Scotch on the Rocks 2011 - Day 1

Written on 25thMarch 2011 at 10:00am by Neil Albrock | Category: CFMLDevelopmentRailo

Scotch on the Rocks 2011 - Day 1

Scotch on the Rocks is Europe's longest running ColdFusion conference. This year it returned to it's spiritual home in Edinburgh (base of organisers Fuzzy Orange), for two days of talks on a broad range of topics. I thought an experience graph of each of the days would server as a nice record of what I took from it.

Day one started with a very fine cooked breakfast at The Elephant House. Pretty much anything after that was in danger of being a letdown, so when I arrived slightly late to find the room packed out for the Adobe keynote, well the graph speaks for itself. That said, there was some nice information about the roadmap for ColdFusion and related products. The discussion of features coming in ColdFusion X was particularly interesting.

After more coffee it was onto the first session. Ben Nadel was presenting 'Regular Expressions, Extraordinary Power' to another packed room (partly due to an ill conceived room switch). I really enjoyed the talk and took some good tips from it, although I found the first half a little introductory, as I'm not quite a Regex n00b.

Next up was Sean Corfield talking about his sublime Framework One (FW/1), an MVC framework for ColdFusion. This was of particular interest to me, as I've been using the FW/1 for about a year, so I was hoping to pickup some tips and hear the author talk about the motivation behind it. The talk was aimed at new users or potential adopters, so it was light on things that advanced my knowledge but Sean is an excellent speaker and took a couple of tangents to rant about pet peeves, which was good fun.

Lunch was a good opportunity to catch up with people I know in the CF community and also meet some new folks. The high point of the day (and the conference for me), was when Sean Corfield came over to talk with my colleague Al Macmillan and I. He'd been amused by Al's tweets in the morning and came over to thank him for the laughs. That led to a wide ranging chat about CF and development in general. Sean is a really experienced guy, a real asset to the CF community, so I was pleased I had a chance to talk with him.

The afternoon sessions were less appealing to me, with one exception. Gert Franz of Railo talking about scalability and performance tuning of ColdFusion sites and applications. This was a very timely talk, as I'm working on a project where both performance and the potential to scale are key considerations. Gert is a charismatic speaker and had plenty of useful information to impart, so for me his talk was a real highlight of the first day.

After Gert's talk I called it a day, as the last session and follow-on events weren't really for me. All in, day one was excellent. Day two graph and notes to follow soon.

Opensource CFML Rocks!

Written on 25thMarch 2011 at 9:00am by Morgan Faichney | Category: CFMLDevelopmentRailo

Opensource CFML Rocks!

We all recently attended Scotch on the Rocks - Europe's longest running Coldfusion conference, which this year returned to Edinburgh. Immediately following the conference, I tweeted the following:

"Some incredibly useful and well timed insight for all @atomised from #sotr2011. Highlights for me were @gert_railo and @seancorfield"

While I still feel these were the best talks, this post was inspired by something that's taken a bit longer to sink in and will have more impact on our working lives. During Friday's keynote from Railo, Mark Drew began by discussing the CFML community and how we as developers often felt the need to apologise for CFML being our chosen language. When asked their language of choice, PHP, Ruby or Python devs will proudly declare the magic of their language, while a Coldfusion dev will turn their head and mutter the answer under their breath.

Now while what Mark was saying struck a chord, the possible reasons he gave for this situation didn't really provide the answer for me. It wasn't until a few days later I realised why, for me at least, there can be this embarrassment. Adobe.

Since we started Atomised in 2008, we've struggled a bit with the fact that we feel Coldfusion is a great platform for building web applications but at the same time, we love to offer opensource solutions wherever possible. For us, Coldfusion has always meant Adobe. Adobe generally means significant cost (and very restrictive licensing). We were never comfortable with this.

The best thing to come out of Scotch on the Rocks for me was the confirmation that there is a real and thriving open source CFML community out there. Engines like Railo, content management solutions like Mura and application frameworks like FW/1 (we were already using Mura and FW/1, but powered by Adobe CF) mean that we can leverage opensource solutions, without giving up the advantages we feel CF gives us.

So now when we deem Coldfusion the best fit for a project, these will be our tools and choice. I'll no longer feel the need to explain myself, and we (or our clients) will never again be burdened by the cost of Abode Coldfusion. The future of CFML is looking very interesting, mainly due to the fresh ideas being advanced by Railo and the growing support for the opensource engines. More on that another time though.