Tuesday 21 May 2013

cf.Objective() day 2&3 - brain dump

My health faded a bit on Fri & Sat (some of this was self-induced - especially Saturday - but my man flu was getting the better of me), so I'll roll the latter two days into one article.

First up on Friday was Kurt Wiersma's presentation, "Building a Single Page App with AngularJS, Bootstrap, and CFML". I had heard of AngularJS and Bootstrap, but really didn't know anything about them. As part of my "you need to get better up to speed with JS" mission for this conference, I was really looking forward to this, especially as it was a double-session, allowing Kurt to go into more detail than a single session would allow. Kurt is a natural presenter, and his presentation content was pitched just right to be absorbed in a conference type environment. He showed enough of both technologies to be readily absorbed but not overwhelming, and I was definitely hooked as a result. Helping him a bit I think was that AngularJS just seems so sensible and "natural"... I was writing a blog article whilst I was listening/watching, and only looking up every coupla minutes, but the code was always clear enough to pick up generally with just a superficial glance, or maybe a momentary brow furrow then a "ah right, got it". I've not yet had a chance to look further at this stuff, but I have a feeling it will be a pleasure to work with.

Friday morning - which ended up being the most fulfilling stretch of the conference for me with both of the two best presentations - was rounded out by Scott Stroz's "How Groovy & Grails made me a better ColdFusion Developer" talk. Scott's a natural entertainer - I never thought I'd actually laugh, let alone "out loud" at pictures of grumpy cat, but Scott managed it - and he also knows his stuff and gave a great overview of Groovy and Grails. Much as I like CFML, I was quickly finding myself going "dammit... Groovy is just better at doing a lot of what CFML does". And I'm really not a bandwagon-jumper when it comes to "cool" technology. Also Groovy / Grails - like AngularJS - just seemed to be one of those technologies that was just "right" in its approach to stuff. One key side note here is that there were a few times Scott was showing how Groovy could do stuff, and audience-members observed that in Railo one could do [that] too. I suppose Scott is comparing Groovy to ColdFusion's CFML so he wasn't going to show stuff that CF could already do, but it struck a chord with me that these observations were there to be made with Railo and not CF. Rakshith was sitting up in the front row for this presentation. I hope he was taking notes. CF/CFML could learn a lot from Groovy.

After lunch - unlike Thurs, I was actually there for lunch on Fri - was Gert and Mark's Railo presentation. The key thing in this presentation was to contrast it to Adobe's equivalent presentation the previous day. Here's two things about the Adobe presentation, one thing I observed in my previous article, the other something I didn't mention at the time:
  1. Adobe's presentation was not aimed at me, nor most of the people in the room. It was a marketing presentation, and had very little substance to it at all;
  2. it made such little impression on me that when I was writing up my earlier article, I actually initially clean forgot about it! I published the article then went "oh hell... I forgot about Adobe!"
That's telling. In contrast, Gert and Mark rolled up their sleeves and showed us some of the new stuff in Railo 4.0 and 4.1. I've already written separate articles on some of that, but I've got more up my sleeve to look at in depth later on.

I seriously seriously hope Adobe pitch things better at subsequent conferences this year, because I was not the only person who noticed the difference between the two vendors' approaches to the audience here, and I was left thinking Adobe has become a bit disconnected from their developer base.

Next I was going to be going to Ray's PhoneGap presentation, which I was really looking forward to. However Ray had had to go home early, so I figured the presentation had been cancelled. Instead I just stayed in my seat and wrote a blog article, with Nathan Mische presenting about Chef and Vagrant in the background. I did not pay attention to his talk, I'm afraid. This is no slight on Nathan, but I just aren't interested in those topics (nor any of the others in that time slot).

Frustratingly I found out Matt Gifford was covering for Ray, so I could have seen the PhoneGap prezzo. However it was now halfway through, so I decided it would not be sensible to join in at that point.

From there I decided to pick up Sean's last (third!) presentation on MongoDB. This was more a DBA sort of presentation rather than a developer one, so not as interesting to me as the earlier one he gave on the topic. But they fit together well. And he's done his job: MongoDB is also on my list of things to look at.

I went straight to the bar and resuming my mission to drink through all the bar's selection of Minnesotan beer, and talk as much bullshit to as many people as possible. After some great conversation (depending on which side of the bullshit you were, mileage might vary there ;-), I remembered there was a "Meet the ColdFusion Product Team" BoF session, so in a half-cut state I tracked down the Adobe bods and spent a reasonable length of time raising / discussing various points about CF and CFB with Rakshith, who listened patiently. Rakshith is a good dude.

After that I wandered back to the bar, and - forgetting to have dinner - resumed the bullshittery in the bar. This went on rather late... I do not recall until what time, if I am honest.

Saturday. Oh god Saturday. I felt rotten on Saturday... no food and too much beer (then, foolishly, some cocktails after the beer!) on Friday night left me feeling very worse for wear on Saturday morning. And afternoon. And into the evening.

I went to Brad Wood's Backbone.js presentation, which was all right but I really couldn't get into it. I doubt this was anything to do with Brad or Backbone.js, and more to do with feeling grim. I will need to do some of my own research on this topic I think.

Apparently I went to another Railo presentation with Gert after that, but I clearly was not paying attention as I do not recall it.

Similarly with Aaron Greenlee's presentation on "Architecting ColdFusion Applications with AWS"... it was good to hear some stuff about AWS, but it would have been better had I brought my brain with me that day.

At this point I gave up and went back to bed.

After my nanna nap I hit the last two thirds of Adam Tuttle's Taffy presentation, and that seemed really good and I'm annoyed I missed the first bit. I intend to sit down and compare ColdFusion 10's REST implementation with Taffy at some point, and write it up.

And finally, instead of going to Carol Hamilton's tent.io presentation (sorry Carol!), I went to the mall with Adam to get some tickets for the train to the baseball, and buy a few odds 'n' sods for my son (Duplo from the Lego shop) and other bods I had promised some American things for.

Jared closed off the conference, and a bunch of us scarpered off to Target Field to watch the Minnesota Twins getting their arses handed to them by the Red Sox. Fortunately I was a neutral spectator - especially given I don't know the first thing about baseball - so the score line didn't matter too much, but the company, the beer, and the general occasion were great. Thanks to Adam Tuttle and Carol Hamilton for babysitting a gaggle of Europeans through that experience, and answering all our dumb questions. Well: the questions I asked were dumb, anyhow ;-)

After that Alex and I decided to not go out that evening, as we had a muster time of 3:30am Sunday to get to the airport for the return to London. And at 1:30am Monday, I was finally home. A taxi, two planes, a train, three tubes and another taxi later.

cf.Objective() was really good, but I'm also quite pleased to be back to the relative sanity of the office. Cheers to everyone who hosted, organised, and spoke at the gig. And cheers to everyone who bent my ear or who had theirs bent by mine, in the hallway or up against the bar.  Excellent stuff. I need to start working out how to afford going again next year. In the mean time, I've got Scotch on the Rocks to attend, and Alex and Kai have been twisting my arm regarding CFCamp in Oct. I'm undecided on that one.

Back to work...