Monday, 23 April 2018

Goodbye JavaOne, you will be missed... :(

I am sad, JavaOne always had a very important place in my heart even in it'd declining years. For the last few years, it was more like an annual gathering than the technical event I learn most but still, JavaOne had a very important part in my life.

I always followed and wanted to attend JavaOne since from the early 2000s. However, being located geographically far and multiplying the costs because of getting your income in a weaker currency, stopped me for years. Early 2009, I was working in an international bank back in Istanbul, in a well paid but kind of a boring job. We were tied to vendor tied old versions of the most boring Java stack you may ever imagine. After a rough year of releasing the new version of a project, I decided to go JavaOne. Well, it wasn't a Turkish corporate culture to support employees to attend training and conferences (at least at the time..), I asked for a paid extra leave to attend JavaOne, paying all the expenses myself. Conference ticket of $1600, an Atlantic flight for $1200 and Hotel for roughly $1000, I would easily hit $4000+ cost so at least being paid for the days I am away would have been nice. Well, my manager didn't like the idea so I just quit. Yes, it was that simple, I worked long extra hours for the success of the project and didn't like the idea of not being supported. So went back to my desk, bought my JavaOne ticket, Booked my hotel and flight.

I was amazed, it was the last year Sun branded JavaOne, although the acquisition was almost complete. I stayed at the conference venue until 11pm every night to watch BoF sessions. Enjoyed every single moment, attend every session I could and regret not attending before.

A year later my brother was accompanying me for the first Oracle branded JavaOne. With his addon ticket, we had one of the most fun times we had together at JavaOne parties including the party at treasure island! The following year I was on stage! I was on the stage where I was admirably watching my Java heroes 2 years ago for the first time. Well technically not the same stage, it was not Moscone anymore but it was JavaOne!! Then again and again.

When I was getting married, the date of JavaOne was an important prerequisite to check. In fact, JavaOne became our honeymoon! About a week after getting married, we fly to San Francisco to attend JavaOne where I had four talks, with one being featured!! Well, that year I also remember for giving one the worst talk ever. Updating the source code in the morning before the talk and realizing all the demos will fail made me suffer on stage.

I had the chance to give talks with amazing people together on the very same stage. I gave a talk with my Java EE hero Reza Rahman, with my amazing friend Java Champion Mert Caliskan, my co-author and good friend Alex Theedom. In total, I attended 9 JavaOnes and gave 9 talks.

Oh, the parties... Well, except the first year which I was a rookie, I attended every party, sometimes up to 3-4 a night, and stop by a beer at the Taylor/Mason cafe.

Well, I guess it might be the time but still it is emotional. Overall the conference was in decline in the last years. Java was not the new kid on the block anymore, even worse didn't have the investment and progress it needed.

JavaOne was not just a technical event, it was a place to have my holidays, meet my friends, drink beer. It was the conference every year made me find interesting topics to give talks. It was a routine in my life. JavaOne simply changed my life,  Goodbye JavaOne, you will be missed.