Last week I attended the JavaLand conference (March 23-24, 2015) and this is a short personal blog about it.
The conference took place at Phantasialand, a great theme park in Brühl, close to Cologne. I really liked the atmosphere there, it reminded me a lot of Disneyland, which I visited 6 months ago. The sessions were held both in the Quantum conference center, as well as the movie theater and the main stage. At the end of the first conference day, 11 attractions of the park were opened just for the conference attendees. I took the advice of some friends very seriously: Don’t drink a beer until you have finished all the rides! When I was younger, I was a big roller coaster fan, so I tried Black Mamba, Colorado Adventure and Temple of the Night Hawk. Then I had enough of roller coasters :).
For many conference attendees the sessions are the most important part of a conference. In my point of view the sessions were a good mix of technical and non-technical topics. Since I am a Java veteran for 20 years, I usually only attend sessions about content that is either totally new for me or I have very little knowledge about. My personal highlights were:
- Coding Culture (by Sven Peters)
- Effective Asciidoc (by Dan Allen and Sarah White)
- Use Cases for Elasticsearch (by Florian Hopf)
Of course there were many more great talks but these 3 gave me new insights and made me think most. My own session about TypeScript went well, hopefully I could transport my excitement about TypeScript to the audience. I really appreciated that other programming languages got some attention at the conference.
I really liked the atmosphere at the conference. It was very easy for me to talk to people I did not know before. In the community area there were lots of interesting booths, playgrounds, open spaces, katas, workshops and more. It was fun to experience a few Oculus Rift demos that I did not know before. It was also very nice to meet old friends like Wayne Beaton and Lars Vogel from the Eclipse community, as well as many people I know from my JCP work or other conferences.
While many developers are happy if they get pizza or fast food, I appreciate good catering at conferences. I was invited to the community dinner on Monday, hosted in the restaurant of one of the theme hotels. This dinner was the start of great catering during the whole conference, so JavaLand easily made it into my all-time top 5 conference caterings.
I have to admit that I did not expect anything when I heard a band was playing Tuesday night. To make it short: The Band (Sonnabend) was awesome! After enjoying few songs I could not resist to dance for more than one hour. 20 years ago I played keyboards in my Band DC Robertson (see MultiMedia) so I had a special eye on the awesome keyboarder :).
There were a few things that I was missing: Reliable Wifi and a conference app. Another thing: When I attended sessions in the theater, it was pretty chilly. So, as always, there is room for improvements :).
All in all I liked the conference a lot and looking forward to JavaLand 2016.