What a week! From 23rd to 27th April our Berlin team attended the Jax conference in Mainz, Germany. We had such a great time sharing our fresh perspectives, in the form of a rousing keynote and two informative sessions. The concept of this annual event with over 2,000 participants, revolves around innovating with Java, architecture, and software. We shared the key differentiators of the IBM Cloud with more than 500 attendees; plus, not to brag, but our t-shirts were the hottest swag at the conference.
Meet the team of IBMers at jax
Meet the team: Denis Ley, Miriam Oglesby, Fernando Cejas, Niklas Heidloff, Jamie Coleman

In total, there were more than 180 workshops, sessions, and keynotes over the whole week, with plenty of practical examples, live coding, and discussions. Organized by the Software & Support Media Group, as well as a whole day dedicated to agile software development, the Jax conference focuses on Java Core and enterprise technologies, there were 11 specialised tracks categorising the different sessions, including topics such as: machine learning, microservices, devops and continuous delivery.

The energy of the conference was definitely contagious. Throughout the week we enjoyed a fantastic view of the Rhine river combined with some stunning sunshine. Our stand in the expo also had prime position for optimum footfall, which meant many engaging discussions. The crowd were very curious and not shy to ask lots questions and probe for deep, technical answers. Many explicitly demanded to know what differentiates the IBM Cloud from comparable offerings on the market, to which we again highlighted three key priorities of our platform.

Fernando's keynote at jax
Keynote from Fernando Cejas

Fernando’s keynote “The Art of Coding Disasters and Failures” was well attended, held in the congress hall, holding 1,800 attendees! Fernando Cejas started by asking if everyone remembered writing their first line of code – do you? Since writing those first few lines, it is clear that tech and Software Engineering are all about constant evolution and continuous improvement; we are on a long winding path, full of highs and lows.

“Code is communication between people.” – Fernando Cejas

During the keynote, Fernando shared some of his personal mishaps, how powerful failure can be, categorised some of the biggest programming pitfalls and how to avoid them, and ultimately evoked a courage towards learning better from mistakes. This resonated with the audience, many identifying with Fernando and his experiences, along with common malpractice in the business. It wasn’t a talk our fellow attendees wholly expected coming from an IBMer. Using concrete examples, Fernando gave his lessons learned for developing better software, including: writing readable code, naming items well, and detecting anti patterns. Fernando’s closing words: May the force of failure be with you!

Read more in Fernando’s interview with jax enter about the power of failure.

Niklas Heidloff session at jax
Exploring Serverless with Niklas Heidloff
Serverless or FaaS (function as a service) is the next evolution of PaaS (platform as a service) with the same goal to make developers more productive, by managing the infrastructure for developers. – Niklas Heidloff

In contrast to PaaS developers only need to pay for the duration the code actually runs which makes serverless platforms often more cost-efficient. Developer Advocate Niklas Heidloff presented two sessions on serverless technology. The first was titled Serverless or Kubernetes: How can I build my applications?, which drew a crowd of 150 developers. Niklas explained how both technologies have their advantages and disadvantages, which developers should keep in mind when designing new applications. Niklas also demonstrated how to implement serverless functions with Docker and how Microservices can be used in Kubernetes applications. Niklas’ second session was all about developing serverless applications with Java and JavaScript functions in Apache OpenWhisk. It focused on how to implement cloud-native apps, in different languages, without managing servers. The focus was on building and debugging sophisticated serverless applications with Docker.

We were also joined by two IBMers from the UK: Jamie Coleman and Steve Poole, who were also speakers at the conference.
In Jamie’s session, he introduced Open Liberty, a newly Open Sourced, lightweight Java application server. Providing full support of Java EE and MicroProfile programming models, this session got to grips with installation, configuration, and deployment!
Steve spoke on preparing for the future of Java, discussing readiness for some of the latest hardware technologies, software approaches, and new ideas. Steve’s second talk revolved around defending Java applications from security errors, the Seven Pernicious Kingdoms, and reducing your exposure to cyber crime.

Miriam Oglesby at jax
Miriam Oglesby at the IBM stand
It truly was an awesome experience at Jax. Want to get involved?
Join us in Vienna at our next conference: the We Are Developers World Congress, the largest playground for developers in Europe!

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