Shai Almog

@Codename_One

Full Stack Java

Over the past few years I’ve spoken and presented at a lot of conferences. 10 years ago when I would go to a Java conference I would say the split in the Java developer community was 40% server, 15% mobile and the rest in desktop (totally made up numbers based on anecdotal “vibe” at conferences). Today when I go to conferences almost all of the developers build server code and a few do Android work…

It seems that JavaScript has taken over the mantle of full stack from Java (I use Java as a synonym to the JVM so Kotlin, Scala et al. are all in this boat with us).

Despite some conflicts over the past year in the enterprise developer community, Java still has a strong track record in the server side and we’ve tried to fill that gap in the client side especially for mobile apps.

While Android is effectively Java, it’s heavily based on XML and requires a lot of work to “get right” leaving very little time to dance around thru the tiers of an application. Another pain point is design, on mobile this is absolutely crucial!

I’ve put in a lot of work to create gorgeous apps using Java check out the live demos and full source code for these apps:

This (material screens) took me 1–2 days to build:

This demo took me 1–2 days to build in Java… Imagine what we can do in 2 weeks!

Building a great looking demo isn’t enough though. We need to build complete startups based on Java. Java developers need to have the ability to build apps like this with the full server side at production grade within weeks not months in order to be competitive in todays market of lean startups & agile enterprises.

Challenge Accepted

I can build a kickass native mobile app in Java that will include the server side, look good and be production grade in the store within 2–4 weeks. While it’s not rocket science, there is still a lot of work involved in building a proper production app. Notice that I’m not talking about some template where 90% of a specific use case is already implemented…

The fact that I can do this relatively easily relates to my experience in Java and programming in general so this might not scale as effectively in book form or even in a course/video. I’d like to do all of those but at this time I don’t think they will be as effective.

When I was getting started in the professional programming world more than 20 years ago I already knew how to program reasonably well. However, the thing that made a huge difference were the amazing mentors I met along the way who taught me amazing things. Mentorship is a two way street, today as I mentor programmers I get back a better understanding both of the material and the student issues.

That’s why I spend 90% of my time doing support. It’s not the most fun job but it helps me keep my fingers on the pulse of the community.

Moving Forward & Questions

I’ve been working on a bootcamp program for developers where I can closely mentor a small group of programmers so they can build kickass apps and deploy the whole thing without much of a hassle. There are a lot of challenges e.g. how do you balance good/solid architecture with time constraints measured in weeks?

Normally, weeks is just the time we spend on the whiteboard in Java land…

There is also the dark world of mobile app development which includes so many pitfalls in the native layer, signing/provisioning etc. all the way to the store…

These are all “simple” but often when we sit in an ivory tower everything looks easy and perfect which is why this bootcamp is something I’m personally really looking forward to.

So here is what I want to know from you guys:

  • Do you think full stack Java is a worthy/important goal?
  • What are the top questions you have when looking at something like this?

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