My First Experience at the No Fluff, Just Stuff Symposium

The 2006 No Fluff, Just Stuff (NFJS) Symposium Tour made it's way through the New York area on August 18-20, 2006 at the Four Points at Sheraton Hotel in Newark, New Jersey.

This symposium series has been touring the country every year since 2002, but I first learned about it when Barry Burd attended his first symposium in 2005 to interview some of the industry experts while honing his Java skills. His interviews, by the way, can be found on Java Boutique. Barry, a regular attendee at the ACGNJ Java Users Group, raved about his experience at the symposium.

When I first learned that this year's tour would come through Newark, I knew that I had to attend. Before I even had a chance to talk to my boss about attending, I happened to win a full registration pass at one of Yakov Fain's Princeton Java Users Group meetings. Yakov raffled off a total of two (2) such passes at his June and July meetings.

My experience was better than I had expected. Jay Zimmerman does an outstanding job of coordinating and running the symposium. Every attendee received a personalized binder to fill in with 90-minute session handouts, a large badge "packet" that contained daily session schedules that was conveniently referenced, and a gift. This year's gift was a cool 2006 NFJS T-shirt.

The 90-minute sessions were primarily focused on Spring, Hibernate, Ajax, and Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP). Other sessions included advanced Java topics, JavaScript, unit testing, and open source tools such as Grails and jMatter.

On Friday night, Neal Ford delivered an interesting, thought-provoking keynote about language-oriented programming (a potentially new programming paradigm) and the role domain specific languages.

Dinner was provided on Friday night, and breakfast and lunch was provided on Saturday and Sunday. I can honestly say that I gained a few extra pounds that weekend especially having just returned from a trip to Houston right before the start of the symposium.

So for those of you around the country that may be interested in attending one of the upcoming symposia, I sure hoped that I whet your appetite. The series schedule ends in mid-November, so check out the NFJS web site to see if a symposium is coming to a place near you.

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