Matt Gifford aka coldfumonkeh | Consultant Developer
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Adobe ColdFusion Summit 2019

Oct 3, 2019

The Adobe ColdFusion 2019 Summit was held at The Mirage hotel, Las Vegas, on October 1st - October 2nd 2019.

It was my first time attending the summit, my first time in Las Vegas, and my first time in the U.S. since 2015, so I was incredibly excited about it.

Despite major jet lag throughout the entire conference (my outbound journey was 20+ hours), it was incredible to see so many familiar faces, catch up with old friends, and meet plenty of new community members - new to me, anyway.

There was a fantastic range of speakers and topics covered over the two days, as well as a full day of workshops on Monday 30th September, for those who had it included with their ticket.

The biggest highlight for me was meeting old friends again, and meeting many new ones, including Matt Clemente, whose work I have used over the years, and whose help I have gained on a project here and there. It was a pleasure to geek out with him about running, APIs and life in general. Thanks Matt!

Below is a outline of sessions I attended, as well as general information and highlights from the trip.

Day 1

I missed the opening keynote speech on Tuesday morning as my talk was directly afterwards and I needed to get set up in the room ready for the attendees.

10:30am was my talk - “ColdFusion and Vue - building CFML-powered reactive applications”.

Despite having three other sessions at the same time, I was very surprised and happy to have a large room with a lot of people in attendance. The attendees were warm, welcoming, funny, and, it seemed, interested in the topic.

My fabulous attendees

Thank you to everyone who turned up for this talk!

I ducked out of the session slot after my talk for the traditional ‘post-presentation’ wind down, as well as to catch up on some emails and actual work.

11:45am I attended Gavin Pickin’s “Start Integrated Testing - The biggest and easiest ( testing ) bang for your buck”.

Whilst I am a fairly heavy user and believer in unit testing, and have been for some time, it’s always prudent to go to another testing presentation to a) make sure I’m doing it correctly and b) see if there are new options or tools out there. I haven’t used Integrated before as it’s a new tool, so it was nice to see that in action and pick up a few more ideas on how to implement it.

3:00pm was time for Daniel Fredericks with “From Legacy to Modern, Techniques to update your Legacy Sites”.

Although most of my apps use modern code and frameworks, I also work on legacy systems a lot, so this was a nice one to check out to make sure that those old code base systems are working as well as they can be. It was also lovely to finally meet Daniel.

The 4:15pm slot was a visit to see Minh Vo and his talk “Reinforcement Learning with ColdFusion - Adding Practical Autonomy To Your Web Applications”.

I’d never considered using CFML as a tool for RL applications before. The math involved was astounding, and it was fantastic to see not only the finished product in a few examples, but also that the library and the ‘brain’ for the learning was open source.

The evening party was held at the Still bar in the Mirage hotel, where the community descended to join each other in some drinks, games and conversation.

Day 2

The opening keynote for day 2 was, for me, the stand-out session. Andrew Tarvin entertained us with “Humor That Works: The Secret to Being More Productive, Less Stressed, and Happier”. It was informative, thought-provoking and incredibly funny. The slides were every presenters dream; clean, concise and really attractive in a minimal way. The timing of the talk and the speaker’s skills were also incredible.

10:15am and I was off to see Matt Clemente wax lyrical about APIs with “GET /cfml - A Guide to Writing API Wrappers”.

I am a HUGE fan of APIs (just a brief look at my Github repository will tell you that), and Matt gave a fantastic talk on his API passion, how he got started with them, and how he improved his development flow when building API wrappers by creating an API skeleton toolkit to help scaffold up the essentials; this toolkit is open source and available on ForgeBox.

11:30am was spent listening to my good friend Mr Dave Ferguson give his talk on “SQL, I learned enough to break everything”.

Everyone could do with attending his talk on SQL issues, as I am fairly sure we have all hit them at some point or have been guilty of making these mistakes in the past. A highly-recommended talk, and I’m sure it is one that he will continue to give, as is deserved.

1:30pm was spent listening to George Murphy give his talk “Shut the door to vulnerabilities in your code with these tools”.

CodeChecker is a tool I have used and still used to this day, but I haven’t as of yet used Pete Freitag’s Fixinator tool. I’m certainly going to be checking that one out very soon!

2:45pm and time for a presentation from a member of the Adobe team; Uday Ogra’s “[Angularjs + Reactjs + Vuejs] + CF - Integrating modern day JS frameworks with ColdFusion”.

It was interesting to see how the same application can be built with the three current front-end reactive frameworks. I think I would have liked more in-depth information on each framework instead of comparisons on how to do the same output in all three, but time was a factor. If anything, this session helped cement the fact that I love Vue.js and how difficult I find React, not just to develop, but also to read.

4:00pm and time for Brad Wood’s talk, “Please pass the salt: Serve up passwords with a side of entropy”.

Brad is always entertaining, and the subject matter is crucial. I think we all know, or we should know by now, that passwords must be encrypted, but Brad explained perfectly and in detail the best ways to do this, and even the problems with current hashing and salting functions. A highly-recommended session!

5:00pm was the closing session, the thank yous and the raffle prizes for the attendees who entered their session reviews through the official CFSummit application.

Elishia and Kishore signed off the show, and it looks like they are currently in discussions to plan the summit for the next two years, which is fantastic.

Personal

Having never been to Las Vegas before, I wanted to explore a little. I managed to go out with Ortus’ very own Jorge Reyes for a run on Wednesday morning before breakfast, and we ran from the Mirage to the Luxor and back again, passing Matt Clemente running the other way.

I also wanted to take in a show, so managed to get a ticket to see Penn and Teller at the Rio. I’ve watched them since I was a teen and always found them incredibly entertaining. The live show did not disappoint, and I was on stage for the final trick of the night when they made a cow disappear. I swear I did not let it get past me.

They were also generous and met every ticket holder afterwards on the way out to sign autographs and take photos.

Teller - he talks

Penn - he talks more

It was a fantastic night, and despite the jet lag still hanging around, I loved every minute of the live show.

Recap

Las Vegas is noisy, peaceful, beautiful, fake, serene and crazy all in one hit. I’m not sure whether I love it or not, but it’s the perfect venue for CFSummit and the ColdFusion community to get together in the U.S., learn new things and be social.

As for the community itself, I met so many new faces last week, some of whom had only just started developing in ColdFusion.

The community is far from dead when we get new faces joining all of the time.

To the Adobe ColdFusion team and all of the staff who worked so hard to put this incredible conference together, thank you!

Here’s to The Adobe ColdFusion 2020 Summit!


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