Boston JVM Conference Wrap-Up

NFJS 2016 Tour The attendees and speakers have left, the boxes are packed and we set our sights on our next stop; ArchConf 2016 in San Diego. With such a great show, it’s worth taking a moment to look back on the weekend!

We’ve been taking over the conference facility in the Four Points Wakefield hotel for several years now. This year we had another capacity crowd learning about everything from Java8, Reactive programming, microservices, architecture, soft skills and more. The demand is so high, we’ll actually be returning to the Boston area later this summer.

Without a doubt, the bigest draws on day one were Ken Kousen’s Java8 Recipes, and Raju Gandhi’s Web Apps with AngularJS which packed the largest rooms.

The strong opening lineup also included great content around microservices, Cloud Native Architecture, taking a fresh look at “The Pragmatic Programmer” and a even software-engineer-turned-professional-mentalist discussing how to use principles of influence to be an effective change agent in your organization.

Day One wrapped with dinner and Matt Stine’s thought-provoking keynote, “Antifragile Architectures


Day two opened with another big hit, Matt Stine’s “Refactoring the Monolith – Live” which focuses on both the theory and practice of refactoring an overgrown legacy system into a family of well-factored microservices.

Microservices, JavaScript, and Architecture are certainly hot topics–and we could easily build a successful conference around these tracks–but the value of a NFJS show is not just the depth, but breadth. Groovy/Grade, TDD, agility, productivity, security and database performance, even strategies to deal with management, all had their place on the lineup.

Day two wrapped with our Birds of a Feather sessions, where you can sit down and pick the speakers’ brains on a variety of topics including.

In our industry, It’s important to not only be up-to-date with the current technologies, but also to know what’s around the corner. Java9, ES6, and more held their ranks in the lineup; but this also led to a thought-provoking panel discussion on day three.


One question centered around why our industry is seemingly so bad at predicting the future. Specifically, for years industry pundits have been beating the drum of the demise of Java-to be replaced by Groovy or Scala etc, yet many of us still use Java to this day. The tongue-in-cheek question to the panel was “So what do you think will replace Java this time?”

The perspective of the panel was that, in many ways, languages like Groovy have replaced Java-albeit only in some use-cases and organizations. There will never be another perfect storm of circumstances that led to Java being the ubiquitous language that it is; but the idea of having one-language to rule them all is an outdated concept and a bit of a red herring. If a language like Scala can solve your problems more eloquently than Java, and your organization adopts Scala for that reason, Scala has replaced Java.

Another other great take-away from the panel discussion was their thoughts on remaining ahead of the curve in technology. The question was “How can we keep up and stay relevant in our industry?” The answer was in two parts. One was to keep doing what you’re doing (learning, attending conferences, staying active in the community). The other was to consider how you’re adding value to the organization. Resume Driven Development rarely adds value but if you remain value-focused you will always be in demand.

Day three finished strong with another day of sessions spanning a variety of topics ranging from technical to self-development to architectural and evolutionary thinking. As one attendee put it “I like NFJS conferences because I not only walk away with technical knowledge but also new ways of thinking and perspective.”

It is always a pleasure to come to Boston. Thank you so much to all the attendees who made this a truly wonderful conference!

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