JavaZone Report. Spoiler: Awesome.

I had the pleasure of presenting Dart and Web Components at JavaZone 2013 in Oslo, Norway, and I'm so very happy I had the chance. The audience was clearly interested in Dart, the organizers are truly professional and welcoming, the crowd was friendly, the A/V setup was top-notch, and the logistics were easy.

JavaZone is produced by JavaBin, a large network of Java user groups across Norway. I believe this was the 12th or 13th year for JavaZone. The conference has the feel of a big happy meetup. It's chill, mostly local attendees, mostly local vendors (though I did see JetBrains and Atlassian), and approximately 2000 attendees. Don't let "meetup" fool you, this is a full conference: two days, seven concurrent tracks, professional A/V, swag, food, etc. I liked how this was a conference built by the fans, for the fans.

There is continuous food during the conference. You will never go hungry during JavaZone. There was also a coffee bar serving individual drop coffees, sponsored by a local consultancy.

There are seven concurrent tracks, and it's sometimes hard to decide which session to attend. Fear not, because JavaZone thought about that, too. In their overflow room, there is a giant screen showing all seven presentations at once! Pick up a headset and select the right channel for audio.

JavaZone is known for Triple-A promo videos, a great party, and a once-in-a-lifetime speaker adventure (more on that later). The organizers have a "full spectrum" (my term, not theirs) approach to creating the event.

You may have seen this promo video for JavaZone 2013. It has the same quality as a Hollywood trailer. If you're a programmer of any sort, you'll probably find this funny.

The JavaZone party, appropriately named AweZone, is held in a music hall. Multiple levels, multiple bands, and free for attendees. Cool fact: many band members are developers from local tech companies. They know how to rock.

Traveling to JavaZone was easy: fly into OSL Oslo airport, get the airport express train straight to downtown Oslo. It takes about 20 minutes. I stayed at the Radisson Blu Park Plaza, which is across the street from the train station and next door to the event venue: Oslo Spectrum.

I was lucky enough to present in the biggest room, with approximately 300 developers there to watch the talk. It's an updated presentation that Justin Fagnani and I did at Google I/O 2013, with more emphasis on the latest web components and polymer.dart work.

If you missed it, here's the video from my talk:

Dart and Web Components - Scalable, Structured Web Apps from JavaZone on Vimeo.

The audience was shy asking questions in front of everyone, but I had a solid crowd of developers come up to me after the talk. Many were interested in what the Angular + Dart story is. Luckily, there's an Angular port for Dart in the works, and the Polymer work is putting many of the concepts from Angular directly into the browser.

With JavaZone such a good conference, is there anything I would changed? I was asked by one of the organizers, and I did suggest considering shorter talk times. The presentations were 60 minutes this year, but I've seen successful conferences with shorter talks (45 min, even down to 30 min).

To help thank the speakers, and to help celebrate the conference, the JavaBin folks arrange an excursion called JourneyZone. About 16 total travelers left the conference after it was done and headed up north.

For many of us, it was our first time in Norway, and we were no disappointed. We traveled up to the MIT Fablab in Lyngen, Norway.

View Larger Map

We saw the northern lights, hiked a glacier, zoomed down a zip line, rappelled down a cliff, relaxed in a sauna, hung out with super cool people, and more. Here's the glacier we hiked across:

In summary, Dart was seemingly well received by the JavaZone audience, the JavaZone conference is first rate, and JourneyZone was spectacular. Thanks to all the organizers, and thanks to all those who attended my talk. Hope to see you again next year!

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