IOUC User Group Leader's Summit 2012

by Tim Peeters

Last week, I had the pleasure to represent Belgium at the IOUC User Group Leader's Summit. The IOUC represents Oracle user groups worldwide and enables us to share experiences and exchange best practices for leading and managing user groups. The conference is attended by Oracle, MySQL and Java User Groups.

I took an early flight to spend some time on Sunday with the Java User Group leaders. Stephen Chin invited us all for Chinese brunch in the Hong Kong Flower Lounge followed by a go-kart race. I overindulged myself on all kind of dim sums and dumplings believing the extra weight would help me to master the corners in the go-karts.

I managed to get the pole position in the qualifying rounds but after a bad start, I had to catch up on Kevin Nilson and Stephen Chin. With a bit of luck, I ended first place and I'm happy to bring back the title of fastest JUG to Belgium. We now have something to defend next year! Thanks again for organizing this great event Stephen.

After the race, we watched an American Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. Unfortunately the 49ers lost by 3 points but we quickly forgot about this because the conference welcome reception had already started. I met some great people at the reception like Tom Scheirsen, User Group Relation Manager for EMEA and Paulette Daniels our Liaison for the Benelux.

Day 1

The conference was organized at the Oracle Headquarters in Redwood Shores. A record number of 151 user group leaders was present, including 17 JUG leaders. You could easily spot the JUG leaders as they were not wearing suits. I promised Stephan Janssen to wear my bright red Devoxx hoodie the first day and it turned out to be an excellent conversation starter.

Tom Scheirsen brought together all the EMEA leaders in the morning for the first session. We all introduced ourselves and shared best practices. Afterwards, I had a great chat with Regina ten Bruggencate, the current president of JDuchess. Duchess is a global organization for women in the Java world. I was glad to hear that their network had doubled in size last year and they now have well over 500 members.

After lunch, it was time for a general welcome session in the auditorium. This year there would be 75 sessions, including a full Java track and some unconference sessions. We were able to vote on topics for the unconference sessions. Popular topics were social media and tools to use for event management.

In the afternoon, Sharat Chander had some great news for us. JavaFX for Linux ... It's Here! The JavaFX 2.1 Developer Preview weekly builds would now be available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux/x86.
Tomas Nilsson took over after Sharat and introduced Project Join-A-Jug. He showed some interesting numbers, 64% of Java developers never attends a JUG meeting, 17% rarely, 11% quarterly and only 9% attends a meeting monthly. I'm very happy with the amount of developers we reach with the BeJUG but it's good to see that Oracle is working hard to reach even more developers.

Oracle created a few movies with the theme: User Groups, are you a member yet?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTysmWCB2i0

To finish the day, Donald Smith gave a session called Understanding and Influencing OpenJDK followed by a reception at the Oracle Conference Center.

Day 2

On day 2, we received an update about the JCP by Patrick Curran. New JSRs will by default operate in a transparent manner and existing JSRs will be encouraged to voluntarily adapt the new rules. Patrick also explained JSR 355, the Executive Committee merge and the decrease in members.

Ben Evans from the London Java Community continued talking about JSRs and presented the project called 'Adopt a JSR'. The goal of the project is to be at the forefront of new technology and ensure that ivory tower standards do not occur. A group of JUG members gets together regularly and works on a JSR. This way, they make sure the libraries and APIs are useful and they help define the future of Java. Ben showed us a step-by-step approach to get involved into the project. If you're interested, you can read all about this at http://adoptajsr.org.

During lunch, we played live audience for the recording of the Java Spotlight episode 66. Roger Brinkley and Terrance Barr brought along several of the JUG leaders and talked about how they manage their user group.

In the afternoon, Arun Gupta gave a very nice cloud update about Java EE 7 followed by some impressive demos on Glassfish version 4. Not everything in Java EE 7 is about the cloud however and I'm glad to see that the ManagedBeans will be aligned across CDI, EJB, JSF, ... I've seen a lot of confused people in the past due to this. All JSRs for Java EE 7 are up and running and there are already early drafts available for JSF 2.2, JAX-RS 2.0, JPA 2.1 and CDI 1.1. So there's plenty enough to play around with the next weeks. The final release target for Java EE 7 is the 3rd quarter of 2012. Anything not ready will be deferred to Java EE 8.

Day 3

The last day of the conference, Simon Ritter was talking about JavaFX and John Ceccarelli gave us an update on what's new in NetBeans 7.1. I've always been more of an IntelliJ and Eclipse user but I must admit that it's tempting to give NetBeans another try.

I was impressed by the amount of work that Oracle put into the event. Mary Lou and her team did an excellent job!

Google Visit

Wednesday afternoon, Van Riper organized a visit to the Google offices in Mountain View. An amazing experience! Colorful bikes to take you from one building to the other. Healthy food everywhere, fresh fruit and vegetable shakes, big fitness rooms, onsite haircuts, relax chairs, pool tables.

Van also arranged a meeting with Kevin Bourrillion, Joshua Bloch, Gilad Bracha, Seth Ladd and Paul Saxman. Kevin first told us everything about the Guava project and we had some time to do Q&A. Afterwars, Joshua and Gilad gave a very entertaining talk about Dart. Definitely some good inspiration for Devoxx 2012! Chet Haase joined us for dinner and we talked about Google TV and the possibility to have Parleys presentations on TV!

Thanks again Van, for organizing the Google visit. It was an excellent way to finish a great conference!

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