I've been a Java developer since JDK 1.0 beta back more than ten years ago at the start-up Starwave. It's exciting to follow all the new developments of this now mature platform, and through the generosity of Autodesk, I got to go to my first JavaOne conference.
Most of my conferences have been anime-related, and this is (maybe?) my first professional trade conference. I scheduled myself to attend mobile-related and server-related sessions. Here's my thoughts on Day One.
First of all, I found a lot of the content and presenters to not be as polished or quality as I had expected. Most of the panel presentations were 90% text and 10% examples and demos, and as for the speakers some of them weren't so good in English or very engaging. The talks were also quite short, in that only a few times did they actually have time to answer questions after presentations. And though the general conference session I attended did have engaging demos, much of it was thinly disguised shilling up Sun's technologies or platforms. The dramatic music when speakers came up on stage and scripted banter between speaker and keynote speaker was a little phony.
My goal was to keep my eyes open for technologies we should be using at Autodesk. The problem is many of the newer technologies we cannot yet use since we are "stuck" on a fairly old application server (Weblogic 9.2) for JEE, and it has only been very recently that we can now exploit JDK 5 features. The scope of third-party libraries we may want to use is actually quite small for the next release.