Fàilte gu Alba

After more than 20 years, Java is still at the head of programming languages. For even longer, Scotland (called in Gaelic “Alba”) has been at the head of the world’s nations. What could make more sense than to put the two together, with a Java unconference in Edinburgh, the Athens of the North? Forty super-interesting Java people will meet here for three days in the spring of 2018 to talk about—well, about everything that interests them. And to enjoy Edinburgh—the UK’s best place to visit (do come here before Brexit, while you still can!)—with world-class architecture, superb scenery, Scotland’s history concentrated into a few hundred metres, and of course the world’s best whisky!

We want JAlba to be a family-friendly event. The mornings will be for unconference discussion, but the afternoons and evenings will be given over to social outings and dinners.  Most of the reserved accommodation is available for double occupancy.


The unconference will run from the morning of Thursday 3rd May 2018 until dinner on Saturday 5th May.

Preliminary Schedule; more detail here

Wednesday 2nd May
19:00 Welcome dinner

Thursday 3rd May
9:30 Unconference day 1
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Guided tour of historic Edinburgh — Old and New Towns
19:30 Dinner

Friday 4th May
9:30 Unconference day 2
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Boat trip on the River Forth – Inchcolm Island and the famous bridges
18:30 Tutored whisky tasting (optional!)
19:30 Unconference dinner

Saturday 5th May
9:30 Unconference day 3
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Free time in Edinburgh
20:30 Closing dinner


JAlba is very economical to attend—the only charge is for the rooms that we’ll use, in the Quaker Meeting House, in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town: £125/attendee (this includes lunch and tea/coffee each day). In addition, you will want to budget for meals and for the outings that we will make each day and evening of the unconference.

To encourage attendees to stay near to the Quaker Meeting House, we have a block allocation of rooms in a hotel in the Grassmarket, five minutes’ walk away, at £135/night.

The Quaker Meeting House, Edinburgh


Edinburgh Airport is a few miles from the city, connected by good public transport. Glasgow and Newcastle airports are within less than two hours’ travel, and you can get here by train from London, typically in about 4½ hours.

What is an Open Space conference?

An Open Space conference (we use the word “unconference” interchangeably) is self-organising, with topics chosen by the participants and  typically featuring open discussions rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk. According to Wikipedia, “this form of conference is particularly useful when the attendees generally have a high level of expertise or knowledge in the field”, so it should be a good format for us! Wikipedia  also has a very informative page on Open Space Technology in general.

Why you should come

Because you’ll get a chance to talk to other interesting people who are tuned into what’s happening with Java and the Java ecosystem. JAlba will have a diverse mix of people including well-known conference speakers and JavaOne Rockstars, open source developers, organisers of technical networks, book authors, and other knowledgeable and interesting people. We have nine Java Champions signed up (so far!)

And also because you’ll have a wonderful time! Edinburgh is a top tourist destination, and you’ll be here just as our famously sunny summer weather begins but before the crowds arrive. A lot of the important discussions in an Open Space conference takes place on social outings, over dinner, and in the pub. It’s a great way to exchange information and to learn!


Registration is by invitation. If you would like an invitation, please contact us.


Contact us by e-mail.