JavaOne: Past, Present, and a Potential Future

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Reviews, frankly, were mixed, but I enjoyed the past few days at CommunityOne and JavaOne. Critics highlighted a distinct lack of real news at the event, at least of the Java flavor, and there was the usual grumbling about the scheduling tool, the event staff, and so on. But regardless, JavaOne is a massive event, and a center of gravity for developer communities.

Note that I said developer communities, not Java communities. It is the latter, obviously. But the introduction of CommunityOne two years ago has done much to make the event more heterogeneous than in years past. To the tune of 5,000 registered attendees. All of which is a good thing, in my humble opinion.

What will be interesting, from my perspective as a long term attendee of the show, will be how the fate of JavaOne may be influenced by the rise of the aforementioned CommunityOne. As a systems vendor, it has always been in Sun’s best interests to encourage deployments beyond Java, even if they haven’t always realized it. CommunityOne, increasingly, is the embodiment of that idea, and with MySQL now in the fold the diversity of the event is ever greater.

So the question on many minds, including mine, is this: at what point does CommunityOne eat JavaOne? Such a combination, while logical on paper from where I sit, would nonetheless pose some complexity and scope problems: the conference is already enormous. Still, as the O’Reilly folks point out regularly, the trajectories for non-Java languages are fairly unambiguous. While Java remains an enormous community full of developers and jobs for said developers, the world is – more than ever – bigger than Java. As folks like Senor Bray have helped to drive home.

Whatever CommunityOne and JavaOne end up being called, I know that I’ll be in attendance. It’s rare, after all, that I get the opportunity to collect an audience of this caliber in one place, ply them with booze, and just listen.

That’s worth a couple of days of my time, easily.

Disclosure: Sun, the primary organizer of JavaOne, is a RedMonk client and comped hotel expenses for the trip.

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