Why every Java Developer should attend J-Fall

Do you want to stay informed about the most recent trends or developments in Kotlin, Java, AI, Reactive, Cloud, Automation and more? Then J-Fall is the perfect event! There were educational sessions, hands-on labs, coding challenges at the stands, plenty of food and nice people! Read on as I take you on my adventure below.

Musical start and inspiring keynote
Every year, J-Fall starts with a bang! Two violinists provided the prelude to the event with a dose of energy and some good music.
After the kick-off by the NLJUG, Michel Schudel (Software Developer at Rabobank) gave his first keynote. He told us more about how to improve your team’s performance and shared some best practices.
In these strange times, it is especially useful to take a critical look at the current way of working. Skip unnecessary meetings or rituals. “Less is more”, that’s the only way we get features completed!
We’ve also learned that it’s good to; have a dedicated Product Owner, carry out code reviews together, keep technical depth to a minimum (!), have different personalities in your team and work on a T-shaped profile for every developer.

Kotlin becoming mainstream
What I appreciate as a developer is that we see more and more Kotlin in our projects at Rabobank. Not because we have to, but because we want readability and simplicity in our code.
In addition, we no longer suffer from those “common” null pointer exceptions.
As scientist Tony Hoare says: “I call it my billion-dollar mistake, it was the invention of the null reference”.

We can be very positive about using Kotlin, but does it have a dangerous side as well?
The message from Bart Ankelaar (Site Reliability Engineer) was: “With great power comes great responsibility”, use Kotlin as it was intended! Use proper names when creating extension methods, operator overloading, be clear and be careful with code duplication (the piece of code may already have been created elsewhere)”.

Invest in yourself
We need to invest in our knowledge, because technology changes so quickly. That makes it important to be open to use new things, especially for companies.
Important takeaways from some sessions:

  1. Invest time in hobby projects. For example: make a cool game (“Flappy bird”) with interesting techniques as Tom Cools explained;
  2. Practice your coding skills by making CodeKatas with multiple developers as Roy Straub pointed out in his session. Make mistakes, learn, and most of all; have fun together!;
  3. Give constructive feedback to each other and be respectful (a compliment in a Pull Request doesn’t harm anyone). Only then will you become a Sensei for your own development (Roy Braam).

Finally, this is my story about J-Fall. There were of course many other awesome sessions that I haven’t mentioned, like the session by Sander Mak, Techlead at Picnic. With Google’s ErrorProne, we can fix bugs automatically. How cool is that?
Or what do you think about all those other talks?
They were recorded during the event, and you watch them here:
link to J-Fall recordings.

About the author

Ko Turk
Developer (at Blue4IT), Tribe Digital Platform Area Consumers

Ko Turk is an experienced developer focusing on Kotlin, Java and Typescript. He is an international speaker at conferences and likes to write articles for the Dutch NLJUG JavaMagazine and the Rabobank Techblog. He is always available at Twitter.