As expected JavaFX was big news again, with finally the unveiling of the "designer tool", Tor Norbye did a few entertaining demos of this very promising tool. Next to that it was impressive to finally see JavaFX running on a few mobile devices (HTC Touch Diamond and a device from SonyEricsson) and a flatscreen TV by LG with more than acceptable performance. Although many speculated on JavaFX's future, Larry Ellison made a clear statement during the show that he likes JavaFX so much that he wants to continue the investment and even do a rewrite of OpenOffice with JavaFX. I'm not sure if that's a good idea, but these statements took some pressure off of the shoulders of our friends at the JavaFX team.
Not very surprising was the unveiling of the Java Store, think Apple App Store for iPhone and iTouch, but then for any type of Java application. It seems like we are finally getting a component marketplace for us Java developers.
Last but not least a couple of days before JavaOne the next release of JavaFX 1.2 was released, with as biggest improvements: performance, documentation and API cleanup, new components (codename Caspian) and charting. For more info about what's new in 1.2 check out Stephen Chin's blog. JavaFX engineers Richard Bair and Jasper Potts annouced a new blog: FXExperience where they'll teach us some neat JavaFX tips and tricks.
It hasn't been communicated much publicly, Tor Norbye mentionned it briefly during the JavaPosse BOF, that a new graphic subsystem is in the works to replace good old AWT and Swing. This will give us an even faster startup time for JavaFX applets and better performance by directly interacting with the hardware of your platform. The ETA for all these JavaFX goodies is 'end of the year', so will we get a release at Devoxx as they did with JavaFX 1.0 last year? Hopefully they realize Devoxx is 1 month earlier this year ;-)
This year cloud is also big news. First we had Amazon AWS (EC2), then Google App Engine and now Sun is joining the party. Java developers will get an API to interact with Sun's cloud infrastructure and get access to virtualized hardware just like EC2 and with a similar pricing model. Very exciting times for startups!
Like every year I try to improve my book collection... So this year I picked up Clean Code by Robert C. Martin, an excellent book that teaches you best practices in writing clean (Java) code and how to keep it that way. Alhough you're probably already aware of most of the best practices described in the book, it reminds you why we're putting up with this effort. It's also usefull to have these arguments at hand when you need to convince your boss or client that unit testing and refactoring is so important. Next to Joshua Bloch's Effective Java 2nd edition, my choice for book of the year.