Google Developer Day was a good experience for a free event. It’s always nice to see how software development shops go out of their way to make for happy developers. There were plenty of good snacks, bean bag chairs, reasonable wireless, a foosball table and pool table. I snagged two pretty nice T-shirts and they had enough for the 1500+ developers at the San Jose Convention Center. The lunch was the best I’ve ever had at a conference of any sort. I’m guessing we were getting the Google gourmet chef experience.
The talks ranged in value. Part of the issue is they were only 1 hour and generally not technical or tutorial style talks. There was really limited times for any questions. And note to any conference organizers–when you put a single mike in the room and it fills up it’s really hard for people to pick up their laptop and clamber through the crowd just to ask a question.
It was a Google developer day so the focus was on Google tools. GWT was my focus for the day to see if it’s a reasonable approach for some of our future web apps. As it stands I’m still taking the wait and see approach after attending a few of the talks. It has some weight behind it, but I don’t think it’s really taken off as one of the defacto Java web frameworks yet. I’m pretty sure if we were leaving JSF, I’d probably favor Wicket or Struts 2 over GWT. They did have one really nice feature though. The back button actually works. Living in portlet and JSF land you often find that you don’t own the URL and supporting the back button can be nigh impossible.
Did I get enough out of it to attend next year? I’m still debating this. I’ll probably wait until next year and take a look at the agenda.