Monday, 16 November 2015

CFSummit (Tuesday): better frame of mind

Well I was in a better frame of mind, until BlogSpot just wiped my entire article when I pressed CTRL-Z. And then it saved the blankness. FFS.

Anyhow, I'll be quick here as this is old news now, but I'll go over what I went to see on Tuesday last week anyhow.

Firstly - and I've said this before and I'll say it again - one of the best things about conferences is the between-presentation hallway chatter: there's a lot to be learned there too. Breakfast is no different, and is a good opportunity to be parked next to new people and chat for a bit about what they do and what they know. What I learned on Tuesday breakfast is that Gavin can talk non-stop for about 15min without drawing a breath or pausing to let anyone else participate in the conversation ;-). Still: it gave me a good chance to eat my breakfast whilst only nodding and going "and... [hmmm, OK he's not done yet]... but... [nope, still not my turn apparently]... aah... [hmmmm]...". Bloody hell Gav, you like to talk, don't you? ;-) That said, he was expounding on some good ideas that came out of the panel discussion and Adobe's and the community's general attitude to ColdFusion, so it was worth listening to. I pointed everyone to this before on Twitter, but here it is again: "Building a Bigger Better CFML Community". Read it and act on it.

The first presentation of the day was Roy Fielding talking on "REST and ColdFusion". He pretty much wrote the book on REST, so was worth listening to. Although perhaps also read Adam Tuttle's more accessible version: "REST Assured: A Pragmatic Approach to API Design". The bottom line I took from Roy's presentation is re-affirmation that REST isn't anything tricky, it's just using HTTP to deliver data. Like how web pages already does this. He also made the bold observation that whilst JSON might be the serialisation mechanism du jour, this doesn't mean it's the only way to ship data around the place. Nor will it necessarily be the way things are done in a few years time. Remember how we all used to like XML, but now it's just crap? Well yeah. I await for the other shoe to drop with JSON, TBH.

Nolan was on next with "MVC With and Without a Framework". I decided to go to this one over Kev's on on continuous delivery (etc) because I was intrigued by some of the chatter I was part of - or overheard -  on Monday. There are really a lot of CFMLers who seem blissfully unaware of things like "design patterns" and "frameworks" and stuff like that, and I thought this presentation might be reaching out to them. It's a demographic I've largely ignored on this blog, but perhaps I should be doing some more grass-roots stuff. Nolan always presents well, and I found this interesting even though there was nothing new in it for me. One interesting thing he observed is that in the process of taking a MVCless / frameworkless site and putting it into FW/1... really a lot of the code stays mostly as-is, with just hope it's called changing, and a bit of ceremonial stuff around the edges. I was surprised at the site-by-side diffs he was doing.

I had to skip the next slot as I needed to go Skype my wee son. Although his mum didn't put him on, so that was a waste of an hour. Then it was lunchtime, and more random chatter with random people.

After lunch was Anit taking the throng through what's involved in upgrading previous versions of ColdFusion to CF11. I basically wanted to see if there was anything I didn't know about (no), and also to check out what Anit was like as a presenter. He's definitely the best of the Bangalore-based bods (the BBBs!): speaking very clearly and engagingly, and - if I can be a bit bold - with a less thick accent than most of the other bods from the ColdFusion Team. I know the USAn audience struggles with this at times. And indeed even I could only understand about 10% of what Tridib was saying on the panel discussion the previous day, and I was sitting 2m away from him!

Mr Blinky Hat was up next to go commando (he refused to confirm this one way or the other): "Go Commando, with CommandBox! CLI + REPL + Package Manager for CFML". CommandBox continues to impress, I gotta say.

Lastly I went to Charlie's presentation on "10 Common CF Server Challenges and How to Find/Solve Them". This was typically thorough: Charlie knows his stuff. But I do have to say that by this time I was conferenced-out, and wanted to get away from the concept of ColdFusion.

Elishia wrapped things up in the main room, and we were done.

I never understood this. Organising developers to go have a drink is like herding cats using nothing but a bucket of water, so it seemed to take about an hour to get from the conference to the bar 200m, but that's what I did (once again it was the Todd English PUB). Having learned my lesson about excesses the previous day, I kept things "under control" this evening. I was in bed by 3am (after diversions to one of the bars in the casino itself, and Tim Cunningham's suite for even more beer, after the point at which I should have known better). Dear god. And on Wednesday I had to fly back to the UK...

Anyway, it was a good gig, and I'm glad I made it. Mostly for the people I hung out with, I have to say, more than the presentations. This is not an indictment of the presentation quality at all, but as time goes on, ColdFusion stuff is less and less relevant to me. But I had a good time. Hey I can't remember all the people I caught up with... I'm both shocking with names/faces, plus when it happens at the bar, my brain doesn't record events anyhow. It was excellent hanging out with y'all anyhow.

And that's all the lunchtime I have available for writing, so that's that.