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My ColdFusion Summit 2013 Experience

So I went to my first developer conference last week, the Adobe ColdFusion Summit 2013 hosted by Adobe at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  It was my first time meeting a lot of people in the community.

The keynotes were great, they really got me excited for ColdFusion Splendor, which should come out sometime next year.  I’m skeptical of the new <cfclient> tag, but I’ll give wait until CF11 comes out and I have a chance to use it before I completely write it off.

I enjoyed “Using Solr for Better, More Relevant Searches” presented by Ray Camden.  It was really a treat to finally meet someone who has meant to much to the ColdFusion community and saved me countless hours of development time by writing some of the best blog posts not only in the ColdFusion community, but in the web development community as a whole.  I learned a bit abour Solr.  Ray actually didn’t know that the Solr version that ships with Adobe ColdFusion 10 is many versions old.  I spoke with Rakshith Naresh back in February about this problem and his response was “Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately there is no document to update the Solr engine in CF 10. This is mostly because if CF developers themselves end up upgrading the engine and if there are changes in the API or architecture that we internally use, then the functionality will break. And we do not want that to happen.”

I also had the opportunity to meet Charlie Arehart, who is famous in the community for his expertise in finding and debugging ColdFusion server bugs.  I highly recommend using his services if you ever have ColdFusion servers issue.  His session, titled “CF911: Solving Frequent CF Server Problems in New/Better Ways” was very informative.

I think the best presentation was Dan Wilson’s, presenting his session “Know SQL? Try NoSQL”.  He is a masterful presenter that knows how to use both sides of the stage.  His slides weren’t too small (perhaps that’s because he had the advantage of presenting on day 2 of the summit, ha).  Hopefully I have a chance to use MongoDB in an upcoming project.

I was a little bit disappointed in some of the sessions that Adobe Scheduled.  In particular, I went to “Pixel Perfect PDF Generation” presented by Tim Cunningham. (@TimCunningham71) Let me start off by saying Tim was a great presenter.  The problem I had with the presentation is that I wasn’t aware that it would be an hour of Tim telling us how great the features in ColdFusion 11 are going to be, a piece of software that isn’t going to be out for many months to come.

The chances to network were great.  I met Geoff Bergey and Giancarlo “JC” Gomez and hope that I have a chance to work with them in the future.  After speaking with them both (and having a big of fun after the happy hour!) I was able to learn a lot.  While having beers with Geoff and JC, a guy with green hair came up to us.  He clearly wasn’t a developer but a project manager.  He was in love with the new <cfclient> tag and told us that tags like this are how he will go into Warren Buffett’s office and sell ColdFusion over other languages.  While I do see his point, and I understand how tags like these can be great selling points to CEO’s (“Your developers don’t have to know JavaScript!!!”), I just don’t see developers actually using tags like these in the future.

After CF Summit, my girlfriend came into town and we stayed at the Palazzo.  I pulled the $20 trick (it works every time, try it!) and got an upgraded room for the weekend, waived resort fees (I HATE VEGAS RESORT FEES), and tickets to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (which my girlfriend was completely against at first).  We ate perhaps the best dinner of my life.  We ate pigeon and fallow deer (lol) under authentic Picasso paintings overlooking the Bellagio fountains and then went to see Tiesto at Hakkasan in MGM, that was amazing.  Tim McGraw and Faith Hill did not disappoint and we saw Ka, a Cirque du Soleil, over at the MGM.  Those cirque shows are insane.  If you haven’t seen one, I highly recommend it.

I hope that CF Summit 2014 is in Las Vegas again next year.

Thanks for reading, I hope to be able to blog once per week or so…We’ll see how that goes.

Our most recent CF project involved migrating School Services of California’s ColdFusion site to a Drupal site that we designed and developed. If you’re interested in learning more, we created a page with full details in our work section. Here is the link to the SSC page.

7 Responses to “My ColdFusion Summit 2013 Experience”

November 01, 2013 at 3:42 am, Adam Cameron said:

G’day Scott, and good for you starting a blog. Cheers for the write-up on CFSummit – I couldn’t make it myself, so am envious of you – and for measuring the good with the not so good.
I look forward to following what you have to say in future!


November 01, 2013 at 12:51 pm, Chris Hagood said:

I am right there with you on the cfclient tag. Power developers won’t use it, but I am betting it gets Adobe some more CF sales.
I am curious… what is the $20 trick? I live in Vegas and this is a new one to me. Maybe because I don’t ever stay at the hotels here.
Great write up! Glad you had a good time in Vegas!

November 01, 2013 at 12:58 pm, Scott Buckel said:

@Chris, You put a $20 in between your credit card and ID and have the $20 poking out a little bit so it’s noticeable. When you hand it over to the receptionist, ask if there are any complimentary upgrades for the night/weekend. It works in my experience a large portion of the time. The first few times you do it it seems kind of sketchy, but it’s definitely a known thing in Vegas. Try it and let me know how it goes!

November 01, 2013 at 11:11 pm, Kevin Benore said:

Scott – love the post. It is very detailed and I think really showed the greatness of this year’s conference. I for one hope next year is even bigger and better.
As a “power” user, I too was very cold to the potential of the CFCLIENT tag especially as presented in the keynote. But I decided to take the “Mobile Application Development with ColdFusion” session given by Simon Free. He presented the possibilities in a much more useful way than they showed in the keynote. And yes, CFCLIENT will compile the code to JavaScript which gives my horrible CFFORM flash backs. But what it does not do is anything on the display layer, which is often what CF did wrong in the past. So, although cautious, I am a bit more upbeat than you at this point. And frankly, I am quite ok with ColdFusion compiling down to another language … after all it does a similar thing with java. I know, not exactly the same, but close.
Besides, you can always clean up there JavaScript. Though I suspect they will accomplish in minutes what it will take us hours/days to do with handwritten JavaScript. I love JavaScript. But I switched to jQuery, because I like to write less and do more in a quick manner. I love webdev, which is why CF is so great … more with less. I suspect this CFCLIENT will help me do more with less. Time will tell. Though I must say, their example app wasn’t as nimble as I would have liked. But all this is pre-beta.
Also great tip on the $20 trick. I must try that sometime. And really only $20? Never had to do more?

November 02, 2013 at 10:42 am, Scott Buckel said:

Interesting comparison, comparing CF->Java to CF->JavaScript. I’m okay with it, I just hope that it’s executed better than the CF->JavaScript in the past. You’re right, only time will tell. I can’t wait to get my hands on the beta!
Yeah, a $20 works 75% of the time…every time. Most of the time in Vegas it works and occasionally it’ll work outside of Vegas.

November 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm, Tim Cunningham said:

Sorry if my topic misled you, my topic was a “feature sneak” and looking back, I should have made that more clear, I probably would have made it to the big main room rather than than the tiny long one. PDF generation and manipulation is a topic I am passionate about, and some of my frustrations was that the Adobe team hadn’t fixed many of the Alpha bugs I had reported. For instance NONE of the new DDX stuff worked at the time, so I couldn’t demo it correctly. As an individual speaker I apologize for my failures and will try to do better in the future.
As member of the organizing committee for CFSummit I am glad to hear that overall the experience was worthwhile and hope you attend next year. Any suggestions you have to make it better, I am all ears.
I never heard of the 20 dollar trick, but manged to get an upgrade to THEHotel penthouse (3k per night) for free, just by showing up early and telling them to give me the biggest room they have. I am lucky that way.

November 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm, Scott Buckel said:

@Tim, Don’t get me wrong–your presentation was great, I think you were one of the most polished presenters that I saw the whole weekend.
I just didn’t know that it was a “feature sneak” that at the time it seemed Adobe was trying to slip in.
That’s a pretty awesome upgrade, I guess THEHotel is a nicer tower in Mandalay Bay? I’d never heard of it until you just posted. I can’t imagine who can afford to pay $3k per night!

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