O Google, Where Art Thou?
One of the most significant stories leading up to last year's JavaOne was Google's withdrawing from participation. Although the conference turned out to be a huge success in terms of quantity and quality of technical content, this content would undoubtedly have been enhanced by the availability of Google-led presentations.
Due to its timing, Google's withdrawal from JavaOne 2010 not only meant the loss of their employee's presentations, but also meant that the slots which their employees' presentations had held were left largely unfilled with alternative content. While the best case would be to have Google participation in JavaOne 2011, the worst case would be for Google to submit abstracts, be accepted, and then withdraw again, preventing certain slots from being filled with technical content. I don't envision Google doing something like the latter because most reasonable people would see such intentional deception as a violation of the company philosophy "You can make money without doing evil.". Instead, my guess is that they'll either not allow employees to submit abstracts at all or else will allow them to present if they submit abstracts that are accepted. I doubt we'll see another withdrawal of participation like we did in JavaOne 2010: it'll likely either be participation as planned or no participation at all.
Last year, Google not only had employees as speakers, but was also a significant sponsor. In fact, they continued to be listed as a sponsor on the web site, on conference materials, and on conference signs and banners throughout the conference. So far, only Intel ("Diamond") is listed as a sponsor of JavaOne 2011.
I have no way of knowing whether Google will participate in JavaOne 2011. However, if I had to hazard a guess one way or the other, I'd have to guess that Google won't participate in JavaOne because the original cause of their JavaOne 2010 withdrawal ("Oracle’s recent lawsuit against Google") is still unresolved and is not likely to be resolved before closing the call for papers. I think it's more likely that Google won't sponsor the conference and won't have any employees speaking than that they'd either sponsor the conference or allow employees to speak at JavaOne 2011.
Last year, there was a MySQL Sunday held in conjunction with Oracle OpenWorld 2010 and JavaOne 2010. Will there be a MySQL Sunday this year? If so, will it be held in conjunction with Oracle OpenWorld 2011 or with JavaOne 2011? JavaOne 2011 is being advertised as exclusively Java:
JavaOne 2011 is exclusively yours. This year’s JavaOne conference brings Java experts and enthusiasts an extraordinary week of learning and networking focused entirely on all things Java.
Many Java developers use MySQL, but is that "Java enough" to make the cut?
What Will the Activities Be?
The Mason Street Tent had several activities that were likely dominated by JavaOne attendees last year. However, there were some major events that were intended for both conferences. With the completely separate conferences scheduled for 2011 at the same time in the same city, will all the activities be separate as well? Or, will the technical tracks and content be separate with shared activities?
Deals for Those Who Wish to Attend Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne?
With two totally separate conferences, will there still be reduced pricing for someone wishing to buy passes to both conferences as compared to the price of paying for each conference separately? Would it make sense to purchases passes, even at a reduced rate, to these simultaneous conferences? Problems last year in trying to attend sessions in both included the physical distance and the misaligned session start and stop times between the two conferences. With this year's conferences being intentionally separate, it's likely that the times will be no better aligned than they were last year.
What Will be the Big Announcement(s)?
Many previous JavaOne conferences have been associated with significant announcements. JavaFX has seemed to dominate recent years' JavaOne conferences and it continued to be a major topic at last year's JavaOne 2010. However, last year's big announcement related to JavaFX was the dropping of JavaFX Script and making JavaFX more friendly (new API) to Java and other JVM-based languages. I'm still not convinced that JavaFX has gained significant traction in the Java community, but I thought this direction is the most likely to give it a chance. I suspect we'll hear more about how this work is progressing and will hear sales pitches and evangelism for JavaFX 2.0 at JavaOne 2011.
It is highly likely that Java 7 will be a major topic at JavaOne 2011. I hope that Java 8 will also receive significant coverage because the turnaround for it should be significantly shorter than that for Java 7 based on Mark Reinhold's presentation last year. We might even be fortunate enough to get some more information on Java 9!
Although JavaFX and Java 7 are obvious candidates for major announcements at JavaOne 2011, there are numerous other Java frameworks, libraries, and tools that might receive significant attention.
Separate But Equal?
It sounds like Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne will be two completely separate conferences in 2011 despite being held in the same city on the same dates. With such a setup, there's little question that Oracle OpenWorld will still be the bigger of the two conferences. It will have more attendees, it will get the Moscone Center, and it will be the conference most well-known by residents of the city. Many JavaOne attendees last year did not like attending the "lesser" conference held in the shadow of the bigger and more well-known conference. I mostly go to conferences such as this for the technical content and was not disappointed. Perhaps the most significant issue I had with JavaOne being the lesser conference was the less audience-friendly environment in the hotel presentation rooms as compared to the Moscone. However, in most rooms, I was able to see most of the slides and only had trouble with things on the bottom of slides. It might be worth warning JavaOne 2011 speakers to avoid using the bottom margin of their slides as much as possible.
I actually kind of liked walking between the hotels and getting some limited outdoors exposure between sessions in different buildings. With Mason Street blocked off, it was easy to get between the three buildings and it was nice to clear my head as I walked between buildings. The weather in San Francisco is late September was beautiful and it should be nice in early October as well. The locations of the rooms were somewhat confusing at first, but I quickly learned where they were and became fairly adept at getting from one session to another.
By most measures, a JavaOne held simultaneously with an Oracle OpenWorld will be deemed the lesser of the two conferences. That doesn't mean that JavaOne still won't be a fabulous, content-rich conference with enthusiastic participants. I am also reminded that last year I thought the JavaOne 2010 keynote was far more interesting than the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 keynote.
I'm looking forward to JavaOne 2011. The mixture of technical content with great locale makes this a great experience.