The modest duo

Interview with Adam Bien and JetBrains


We speak to the winner of the Top Java Ambassador award and a representative of JetBrains, the winners of the Most Innovative Java Company award in the JAX Innovation Awards.

German born Adam Bien has been a major influence in the Java
space for many years. Last month Adam was rewarded with the Top
Java Ambassador title at the JAX Innovation Awards in San
Francisco, an award that he fully deserves. We interviewed him
after the event; find out what he had to say:

This is quite an honour as the communities worldwide
have voted for you to win this award, how do you feel?

I really wanted Bruno Souza to win; he’s one of my Java heroes.
I even nominated him! I still cannot believe that I am the winner,
beating Bruno! To be an Ambassador is such an honour, which I’m not
sure I really deserve. Whenever I go about my work, I never think
about the “Ambassador” aspect of it, I’m just trying to improve the
way we do things one step at a time.

Tell us about your work with JEE and how you have played
a part in its growth.

I have been using J2EE and Java EE since their early days. I
have always enjoyed working with Java EE and consider it the most
productive and effective platform you can currently get. Parts of
the community consider Java EE as a bloated and outdated
technology. I never understood this — in my projects Java EE was
never a problem, I always struggled with ivory tower driven
architectures designed in a top down manner. I hope I contributed
something to eliminate some popular, but crazy cargo cult

Java EE is a very popular technology — there is no evangelism
necessary. Every day I get more and more requests for Java EE 6
consulting from small start-ups.

When many were against JEE6, you were extremely interested
to prove that it was a good tech stack. What was it about JEE6 that
you saw before a huge majority of other developers?

What I saw in Java EE? That’s easy: simplicity. In “lightweight”
projects, developers often reinvented the wheel by implementing
parts of Java EE in a home grown fashion. In extreme cases 500 MB
WARs were deployed into 10 MB web containers and the result was
called “lightweight”. I never got that.

I use Java EE successfully in my projects and my clients like it. I
didn’t want to convince anyone about the good parts of Java EE, I
usually talk about what I do and why it works. At one of the
conferences I forgot to create the slides (it was JAX Frankfurt /
Mainz!), so I had to open the IDE to present how Java EE feels from
the source code perspective. The audience liked it, so I was
fortunate, it could’ve gone the other way.

You are part of a variety of communities from NetBeans
Dream Team to an Expert Group member of the JCP, tell us about some
of the major projects that you have worked on in the past that have
had an impact on the ecosystem.

I’m actually a lazy contributor! I’m just a synchronized
singleton shared between conferences, workshops, articles and
projects; as a result I’m a lousy contributor. I try not to waste
my time on unconstructive criticism instead I try to improve the
world in a step-by-step process.

NetBeans is also an interesting story. It is a great Java EE IDE.
You can install it in a few minutes by downloading a file with a
single click. You will get not only an extremely productive IDE,
but a whole Java EE 6 environment with GlassFish, fully configured
DerbyDB without any plumbing. I usually use NetBeans during my
talks and workshops to explain Java (EE). People always assume that
I work for Sun because I use NetBeans that often :-).

What are your plans for the next year?

No idea about next year, but when I retire (if it ever happens)
I would like to still spend my time hacking. Software development
is the best job ever.

Thank you to everyone for the votes. I really appreciate it! The
prize money is going to be donated to “Doctors Without Borders” or
similar organization.

Thanks for interviewing me!


When it came to the Most Innovative Java Company category, the
number of votes for each nomination was extremely close. However,
JetBrains just beat the other companies to the post. We spoke to
the JetBrains representative, Eugene Toporov, about the honour of
winning the award: 

Thanks for representing JetBrains today, how do you feel
about JetBrains winning the Most Innovative Java Company

This is a great honor for us, and an indicator of us being on
the right track with our efforts and values. This kind of
recognition motivates us like nothing else to continue making
software development a pleasure.

Tell us about JetBrains and why you think it has such a
vast community following

There is indeed a great community around JetBrains. We like to
think that is because we never stop improving, staying open to our
fans and keeping a ‘human face’ no matter how small or large we are
as a company.

Since 2000, JetBrains has been committed to creating highly
intelligent, easy-to-use productivity-enhancing tools. Our
innovative solutions enable professional developers to adopt
advanced technologies and work faster, better, and more

JetBrains flagship product is IntelliJ IDEA, one of the most
advanced Java IDEs which provides superior facilities for rapid,
effective development on all Java platforms.

JetBrains continues innovating with technologies like
Language-Oriented Programming, projects like MPS (Meta Programming
System) and Kotlin, a new statically typed programming language
compiled to JVM byte code and JavaScript.

What technologies and projects are JetBrains currently

Our products already cover a whole spectrum of technologies, and
we expect it to keep growing.

Teamwork facilitation and more effective collaboration are among
the goals we’ve always had in mind, and we’re planning to focus on
these two even more in the nearest future.

Where do you see JetBrains this time next

It may be too much to hope for, but can we say, holding this
valuable prize of the year again? ;)

What sets JetBrains apart from rivaling companies in
your opinion?

We have a lot of respect for all the finalists: ZeroTurnaround,
Gradleware, and JFrog. These companies are our friends and
companions of JetBrains. We probably just had a bit more luck.

What impact will winning this award have on the

As we said above, this award really motivates us to pursue the
directions we’ve already chosen and to stay loyal to our mission:
To be a leader and innovator in building professional software
development and teamware tools.

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