Devoxx University

As the university days on Devoxx are nearly finished I’d like to summarize some of the more interesting talks that happened during the first two days. Marc already wrote some words on the conference itself so I will focus on the talks.
Monday started off with Neal Ford talking about Productive Programmers. The topics he covered are quite basic but nevertheless important to know for every developer. The first part showed how to optimize your daily work, circling around the terms automation, acceleration, canonicality and focus. Some useful tools and techniques were presented e.g. an Eclipse plugin for learning keyboard shortcuts that sounds really nice: Every time you are using the mouse to navigate or select an action a message is displayed that tells you how to do the same thing just with the keyboard. I’d be glad to have a plugin like this for Netbeans! During the second part a lot of best practices for coding were covered, always good to keep those in mind. All in all a very inspiring talk and a good start of the week.
For the afternoon session I chose MongoDB, the document oriented database. Being already familiar with the basic concepts from FrOSCon and several podcasts I’ve been especially interested in seeing it in action using Java. Two basic approaches were introduced: The raw Java driver that is developed by the MongoDB team lets you work on quite a low level handling Maps of Strings and Objects. A more sophisticated approach is to use the community developed Morphia-driver which allows to annotate POJOs just like when using JPA. I wouldn’t have expected to see such a nice abstraction for MongoDB yet, definitely something to keep an eye on. I am curious if Spring Data can offer something similar in the near future.
On tuesday I had to get up extra early: the Scala lab offered by Dick Wall of the Javaposse and Bill Venners was scheduled for the BOF rooms which only fit around 50 people. Definitely the highlight of the conference so far as with only few attendees there was a lot of time for excercises and support by these two experts. I hope I can start using Scala at work soon, ScalaTest is supposed to be a good starting point for learning the language without having to integrate it in a production system.
Back to Java in the afternoon: Emmanuel Bernard demonstrated new features in Hibernate and JPA 2. Besides the typesafe Criteria API it was really nice to see the fluent APIs used for Hibernate Search. Seems like Hibernate Search can free you from a lot of programming work when integrating Lucene and Hibernate.
Looking forward to the rest of the conference which will surely bring more interesting talks during the rest of the week!