Tuesday 21 January 2014

Scotch on the Rocks: which sessions am I going to? (2014 version)

The SotR crew have got the first pass of the Scotch on the Rocks 2014 schedule posted, so I'm gonna go through what I think I might go have a look at. Obviously the schedule is still subject to change, as is my whim. Right... from top to bottom...

Deploying to the Cloud - Mark Drew

In this session, we will cover the challenges and easy wins you can have when you plan to deploy your application to the cloud.
I've not looked at anything to do with "the Cloud" at all yet, I have to admit. Not even to look at what Railo / ColdFusion offers in that area. It's the sort of thing I think I should know about, but am unlikely to research by myself, so making myself find out about it via Mark is a reasonable taster. Mark's a good presenter too.

Enhance your workflow with Grunt.js - Matt Gifford

This session will introduce the attendees to Grunt.js, an incredibly powerful task runner, and it will leave with a clear idea of what is possible with Grunt.js, and how to introduce it into their development workflow and cycle.
At work we have a bespoke JS & CSS concat & minifying system, which made sense back when it was written, but doesn't really make sense to have a separate system to handle it these days. We also use Ant to do our builds, which is a bit... past its prime these days. I've heard a lot of people talk about Grunt.js, but have never looked at it. I've also hardly used node.js, and this would be a good opportunity to have to use it. I'd like us to switch to using Grunt for the above tasks. That said, I hope to have done it before SotR, so we'll just have to see how relevant this is by then.

Something something security - Anna Shipman

We all know that the security of our websites is crucial, and high profile breaches remind us of that all the time. But making sure your application is up to date with the latest secure practices never has the same pull as working on the new hotness. It’s like being a goalkeeper - people only notice your work when you miss something.
Hmmm. Security is something I don't have a huge amount of interest in. I don't mean to sound dismissive about this, but if I ever need to know about this stuff, I'll find out at the time. In the mean time, I think there's better things to busy my time with. Note: we have dedicated people @ work for this stuff, so I don't really have to know more than what's fairly obvious anyhow.

Unit Testing Legacy Applications - Kev McCabe

In this session we'll learn the basics of Unit Testing and it's benefits along with how to get your head around Test Driven Development (TDD) and the benefits it brings.
This is something anyone who isn't up to speed with TDD should be forced to go to. It is essential that we all know how to do TDD (I have written about this myself... must get back to that series, actually...). However I don't think there's anything Kev can teach me about TDD, so I'll skip this one.

Fighting code that smells - anna bulenkova

Nobody likes when their code smells. In order to prevent it, a bunch of special tools and approaches have been designed.
This sounds good, but my one apprehension about this is that 95% of my day-to-day work is in CFML, and I have a strong suspicion none of this will involve tooling for CFML. I remain to be convinced, and this mostly keys on the balance of theory to tooling.

Bruce's tour of the Sausage Factory - bruce lawson

Everyone who's not wrong and/or evil agrees that standards are best for the Web. But how do standards get made?
I don't know that I care.

Technical Debt: Is your code base approaching the fiscal cliff... - Andy Clarke

Is your technical debt out of control? Would you like to consolidate your debts into one easily manageable monthly release?
This one is very very interesting to me because we have a bag load of old, creaking, "sub-optimally-realised" code in our system (just like everyone), and I'd love to know any clever approach we can take to minimise risk and approach dealing with it.

The Offline Web - Dale Harvey

We are building more powerful and complex web applications both on the desktop and increasingly on mobile[...]
This is kind of interesting because I know I ought to be doing some mobile stuff (does this sound familiar from my similar blog posts regarding SotR and CF.Objective() last year?), but I still haven't been interested enough in mobile stuff to even have a sniff. So I think I'm too far away from the coalface to get as much as I could out of this. Sounds like a good gig for people who do do mobile stuff though!

Canopy view of single-page applications (SPAs) - Benjamin Howarth

Lost in the forest of whether you should build a mobile app or a mobile website, or both?
Again... I ought to be interested in mobile stuff. But just... aren't.

Functional Programming for the Web - Sean Corfield

Functional Programming (FP) is the new "hotness" but it can be very daunting for developers with a "traditional" background in imperative and/or object-oriented languages.
I'm definitely catching this one: it's the high point of the conference for me. I had the quickest look at clojure the other day on http://tryclj.com/ (which is cool, you should try it!), and it seemed very interesting. So want more now!

I am Chef and Welcome to my Kitchen - Jatin Nanda

Ever wanted to try a new technology stack but concerned about messing up your dev environment. Want to use VMS for specific tasks but what a quick and simple way of deploying them? If so then auto provisioning with Chef is for you.
Chef's one of those things I've heard about, sounds interesting, and I know nothing about it. It might give us some food for thought for our work environment (or, indeed, for my home one).

Rocket Powered Ramp Up with Bower, Grunt & YeomanRob

Whether you're an agency dev who starts a new project every week or are focused on long term web project support you can benefit from the next generation of front end work-flow tools for web developers.
I've heard of Bower and Yeoman, but had to look up what they actually did. And as I said above, Grunt seems pretty interesting. Bower I could take or leave, but Yeoman sounds interesting.

Resistance is Futile: Google Glass and the Augmented Reality Cyborg Workforce of the Future - Donna Lichaw

Google Glass raises a number of questions: Should we develop apps for it? *What* do we build for it? Who will use it?
I have not a jot of interest in Google Glass. I am not looking to change this.

Realtime Web Apps in the Wild - Phil Leggetter

It has been possible to instantly push information from a web server to a web browser for at least 10 years, but this technology has finally gone mainstream thanks to technologies like WebSockets and solutions like SignalR, socket.io, Faye and Pusher.
Sounds very interesting. I'd like to see these things put to practical use (it's another list of stuff I am pretty much unaware of, except for socket.io which I messed around with on the weekend just gone, as part of the node.js tutorial I did). It'll also be refreshing to see a non-CFML-centric approach to these things.

Solid Grunt - From Spaghetti to Rock Solid Code - Thomas Parisot

We use Grunt plugins and the `Gruntfile.js` to achieve common and repetitive tasks.
This'll be a good adjunct to the other Grunt prezzos? Or maybe a bit of overload? At least there's multiple options if I miss one or other.

Automate all the Front End Development Things! - Kitt Hodsden

Today's front end developers have more work to do than ever to create a functioning, responsive, fast, good-looking website. We have differing screen resolutions, browser support, network speeds and other considerations all buzzing around, jockeying for highest priority and attention during development.
Not so interesting for me, but I'll make sure our front-end guys know about this. I'm not sure if they're going to SotR or not. Will need to check that.

Digging in the dirt or digging for gold? The Internals of the Java Virtual Machine! - Kai Koenig

The JVM is a funny odd little thing. Loved and hated by just a few, ignored and misunderstood by many. People talk about Memory Management, Garbage Collection and all sorts of stuff, but what IS the JVM and how does it work?
I'm gonna make a point of sitting at the front of this and making Kai feel self-conscious about his neuseeland accent. That and it'll be a good prezzo on a topic I should know more about.

Embedded DSL: Groovy and Scala Fair Duel - corinne and fabrice matrat

What were you dreaming of doing as a kid? Did you get into programming because of games? Don’t you think programming is a great pedagogical tool? Join the fun in this session, and discover how to define a domain-specific language to move a turtle around and interact with her.
This one sounds kinda cool... it's a coding "shoot-out" sort of thing. And I'm all keen to see more Groovy, or any Scala at all.

All aboard the NodeJS Express - David Boyer

Get on board the NodeJS Express as we take a journey through what makes NodeJS special.
Having looked a bit at NodeJS, it looks really cool and I want to see more of it. Hopefully I'll've done some more with it than just that one tutorial by the time SotR comes around.

Splendor and secure CFML applications - Rakshith Naresh

Description: The next version of ColdFusion has features that make your server and applications secure by default.

Someone from Adobe telling us about web security. Wouldn't that be like me giving a presentation on diplomacy?! Hmmm. Well hopefully the ColdFusion 11 beta will be out by then, and I can see if anything Rakshith might have to say will be interesting.

Building single page web sites the RIGHT way - Kay Smoljak

The latest trend in web design is JavaScript-heavy single page web sites with swishy animation effects - in fact, the 2014 SOTR web site uses this very technique.

I've been trying to find time to get into any / all of the various SPA libraries / frameworks out there. I've been saying that every time a conference comes around. I have made zero progress on this so far, for one reason or another. Still... that's not to say I won't keep going to presentations about 'em. Maybe at some point I'll do more than just watch people talk about them.

When to NoSQL and when to Know SQL - Simon Elliston Ball

With NoSQL, NewSQL and plain old SQL, there are so many tools around it’s not always clear which is the right one for the job.

I've been to a coupla presentations on MongoDB, and they were good, but I don't find "data storage" very exciting, I've concluded. That's not to say I shouldn't know more about the options, so I'm still on the fence regarding this one.

And that's the whole lot. Obviously they've not sorted out the final schedule yet, so I don't really know what I'll end up getting to, but there's a load of interesting stuff there. Same as last year. Scotch on the Rocks really is an excellent gig: Andy and co know what they're doing.

In summary, what am I looking forward to the most?
  • Grunt
  • NodeJS
  • Clojure
  • Groovy
  • Scala

But the whole lot will be good, depending on where your interests lie.

You'll note there's bugger-all ColdFusion-oriented stuff in there, but I see this as a good thing: a CFML dev can learn new CFML stuff on the job each day. Having the chance to learn completely different stuff - stuff we might not necessarily usually look at (or know exists!) is a cool. Thing.

If yer in the UK... get yerself to Scotch on the Rocks. And we can have a pint!