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Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

ApacheCon Europe Highlights

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on July 1, 2006

ApacheCon Europe 2006 is over, and I had a blast.

Mark Shuttleworth Keynote

It started off with Mark Shuttleworth, the Ubuntu founder, giving a very well delivered speech about where he sees the world of free software heading in the next five years. Some of his better points include “Pretty is a feature“, and the massive opportunity for Linux and other free software on consumer gadgets.

Apache Axis

The Axis folks gave a good talk about the new features in version 2.0 of Apache Axis, the web services/SOAP implementation in Apache. The coolest thing, to me at least, is the fact that every web service is also automatically given a REST interface. While it isn’t a full REST api, just using GET and PUT methods, it is a great step forward for people who’d like to write simplistic clients (e.g. Javascript/Web 2.0 clients) and access web services with neither the need to write annoyingly complex client side code, or modifying the server-side code to add a simpler REST interface.

Microsoft Atlas Keynote – Rob Burke

Rob Burke from Microsoft Ireland braved the choppy waters of ApacheCon to speak about Microsoft Atlas, their free javascript toolkit. What could easily have been a hostile crowd was quickly disarmed by Rob using possibly the funniest picture I’ve ever seen, which I’m happy to say I may have helped come into being a little. The talk went down very well, with the main thrust it focused on a coding demo, where Rob went through how to write Atlas applications with .NET and PHP. While .NET looked more attractive due to the slight difference in prettiness between Visual Studio and Notepad (used for the .NET and PHP examples respectively) it was pretty cool to see how easily it could be used in a PHP environment. Microsoft even wrote some PHP code (!) to make the transition to a non .NET framework easier.Clippy
One thing that was missing was a quick comparision between other open source Ajax toolkits, and “why” people should use Atlas instead of Dojo or Scriptaculous/Prototype etc, which are firmly estabished in the open source and commercial worlds. To play devils advocate for a minute, in defence of the other toolkits:

  • Tooling around open source ajax frameworks took a large leap forward with the initiation of the Ajax Toolkit Framework in Eclipse, and should soon be quite comparable to the MS IDE. Also, it doesn’t lock you in to a particular framework, as it supports multiple existing ajax toolkits (currently Dojo, Zimbra/Kabuki and Open Rico)
  • The announcement that MyFaces, the Apache implementation of the Java Server Faces specification, is migrating its client side widgets to Dojo means that Dojo will now have a server-side binding, for Java developers at least. This should be more or less equvalent to the .NET combination of Atlas + VB/C#
  • The recent announcements by IBM and Sun regarding their support of Dojo, with both code and documentation, along with the Oracle connection through MyFaces, and you’ve pretty much got three of the four main IT companies jumping on the Dojo bandwagon.
  • The latest code drop for Dojo will surely lead to it’s dominance over mankind as we know it…. cue self patting on back :-)

My extra-happy birthday

On a more personal note, the second last day of the conference just so happened to be my birthday, and since it was also the birthday of one of the organisers of the conference, we got Happy Birthday sung to us by hundreds of inebriated hackers. Now THAT I can get used to.

Finally, thanks/hi/bye to all the cool people I crossed paths with over the week. I had a fantastic time bouncing ideas & beer bottle tops off you all, and hope to see you all again in a years time!

P.S. For a listing of a whole host of pictures of the event, go here and here.

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5 Responses to “ApacheCon Europe Highlights”

  1. I think http://flickr.com/photos/tags/apachecon is a better URL – the search is a bit rubbish in that it returns the same images on multiple pages.

    On a completely unrelated note, we’re looking to integrate some AJAX functionality into a webapp we’ve got running at work, so you can expect some stupid emails over the coming weeks ;)

  2. Because we might use Dojo, I mean. Obviously.

  3. Thanks for the link, I’ve updated it. As for the Ajax stuff… my rate of a pint per email will apply of course :-)

  4. Thanks for the update, Shane. Nice to have big conferences in Ireland.

    I agree with you, though: Rob’s a brave man! ;)

  5. ApacheCon EU was definately a good time. Just need to figure out how to justify going to the next one when they have them in the states every year. Need to become a speaker I think. Shane, drop me an email. My friend is looking to go back to Ireland and I can pass your email address on to her.

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