Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adobe Max - San Fran - Day Three

Well, another amazing conference day, but a bit disappointing as a ColdFusion developer.

Started really early, rushing over to the other hotel and grabbing a muffin and a juice. My first session was 'ColdFusion Powered Flex' - Simon was a great presenter, but it didn't really introduce anything particularily new for me. There are always a few good small tips and things to remind us about how the technologies work.

The keynote for the day was all about new products. We had been told by the ColdFusion team to eagerly await this speech. There were some great technologies introduced, such as Catalyst and the new Bolt IDE, but there was almost nothing about ColdFusion at all.

Alchemy was a bit interesting, if not odd. It allows C and C++ programmers to compile their code to Flash for client side execution. There was also a mention of the company Ensemble that creates plugins to allow Visual Studio developers to work with Flex.

My first session after lunch was ColdFusion Powered AIR. It was a bit dry and it didn't really introduce anything that wasn't covered in other sessions earlier in the week. However, it was nice to see the FaultHandler in action, and we used the Flex Builder debugger. I had trouble determining where the Flex ended and where the AIR began, which I think is a problem with the curricula. I suspect that the drag-and-drop from the Desktop to the application window was the main "AIR" feature that we were playing with.

The next session was about architecting ColdFusion for scalability. Consider I did a full day lab on it on Sunday and a few other sessions, it was a bit boring. However, Brandon Purcell did a fantastic job - I would have avoided all the other sessions and taken Brandon's instead. It was a very well-rounded session. I liked hearing about HAProxy, Nagios, Cloud Computing and the 'jrunx.kernel.jrun' class, and it was nice hearing that our work infrastructure is quite appropriate.

My last regular session was put on by Steve at Figleaf, and it covered ColdFusion, Ajax, Spry and jQuery. It was very intense, but informative. I'm still not completely sure why anyone would encourage developers to overload their pages with so many different libraries and JS references, but it made for an interesting presentation.

We hit the Sneak Peak and Max Awards - some amazing technologies were presented (check www.adobe.com/go/keynote). Again, nothing ColdFusion related. Funny enough, one of the CF engineers presented a way to run ActionScript server-side. I was left vaguely with the feeling that CF was being "phased out", replacing with Flex, wizards and ActionScript. Oh well.

The customer appreciation event was a huge party - Adobe rented both the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum. It was intense. Buses took everyone to the Golden Gate Park, and we were served food and entertained inside museums! Jay and I took in the Planetarium, wildlife exhibits, African performers, contortionists, a retro arcade and more. Both facilities are amazing.

Aside from the lack of ColdFusion announcements, we also felt a bit disappointed after meeting some of our ColdFusion "heroes". We'll see - I'm sure it was an even longer week for them. Otherwise, we met a bunch of amazing people, many of them within the education world. Good to meet you all!!!

So another long day. We have a tight timeline tomorrow, and we're concerned we won't even make it to the airport in time - we'll figure something out!

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