For some time, I had a wish that I could organize a Java conference in Portugal. Well, that finally happened in 19th June 2018, with the first edition ever of JNation, which is also the first Java Conference in Portugal.
I was already talking about doing the conference a couple of years ago, but only this year it was possible.
I think the entire idea started when I went to my first now defunct JavaOne conference. If I recall correctly, it was the year of 2012. I’ve never been to a conference before and I felt overwhelmed by the size and organization behind it.
Another thing that impressed me was the community around it. Everyone was so kind and eager to help. It really motivated me to also join the community and try to help other developers.
In Portugal, the Java community was not particularly strong. So, I was not even sure that there was a demand for a Java conference in Portugal. A strong community had to be built first. The PT.JUG was the only JUG available in Portugal, but most of their sessions required me to travel for 4 hours to attend the sessions. To build the community, we also required more local JUG’s.
To that end, I’ve created the Coimbra JUG. Slowly another community was being built. Shortly after, two other JUGs were created in Portugal: Beira JUG and Porto JUG.
The Coimbra JUG
Since its inception in late 2013, the Coimbra JUG grew to more than 400 members. During this time, it organized more than 20 meetups with international speakers from companies like Oracle, Redhat, Hazelcast or Zeroturnaround. Overall, these meetups gathered more than 700 attendees from all over the country.
It became clear that there was a demand for content, a place where developers could meet other developers and learn with each other. The conference dream could become a reality.
alphaCoimbra is a local non profit organization, created by local entrepreneurs with the intent to implement activities aiming to make Coimbra one of the most innovative and vibrant medium-size cities in Europe.
And the rest is history!
Well, it was not that simple. We were able to gather a great team that worked hard to make this happen.
Our initial idea was to make something simple. One day, a single track for 200 developers. Things quickly escalated in a positive way. The response was massive! We quickly sold out the first 200 seats, and speakers were contacting us to come. We had to increase the event capacity several times until we reached 450 developers and we added a second track to accommodate more sessions and speakers.
We sold out! And we had plenty of other developers in a waiting list to join. Unfortunately, we had to make the hard decision to cap the conference size. The venue was not the issue. We just had to completely rethink the entire event if we wanted to increase the capacity even more, so we preferred to go on a safer route.
In the end, we came up with the following numbers:
- 450+ attendees (yes a few sneaked in above the 450 limit)
- 14 speakers
- 30 volunteers
- 2 tracks
- 14 sessions
- 20 sponsors
- 13 supporters
We cannot be more proud and happy for a first run. On the other hand, this really sets the bar very high for future editions, so we hope we can keep going and make this event a success.
Check out the Opening Keynote video:
All the sessions were recorded and are available for free on JNation Youtube channel.
A HUGE Thank you to everyone that got involved in the conference: attendees, sponsors, speakers, volunteers, partners and of course the team! Cya next year!