NFJS Conference

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally posting about my recent experience at the No Fluff, Just Stuff conference.This was my first time at an NFJS conference, and overall it was well worth the weekend.

A few common themes seemed to permeate the show...

JSF

Seriously?  People are still using this stuff?  Damn, maybe the Java community is in worse shape than I thought.  Legions of developers using tools simply because they believe in Ivory Tower standards.  I was tempted more than once to join a JSF session just to pitch Wicket.  I ran into one other Wicket-eer at NFJS and hopefully next year will have a much larger group if the Twin Cities Wicket User Group starts up.

Agile

Everyone and their mother's uncle is doing Agile.  Finally, there are no more Agile vs. Waterfall debates.  Test Driven Development is standard practice.  Lots of people asking, "How can we do Agile better and take it to the next level?"  That's one of the most powerful tenets of Agile...iterations. Everything is a work in progress, including your development methodology.  Interesting presentations revolved around gathering metrics for Agile projects and how to build Self Describing Systems to avoid unnecessary documentation.

Performance

Java developers are in real trouble here.  Let me elaborate...

At least 90% of the developers in the Enterprise Application Performance session are building web apps, but we spent 2 hours basically talking about database tuning.  HELLO!?!?  Have these people been trapped in some kind of alternate universe for the past year? Yes, tuning your backend system is important, but not a single person in that room had heard of how important management of your web resources is to the perceived performance of your application!  It's sad that "Enterprise" Java developers don't have the slightest idea how to build fast webapps.

Another important part of performance for Java applications is understanding the JVM.  Understanding the JVM internals is something that every Java developer should be forced to understand, especially garbage collection.  There were a few excellent sessions for understanding Java under the hood.

Overall, the conference was great, and I would highly recommend it to anyone else. Hopefully next time around they'll have a session or two about Wicket! =)