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Friday, April 17, 2009

J-Spring 2009 part 1

April 15th I went to the Dutch Java user group conference named J-Spring. This is the first of two blog entries about this conference. The J-Spring is a popular 1 day conference about Java and related technologies. It is a good place to get an overview about the current state of technology and meet fellow developers.

The introductory keynote was given by Sherali Karimov from Atlassian who talked about how agile is implemented at Atlassian.

Two things in his presentation I found particular interesting. These were:

  • The disturbed
  • Blitz tests

The disturbed
We are all familiar with it. Sometimes you and your team members get so many questions from different people that your own work suffers from it. At Atlassian they introduced the role: the disturbed. Whenever someone has the disturbed role, he/she is expected NOT to do any work but instead answer all questions from outside. The other team members can focus on delivering. The disturbed role is changed every week to another team member. Every week a new team member is responsible for answering questions from people outside the team. Besides shielding the team from outside questions, the disturbed role has another advantage. By switching team members to answer questions, gradually each team member gains the knowledge to answer those questions. It is an effective and practical way to share knowledge within the team.

Blitz tests
Another concept that was introduced is Blitz tests. Atlassian uses there own products inside there own company. Whenever a new release of a particular product is released, it is deployed on the company’s production environment. People from within the company can subscribe to test the new functionality. The experience at Atlassian was that a lot of people subscribed and were eager to test the new functionality. They gave a lot of good feedback to the development team which resulted in higher quality software. I believe you gain a lot when you have the possibility to test every new release by certain people in your own company before releasing the product to your customers.

JEE and JavaFX
The next session I went to was from Paul Bakker. This session was about the future of web development with JEE6 and JavaFX. Paul gave a very complete overview about all the technologies involved in JEE6 and JavaFX. A couple of technologies used in JEE6 are JSF 2.0, JAX-RS and JPA 2.0. After giving a brief overview about every technology, Paul showed how to build a web application with JSF and JavaFX together. Basically, JavaFX was used for the highly interactive parts and JSF for the HTML forms. JavaScript was used to act as a bridge between the HTML page and the JavaFX applet. He also showed how to pass parameters between the applet and the HTML page and vice versa. This seems like an effective way to combine JavaFX with regular web development. JEE6 and JavaFX definitely look very promising!

Look out for the second post of the J-Spring which will highlight some interesting points from the other sessions I attended.

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