Java With The Best is a new Java conference in a series of developer conferences powered by BeMyApp. There are 2 main properties that differentiate this event from other conferences you may have attended – everything takes place online, without a physical venue, and attendees can book virtual 1-1 sessions with the speakers. The event featured 58 talks in 3 main tracks – Core Java; Big Data, Machine Learning and Cloud; Frameworks, Libraries and Languages – and a bonus Java Community Speaker track. I was invited to speak about Java 9 as part of the Core Java track.
In the session titled Exploring Java 9 with REPL, we dived into JShell and used it to explore a selection of noteworthy features in Java 9. We covered updates to 4 existing APIs – Collections, Stream, CompletableFuture, and Optional – as well as 4 completely new APIs in Java 9 – Stackwalker, ProcessHandle, HTTP/2 client, and JShell itself. As is quite common with my talks, this was a live-coding session featuring plenty of examples in Java.
This was my first speaking arrangement at a virtual conference and it was an interesting experience. As a speaker, you were allowed to test the conference platform a few days before the event, to make sure your hardware was supported, and everything would run smoothly when the time of the actual talk comes. A couple of challenges became apparent. The platform only allows you to share your whole screen, not a particular window. This means you cannot have notes on the screen, since the audience can see everything you see. The attendees are not connected with video or audio, but they can type their questions into a dialog on the conference website. However, since you can’t share a specific window, you don’t see the questions while you’re presenting. In my case, for example, the talk was a live demo taking place in my terminal, and I decided to keep the terminal window maximized to limit the distractions for the people watching. This means attendees don’t get answers to their questions throughout the talk, but need to wait until you go through them at the end, while also creating a strange experience for you as a speaker – you basically sit in a room and talk to yourself for 45 minutes, without getting any feedback from the audience. Finally, the platform was not really built for laptop use and live coding. I write a lot of code during my talk while speaking about it, but since the keyboard on my laptop is close to the microphone, the typing noise can be heard in the feed quite loudly, and sort of covers the speech in a very annoying way. It’s definitely not something you would want to listen to for more than a few minutes. As I don’t own an external keyboard, I opted for using my noise-cancelling headphones with a built-in microphone. This helped silence the keyboard noises, but created a strange experience of giving a talk in complete silence.
After making these adjustments, however, the talk went really well. I watched several other talks and enjoyed the conference overall. Big thanks to all the attendees!
The session was streamed live and a recording is online. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been made available for free, but now that the event is over, you can get access to all the conference content for $15.
As usual, the slides are available online (download here):
If you want to try the examples yourself, feel free to use the export of my JShell session: