I'm contemplating the week @ JavaOne while I wait for my flight at the airport.
Representation State Transfer or REST popped up in a number of talks... Simplicity and leverage of the standard Web infrastructure are it's primary benefits, but a big drawback is that it is not discoverable... although there is work being done in this area.
XML processing continues to receive improved support..... Mark Reinhold gave a brain dump of his thoughts on how XML can be made "native" to Java in Dolphin.
Back To Basics....
JEE - The Java Enterprise Edition version 5 has made good use of Tigers annotation capabilities and lessons learned from the Spring Framework and simplified the EJB specification considerable. Some would still say it wasn't enough and that Spring's POJO model is still the way to go.
SOA - Although vendors continue to introduce products that support all the latest standards and clain "Buzzword" compliance, there is an undercurrent of chatter from attendees that "things" are overly complex... The S in SOAP stands for Simple, but anyone who has read the WS-* specifications can attest to the fact that the Web Services space seems to be spiraling out of control. There were a number of well attended talks in the REST space and mention of WOA as a simpler more scalable alternative to SOA.
Finally, there was a continuous call for participation of individuals in the JCP. Doug Lea, spec lead for JSR 166, was called out as an excellent example of how individuals can have large impact on the language and platform.