There is a lot going on at JavaOne this year. A LOT. So I was
quite happy to see that Sun’s web site was going to help me with my planning.
Hopefully, better than last year.
So I log in and start reading the abstracts of the sessions. There are
two hundred technical sessions and two hundred BOF’a. That’s a lot of
information. And since the web site only display ten of them each time,
that’s a lot of useless clicks. So here is a first lesson in web
usability: let users configure how many items they want displayed per
page. I know for sure I would have picked "200".
Anyway. Clickety-click, here I go, painfully adding some sessions while
ignoring others. Finally, I’m done, so I go to the "My Schedule" page and
I only find one session, the AOP panel I am attending. I panic for a few
seconds until I realize that when I clicked on all these sessions, I wasn’t
saying I was going to attend them, I was simply registering my interest in them.
Grrr… Okay, fine.
So I go to the Interest List page, where I find all my sessions. Good.
I can also set the importance of each (High, Medium, Low) which, I read, helps
the auto-scheduler do its job. Whatever. I just click on the
auto-scheduler, I need to print it and leave soon.
Error message: "You have 53 sessions on your interest list. You
can only have 30 maximum and the scheduler will only let you plan 24 of them.
Please remove sessions from your Interest List and try again".
What’s the point of a scheduler if it won’t let me plan sessions that
So I have gone through all this pain to carefully select what sessions I am
interested in, and now I must delete most of them?!? What are they
Here is what a "real" auto-scheduler would let me do: select all the
sessions I am interested in, all 400 of them if I so desire. Then print my
schedule with their description, ignoring all the potential conflicts. You
know what? I am a big boy and I can resolve conflicts myself as they
occur. Besides, I might want to actually attend several sessions in a
particular time slot. How? Well, simply by going to a session,
finding it boring and then deciding to go to a different one at the same time.
Here is another good one: once you print your schedule, it will only
show the technical name of the session (e.g. TS-1988, BUS-2042). How
useful is that, seriously?
Bottom line: I’ll schedule my conference all by myself this year.
Like all previous years.
And somebody at Sun: please hire a usability expert. Hell, even a
usability novice will probably do better than what they have now.