Thursday, November 15, 2007

What I Liked About QCon 2007

Like I mentioned in the previous blog entry, I attended QCon 2007 last week. There are several things about this conference that I liked more than the other conferences I attended in the recent past including JavaOne. I thought I would list what I liked about QCon conference here.

  • All the tracks were excellent covering the latest and real world practical business and technology areas such as Architecture Quality (Part 1 and Part 2), Architecting for Performance and Scalability, SOA (REST to be specific), Agile Software Development, Client Technologies, Emerging Technologies, Application Security, and .NET. They were as diverse as they were of quality. The other tracks on Ruby and "Architectures You Always wondered about" gave me a good introduction to the new and popular scripting language and learn the real-world experiences of the architects who have designed and have been managing the large scale websites respectively.
  • Having the presenters from end-user companies like eBay, Yahoo, Orbitz, and LinkedIn gave the attendees a great perspective on the new trends in technology/design solutions these architects have come up with to tackle the scalability and latency architectural challenges in their projects. It was refreshing to hear they emphasize the "simplicity" in the design and architecture of the web applications instead of using heavy-weight technologies such as EJB, XA transactions etc.
  • Speaker-To-Attendee ratio was higher compared to other major conferences, which really helped the attendees to interact with the speakers and panel members more closely than at the other conferences. I think this is what makes it worth to pay for and attend the IT/Java conferences rather than just sit there and stare at the slides for an hour, then go to the next presentation and do the same thing all over again.
  • The 30-minute break between each session (instead of 15 minute break that other conferences have between sessions) made a big difference too. This gave the attendees a chance to talk to the presenter(s) of the session they just attended with any follow-up questions, catch up with other attendees on if and how they are using the technologies or frameworks that were just presented, get a cup of coffee, and still have time to decide which session to attend next.
  • Technical Panels were very thought provoking. The first panel discussion I attended was on Architecting for Scalability and Performance on Wednesday morning. The panel was well represented by architects from both the vendor and the end-user companies. This made the discussions unbiased, no self-promotion, and more interesting and informative to the attendees.
  • BOF on GigaSpaces on Thursday evening was great. I attended this BOF one hosted by Owen Taylor from GigaSpaces. Owen is a great teacher and he spent extra time helping us get the demo application running using GigaSpaces API. I am really thrilled to learn more about this technology. I read some articles about Space Based Architecture (SBA) before the conference, but this was my first time listening and learning more about it from the architects and developers who have founded this technology.
  • The Keynote Panel (and the last presentation of the conference) on Friday evening was innovative and interesting. This was hosted by none other than Martin Fowler. The panelists were the hosts of the technical tracks in the conference. It was interesting because this panel discussion was kind of to summarize the whole conference in about an hour and at the same time talk about what's coming in the Java/.NET/Agile/SOA areas.
Floyd and InfoQ team (along with JAOO group) did a great job in coordinating the conference which was a great experience to be part of. I look forward to attending the next QCon conference.

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