Arrived yesterday evening in Antwerp, check in, take a walk. The area in the neighborhood (south-side) wasn't too lively, hope that the downtown area provides more fun. What I've seen from downtown on other visits was actually quite amazing. Just coming in by train is an experience, waling up the stairs in that wonderfully architected train station.
Devoxx is great. Sold out with 3´500 attendees and a good line-up of partners it shows me that Java is not dead. I feel that I'm pretty much the oldest person here, close to double the age as the average attendee age. Having the conference hosted in a large movie theater is great for good audio and video all over the place.
The organizers have made a great effort in 'electrifying' the conference. Custom made electronic voting machines that go with your NFC arm band, stand-up terminals for the program (sponsored by Oracle as it looks like), TV-screens everywhere with the latest announcements, , movie evening with the new James Bond movie Skyfall. Looks like they have vast resources to put into lovely things.
Some things are too colorful and to fast for me. But I guess it's ok for the kids. Oh - and not to forget: The program is packed, and so are the rooms. Folks I talk to seem to think that the program is pretty good! They don't even mind the bad sandwiches.
So the concept works. It actually seems to work well enough that it got exported to France. And we'll also see a Devoxx UK next year, as I understand. Congratulations to Stephan Jansen and his team. What started as a JUG event has become a great series of conferences!
I also feel sad around the conference though. There's only one talk on the program about Eclipse. Working for the Eclipse Foundation I wonder what happened. Have we lost the contact to the Java community?