I'm sitting in my hotel room catching up on emails before I leave to find a taxi for the airport. I thought it would be a great time to write up my thoughts on the 2013 ColdFusion Summit. I don't think I have to explain this, but just to be 100% sure, I work for Adobe, so it probably isn't fair for me to review a conference we put on. If that bothers you, well, stop reading now, but if you want my perspective anyway, please read on.
Over the past decade or so I've attended many ColdFusion conferences. Some of them are gone, most of them have evolved into multidisciplinary events. This was the first purely ColdFusion conference I've attended in quite some time. What struck me the most about this event was the audience. I've gotten used to seeing the "regulars" at conferences in this community but the summit felt like an entirely new community. This is probably not the case. I'm thinking these are people who have probably used ColdFusion for some time. But something drove a whole fresh crop of them to attend and I think that's awesome. I strongly urge any of you reading this post to continue to attend conferences and always strive to learn more.
At his keynote Thursday morning, Ben Forta pointed out that it is no longer enough for us to be "ColdFusion developers" but rather "developers" instead. If this was your first conference, certainly do not let it be your last. Check out this list of upcoming web development conferences from Lanyrd. You should be able to easily find something nearby that can help you learn something new. I can promise you that one of the best things you can do for your ColdFusion skills is to spend some time in other platforms and get exposed to different techniques and skills. And of course, many of these other techniques complement ColdFusion well. I've spent most of the past few years focused on front-end technologies that will work with any back end technology.
The content was top notch, and I should point out that the conference used a CAB to select speakers and presentations. This conference was community involved from the beginning and I think that worked out great. As a speaker it is doubly unfair for me to say so, but I think the lineup was great.
The ColdFusion team (and community speakers) used the keynote, and some of the sessions, to talk about what is coming in the next version of ColdFusion, code named Splendor. In no particular order they discussed:
- Updates to PDF rendering of HTML (from what I could see it was near pixel perfect)
- Addition of member functions (if you ever typed somearray.length() then this will make you happy)
- Web Socket improvements (port 80, clustering, failover)
- Mobile app creation and debugging
- and more
Some of these features were more happily received then others, which is cool, but if I can ask one thing of my readers it is to please consider doing more than just tweeting. Use the official ColdFusion forums and blog to let your opinion be heard. A tweet is easy - a discussion takes a bit more time and thought. I think it will be worth your while to make that time to help improve the product. In the end, I think those of us who use, and love, ColdFusion, want one thing - a better product. Positive, constructive feedback can go a long way to making that happen.
Finally, some notes about the details. I'm not a big fan of Vegas. I'm somewhat of a fuddy duddy (my friends will tell you that I was the lame one typically going to bed by 10). Frankly I go to these things not for the location but for the content so I could care less where it was held. The actual hotel was nice and the conference rooms well done. I also greatly appreciated that the rooms were all next to each other.
Let me be clear on this last point. All conference organizers hear me out. I will prefer a venue that is half as fancy as another if I can skip needing a damn map to get from one place to another.
Only one room had power strips, which is something I'd like to see fixed for next year. Also, the rooms were very deep and the screens were not very big. Again, that is something that can be fixed. This was rather unfortunate for the first set of speakers, but word quickly spread and I think most folks adjusted their presentations accordingly. All speakers need to be ready for issues like this though.
Finally - the food. My needs here are pretty simple. Breakfast was great (with giant pans of meat how can you go wrong?) and lunch was pretty good.
I'll leave with what is - I think - great news for this community. Thanks to Michael Evangelista for the picture: