I definitely learned a lot. It was awesome to meet all of you who stopped by our booth to have a chat (or a beer) with us.  And a big thanks to Red Hat for organizing everything so well!  For those of you who didn’t have the chance to attend, all the presenters’ slides are already available here.

I’ll hopefully see you at Red Hat Summit 2011!

The eXo booth
Introducing the eXo Modules

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