After years missing it, I finally went to JCrete last year for the first time. I went with my family and we had a great time. This year, I went back again but alone.
For those who never went, it is hard to describe the event. The boring way would be to say that it is a Java unconference.
But it is a really bad way to describe it.
Here is my current explanation.
Close your eyes. Imagine you can gather all the almighty experts in your field and put them in one place. Then imagine this place has multiple beaches, great (cheap!) food and good wine. That everyone is friendly and wants to help each other without judging. And that you will talk will all these experts all day, in formal classrooms and on the beach. You will gather a tremendous amount of knowledge.
This is JCrete.
This was my experience last year. This was my experience this year. It almost feels surreal.
I still don’t know how it happened. Is it Crete? Is it Heinz and Kirk’s magical touch? Is it the Java community that is awesome? Probably all of the above sincerely.
Then, if you have never heard of JCrete let me explain a bit more what it is about.
First, it’s an unconference with a limited number of participants. Those participants are selected for their accomplishments. It means that you are well-known in the Java community for something. Of course, a lot of Java Champions are attending. To prevent too much inbreeding, a little amount of entropy coming from random senior lead developers is added. However, the rule is that anyone attending should be able to propose a subject and talk about it. You can see it as a conference with only speakers talking to one another.
Then, a typical day looks like that:
- Waking up
- Go jogging with some of the attendees (chatting about interesting stuff)
- Get breakfast with the attendees (chatting about interesting stuff)
- Gather in the main room
- Morning briefing and subject proposition for the day
- Attend sessions with subjects you care about. Learn
- Lunch (chatting about interesting stuff)
- Go to some beach (chatting about interesting stuff)
- Hack a bit. When stuck, there are high chances that one of the lead committers on the thing you are stuck on is attending too
- Get unstuck by the lead committer (this year it was Matt Raible)
- Go dinner to some restaurant or at an evening event (chatting about interesting stuff, around a bottle of wine)
- Go to bed happy
Last year, this article when out of it. This year, some cool stuff that I will talk about when it’s ready.