Did you have the chance to visit this years JAX? I thought it will be mostly about Java-related technologies. Surely, I have already heard about Scala, Rails, Groovy or JRuby, but the huge amount of different programming languages that exist nowadays and that were presented there, really overwhelmed me!
Have you already heard about F#, Newspeak, Fortress or Boo? At least, I didn't. What Markus Voelter explained in his talk about Trends in Languages 2009, was that Scala on the one side is an approach that combines an object-oriented language with ideas from functional programming. F# on the other side is the .NET derivate of the JVM-based Scala and goes the other way round: it extends a functional programming language with object-oriented concepts.
Newspeak is a further development of Smalltalk and Fortress improves Fortran. The language with the probably most interesting name (besides BrainFuck) is Boo, an object-oriented statically typed programming language.
With all these languages it's quite hard for any newcomer to understand which language to use in when situation and whether it has advantages or disadvantages in some areas. So, if you have some document that explains the difference between Ruby, JRuby, Groovy, Rails, Grails, Scala and all the others, I would be happy if you could share it! For me it seems that the box of Pandora has been opened again. A while now we only had one programming language besides .NET and that was Java. Now the pendulum points to the other side again (as Markus Voelter explained) and we have lots of different languages. We'll see how long this pendulum stays there and when it will go back again (which I think it will!) - whether it will go back to Java or a completely different programming language - nobody knows!
Besides these languages (that were presented in several talks and keynotes), JAX offered a lot of other interesting topics of course. Since it was combined with SOACON and Eclipse Forum Europe there had been a lot of talks about Eclipse, SOA and BPM which I attended.
Of course, I also had my own talk about how to execute process models where I showed some screencasts (1,2,3,4). Alas there had only been few people in the talk, but the feedback that I got from persons or via different mailing list showed that the interest of the community is there.
Most important (as always) are discussions with other people working in the same area. Here, I met quite a lot of interesting people from different companies that are also concerned about "How do I execute a model?", "What advantages does BPMN 2.0 have?", "How can I use UML for modeling an enterprise?", "Can aspect-oriented modeling assist me in my work?", etc. These discussions where really fruitful and I'm looking forward to some more on PlanetEclipse, my personal blog or maybe also our JWT mailing list.
If you want to read more about JAX, please also have a look at JAXEnter where several people blogged about their experiences in the last few days. You can also find some blog messages which I have written there, too. Als for all English guys, but they are only available in German!
With more than 1,700 attendees, it was really a successful conference and I'm already looking forward to next years JAX or this years W-JAX!