On Thursday the 31st of May I went to the J-Spring conference at Utrecht, the Netherlands. J-Spring is the largest one day Java conference in the Netherlands in the spring organised by the NLJUG (Dutch Java User Group). The title of the event might be a bit misleading as you may think that it is only about Pivotal’s Spring, but it is more than that. In this post I want to share my experiences that day.

First of all, why should you attend a conference? That is a reasonable question. You can read articles at home, you can view a lot of conference talks on YouTube, you can read books, … So why bother to go to a conference? Well, you can compare it with listening to music at home and going to a concert. Or watch a movie at your television and going to the cinema. One important aspect is the atmosphere. You can see and experience famous speakers live and that is very different than to watch them on a YouTube movie. During a conference you are getting more and more enthusiastic about all the great things you are hearing. Besides that, you will hear things you might not have found on your favorite tech websites and everything you hear is from prominent Java speakers. And at last, you spend your day with like-minded people and maybe you meet old fellow students or former colleagues.

This having said, J-Spring was a fun event: nearly 600 attendees, 18 speakers, a beautiful location at the heart of Utrecht (TivoliVredenburg) and it was very well organised. I chose the talks I wanted to go to on forehand and with the Event App, I put my program together. Also via this App, you could rate the talks. There were 2 keynotes and besides the keynotes, there were 5 parallel sessions of each 3 talks to choose from. Compared to the bigger conferences, it makes it easier to decide to which session you want to go 😉

There were 3 talks that impressed me the most:

  1. Fostering an evolving architecture in the agile world, by Roy van Rijn:
    A story was told about the Harbour Master application of the Port of Rotterdam which was transformed from a legacy monolith application to a microservices architecture. Especially valuable in this talk was that this transformation was not only a success story and these kind of stories you don’t hear much at conferences or you don’t read them on the internet. One of the reasons that they made this transformation, was the ability to attract and keep good developers in the team: if you have a legacy application which is build with old technologies, it will be harder or even impossible to attract and keep good developers. The transformation to microservices made it easier to upgrade a single service or even replace one without having to impact the whole monolith and therefore made it easier to modernize the application. This means that your company’s recruiter has now become a stakeholder of your legacy application. Something to think about.
  2. The Diabolical Developer’s Guide to Performance Tuning, by Martijn Verburg:
    Definitely an interesting talk about the Performance Diagnostic Model. This model gives you the means to quickly identify where a performance problem is situated (in the hardware, JVM, OS, application or external factors). Very interesting and can save you days of effort when analyzing performance issues.
  3. Making Microservices Micro with Istio and Kubernetes, by Ray Tsang:
    Here a Service Mesh, Istio, was introduced. A Service Mesh allows you to manage load balancing, authentication, monitoring, circuit breakers, and so on, in your Kubernetes cluster without having to enable these in your microservice code and therefore keeps your microservice micro. The concept is similar to deployments to your Kubernetes cluster, but then for the topics mentioned above. Again, one step further in simplifying this in a Kubernetes cluster. Looks very promising!

I enjoyed attending J-Spring, received a lot of information and homework 😉 Keep an eye on this blog, I will definitely write about the above topics the coming months.