Dispatches from a conference

QCon Report – Day One

Chris Mayer

A round-up of the first day of QCon London – loads of Java with a bit of Cloud thrown in

Visit Westminster, London, this week and liberally littered
among the health service protesters, peace protesters and
sightseers, you’ll likely bump into a developer or two.
The 6th annual QCon London conference is in full
swing and the organisers tell us it is a sell-out.

The opening keynote certainly seemed on trend, as Martin Fowler
and Rebecca Parsons of ThoughtWorks took the packed room on an
entertaining whistle-stop tour in ‘The Big Data Panorama’, which
just about covered every area under the sun. Fowler set the tone
with a great line paraphrasing Douglas Adams – ‘You may think it’s
a long way down to the chemists, but that’s just peanuts compared
to Big Data.’

The conclusion to take from the keynote appeared to be that
every company at some point is going to suffer Big Data woes –
whether that is from scaling horizontally or vertically, or both.
The key factor is which approach the company takes to combat that
problem, and as pointed out via the Periodic Table of Visualisation Methods, Big
Data is such a huge area that finding a distilled solution is

As crowd went their separate ways to their track of choice we
decided to stick with some hardcore Java for most of the day, with
a smattering of cloud thrown in.

Simon Ritter’s The Future of the Java Platform: Java SE
8 & Beyond

First up was Oracle’s Java enthusiast Simon Ritter, who
outlined where the language was heading for the next decade, even
briefly mentioning 2021’s Java 12. Closer to the present however is
next year’s Java 8 and Ritter explained the key concepts of JDK 8,
being Project Lambda and moving to modularity in Project Jigsaw.
It’s perhaps a shame there wasn’t more updated content in Simon’s
keynote versus his equivalent talk at JAX London at the start of
November 2011.  You can view the video of Simon’s keynote
presentation from JAX here:

Ritter also told the packed room that Java would revert back to
a two-year cycle as the almighty amount of dust from the Oracle
acquisition has finally settled, allowing Java to grow. Ritter
touched on future ideas, but was clear to state that these plans
may change in future. One final point from Ritter was that Java
wasn’t in a lull and he rebuffed suggestions that Java would become
irrelevant alongside newer languages. 

“Java is not the new Cobol,” Ritter said. “I’ve seen analyst
reports where Java is the new Cobol where it drifts off into
insignificance but I don’t believe it is that way.” In fact
there’s preliminary talks about making Java object-orientated, but
again, the key word is preliminary.

Jevgeni Kabanov – Do you really get class loaders?

Up next was the charismatic founder of ZeroTurnaround, Jevgeni
Kabanov delving into the world of class loaders, providing
invaluable advice on how to deal with every type of class
loading failure you can imagine. Kabanov’s expertise in the area is
well known, with revolutionary products like JRebel and LiveRebel,
and the interactive session got the crowd involved with solving
classloader leakage problems.

JAXenter.com recently caught up with the Jevgeni
to talk JRebel and LiveRebel. (link)

Cloud 2017: Cloud architectures in 5 years

Wandering over to the cloud track, there was an interesting
panel about the future of cloud architecture in the next few years.
Chaired by Andrew Phillips of JClouds, the panel consisted of the
‘Diabolical Developer’ Martijn Verburg (donning shades), developer
Mark Holdsworth, DevOps master Patrick Debois and ElasticHosts
co-founder Richard Davies and discussed the key cloud trends at the
moment and where we are heading in the future. 

There was an inherent focus on private vs public clouds (and a
hope of breaking down that barrier) and a wide-held belief that
social features would naturally become part of the whole package.
There seemed to be a backlash against Agile methods too.

Holdsworth argued that we should empower teams to pick tech that
they want to use and that they should make the decision themselves.
Verburg’s biggest fear was of existing in-house teams heading into
the cloud to avoid internal IT teams and not bringing a ‘cloud
culture’ with them, merely being conduits for those who pay
lip-service of Agile. It was a thought-provoking session and
certainly covered a huge amount of points.

Attila Szegedi: JVM performance optimizations at
Twitter’s scale

Proving to be one of the most popular sessions, (so much so that
it had to move to a bigger room), newly acquired Oracle employee,
Attila Szegedi, covered just some of the techniques he employed at
Twitter to improve performance and tackle latency when dealing with
garbage collections. It was a tour de force with some interesting
methods on show, notably having a newer generation and the old
sitting side by side.

Szegedi also covered object creation; saying it was easier
to create a temporary object and throw it away rather than having a
pooled cache. There was also the concept of Eden (a nursery
generation) using -XX:+UseSerialGC, +UseParallelGC,
+UseParallelOldGC - to determine whether the size of the
Eden generation is appropriate for your application. It was
interesting to hear how to deal with garbage collection the size of
Twitter’s and how to apply those concepts into other projects.

After that, we had to cut loose ahead of the after-party,
but QCon was a good event attended by some of the
biggest vendors and had speakers full of interesting Java

We wanted to check out some of the other non-Java tracks, which
take up more of the space at QCon this year, but we are nothing if
not committed at JAXenter, so stuck to only the Java stuff, and it
was worth it.

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