SpringOne 2GX final thoughts

I wound up too busy to maintain my daily reports, but here are a couple of items I want to highlight as important take-aways from SpringOne 2GX. Rather than just recap sessions or dole out marketing-type praise, I’m going to focus on some things I learned that I didn’t necessarily expect.

  1. A lot of people who advocate Scala or Clojure over Groovy emphasize their scalability and features like immutable objects. Groovy’s @Immutable annotation takes care of the latter, and the gpars project handles the rest. You can use @Immutable right away. The gpars project is still pretty early in its lifecycle, but it’s going to be HUGE.
  2. By the way, despite the fact it looks like it’s pronounced “Gee-Pars” (and Paul King kept calling it that), I love the way Scott Davis kept referring to it as “jeepers” 🙂
  3. Twitter has reached “essential” status at conferences. This is the first conference I attended where I would have missed half of what was going on if I hadn’t been using my Twitter client the whole time (I use twhirl, btw, but I’m open to other possibilities). Most of the presenters (@glaforge, @graemerocher, @paulk_asert, @daveklein, @jeffscottbrown, @scottdavis99, @aalmiray, and several others that would come to mind if I thought harder about it) were continually tweeting good info. As a company, @ManningBooks did an excellent job, especially with their #hideandtweet game.
  4. As a totally unexpected (to me) underlying theme, the rise of non-relational databases is striking. Apparently, the major cloud providers (Google AppEngine, Amazon SimpleDB) have decided that relational simply doesn’t scale, so they’re going with “schemaless” solutions. I had no idea how significant that was until I heard enthusiastic support for the idea from the audience of one of the Amazon cloud computing sessions. I know a lot of DBAs who are in for quite a shock. So is Oracle, too, and that’s got to be a Good Thing.
  5. Like Grails recently and Ruby on Rails before that, the new Spring Roo project makes existing web development approaches look antiquated. Roo and Grails are siblings that will learn a lot from each other as they continue to grow. For example, Grails has an interactive console, but it isn’t nearly as cool as Roo’s. I’m sure that’ll change soon enough.
  6. The extraordinarily humility and friendliness of the Groovy and Grails core teams is charming. Everyone I met seems almost embarrassed to be having so much fun working on something they like so much. There’s none of the arrogance or elitism that characterizes so many other revolutionary groups, and they always go out of their way to help and answer questions. I love talking to them and really hope to be included as one of them some day.
  7. Speaking of that, sometimes timing is everything. I told Guillaume Laforge (Groovy team lead, for those who don’t know) that he was one of my personal heroes and nearly made him spit up his drink. Sorry, I didn’t get a picture. 🙂
  8. Griffon made several fans at the conference, especially among the existing Groovy people. I still think it’s a bit early for mainstream practice, but all the signs are favorable.
  9. October is definitely the right time to visit New Orleans.

I had a very good time at the conference and am already looking forward to the next one.

About Ken Kousen
I teach software development training courses. I specialize in all areas of Java and XML, from EJB3 to web services to open source projects like Spring, Hibernate, Groovy, and Grails. Find me on Google+ I am the author of "Making Java Groovy", a Java / Groovy integration book published by Manning in the Fall of 2013, and "Gradle Recipes for Android", published by O'Reilly in 2015.

5 Responses to SpringOne 2GX final thoughts

  1. Pingback: Niko & Java » SpringOne 2GX 2009: Link collection

  2. Eric says:

    Great recap, thanks again for sharing.

    I’m really interested in more about how you used twitter to get more out of the conference. I’ve always hated the feeling that I was missing something when at (or, ahem, missing) a conference. I usually try to keep the laptop shut during presentations and focus on the speaker, with an occasional note. Was twitter more helpful as a general tool or were you using it during sessions? Was it not a distraction? Were the hashtags and usernames publicized somewhere?

    Your posts got me to look into Roo more, it’s pretty exciting. I like that it’s “just” a wrapper around Spring best practices, so learning curves should be the same as that of Spring; and tooling support isn’t an issue. I heart Grails, though, so now I feel conflicted. I feel like Roo could benefit from a better intro video (something Play’s – http://www.playframework.org/). I’m also torn on the interactive console and the verbosity of it. Command line fun makes me feel super nerdy and young again, but I wonder if a swanky GUI around it would be better received?

    -Eric

  3. Ken Kousen says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your comments. The Twitter usernames weren’t publicized anywhere, but that would be a really good idea. I agree that if I try to tweet during a presentation I briefly lose the thread of what’s going on, so sometimes it’s best if I leave it alone. Still, tweets are very short, so it’s awfully tempting. I tried to tweet between sessions, and that worked pretty well, but a lot of people were clearly writing as they were going on.

    The Groovy/Grails people did discuss possible hashtags ahead of time, and settled on #2gx. At the conference, however, it was suggested very early that everyone use #springone2gx . That’s a lot of characters, though, when all you have is 140. Still, most people used it.

    As for Roo, like you, I’m attracted to the super command-line interface. If you’re looking for a “swanky GUI” for it, then use STS (SpringSource Tool Suite), which has built-in support for both Roo and Grails.

    I think, in the long run, I’ll prefer Grails, mostly because I prefer to code the business logic in Groovy. Roo has great simplifications for the regular stuff like getters and setters, but once you’re into the actual coding you’re on your own.

    Thanks again for your comment,

    Ken

  4. Eric says:

    Well, I was at StackOverflow DevDays in Washington, DC yesterday and twitter was heavily used. I decided to give it a try and followed the #devdays hashtag with my phone… and you are right, it was essential. There was some flaming and general discontent (in the usual expected ways), but there were a TON of useful tweets – URLs to find more information, follow-ups to questions people asked, and general thoughts/discussions on the technology being discussed. It did make me feel more connected to the conference and didn’t really take away from the sessions.

    -Eric

  5. dibbet says:

    I am curious now that its 2013 could you update this post to see whether or not you think griffon is mainstream or ‘production’ ready for real applications? Your thoughts would be great. Thanks in advance!

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