JavaOne 2016: The Dark Side
In the previous blog post I promised to describe all the bad things that were on JavaOne 2016, so I will keep my promises. Please take into account that all the statements listed below represent just my humble opinion, nothing more, and for other attendees everything could work like a charm. As some smart people say, you need to properly manage your expectations in advance in order not to be disappointed afterwards.
Second, the scale has its price. Since the talks were presented in two hotels and a conference hall, a lot of time and effort was spent on shifting from one place to another. So instead of enjoying a friendly conversation with a speaker or other participants during a break, I always had to think where next talk was going to be and hurried to another place. For my health that was certainly quite useful, but the actual taste and focus of conference was blurred.
Third, the level of talks. As I mentioned before, it is all about correct management of my own expectations in advance. I expected a top level in everything: in a talk itself, in presentation skills of a speaker, in the quality of slides and technical depth of demos. I was very wrong. There were a bunch of weak speakers with terrible slides, poor spoken English and primitive demo. At the top Java conference in the world. How did these people get there? For me, it was a mystery as they were not associated with any commercial product. That was probably my biggest disappointment of the entire conference.
Fourth, sponsored talks. As some sponsors had a few slots for their own presentations, these talks could be quite useful, but also could turn into dumb PR sessions of their products. PR products from Oracle, PR from Dynatrace, and so on. Once I realized that a talk was completely sponsored or dedicated to PR of a particular product, I immediately got up and ran to see something else. Andrii Rodionov told me once that I should not select a slot based on a cool title but based on a particular speaker, and eventually I realized that was really the right strategy.
Fifth, pre-registration for the talks. Since there were many attendees, you had to make your own schedule in advance via a provided official application. Thus, before a certain talk, pre-registered attendees formed a priority queue to enter the room first and only afterwards attendees from another ordinary queue had a chance to enter the room if there were any seats left. Usually, there was no chance at that point. An issue was in the application itself, as it was extremely buggy, had poor UX and sometimes it just deleted your previous schedule by accident. Also, you needed to re-login every couple of hours that was quite annoying too. In addition, there was no synchronization between a desktop and a mobile versions. So, the initial idea to create my perfect plan eventually failed. Oh, Oracle, that was the worst advertisement of your products and quality of delivery.
Sixth, Duke’s Award. For me, before the conference, this award had been something like Oscar is in the world of cinematography. But when I saw the actual awarding ceremony, if I may call it so, the way the award was handed, to whom and under what circumstances… That made me sad. How to do your best to spoil any good award? Obviously, you need to give it sneakily, without any explanation and reasoning about achievements that led to the victory, who the competitors were, etc. Of course, afterwards, there will be a nice shiny blog post and everything will become a history, but the essence is spoiled for me forever.
Seventh, recording was missing in some conference rooms. So, you won’t be able to find some of the talks online after the conference. Oracle spent a lot of time and money on renting rooms, on different parties, appreciation event, but forgot about the most important outcome of any conference — spread knowledge to the masses. Looks like a nonsense to me.
The last, but not least, lack of enthusiasm about future of Java EE. I will not start a big discussion of the topic in this blog post, but the known fact is that the platform is in a shitty state right now and the conference was the best place to inspire people and put huge confidence that Oracle cares about it, thinks about it and so on. Some speakers tried to spread the internal enthusiasm and fresh ideas, but the way this particular topic was covered, presented and advocated during, for instance, a keynote, it’s just an absurd. Sorry.
That’s it about JavaOne’s dark side, stay tuned for more technical outcomes.