Last friday I gave a presentation on Wicket at the awesome JavaPolis conference in Antwerp. Unfortunately I was only able to attend friday, which meant driving in early in the morning and delivering the presentation pre-coffee (the adrenaline rush is enough to keep an elephant awake for a week).

I had planned to spend about 20 minutes introducing Wicket and then spend the rest of the presentation working through a live example based on the Cheese store from Wicket in Action's chapter 4.

I had prepared the live demo pretty good and knew how to complete it in roughly 25 to 30 minutes. The problem with live coding is that doing it standing up, in front of ~600 people and on a schedule is something different than sitting behind your desk. I had everything set up ready to go, but it is the little things that creep in to get you off guard. For instance having a phantom Java process claiming port 8080 when you want to start your demo, or having a too small a font for the Eclipse editors.

Though enough things went wrong, I remain convinced that doing a live demo is more enticing than watching a series of slides pass by. Nothing keeps a crowd more awake than seeing code actually work.

Tips for next time:

  • Set a big font in all the Eclipse editors: 16pt or more. It is not good to have to modify this during your session.
  • Make sure all Java processes are killed before the session starts, and then add those that you want. I had a quickstart session running from the evening before when my Eclipse crashed.
  • Less history, more benefits of using Wicket, such as object oriented web development

If you want to see how the example should have turned out, I have uploaded the presentation I gave to slideshare. I have added the slides I had as backup just in case the demo would fail. This way you can see how it was meant to be.