Our Insights from Devoxx World 2012

Two weeks ago, three eXoers had the opportunity to attend the Devoxx 2012 conference, aka Devoxx World, in Belgium. Alain Defrance (Social and Forum project leader), Julien Viet (Portal project leader) and  Arnaud Héritier (Software factory manager) were there and are giving us their insights of the biggest European developer conference.

This year’s sessions were developed by Devoxx around various topics:

  • Java Standard Edition (JDK 8++)
  • Java Enterprise Edition (focus on Java EE 7 and beyond)
  • Web (including HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3 and RIA technologies)
  • Mobile (including Android, Hybrid and mobile web)
  • Methodology
  • Other languages on the JVM
  • Architecture, Cloud and Security
  • Future, a brand new Devoxx track. Embracing the world where software meets hardware

Alain and Julien came to present a “Tools in Action” session called: CRaSH, an extensible command line for the JVM

Julien Viet

The presentation focuses on showing four different aspects of the shell thanks to 4 mini demos:

  • Out Of The Box: shows what can CRaSH do for you out of the box, basic yet useful, for example a “thread top” command shows the JVM threads pretty much like the Unix “top” command
  • The Swiss Knife: attach to an existing Java EE server and use its resources, the most impressive part is when Julien uses existing JDBC connection and JPA Entity Manager from JNDI
  • Extend your runtime: embed CRaSH as a Spring bean. Thus CRaSH life cycle is managed by Spring. Then Alain Defrance developed a command live that accesses a Twitter service Spring bean and display the results in the shell
  • Monitoring: the last demo is the most impressive, the shell attaches to an existing Tomcat, then a few JMX commands are composed to Tomcat performance metrics and finally those commands are aggregated in a live dashboard

Alain Defrance

The audience was good, especially for an university day at 6pm. The talk went very fine -given that most of the talk are live demonstrations and are subject to nasty demo effects- and the audience seemed very pleased by the session. Community feedbacks were good as you may have seen on twitter:

A few Devoxxians also blogged about CRaSH:

Find CRaSH downloads, resources and documentation on crashub.org.

On Tuesday Alain and Julien also had the opportunity to attend the Hackergarten where they met some potential contributors to CRaSH. This is an interesting exercise that helps to involve users in open source projects and to convert them to contributors. Arnaud is often attending such sessions organized in Paris to represent some of the projects in which he is involved like Apache Maven or Jenkins.

During the Hackergarten, a few other open source projects were represented. Unfortunately not many contributors showed up, but the social time between the various project developers was really interesting.

The conference started on Wednesday and during these days we attended a few sessions:

  • Welcome & Announcements by Stephan Janssen: The main news was the creation of a new Devoxx spin-off in UK. This one will occur on March 26 – 27 in  London while the second edition of the French spin-off will be on March 27 – 29 in Paris. There was also a really awesome demo of the future Parleys version totally rewritten in HTML5. Sincerely once you have seen that, you can’t look at the web and browsers the way you did before.
  • Javascript Unit testing & Build integration by Wouter Groeneveld: In this session Wouter demonstrates how the Javascript development environment has improved over the past year and now has a set of tools that really allow you to control the quality of these developments. For example you may have a look at Jasmine, a behavior-driven development framework for testing JavaScript code.
  • Code but not as we know it – Infrastructure as code by Patrick Debois: Based on Patrick’s own experience on tools like Puppet or Chef, he gave a large overview of tools that are nowadays available for people managing their infrastructure as code. At eXo we are using Puppet to manage all our forges used by developers and our technical QA team and we filled our backlog for many months with all advices and ideas given by Patrick (especially about all possibilities to improve the tests automation to validate the infrastructure before its deployment).
  • Using Java for robotics with Aldebaran’s humanoid robot NAO by Dimitri Merejkowsky: When the code meets the high tech. It was interesting to see what we can do nowadays in robotics and how a java developer can play with such a system. It is really addictive but the price of such “toy” doesn’t allow everyone to play with it (That’s sad because it would be so funny to have a robot like this within our offices that would warn the developer who just broke a build :-) ).
  • Modern Software Development Anti-Patterns by Martijn Verburg and Ben Evans was a really funny presentation of a catalog of anti-patterns we find every day in our companies and some ideas to try to solve them. In the same mind The Future of Software Development Process Methodology Effectiveness, a quick presentation by Chet haase (Software process methodologist), focused on process methodologies (from Waterfall to Scrum) and did an amazing ironic show. This presentation was very much appreciated, so much that Chet had to do it a second time on thursday evening!!.

The Angular JS session was held on Thursday and for sure one of the most crowded sessions of the week with people sitting everywhere. The session was about the now classic Todo application written with Angular JS. Igor Minar and Misko Hevery were really good and entertaining, explaining Angular JS very well, you can find an interview here if you’d like to catch up.

The last day Arnaud with the french podcast team Les Cast Codeurs recorded a live session. Sponsored in beers and pizzas by Atlassian it was a really nice way to end the week.

Arnaud Heritier et les Cast Codeurs

We would like to thank once again Devoxx and DevoxxFR who invited us to join this great event.

Devoxx is definitely an important moment in the life of a software developer because it teaches us top notch technology and most importantly gives us the future trends of the industry. This year’s focus was mainly on web and mobile technologies with the rebirth of Javascript.

We hope to come back to this classic conference next year with new creative subjects to present. Meanwhile we will focus on Devoxx France that will be held at the end of March in Paris!!!

Alain, Arnaud and Julien

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