Saturday, August 15, 2009

CFUnited 2009 - Day Three

... And the conference only gets better.

It was another day of free coffee, a great lunch and better company. The vibe at day three of CFUnited was a bit different today, since quite a few people seemed be headed out while a new batch of people were arriving for the weekend session.

Paul and I managed to bump into Sam Farmer and Ben Nadel and a whole bunch of other exciting members of the community. I'm really struck by how some people come to the conference and DON'T network - this community is so exciting, but would be even more so if people took a moment and the risk (it's really no risk) to introduce themselves!!

My first session was with Simon Free listening to him talk about Facebook apps in ColdFusion. There wasn't much here that I didn't know, but his talk certainly demystified FBML for me. He had good tips about:
  • How to handle the bug with the FORM field name fb_sig in CF8 (due to auto form validation)
  • How Facebook processes the pages you create
  • How some features (CFFORM, CFDUMP) won't work within FB pages
  • What "proxied_email" is and why it's there
  • How the new extended privacy policy affects app developers
He was very positive about Facebook without being a fanboy - the platform has it's problems but it is a very valuable tool for reaching many people. His code examples were clean and realistic.

I attended his session on Developing APIs later in the day (man, this guy is busy!), which was another really good one. He described RESTful concepts well, and talked about the problems in creating an API:
  • It takes a lot of planning
  • They might be used/consumed by people in many different languages and environments
  • You have to be careful about scopes (esp cookies and sessions)
  • APIs require good documentation
  • Security is an immediate issue
Simon gave good examples using Apache rewrite and mentioned the code snipped 'GetPageContext().GetOut().ClearBuffer()' as a tool in handling excess whitespace. I loved how he made a template for API method documentation available - good stuff!

I attended Terry and Dip's session about the new Microsoft tools available in CF9. Although I wasn't blown away, there were a couple good things about the session. It was really easy to use the CFEXCHANGE tag, the Sharepoint integration was interesting, and Terry made a great point about how the ability to convert stuff to PDF opens up a whole new world to CF developers due to the amazing PDF functions - extracting text, images, thumbnails, etc.

Mr Ray Camden was hilarious as always in his Ajax CF/911 session. He sold the audience on Firebug and ColdFire (which we already use) and pointed out a few "gotchas" that trip up developers using Ajax:
  • Whitespace
  • How debugging works in Adobe ColdFusion
  • Cross domain concerns and JSONP
  • onRequest in Application.cfc blocking Ajax requests

I attended a session by Selene at RiteTech. It wasn't really for me, but it's interesting hearing someone's thoughts about "build vs. buy" when it comes to e-commerce. I've built many different types of e-commerce applications and I agree with her that the "build" option is not very compelling. Unfortunately, I thought she missed a whole type of solutions - hosted solutions that are developer friendly, like GoodBarry and Shopify. Some hosted options have gotten much more advanced than Miva. I would have also LOVED to see a mention of FoxyCart, one of my new best friends.

My last session of the day was INTENSE - Marc Esher took us on a crazy ride through his development techniques where he avoids "monkeywork", makes the computer the slave and works more productively. He introduced snippets, Launchy, Ant and JMeter and talked about how developers need to avoid the noise - best quote of the session:

Developers accept noise graciously, thus Twitter

Good point Marc.

Man this guy was excited and passionate. Whoever he works for is LUCKY - based on how fast the guy talks and works, he probably gets more done in his 9-5 than some do in a week. A very inspiring session.

The day ended (other than my DC adventure) with a round of great demos by the CF community and a hilarious video. There are some awesome projects out there. Thanks to the CFUnited team and the entire community for bringing us a THIRD day of inspiration. One more day left.

1 comment:

Cam said...

I'll leave an old fashioned comment since I'm not tweet-inspired.

Good posts on the conf - even if your coworkers aren't there to read it. Some of us work 24/7, right?

We'll have to catch up when you get back. I've been throwing myself into new dev tools willy-nilly over the last couple weeks to see what sticks...