Friday, May 11, 2007

Belated CF Objective Wrap Up

I'm finally starting to get my head back above water at work after returning from CF.Objective(), so I thought I'd share some of my experience. The conference was great! A huge improvement over last year, which itself was excellent, and what high quality content. I can't say enough.

The big topics at the conference this year were Scorpio and ColdSpring. Maybe I say ColdSpring because about half the sessions I attended at least mentioned it, or maybe because I was hanging out with Adam (ColdSpring's self-appointed agent) , Chris and Dave. But since I've been using ColdSpring and MG:Unity, without really understanding ColdSpring all that well, I thought I should get to know it a little better. Hey, I'm a designer - it takes me awhile to grasp these things!

And of course, what everyone wants to hear...what's coming with Scorpio? I'm really excited about several things that were announced
  • AJAX tags - there are 12 new ones! Not just new UI widgets using the YUI library while wrapping it up into the ever-simple CF syntax; but also JSON serialization for CFCs, data binding, error handling, and a JavaScript debugger. A lot of the concepts seem to echo Flex, so if you've done any work with Flex these features will come very naturally. This is just one more step towards my life goal of never having to write JavaScript again :)
  • PDF tags - not just improvements to , but which allows you to manipulate PDFs in dozens of ways (combining docs, watermarking, rotating pages, etc), and process Acrobat Forms. The functionality is taken from LiveCycle, and from what I hear, we should all be very appreciative of the power that's being added to CF at a fraction of what it would cost to get LiveCycle. A very SMALL fraction. A few people grumbled that you won't be able to create PDF forms with CF, but I say to those people, just wait and I think you will find out that you really don't need that functionality. If you need to create a dynamic form so badly, ever heard of...ahem...HTML? Or how about that thing they call Flex?
  • Geek features - I didn't attend the Scorpio 1337 session (features only geeks could love) because there was something else on the schedule I wanted to see at the same time (although that seemed to happen every time slot, there were so many great topics). But there were promises of some very geeky features like Interfaces, the debugger, and well, I don't remember them all because I didn't attend this session, but I'm sure if you are a geek there will be lots of things for you to appreciate.
  • The new CFAdmin interface and server monitoring features are sweet. You can drill down into every connection and request on your site, to see where the load is and what exactly is going on at any moment in time (right down to the values of variables in various scopes), along with completely customizable alerts (you can even write a CFC to do your own alert handling). It's really amazing that you can find out so much about what's happening on your server in such a simple way.
  • There's lots more, but this post is getting long.
It's not common that I leave a conference with no complaints. In comparison to CFObjective, other conferences are too long (by the last day I'm not interested or up to seeing any more sessions), don't have enough good content (all three sessions I want to see will inevitably be at the same time, while there are entire afternoons full of nothing I want to see), have too many sales pitches, have crappy food (hey, details matter), have bouncers working the door at every session to ensure no unwanted guests get in (bad vibes), or cost too much (something you begin to question when you go to an extravagant social even that's actually kinda lame, and realize that half your registration fee went to pay for that one night). Great job Jared, Steven, Jim and team...I'm looking forward to next year!

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