Thursday, May 8, 2008

CF.Objective() 2008, #3 Come and Gone

Well...another year has passed for the CF.Objective() conference! It's hard to believe that the first one was three years ago.

Funny story about that... when I first heard about it -- the rumored "advanced" ColdFusion conference -- I thought, "there's no need for me to go to that, I'm not really that advanced." But it was over a weekend, so I tagged along with Adam and told him to tell Jared (Rypka-Hauer, the organizer) that if he needed any help running the registration desk or anything, I'd be happy to donate my years of experience running conferences.

As it turned out, they did need my help. I worked the desk, hand-scrawled signs to post outside the meeting room doors, and most importantly: got to meet just about every one of the 100 guru developers that were there. And as I worked it, I realized that the session schedule looked totally awesome, and that there were things I could learn there, so I was very happy to find out that it was happening again. The next year, I returned as an actual attendee (and also designed that "E for Enterprise" t-shirt you may have seen).

For the past two years I've been sort of their "designer on the side", helping out with various graphic needs of the conference, and this year I was honored to get a special "VIP" badge - as they put it - "anyone who cuts their honeymoon short to attend a conference deserves a VIP Badge"! Well, we didn't exactly cut the honeymoon short, but we did go straight there because we simply did not want to miss such an excellent conference.

This year's conference was better than ever. Best Meetings, Inc & Jim Lewis, the conference planners, did a great job - things have come a long way since that first year where we didn't even have signage. The downtown St. Paul Crowne Plaza hotel location was great, within walking distance of several restaurants and conveniences. I saw several excellent sessions, covering a preview of Model-Glue:Gesture from Joe Rinehart, Developing Flex Without a Framework (heresy? no!) by Max Porges, Adding Chat with BlazeDS by Tom Jordahl... those were some of my favorites, but every session I attended was really great.

A lot of the conference buzz was about the new frameworks - Mate, the Flex Framework from AsFusion which really impressed the crowd, including Chris Scott who has been working on a Flex framework of his own - Swiz. Then there was Model-Glue: Gesture (3), now in Alpha.
The Adobe team held a BOF (Birds-of-a-Feather) discussion of ColdFusion 9, which I thought went really well - many great ideas, and mostly constructive discussion. The Adobe guys kept really open minds, despite the consistently difficult challenges this community throws at them!

A lot of the talk there was about ActionScript on the server (to supplement or replace CFScript, and using AS Objects as a replacement for CFC objects) - plenty of controversy and counterpoints there, and I will leave it to the experts to cover that in detail! There were several other new or improved feature suggestions, many having to do with server administration. The demand for a real CF IDE was as high as ever.

I was still on Hawaii time so I had a rough time getting up in the morning for the early sessions (I did miss one slot - bummer!) but I was able to actually stay awake late to hang out with everyone at the hotel bar afterwards so there was an upside... We had a blast, as always - met lots of people, caught up with friends. No, this wrap-up is not technical, more like a ringing endorsement for my favorite CF conference! I am already looking forward to next year.

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