I'd kinda decided it was too late in the piece to write this article now, given CF.Objective() was a month ago. Sorry for not writing it up in a timely fashion, but I had a motivation block for a coupla weeks after returning from it. The timing of this blockage was coincidental, and nothing to do with CFO itself.
However I am going to offer some feedback now due to a comment from Jason Dean y/day:
90 ppl in my session at #cfobjective. 14 filled out a session survey. Overall, surveys weren't completed. What does it take? #disappointed
— Jason Dean(12Robots) (@JasonPDean) June 11, 2014
Some discussion ensued, and whilst I think Jason has a point: exactly how hard is it for people to participate in our community, after all; I think the situation was exacerbated by the flakiness of the phone app CFO was using to gather the information. It was unusable on my phone (Galaxy S2) - I mean literally: I could not select the text areas to type in, so couldn't offer feedback - and the whole app was a bit of an organisation shambles. And that seemed to be the only way to log our feedback. So CFO didn't exactly help themselves there.
Anyway, I did not pursue the feedback channel very strenuously as I was planning on writing this article anyhow. Oops.
This is not going to be a very thorough article due to the chronological distance from the material concerned, I'm afraid. All I'm left with is vague impressions and general gut feelings, rather than the detail. Still: Jason et al can take this as my written conference feedback, if nothing else.
FridayYeah: Friday... the Friday before the conference. Up until around 3pm on Fri 9 May, I was not going to be attending the conference, due to budgetary constraints. But Gert from Railo hit me up on Friday afternoon, offering a spare ticket. I hastily made some calls to see what the accommodation situation would be (ie: confirm that I could doss with someone, to save me money), check flight costs and see if I could get a week off work at two working hours' notice. That all panned out nicely, and £750-odd later I had flights booked to MSP via Philadelphia, for Monday afternoon (flying on Tues would have been more convenient, but £1250!).
MondayI was sitting at LHR drinking awful beer (the only options on tap @ the bar I was at in T1), when I worked out that Andrew Dixon - someone I "knew" from the Railo Google Group - was also in the terminal, and indeed on my flight. So we met up and introduced ourselves etc. Andrew doesn't drink, but he watched me do so for both of us anyhow. He's a good bloke. Except for the not drinking thing. ;-)
The flight was uneventful: I just watched movies (Andrew & I were not sitting anywhere near one another). Philadelphia airport was a shambles though. They simply do not know how to run an international airport. It took over an hour to process across the "border", then two (possibly three?) additional queues and passport checks after that just to go from one end of the terminal to the other. I suspect PHL was not built with the modern approach to international air security in mind, but still the airlines try to make it an international hub. I will actively avoid that airport in the future.
Monday evening I stayed in a cheap-o hotel somewhere in Bloomington; I could not afford the Radisson Blu, even for a night. This is the joint: Extended Stay America - Minneapolis - Bloomington. It suited my purposes other than the fact I was dying for a cold pint having been arsing around travelling for the last however many hours it was, but there was no bar onsite, nor any in the vicinity. It was in a rather commercial / industrial area. I found a pizza place that was open so settled for that.
TuesdayTuesday I did something that doesn't seem very popular in Bloomington: I walked from one place to another place, in the outdoors. I walked from the Extended Stay joint across to the Radisson Blue at the Mall of America, a distance of about 5km. Well by the time I corrected from an initial brain fart and directional disconnect, about 6km. Still: it was a nice enough day and I like exploring. In that time I passed only three other people walking along the sidewalk. Weird.
Anyway, I got to the MoA and set up camp at the bar. My room mate was not arriving until late afternoon, I detest shopping, like drinking, so decided waiting at the bar would be a thing to do. And there'd be random people to chat to. I did seem to be the first conference attendee to arrive that day though.
By the time the evening reception came around I was really pretty drunk, and I don't remember a great deal of it, I have to say. Still: it was a good day, and I had a lot of good chats with various people who I forget the identity of now. My brain doesn't record once I have had one pint, let alone a day's worth.
WednesdayOK, so now the conference has started, and there are some presentations to attend. I will freely admit I was dreadfully (dreadfully) hungover.
Adobe General SessionThis was an odd one. The first half was some third-party bloke describing a stock market game his company were producing in conjunction with Adobe's mobile offerings. It was like an advertisement. It was also odd in that he seemed pleased that they managed to get a working prototype in "only" four months. This seems like an incredibly long time for a prototype, and not at all merit- or mention-worthy. As Jason Dean (I cannot find the message to cite properly) pointed out: perhaps it was more a beta than a prototype, and who knows how polished / finished it was. Whilst potentially true, it's still bad messaging. And - again - Adobe are doing a marketing exercise at a developer conference.
The second half was much better, and Rakshith showed us some code, and did a pretty good job of it.
I specifically decided to go to this and the
<cfclient>presentation to compare and contrast, suspecting that Ray's approach would just be better than Simon's, and demonstrating
<cfclient>is a waste of space. Stay-tuned...
Scott Stroz first introduced it to me in the previous year), secondly both Dan and Josh were so obviously keen on Groovy it was infectious. Plus everything they showed us just had me thinking "this is where CFML could have gone had it had the right aspirations, design and leadership". As far as ColdFusion goes we're probably lost, but whenever I see something cool in Groovy and raise it as an idea with the Railo guys, they generally seem keen to have a look at it, and implement a CFML-friendly version of it. It's possibly too late for CFML, but who knows?
CFML issues aside, this is the second Groovy presentation I've been to, and it just looks like a cool language and I'd love to find an excuse to use it daily.
Gert's presentation was excellent: the room was full, the room was clearly impressed with what he was showing us. It was an excellent developer-centric presentation.
<cfclient>instead. Simon did a great job (especially as he did it all ad hoc!), but he didn't convince me to consider
<cfclient>in any more positive light.
DrinkingThat was the end of the formal presentations for the day, so I drank beer for a while.
Adobe BOF / Railo BOFWhat I said on Twitter sums this up the best:
The @Adobe #ColdFusion BOF was like a running brawl. The #railo one is like Mass. #cfobjective
— Adam Cameron (@dacCfml) May 16, 2014
(btw, I mean Mass in the Catholic church service sense)
I promised myself I would stay as demure as possible in the Adobe one, and just listen to what others have to say. Also to keep a neutral attitude. I didn't have to worry as there was plenty of raised voices and talking over one another and the like. Things I took away from it:
- they will not. Ever. Open source CFML;
- they will not shorten the release cycle to be similar to the standard OS approach;
- Adobe engineers demonstrated they are out of touch with reality, thinking the only thing wrong with the CFUI muck is that the underlying libraries are out of date, and an update to those would sort them out. Ram looked very surprised when this went down like a lead balloon;
- both Simon Free and Dave Ferguson included
<cfclient>in a list of functionality that has no place in CFML. I was gobsmacked by that.
Update:Dave has made a point on the latest CFHour podcast ("Show #217: Back On Track But Still Off the Rails") of denying he made the above comment. I am not going to get into an exercise of "he said she said" (esp as I don't want to work out who's the "she" in this case), but I thought I ought to make note of that here.
I was let down that the Adobe crew called it short because they had a meeting to go to. That's pretty bloody rude & disrespectful. They ought to have not scheduled the meeting when they already had an appointment with us.
On the other hand the Railo BOF was very sedate, and was just a continuation of Gert's presentation from before. I would have liked there to be more two-way discussion, but so be it.
Luis pulled me aside and gave me a first look at CommandBox, which started to impress me right then and there.
And that was it.
Bottom LineIt was another good conference, and I was very fortunate to be able to attend, thanks to Gert etc. I met a bunch of cool people at the bar and had some great conversations throughout the day.
Right. So there's some feedback, everyone do with that what you will. And perhaps see y'all next year.