A little more than three weeks ago I was in Devoxx Belgium. It had it all. The core Java talks, the bytecode wonders, the soft skills, a look at the future, and Venkat.

This is the second conference of my journey in the Java community. The first one being last year in Voxxed Athens. I have it as a personal goal to go to at least one major conference each year. With a mediterranean edition in Athens and probably the most major one of Europe in Belgium taken off the list, the next year will be an interesting choice.

Briefly I am going to share a few interesting bits and pieces.

Qualities of a Highly Effective Architect

This is probably my favorite talk of the conference. Not technical on the surface, only pure behavior-driven talk. You listen to this talk and you find yourself in most of the situations Venkat so sincerely describes with bits of humor too.

TL;DR Software is made by people. We are responsible for much more than we can imagine. We have a deep impact on the organizations we work for, far beyond the reach of our code. Be humble, respect people, and fight every day to make working better and easier for each one around you, and you will be happy to see the results.

Venkat has stopped by some points I think one should try to learn:

  • Be a mentor, not a tormentor
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Guide, don’t dictate
  • Focus on the outcome, not the process
  • Learn to unlearn
  • Lead by example
  • Write code (seriously!)
  • Practice collective ownership (it’s not you, it’s we)

Evolving a Pragmatic, Clean Architecture - A Craftsman’s Guide

Victor Rentea does some fine talk going through an evolving design for enterprise applications.

Half-jokingly he shares some philosophy:

The Codebase is a garden.

Not a construction.

Code is organic.

It needs continuous care.

I’d like to call that the Zen of Victor.

The takeaway message of this talk is also interesting: Put passion in all that you do.

Bol.com and the Accelerated Legacy Challenge

This talk has my most favorite metaphor of the conference lol.

Legacy code == The picture of Dorian Gray

Raul Leal is so dramatic telling a story of how legacy comes to haunt you.

The talk goes on to mention the history of Bol.com and how they’ve grown up and handle change.

Agile is STILL a Dirty Word!

This talk by James Birnie who works for Codurance, holds his own experience through many of the Agile fallacies.

Anti-agile organizational smells you may have come across yourself, agile goals and principles, and Conway’s law make for a very effective talk.

Designing functional and fluent API: example of the Visitor Pattern

José Paumard goes deep in this technical talk. He explains this pattern in so much detail.

Why the visitor pattern?

He explains:

Because it is tough to implement.

So if you can implement it, then you can implement anything.

A Stuart Marks reference also made the talk:

If you have a problem to solve, and you use the Visitor pattern, then you have two problems: the original problem and the Visitor pattern.

Frankly, I agree.

What Lies Beneath

I enjoyed this session so much. Like the previous talk, it goes on a deep level and it makes you wonder.

I learned that so much goes into a simple division operation in Java. I’m not gonna spoil the talk..

Ask the Java Architect

The “Ask the Architect” series is a favorite of mine. Unfortunately, this one missed Mark Reinhold.

Brian Goetz, Stuart Marks, and Ron Pressler answered questions and it’s really nice to see where Java is going in hands of these people.

I personally asked two questions (after the talk, ofc) to Stuart Marks and God he knew his stuff.

Java Language Futures: Late 2019 Edition

I’m still waiting to try out the new features I saw in this talk.

Java is 25 years old, and now it is not going to die anytime soon.

Record and Pattern Matching are very interesting additions to the language and I can’t wait to get my hands on them.

Summing Up

This Devoxx edition was great. Being at a conference is very nice and knowing how much there is to learn(and unlearn) is amazing.