ColdFusion Summit 2013

This post is more than 2 years old.

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:

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Dinesh posted on 10/26/2013 at 7:12 PM

I was hoping much more on the summit rather than how about you did not liked too much about the environment. If I am not wrong, this was your first post in quite sometime about CF and many like me (who were not fortunate enough to travel to US from India and other countries to attend this summit) were expecting much more details. I am sure its not wrong if your 'virtual students' expect that much from you. Ah, enough of rambling, can we expect some url's of all recorded speeches/presentations if there are any, any positive/negative vibe this summit brought about the product, business ramifications about where we do stand today, especially this was Adobe doing, figures will help.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/26/2013 at 7:16 PM

Um, I said *one* thing about Vegas. Is that all you really got from this post? If so, either I failed pretty badly or you read pretty quickly.

Recorded URLs: The presentations were not recorded. I *believe* the keynotes were and when I see the URLs, I'll add them to the main entry.

Slide decks: They were gathered - but I don't know if we are sharing that URL just yet. Again, when I get it, I'll post it.

Comment 3 by Matt Levine posted on 10/26/2013 at 7:28 PM

Thanks to everyone at Adobe for putting on this event!

Comment 4 by John Farrar posted on 10/26/2013 at 9:26 PM

Good review. Sounds like being there would have more impact. I think Ben is onto something but see another answer. Rather than just being developers we need to make sure our work is getting business accomplished. When our work is getting business done we are valuable developers. Sadly, myself included here historically... we were as a community too much about tech and not enough about business. This is IMO the largest cause of our contracted numbers. It is also IMO the game changer for the future that will determine if we grow or contracting more. This principle plays different in the enterprise than non-enterprise but it is the key factor in both cases.

Comment 5 by Stephen Walker posted on 10/26/2013 at 10:38 PM

Thank you for the review and best of all the photo so I can make plans for next year.

Most presentations are at

Comment 6 by RogerTheGeek posted on 10/27/2013 at 2:30 AM

My company remains on ColdFusion 8. Hopefully, we will be on 10 early next year and ColdFusion remains in our data center. Very little new code is being written in CF as management is moving most of it to .NET code.

I didn't go to the summit and probably won't in the future. I'm glad they have it and wish them well, but it way more money than I want to spend on learning things that I won't get to use for years if ever. I would love to hang out and see all the folks, but there are other ways to spend my budget that make more sense.

Ray, didn't they have colored tape on the floor? :)

Comment 7 by Michael Evangelista posted on 10/27/2013 at 4:20 AM

Well said, I think you summed it up pretty well for a lot of us. Here's my take:

That's not the best picture, the rooms were pretty dark as far as a camera is concerned (I'd love some tips on taking good freehand conference session photos without washing out the screen and blinding the presenters with a flash), so in case you can't see it, the blinky arrow was pointing to "October 2014 Las Vegas, Nevada". As I understand it, location is still up for grabs, somebody just got clever at the last minute and changed the 3 to a 4 on the intro slide. But I don't think there's any doubt we'll see another summit a year from now. Whatever you're betting on, that's a win for all of us. Great job, all.

Comment 8 by Hockey Geek posted on 10/29/2013 at 6:34 PM

Did they announce when CF 11/Splendor would be officially released?

I have some CF8 licenses that I would like to upgrade but cannot until January.


Comment 9 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/29/2013 at 7:29 PM

@Hockey: Nope, not yet.

Comment 10 by Ferrell Ferguson posted on 10/29/2013 at 8:58 PM

I enjoyed the conference! It exceeded my low expectations for a conference that was new and only two days long. I left having a good idea where CF was headed with a list of new and updated features. As a federal contractor, it's VERY difficult to get a trip to Vegas approved. CF is still fairly prevalent in the federal environment, I urge Adobe to please consider a different location. Having said that, it was AWESOME! Hope to you next year!

Comment 11 by Hockey Geek posted on 10/29/2013 at 9:29 PM

Do you think CF11 will be released this year?

Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/29/2013 at 9:34 PM

I can't speak to that. Sorry. I fully encourage other people on this thread to speculate all they want though. :)

Comment 13 by Michael Evangelista posted on 10/29/2013 at 9:44 PM

@Hockey Don't hold me to it, but I'm pretty sure somebody asked Rakshith at CFSummit (maybe during the CFHour show?) and the answer was "sometime in 2014".

Comment 14 by Alan Holden posted on 11/2/2013 at 9:48 AM

I learned new stuff. I networked. I heard impressive stats on ACF sales and downloads. I got swag and software. I drank beer and video wagered. What more can one really expect from a good conference?

Comment 15 by Tim Cunningham posted on 11/18/2013 at 10:54 PM

Ferrell Ferguson,

As one of the aforementioned Content Advisory Board members, I am interested in what makes a conference in Vegas difficult from a Federal contractors perspective and how you managed to get it approved.

I want to do what ever we can next year to allow the most number of people to attend. We want to get the official dates out there ASAP so people can get permission and budget approval soon. We also want to have the content up earlier so bosses can see that this is not a boondoggle. Any other suggestions that make it easier for the government sector pleas let me know!

One priority with this conference was that there would be a low financial barrier to entry. Every conference is going to require 3 main costs, Ticket, Hotel & Flight.

Flights: Two of the consistently least expensive places to fly into are Orlando and Las Vegas (for obvious reasons) Naturally you can get lower prices to other cities at certain times.. but flights to Orlando and Vegas stay rather stable.

Hotel: Finding a Hotel that has (or is near) a conference center is hard. These hotels tend to be big and expensive. Also once you get over 500 people you start narrowing down the available choices. $100 a night is a deal! If we were to hold a conference in, say Orlando, hotel costs would more than double.

Ticket: This is the number Adobe has the most control over, they kept it low so people could afford to attend. They by no means made a profit on this conference. Curious fact: each soda that an attendee drinks cost the conference 4 dollars.

Vegas was able to keep hotel and flight costs low for one reason: They plan to make their money back from gambling.

I look forward to hearing any suggestions on how to make things easier for the public sector folks.

Comment 16 by Stephen Walker posted on 11/18/2013 at 11:59 PM


Great response. I believe the two biggest issues in the Federal sector are the stigma of "Vegas" being nothing more than a boondoggle, and having the conference so near the beginning of the fiscal year. With the new fiscal year starting October 1, money cannot be legally appropriated for a conference and travel within the new fiscal year until after it has started. Some of us have been fortunate in the past to have supervisors agree to pay for it ahead of time, but only if we pay all the costs up front (with the hope of getting reimbursed).

Comment 17 by Tim Cunningham posted on 11/19/2013 at 12:17 AM


Interesting.. I did not know that fiscal year started in October, is that true of the entire Federal government? Is it the same for military or state government?