My attendance at the Airhacks workshop

This June I attended the Java EE Bootstrap and Effective Java EE workshops in Munich held by Adam Bien. This has been the second time I attended an Airhacks workshop.

The main workshop series consist of the three workshops Java EE Bootstrap, Effective Java EE and Java EE Architecture held on three consequent days.

The Instructor

Adam Bien is a freelance software developer based in Germany. From my experience he has a deep and practical knowledge of Java and specially Java EE from many years of practice. He is a very active supporter of the Java EE platform and has strong believes in its future.

Location

The Workshops took place at the Munich airport. The convention center is located between Terminal 1 and 2 which offers a rich set of facilities.

Hotels are nearby and usually offer some kind of shuttle service.

The content

The workshop gets right into practical content without spending (or wasting) a lot of time by going through a lot of theory. You will learn about Java EE 7 by watching or following Adam coding small bits of code which are made available in a git repository during the workshop.

Also the rough schedule and topics of the workshop is set the depth and details of each topic highly depends on the interests and questions asked by the attendees. For this reason two workshops also about the same topic will never be the same. This is why the live workshop turns out to be a great addition to the video lessons that cover a bit more detailed and structured content.

Adam Bien promotes a pragmatic and simplistic way to software development. This can be accomplished by using the Boundary-Controller-Entity pattern, stick to provided APIs and reduce the usage of third party libraries and frameworks and implementing REST APIs by listening to users and modelling resources instead of actions.

About the videos

Beside the onsite workshops there is a video-on-demand edition of the content available at airhacks.io. You can either buy or rent the videos. As theses videos are a good reference for a very reasonable price I suggest buying the courses you're interested in.

The videos deliver very good and pragmatic knowledge about basic and advanced topics on Java EE APIs. Combined with the source examples available at GitHub they provide a very good reference. I often use them to look up certain aspects and practices when writing Java EE applications.

Further resources

There is a monthly live video broadcast on Ustream where Adam answers questions asked by the community using various channels.

Also take a look at the YouTube Channel where you can find a lot of interesting bits about Java development topics.

Conclusion

At my first attendance I skipped the first two workshop-days since I already knew the basics of Java EE and watched the video-on-demand edition. However I noticed at my first attendance that there are a lot of benefits from being live at one of Adams workshops. Your takeaway will be a lot of practical tips, pragmatic approaches and the ability to ask a lot of questions. You will get answers from an experienced user of Java EE APIs. In addition you also benefit from questions asked by other attendees.

I'm very satisfied with the outcome. It improvement the productivity and quality and I often refer to my notes and the source.

The content provides a solid fundament to get into serious Java enterprise development. This includes technical as well as practical knowledge.

It is however necessary to look deeper into certain APIs of the platform. The material that is developed during the workshop is a good starting point.

In my opinion the approach that Adam Bien takes when developing software is very pragmatic and result oriented. His aim is to solve a problem instead of over-engineer it. He's doing this by mainly relying on the APIs offered by the standard and therefore available on each implementation.

This approach turns out to be very helpful once you realize how much you can get done in a short period of time with less effort. However for me his attitude is a bit to radical sometimes. On the other hand statements that often seem very controversial on the first sight make a lot of sense once you get behind the message and even more important start to experience the effect by yourself.

In some situations I felt caught and realized that I also tend to do make some of the mistakes he tells from his experience. This finding already made it worth attending the workshops and has a noticeable effect on my daily work.

Regarding the code that develops during the workshop I sometimes wish for a bit more consistency or depth. Often Adam Bien refers to other projects he's implementing or doing and his GitHub repositories are a good source and inspiration. Some kind of prepared source, resources and documentation prepared for the workshops would make a good improvement.

Overall from my point of view the onsite workshops and videos from Adam Bien offer a great value for their money. I highly encourage everybody interested in getting to practical Java EE development fast to take a look at them.