My first session of day 2 at JavaPolis was "Thinking in Flex" with none other than Bruce Eckel and James Ward. Despite some issues with the internet connection they managed to pull off a very informative and enjoyable presentation and I think the content was pretty spot on for a Java crowd. Overall the session wasn't as technical as I thought they'd make it but they did walk through a cool little demo of the DisplayShelf component hooked up to the Flickr web service. From what I heard during the break a lot of people were excited about what they saw and will no doubt soon be playing around with Flex.
One thing that I found lacking in the presentation was a simple example of how you're able to use RemoteObject to connect up to server-side objects (Java Beans, EJBs, POJOs). Sure, it wasn't an LCDS session but its not too hard to put together a quick demo or at least talk them through the process.
The next session was "JavaFX in Action" by Jim Weaver, which I was really looking forward to. Lots of good information but I have to say I really overestimated the current state of the technology. Basically JavaFX comes in two flavours: JavaFX Script (which Jim talked about) and JavaFX Mobile. There were several examples that covered JavaFX Script and how to set up panels, motion etc. In my understanding it boils down to an easy to use implementation of Java Swing on steroids.
For Java developers this might be revolutionary, but with every example I couldn't help but sigh and count my blessings at how easy it is to implement in Flex. In terms of competition I think JavaFX is still miles away, behind even on Silverlight. If I had to put my money on something I'd say watch out for JavaFX Mobile -- that could really take off given their already extensive user base on mobile and devices. I hope the Flash Lite and Flash Home teams are hard at work to make Flash a viable option in this growing market.
One thing that became clear to me attending JavaPolis is that user experience and front-end development is becoming more and more important in the Java world.