Sunday at Java One
Some good new stuff coming in Netbeans, much of it focussed around existing strengths such as GUI design (the new GUI building engine looks excellent), cross-device development (setting breakpoints in a mobile phone is cool) and out-of-the-box usability. Netbeans does seem to be kind of the most agile IDE; they're already talking about integration with Looking Glass, the 3D desktop.
In general, the priorities with Netbeans coincide with those for Java generally, around ease of use (supporting higher level constructs and working with a variety of platforms) and dynamic languages. Early leak: the Dolphin release of the JVM (2008) may include byte code to support dynamic languages, which will be the first byte code in there that isn't used by Java itself.
The fireside chat featured a real fireplace, though it wasn't lit (no surprise, since it was on stage in one of the conference halls and the flue only went up to the top of the stage set). It's purely an audience Q&A session with the top people who shape the JVM, platforms and APIs. No overall theme, therefore, but interesting to hear the kinds of questions asked. Much interest in support for phone/PDA devices. Worst regret in 10 years of development of Java: AWT. Deprecated APIs will never be removed from the platform. JDO will not be deprecated (though since all the big JDO vendors are involved in EJB3, it may not develop much further after the EJB3 compatibility revision). Annotations will be developed further, but otherwise no major new language features planned for the next two releases – witness how long it took to standardise generics (over 5 years). Mantra of Sun Java developers is like the Hippocratic Oath: "do no harm".