NFJS Dallas Recap

I just had 3 fun days of Java, Java, Java. So much that my head hurts. Also, another pain I experience after attending NFJS is the pain that my pants fit a bit tighter after eating all the nice buffet style meals they throw at us.

Anyhow, this year’s No Fluff Just Stuff conference was as great as the past ones I’ve attended. I saw some of my favorite speakers (Glenn Vanderburg, and Venkat Subramaniam). I saw a couple local speakers give good presentations (Derek Lane and Craig Walls). And, I’ve found a new “must-see” speaker, Scott Davis.

Friday was all JavaScript and Ajax. I hit all three of Glenn Vanderburg’s talks. The first two were a part 1 and part 2, JavaScript Exposed. They were great. The first was a bit slow, the second was very deep and informative. Walking out of there, I was much, much smarter. Glenn’s talk on Ajax was also good. I can’t wait to pull my notes out and start reviewing the material.

Saturday I hit presentations by 3 different speakers. I started with Venkat Subramaniam’s Groovy talk. Venkat went 100 mph showing off tons of Groovy features. It was my first time being exposed to Groovy and I was very impressed. I kind of feel that there are way to many dynamic scripting languages. To the point that I almost feel like there is a new one every day, but Groovy looks like one that deserves to be around.

After Venkat’s talk I went to Ben Hale’s Spring Experience in 90 minutes. It was my first time hearing Ben and I think he did a very good job. He was brave enough to attempt a live coding demo of building a Spring app from service layer to web tier all in 90 mins. He did very well and impressed many people.

I finished my day attending Scott Davis’ Holistic Testing talk. As I said above, Scott is one of my new “must-see” presenters, and I think his talk was awesome. Probably my favorite of the weekend.

Sunday I started out in Ben Hale’s Spring Web Flow talk. It was good. Ben spent a bit too much time covering slides and not enough time in the code and web examples for my taste. But, I’ve seen a talk or two on SWF and Ben’s talk was geared more for people seeing it for the first time.

After Ben’s talk I caught Derek Lane’s TDD with Eclipse talk. It was the first time in a long time, that I’ve caught a talk by Derek. He could read random pages from the dictionary and it would be highly entertaining. Something about the way Derek delivers material makes his talks highly enjoyable. He kind of reminds me of Will Ferrel giving a talk about some Java technology. Derek’s talk was one of the weekend highlights for me. I’ll get links up to the cool TDD Eclipse plugins he talked about in a few days.
The last two talks I attended were given by our local Spring expert, Craig Walls. The first talk, was my first experience with Maven. Craig did a good job getting me interested in Maven, but he didn’t provide enough info to make me dangerous. The good thing is that he did a good job, at the beginning of his talk, pointing out where I need to go to find the info I need to start using Maven. The last presentation I saw, and my second from Craig, was his Spring-WS – Contract First talk. It was very interesting. Spring-WS looks very promising, but it seems to be a long way from a 1.0 release so I think I’ll give it some time to mature.

Again, NFJS was great. Look for some of my notes on the various talks I attended to start showing up over the next few days. This was just my quick (but overly long) recap on what I attended. As I go back through my notes I’ll find all the good stuff and get it up here.


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