Hugo Future Imperfect Slim

Brian's Blog

Cloud advocate for Microsoft Azure.

My Java journey - becoming a Java Champion

I'm honored to be chosen as a Java Champion and be in such great company. Here's a summary of my Journey

Brian Benz

4 minutes read

Becoming a Java Champion is a high point of my career. Thanks especially to Arun Gupta for nomination and his help shepherding me through the process. I’d also like to extend special thanks to my fellow Java champions who voted for me, most notably my additional sponsors: 寺田佳央@クラウド・アドボケイト (Yoshio Terada), David Blevins, Josh Long, Ken Fogel, Edson Yanaga, Matt Raible, Simon Maple, Markus Eisele, Ivar Grimstad, Mark Heckler, Simon Ritter, Christoph Engelbert, Burr Sutter, and Bruno Borges.

During the nomination process, I had an opportunity to review my history with Java, which was a great trip down memory lane. Here are some highlights:

1999-2011: Early Experience

I started working with Java in 1999, developing Java code samples in NotePad and command line for XML Powered by Domino, an IBM Redbook. Here’s a sample from the book that uses org.w3c.dom, some of my first ever Java code.

In 2003 I authored and developed samples in a VERY early version of Eclipse for the XML Programming Bible and the Lotus Notes and Domino Programming Bible.

In 2006 I joined IBM to be a part of a new team with a new product called IBM Entity Resolution, written mostly in Java. It’s current called IBM Identity Insight. It was a big-data, machine learning application before those things were things, based on Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness (NORA).

After that, I worked at Deloitte and some startups before joining a new group at Microsoft called MS Open Tech, tasked with bringing Java and other open source technologies to the new Azure cloud platform.

2012-Present - Java at Microsoft

In 2012 and 2013 there was little appetite at Microsoft to engage the Java audience - internally most influential folks remembered Java as a rival. My point of view (and one of the reasons I was hired) was that Java was an amazing opportunity for the newly open Microsoft, as long as we could work with the community and meet their needs on our new cloud platform. Here are a couple of public things that I can take credit for during that interesting time:

2013 - MILESTONE 1 - The first technical Java presentation by Microsoft!

I presented what is probably the first Microsoft presentation on Java ever that didn’t include lawyers 😊 - at The Seattle Java User Group (SEAJUG) on March 19 2013. You have no idea how many people we had to convince to let us do this…but here’s the video

I may seem casual in that recording but I was sweating bullets. Had this gone badly I think my Microsoft career and maybe Java at Microsoft would have been very different. Fortunately, it was well received and from that crack in the door we had permission to engage with the Java community.

2014 - MILESTONE 2 – The first Java talk at a Microsoft event!

A year later (March 2014) I presented what I’m pretty sure is the first Java presentation at a public Microsoft event - Running Java and Oracle Applications on Azure. Video It had great reviews, but a very small audience, but from then on it was OK to talk about Java at Microsoft events.

Momentum for Java on Azure started building in 2014, then really picked up in 2015 as we improved our offerings for the Java community. Here’s a six-part video series on Java on Azure that Martin Sawicki and I built and delivered in 2015.

Other highlights

My azure blog contributions for Java from 2014

More of my presentations on Microsoft’s Channel 9 from 2014

Some of my slideshare presentations from 2014 (Note the presentation on “Windows Azure”, the original name 😊)

Here’s a 2016 Periscope video (remember those? 😊 )

Most of my talks from 2017 onward, including multiple Oracle Code One/JavaOne talks, Devoxx, J-fall, EclipseCon, SpringOne, and dozens of Java User Group presentations.

My Dzone contributions

My InfoQ contributions

Recent Writing Highlights: My contribution to the fall 2019 DZone Java Guide, How to Use Recent MicroProfile and JDK Features to Scale Your Apps in the Cloud, has more than 5000 views. The guide itself (a separate e-book) has 9500 downloads. My blog Azure DevOps and Jenkins in Perfect Harmony has more than 33000 views.


Thanks again to everyone who supported me to become a Java Champion, and thanks for indulging me on this trip down memory lane. And please DM me and connect on twitter @bbenz!

Recent posts