CFUnited's day three keynote was given by Vince Bonfanti, President and co-founder of New Atlanta Communications, LLC. Vince spent about half the time giving a high-level overview of BlueDragon and it's pre-history and the rest of the time talking about BlueDragon 7 and the new features contained therein. What follows is my perspective on the new features of BlueDragon 7 based on Vince's presentation and my talks with Josh Adams, Technical Sales Engineer for New Atlanta.
I've blogged several times about my hosting experience with HostMySite, they're just that good. Now, I must mention them again. On Thursday night, the last night of CFUnited, HostMySite set up a virtual golf game whereby players held a very short club and swung over a tee box that detected your angle and speed. Each player was given ten shots to see how close to the pin they could get. HostMySite awared an XBox 360 to the player who was closest to the pin (I lost by 1 yard). Then, the 4 players with the lowest scores were awarded various prizes. I had the lowest score so I got first pick of the loot. I close the Sony Playstation Portable. Before flying out of D.C. on Saturday I picked up my first game (Tiger Woods 2006) and was able to make my flights go by faster.
I'm several days behind in posting this, traveling and lack of sleep has worn me out. Here's a recap of day 3 of CFUnited 2006
Mindmapping for Better Programs with Michael Smith
I started off the day with Michael Smith's talk on Mindmapping. Mindmapping is a very simple concept that, in my opinion, is brainstorming wrapped in a new definition. Michael defined mindmapping as organizing ideas in a visual, web-like structure. You start by placing an idea in the center of a page and then expand the idea with related topics that further define an application, a process, a Web site or anything really.
Testing CF Applications with John Paul Ashenfelter
John Paul Ashenfelter does it again. Yesterday's Agile ColdFusion session was truly a gem. Today, John Paul (I'm not sure if this is what he prefers to go by, but I'll run with it for now) gave another talk on testing CF applications. If you read my post from yesterday you know part of John Paul's Agile preso involved a discussion on the importance of testing your CF applications. Today, he took that discussion to a whole new level.
Of all the sessions I took yesterday two stood out from the crowd, John Paul Ashenfelter's Agile ColdFusion and Sean Corfield's Managing CF Components with Factories.
Agile ColdFusion with John Paul Ashenfelter
Ashenfelter's presentation was on the theory or paradigm of Agile development, specifically the Agile Manifesto. I was not too familiar with this idea before the presentation and it really hit home for me. The Agile Manifesto focuses on individuals and interactions over processes and tools. It's about working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change over contract negotiation and following a plan. While Agile is apparently not about tools, you do use tools to become an Agile developer or an Agile team. Much of John Paul's discussion surrounded using source control systems, frameworks, testing and automation tools, bug tracking and project management tools. It was really good stuff.
If you're reading this, and you're at CFUnited, and you have PaperThin button number 63, I want to talk to you! PaperThin put buttons in all the CFUnited backpacks that have a number on them. If you find the other person at the conference with the same number as yours, you'll be able to enter yourself in a drawing for $500 bones. Of course, wearing your button visibly around the conference center is cool, but so is blogging it. If you've got number 63, I want to find you, so contact me!
ColdFusion MX 7.0.2 released, Flex 2 released, Tim Buntel rejoins Adobe and more. Read on...
Michael Smith started off the morning introducing all the various attendees of CFUnited. From sponsors, to speakers, to user group managers, and first time attendees. Michael then went into his presentation discussing software quality. His basic premise was that software quality is defined by how software gets used and whether the users love it and not simply that the technical project was finished and released. But, how do you obtain this "software quality?" Michael's idea of software quality is releasing great, useful software that adheres to standards of accessibility and usability through testing, code reviews and the use of different developer tools like frameworks.
Michael then introduced the keynote speaker for the day Ben Forta.
First and foremost, Ben announced the release of ColdFusion MX 7.0.2! At 12:01am this morning Adobe released this latest updater which is now available for download. Some key points of this updater include: Flex 2 integration, updating Flash Remoting (all versions of CF), a new Flex Data Services adapter (all versions of CF), a new Flex messaging gateway (CF Enterprise only since this uses Event Gateways), and brand new Flex Builder 2 CF extensions. All this in a FREE updater.
Along with the release of CFMX 7.0.2, Adobe has also announced the release of Flex 2! The general Adobe/Macromedia community has been waiting for some time to know what the price of Flex 2 Builder would be. Adobe/Macromedia promised many months ago that the price point would be under a thousand bucks. Well, they've delivered on that promise pricing Flex 2 Builder at a very reachable $499. The Flex 2 SDK remains FREE. Using the SDK you can write mxml and ActionScript and the run the compiler to convert everything to Flash. This model does allow the app to make HTTP calls to CF, Flash Remoting, etc. The other deployment model is building applications served via Flex Data Services server functionality (mxml). This method provides additional capabilities and functionality (as usual). Ben also discussed the new Flex Data Services Express which is FREE. Under this model you cannot do any clustering and you are limited to a single CPU.
One other cool thing Ben talked about was the ability of Flex to synchronize data requests to prevent multiple writes fighting for the "last update wins" scenario. Instead of CF asking for data, CF asks Flex Data Services to ask for the data. So, Flex keeps up with all the data requests and writes and sychronizes them accordingly. Very cool.
Ben then gave the mic to the new ColdFusion Product Manager at Adobe (replacing Tim Buntel), Jason Delmore. Jason demo'd some new features of ColdFusion MX 8 (codenamed "Scorpio") like a new CFPDFFORM tag and this new thing called CFPresentation that allows you to build complex presentations in real-time, and do all sorts of things with reporting. There's more to come on this stuff for sure.
Next, Tim Buntel was literally dragged into the room and given a new Adobe shirt to wear. It turns out, that Adobe has brought Tim Buntel back under a new position titled Product Marketing Manager for ColdFusion. His new role is to drive the marketing effort of ColdFusion into the future. This rocks, cause Tim is an incredible asset to Adobe, an amazing, dynamic speaker, and a true leader in the CF industry and community. Tim gave a quick preso discussing his and Adobe's idea on the roadmap of ColdFusion for the future. This included basic information on selling the product, demoing the product and having training and creating the best feature-set possible.
It was a pretty cool keynote session, with a lot of good information.
I've uploaded a few photos to my Flickr account for MiniMAX 4. The quality is pretty bad. I'm not sure what happened there.
Hello from Maryland! I've made it to the hotel in Bethesda after some uneventful flights (which is good) and a very good meal at Chilli's. With my stomach full I'm going to relax a bit before heading to MiniMAX and meeting up with Adam Bell and the rest of the presenters and attendees. I'm really looking forward to this week at CFUnited. There are some really good sessions with great presenters lined up and it is sure to be a fantastic time. I hope some of you out there are going to be here and I looking forward to meeting some of you for the first time!
I've got my bags packed, iPod juiced up and I'm ready for CFUnited. My flight leaves just after 7am tomorrow morning and after a short stop in Chicago I'll be landing in D.C. around noon. After getting the rental and checking in at the hotel in Bethesda I'll be heading over to MiniMAX 4. This year, I'm presenting alongside Adam Bell, Lisa Heselton, Simon Horwith, Rachel Maxim, and Lesa Snider (also from Nashville). It's gonna be a ton of fun. I can't wait to see all the familiar faces and meet some new folks.
If you're going to be at CFUnited, stop on by and say hello!