Devoxx 08 Wrapup

Devoxx is unfortunately over but it was, as usual, awesome! Congratulations once again to the Devoxx team for their hard work and a fantastic result. I am really glad where the conference is going as this year it wasn’t only about Java. We thus got sessions on Flex, Silverlight, Groovy, Android… I can’t wait to go back next year to discover what else we’re gonna see.

Although I didn’t attend many sessions this week I really enjoyed what I saw about Flex. The ease with which you can apply animations, transitions and other various effects to live widgets is, not surprisingly, very appealing to me. Chet most notably showed how to apply PixelBender shaders to widgets and I can’t wait to give this a try. Benjamin also demonstrated his amazing Parleys Publisher tool, a video editing tool written in Flex/AIR. This tool can analyze a video stream and detect where the speaker changes slides to automatically create chapters. I would love to see the source code of that app.

I also enjoyed the session about, where Stephan presented various implementations of the player in Flex, GWT, JavaFX and iPhone. I was surprised and impressed by the visual quality of the GWT app, which was very close to the JavaFX version (the Flex implementation is one version ahead and richer, both in terms of visuals and features.) You can go try the current parleys player on

If you never went to Devoxx (well, JavaPolis), you really should try to go next year. It is a great event where you can meet very interesting people and enjoy Belgium beer.

8 Responses to “Devoxx 08 Wrapup”

  1. Pop says:

    Are you going to put slides/source you presented online?
    I’ve been working with Flex for about a year now and I’m really amased at how costless it is to get a pimping rich app on the tracks. If you take (very little) time to skin the components you can really make astonishing things, especially when you start playing around with Papervision.
    Have you seen interesting things about Gumbo (Flex 4)? I should have attended Adobe Max in Milano but it finally wasn’t possible, I would have liked to see what the Adobe crew was going to show!

  2. Romain Guy says:

    Gumbo has a few very interesting changes, most notably a new components model and better animations/effects APIs. I’m also very excited about Flash Catalyst (ex-Thermo). I can’t wait to give this tool a try.

  3. Thierry says:

    I still think that JavaFX is the most impressive release by Sun in a long time.
    There is nothing to be ashamed of when you compare it to Flex or Silverlight.
    When I see ‘Tour de Flex’, it is not that impressive. Not at all.
    Competition is good.

  4. Romain Guy says:

    JavaFX has very interesting pieces in it but I’m not excited about it. Even though the language has very nice features (like the bind keyword), I find it hard to read. I am also much more interested in the tools available for Flex than the ones for JavaFX (granted, Flex Builder needs a lot of work :). And “Tour de Flex” is not meant to be impressive, it’s just a collection of demos showcasing the Flex APIs, much like Java SE’s SwingSet.

  5. Pieter says:

    I liked the demo’s Chet gave on Gumbo and Pixelbender at Devoxx, though a collegue of mine says they are not as impressive as JavaFX, I think Flex has (and will keep) the upper hand at the moment.

  6. Romain Guy says:

    I agree the demos were not as impressive but the Flex demos Chet showed were tutorial demos, aimed at explaining how one particular feature works. The JavaFX demos, on the other hand, were demos to showcase the potential of JavaFX. You can certainly find equivalent demos for Flex on various websites.

  7. Pop says:

    IMHO JavaFX will have a VERY long road to run up to catch up with Flex. Flash Player is available on almost every personal computer, it’s a matter of time before every lightweight device does the same (there is already quite a good bunch of mobile phones with a flash player). Silverlight stands a chance because of Microsoft power and capability of embedding the player in their Windows system.
    Even if I’m very fond of Java and the work guys at Sun do, I don’t think JavaFX stands a chance.

  8. maarten says:

    I think Java FX has some nice features (I especially liked the ability to drag an applet out of the browser) but I am somewhat concerned about the security. Flash runs in a secure sandbox with limited access to the system where as Java can do just about everything when you allow it to run. Many people click ‘ok’ without verifying the signer etc. This will make it hard for them to go head to head with flash, although it does allow for powerful rich clients. As for syntax : commas and semicolons are optional, Really?? that will make to code look even worse.