You went where?! (My JavaOne 2006 Trip Report)

San Francisco, California.  That’s where I was all of last week.  And what, pray tell, was I doing there (besides enjoying the amazing California sunshine)?  I attended Sun’s JavaOne conference with a group of my fellow Microsoft colleagues.  We helped staff the Microsoft booth in the JavaOne Pavilion.


“What are you doing here?!”

“Wait! I don’t want to join the borg!”

“No way.  Nooo way!  I don’t believe this!”

“Are you giving away Xbox 360s?”

“You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me, right?!”


Those had to be the top 5 lines I heard over and over again throughout the week.  So what was Microsoft doing at the JavaOne conference?  Well, to be honest, one of the main goals (at least mine) was to try and make that one question people don’t feel intrigued to ask.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that Microsoft participated in JavaOne.  (They have for a couple of years now.)


I understand how the rough history between Microsoft and Sun may have resulted in some negative perceptions from both sides about the other.  However, there are many companies who use both Java and .NET technologies.  It doesn’t benefit customers if applications built on these two platforms cannot work with each other.  Therefore, it was our top goal to get the word out about interoperability between the two platforms.


That’s right; no one from Microsoft was there to convince people to ‘join the Borg’.  (Although, oddly enough, there were a few souls who inquired about joining it.)  The message was mainly about interoperability between the two platforms.  And yes, believe it or not, interoperability between the two platforms is real!


To that end, at the Microsoft booth, we distributed whitepapers, books, and resource kits for interoperability.  One of the books distributed was the patterns & practices book that I helped author during my former MCS days: “Application Interoperability: Microsoft .NET and Java”.  For anyone who is interested in interoperability, this book can be downloaded for free at:


Anyone who stopped by our booth and had their badge scanned was also entered in a drawing to win an Xbox 360.  And no, I’m not kidding.  There really will be an Xbox 360 given away.  (I’m not sure when the drawing results will be announced though.)


Attending the JavaOne conference was a great experience.  It gave me a chance to attend some of the sessions and learn about some of the great things going on in the Java world.  Microsoft was not the only one talking about interoperability at JavaOne.  There were several sessions presented by folks from Sun on the topic.  Sun is working closely with Microsoft to ensure that their new web services “stack”, WSIT (aka Project Tango) will interoperate with Microsoft’s new Windows Communication Foundation (aka Indigo).  It’s definitely cool stuff that I’m sure will make both companies’ customers very happy.


As an author of a .NET/Java interoperability book, I was excited to see the folks at Sun release an interoperability book of their own.  The book is “Java EE and .NET Interoperability” by Marina Fischer, Ray Lai, Sonu Sharma, and Laurence Moroney.  I was lucky enough to connect with the authors and get my copy of it signed by them!  I look forward to reading it when my copy arrives home. (I had it shipped along with some other books so I wouldn’t have to drag them along on the plane ride back to Jrzy.)


If there was one word I heard over and over at JavaOne besides interoperability, it was certainly AJAX.  With all of the talk about AJAX, I would have thought the restrooms would have been a bit cleaner than they were?  Can the hype get any louder?!  I’m still not 100% convinced by all of the hype on this stuff.  I think there are much more modern technologies for building rich web UIs coming down the pike.  It still amazes me how people are going coo-coo for cocoa puffs today about a technology introduced by Microsoft almost 10 years ago. 


That being said, I still think AJAX is cool stuff.  In the Java world, there are several vendors who have competing AJAX frameworks available.  Some of these frameworks are designed to extend server-side Java programming (similar to how “Atlas” extends ASP.NET).  Others are just plain client side JavaScript libraries that function independently of Java.  Each of them had some pretty nifty features about them!


One great session was the AJAX framework “shoot out” where a panel of speakers from the different AJAX framework organizations debated a set of questions set out by a moderator from Sun.  I’m looking forward to comparing the approach of each of those frameworks to that of “Atlas”, Microsoft’s implementation of an AJAX framework.


For more details about Microsoft’s visit to JavaOne, check out the following trip report posts from my colleague Mohammed Akif:  (Mohammed is a Microsoft Architect Evangelist based in Toronto, Ontario.)

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006 – Day 0

o       Micorosft at JavaOne 2006 – Day 1 – Part 1/3

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006 – Day 1 – Part 2/3

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006 – Day 1 – Part 3/3

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006 – Day 2

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006 – Day 3

o       Microsoft at JavaOne 2006 – Pictures


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