Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CFUnited 2009 - Day One

Wow. What a day. In the opening keynote, organizer Liz mentioned that despite a few small issues, this conference was setup exactly as she imagined. I haven't attended CFUnited before, but I can believe it.

The snacks, coffee and refreshments were everywhere, the people friendly and the venue fantastic. The sponsors were excited and talkative, and the food that was served was top notch. If the next few days are like this one this was a VERY worthwhile conference.

So a quick summary of some of the stuff I encountered today. First, some highlights from the keynote:
  • Formation of a non-profit called 4CFF to support Open Source CF projects. I saw Jason Delmore at their booth later.
  • Official rule - all attendees must call Ben Forta "sir" or "master" (WWBD)
  • Terry Ryan as new ColdFusion and higher education evangelist
  • Quick code demo using entityLoad() function and outputting to spreadsheet in a couple lines of CFSCRIPT
  • Announcement of new Adobe licenses for the cloud and creation of official Amazon EC2 AMI

I then attended a session about SQL Server reporting. It seems like a powerful tool, but the session was a bit introductory for me. The ability to allow power users to create Ad-hoc reports based on report models was interesting.

My next session was about Design Patterns. The speaker, Dan Blackman didn't stop to take a breath; he hit us with a continuous stream of useful theory on how to create general, reusable solutions to recurring problems. The session was also very interactive and he encouraged questions and dialog.

The flex stuff was above my head, but there were some great tips on the "ideal" process:
  • Build databases using ERDs
  • Generate class diagrams from ERDs
  • Create CFCs from the class diagram
  • Generate Business Delegates to expose services
  • Build Gateways to package into typed data
  • Create services for CRUD
  • Use mediators and commands to take requests from views
  • Discussed the concept of 'facades' that map out commands in the controller
  • Set up proxies to grab and store data

I then sat in on a "Subversion for Smarties". The presenter, Cameron Childress was fantastic and consistent. Some notes:
  • He spent too much time talking about Git (distributed source control), which was actually quite appreciated
  • Introduced us to the concept of "changelists" in the newer versions of Subversion. These sound like a great way to organize code in your working copy.
  • We heard about the Perforce concept of "ClientSpecs" to allow metadata to be stored in the repository
  • Learned a bit about svn:keywords and keyword substitution, a topic that always confused me a bit
  • We didn't get enough time spend on "hooks" - the thought of pre-commit and post-commit hooks is amazingly powerful

I attended a quick session about building and deploying applications. Pretty standard stuff, but the presenter did a great job. The third-party RIAForge tool 'datamgr' sounds quite impressive, although it might not be as important with the upcoming ORM features in CF9. We also had some amusing conversation about CFENCODE.

My last official session was renamed to "Fusebox - Past, Present and Future". Adam Haskell worked to dispell some old myths about Fusebox and then announced that due to differences with the owners of Fusebox he was resigning as lead developer. He announced that the code was immediately forked as "FuseNG" (next generation). There are already some great features being added. It was a bit of an awkward session, and Adam is a pretty blunt guy, but it was good to hear that the world of Fuse* might get a bit of a refresher.

Closed the evening with an open bar and great conversation with Jim at Grape Stack. That guy KNOWS his stuff. Actually, he knows EVERYONE's stuff. The Railo guys rock too. I'm super excited about things like ORM, ColdBox, and Railo. Paul and I sat in on the CFML Language Advisory meeting before leaving for the night.

Wow, a full first day. Looking forward to tomorrow.

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