SpringOne 2GX Day 0

I’m at the SpringOne2GX conference (http://www.springone2gx.com) in New Orleans this week. Monday (which they’re calling day 1 but I’m referring to here as day 0) consisted only of registration plus a reception and finally a keynote by Rod Johnson.

As a frequent NFJS attendee, the “reception” was a bit of a culture shock. One of the great appeals of No Fluff, Just Stuff is that there are no vendors present. This reception turned out to be purely a vendor reception, with wine and beer and light munchies. The vendors were all talking about Spring, of course, not Groovy or Grails. I didn’t find any of them particularly overwhelming.

The most amusing part is that one of the Platinum Sponsors was, of all companies, Microsoft. The Microsoft rep was sitting at a table by himself, with no posters or anything. He was sitting in front of a Mac (!).

When I asked him about the Mac, he showed me that it was running VMWare and a Windows 7 pre-release version. Then I asked him about he platinum status, in a rather obnoxious way.

“I can understand why Microsoft might want to be here,” I said, “but Platinum Sponsor? What’s up with that? What’s your goal?”

“We’re talking about our integration story,” he said.

“You mean web services?”

“No,” he said, and then proceeded to describe accessing MS apps via RESTful web services (or maybe just GETful — I didn’t get the details). He also mentioned some MS product I’d never heard of.

When I prodded again about the platinum sponsorship, he confessed that this isn’t really a large conference for MS, so the platinum sponsorship really wasn’t much money to them. Must be nice.

I also asked him why he didn’t have any posters or anything. He said that MS has a major developer conference coming up in a couple of weeks. When he went to get the stuff he needed for this conf, it turned out everything was already packed away. 🙂

The other big event of the evening was Rod Johnson’s keynote. That turned out to be a mixed bag, at least from my point of view. He spent the first 20 minutes or so reviewing the glorious history of Spring, focusing on a timeline and all the enthusiasm in the developer community. Now, I’ve been using (and teaching) Spring for years and I really like it, but this felt like a “fire up the troops” talk as though we were marketeers.

He did break for demos of Spring Integration, and tc server with the cool performance monitoring stuff, and a review of what’s new in 3.0. Then he set up the demo by Graeme Rocher, the extremely impressive lead of the Grails project.

To introduce the topic of Grails, Rod made an extremely odd segue. He mentioned how he was able to get “bacon ice cream” in the hotel (a real, of strange product). He somehow related that to a picture of three pigs, and said that pigs build brick houses, and that Grails is built on a brick foundation. That foundation included Spring of course, but he forgot to say anything about Hibernate. 🙂

Graeme, wisely IMHO, ignored all that. He showed how the latest version of STS (SpringSource Tool Suite) had very good Grails support. The version he showed will be released Wednesday. Graeme was great, as usual. The only problem I ever have with him is that he tends to make everything look easy, which can be a tad misleading. Still, the support looked solid, and as a community we desperately need that.

The one practical point I took from Rod is that apparently there’s going to be a developer version of tc server. I was really looking forward to checking into tc server, until I found you have to pay for it. I can’t justify that, especially when GlassFish has improved so much over the past few years and JBoss still works, too. Now if there’s a free dev version, maybe I’ll try it.

The biggest message I got from the whole evening, though, is that so far this is a Spring conference, not a Groovy/Grails conference. I hope that doesn’t carry through the whole way.

For me, the best part was finally getting to meet Guillaume Laforge, Paul King, and Robert Fischer in person. I also re-connected with Dave Klein and the indefatigable Andres Almiray. That rocked. The Groovy/Grails/Griffon (!) community is filled with great people.

I’ll try to update this blog periodically as the conference goes on. Any comments, of course, are welcome and appreciated.

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