On 30 January 2018, the first edition of JVMCon was organised. It was a small conference, only a couple of hundred attendees, but it was sold-out anyway. I attended five sessions, and I will list them in order of least to most awesome.

The first session I attended was by Alexander Yadayadayada (his joke, not mine) about gamification to increase code quality. Most of the ideas came down to “make it a contest!”. And most of the ideas that he tried so far weren’t very succesful. When you make a set of rules for engineers, they will always find ways to game the system and get ahead without any effort. For example, one point per unittest: create empty unittests. Give someone a taco on slack for doing something awesome: “Hey, I don’t have any tacos, could anyone throw me some?” But the biggest problem seems to be that people usually decide to stop playing, because the game isn’t balanced properly.

Hadi Hariri’s session was named Kotlin 102. It didn’t cover the basics of Kotlin, but a bit more advanced stuff. Hadi had a live-demo presentation, which is always impressive. However, he was talking to a tough crowd. Perhaps the reason was because his session was after lunch. Or maybe Kotlin isn’t known well enough yet to get into the more advanced stuff.

The third session in this list is that of Angelo van der Sijpt: What you didn’t know you wanted to know about the JVM. This one started to tickle my nerdy-senses. He spoke of Java, bytecode, C and even assembler, right down to the individual instructions that will be executed by the CPU. Then there were bits about how the memory is really used. There was a quizz: is this word a CPU instruction or not? Hint, IDCLIP is not. It was an interesting talk, but a bit too advanced for me.

Then there is Venkat Subramaniam’s talk about Java 9 Modularization. Modules are here, and they are here to stay. However, I don’t think the world is ready for it just yet. And with the new Java release cycle (And totally messed-up versioning system. WTF Oracle, really?), I don’t think there will be many production systems that will run Java 9. Anyway, Venkat started his talk with the remark “If there are any questions, please interrupt”. Then he started to spew information faster than the audience could process it. So, when you wanted to ask a question, he was already three topics ahead. He also had a live demo, which didn’t always go as planned. But then again, he disguised a typo with a joke: “If you do this, things go so wrong that you don’t even get an error. You get an ERRRO!” If you want to go to an information rollercoaster, see Venkat live.

Take the sum of the awesomeness of all the previous talks, and then multiply it with the sum of their nerdyness, and you’re still not even close to the last talk. This one was in a league of it’s own: Don’t hack the platform? by Jan Ouwens. If you need inspiration for messing with your colleagues, this is the one for you. From Unicode-hacks to overwriting JVM constants to changing complete method implementations. …On a running system. …remotely. This guy had some evil, evil hacks.