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EclipseCon 2014 Day 1

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Today is the first day (of sessions) of EclipseCon 2014 in North America, back on the West coast. And today also marks the monumental release of Java 8, which will be discussed in more detail as part of Java 8 day, all day in Grand Peninsula F.

The keynote will be particularly interesting; we’ve looked back at where Eclipse came from (including my interview with Mike on the past, present and future of Eclipse) often enough, but the new hotness at the Eclipse Foundation is the Internet of Things and I expect this to be one of the key subjects discussed, along with perhaps how the IDE will be in the cloud in future.

If you haven’t heard anything about Java 8, then you should set up camp in Grand Peninsula F today, where a number of Oracle and other presenters will talk about what’s new in Java 8. This release will be the biggest single change to the language since generics were released in Java 5, or inner classes in Java 1. Whist APIs aren’t going to jump to Lambdas immediately, by the end of 2014 a fair number of APIs will support them, and I expect that by 2015 they will be a mainstream part of Java’s use. Together with extension (formerly ‘defender’) methods, they will shake up Java’s APIs with a vengeance. Streams will be just as important, and the parallel computation of event sources are likely to find themselves used in a number of reactive designs in the future.

If you know everything there is to know about Java 8, then the Vert.x Day running in Grand Peninsula B is likely to be a significant player in future JVM based servers. If you haven’t heard of Vert.X, it’s like Node.JS except with real languages. Although the core is Java based, it can run programs (called verticles) written in Java, Groovy, Python or Ruby – or, if you’re really desperate, JavaScript or Scala. Messages are passed between verticles as JSON messages, in the same way that Go channels can pass data between them, but you can prototype in a scripting language first, and then switch to a real language afterwards for speed. I expect Java 8 to have a big impact here.

(Side-note; because Vert.x is based on Java, it means you can do some very cool things, like ‘vertx runmod io.vertx~hello-mod~1.0’ which will download the module from Maven Central and execute it. There’s also a clustering option to allow modules to be instantiated across multple instances.)

If you know everything there is to know about Java 8 and Vert.X, there’s still a lot more to see and do at EclipseCon. If you’re using Gerrit (and let’s face it, who isn’t using Gerrit these days?) then Ian Bull and Shawn Pearce are giving a great talk about how to plug-in to the Gerrit API. Why bother re-inventing the wheel when you can plug-in to it? If you want to know how to use Gerrit from the comfort of your own IDE, there’s a talk in the afternoon by Gunnar Wagenknecht who will show how the Mylyn Review tools can plug-in to Gerrit in-situ. Plus, there’s also the NASA talk (almost every talk with NASA in the title gets packed).

Later on in the day there’s a few JavaScript related talks; both about how the IDE in the browser is coming along, and how to do JavaScript development in Eclipse. Hopefully they’ll give attention to some of the frameworks that are commonplace now, like AngularJS and EmberJS. Plus, Martin Lippert will be talking about Flux (the new name for Flight) which is about making editing in the IDE cool again. If you’re not interested in JavaScript, then you should definitely look at the multi-cloud deployment with docker, because docker is starting to become a de-facto way of deploying applications on servers.

There’s lots more at the schedule for today but those are the talks I’m most interested in.

Finally, the EclipseCon hackathon will help you get used to contributing to Eclipse, and with the streamlined Gerrit review process it makes submitting changes easier than ever before. And the real conference conversations all happen in the late night bar.

Sadly, I’m not at EclipseCon this year, but I will be following tweets with #eclipsecon, so keep me updated by tweeting with that hashtag!