JavaOne is renamed to Oracle Code One. More importantly, the tracks of the conference are less Java-only now. Initially I wasn’t too excited about the rename of the conference which was THE Java conference once upon a time. I’ve been to every JavaOne for over ten years now, so I have some emotional attachment to the conference, and its name. After reflecting on this some more, I decided that it might actually be a good thing.
Looking back at JavaOne ten years ago, it was a huge conference, with numbers well passing 20000 attendees. It was the yearly event to scoop the latest news about primarily the Java language and Java EE, and maybe learn about some new innovative tooling. It was also a very different time. Open source libraries weren’t as widely available as they are today. Innovation didn’t happen out in the open as much as we have accustomed to today, but was largely driven by the JCP. It was also much harder to get the same content online in general. If you really wanted to know about what’s coming in the eco system, you kind of just had to be there. The anticipation that came with the yearly trip to San Fransisco, always coming back with new ideas, was also part of the experience.
This has all changed. The Java ecosystem has diversified (more open source frameworks and libraries), and innovation happens mostly in the community instead of expert groups. These are obviously good things, but put conferences in a different perspective. You don’t need to go to a conference to learn about the latest & greatest frameworks. The most valuable content is now about case studies, best practices and lessons learned. You want to hear how others are using Java in the bigger picture. In contrast to the old days, Java now plays a role together with other tools, languages and runtimes. We don’t just care about Java, Java EE and app servers anymore. This puts a Java-only conference in a tough spot, and a wider focus makes a lot of sense. In recent years this has resulted in fewer attendees, and less of an urge to be there.
Is a refocus and rename of the conference going to change all that? Maybe. We’ll have to see how it plays out, but focussing on a wider range of topics makes a lot of sense. Diversifying the topics will make the conference a better place to learn, so I’m in favor of this move.
It think there’s good potential for the conference, and I’m definetely going to submit some talks. We’ll probably never see the excitement of the old JavaOne again, but that’s only because the ecosystem is moving so much faster now.