The conference technically started May 16th with check-in followed by a reception. Check in was pretty quick – find your name on your table and then you get your “swag” bag. In this case a small blue canvas shopping bag and a sticky note pad. Yeah….the bag seemed woefully oversized for the handful of flyers and the conference book it contained. Now I do like a good canvas bag, I try to use them for most of my shopping, but this one is a bit too small to be really usable for my needs. Might give it to my sweetie for when he's on the bike though. For the reception, it was basically everyone in a room or milling around outside with an open bar. We kind of hung around on the wall a few minutes then left – I'm not social by nature (ironic with all the blogging and what not, I know), and since my partner didn't see anyone he remembered from last year I got to escape. Instead we went and got dinner then back to our respective rooms to rest up for the real start to he conference in the morning!
Side note: All three days, breakfast was provided for free and it sucked the first two days (we didn't bother checking on the third). Sorry, if you like sticky sweets and nuts, its great. For those who don't like that for breakfast or who don't eat nuts, it sucked. And the coffee was so freaking strong it could put hairs on your chest! Gag. How about just plain old muffins? Normal pastries? Cereal and milk? Ya can't go wrong with Froot Loops!
Anyway, day one started with the opening remarks and the keynote. This was apparently the seventh year cf.Objective has been held, and there were 325 attendees (a new record). They also announced that Adobe has announced that Adobe MAX is moving to May, which would basically put it in the same month as cf.Objective() is normally held. When they polled the audience, few people seemed to think it mattered, but I have to wonder. I know for us, we'd still choose cf.Objective() because our organization just can't afford to send one of us, much less both of us, to MAX. Insanely expensive. Many others might also feel that way, but what about the speakers and sponsors? And if cf.Objective() becomes a “competitor” will Adobe still sponsor and work with them? It will be interesting to see if they choose to move Objective or not.
Oh, and we had one more swag item – a cf.Objective() 2012 towel! I guess they arrived late, but after the keynote was done they were available in the sponsor area. Now I'll admit, it is a pretty nice towel. Soft and a pretty blue. It isn't so good for use after a shower as it isn't super absorbent, but would make a great pool towel 🙂
Another side note: This year saw more first-time attendees than usual and more women. They held a women's breakfast and some photo thing, but I skipped all of it. I'm a woman, yes, but I'm not there because I'm a woman. I'm there because I'm a web developer. Or maybe I'm just anti-social and I really don't get the whole “women-centric” idea. Besides, I wasn't going to abandon my bud even if the women's breakfast mentioned actually having eggs and other real foods. Now the more first-timers bit is great, ColdFusion needs more open developers. In the last year I've seen so many sites running ColdFusion but where are their developers hiding? Come out of the closet guys and get your tushes to these conferences! It helps show we exist!
With the opening remarks out of the way, Rakshith Naresh (Product Manager for ColdFusion) took the stage, briefly joined by Hermant Khandelwal (Senior Engineering Manager for ColdFusion server and ColdFusion Builder), to talk about ColdFusion 10, which launched on the 15th. He discussed their methodology for building the release and the three “messaging pillars” they focused on: embracing futuristic technologies, deploying enterprise ready applications through an increased security focus, and improving developer productivity by continuing to make it easy to build applications quickly. All in all, he mentioned a lot of great things that ColdFusion 10 includes, such as the replacement of JRUN with Tomcat, support for MS Office 1020 files, greatly improved caching, the grown up scheduler system, all the HTML 5 integrations, etc.
He also talked about ColdFusion “on the cloud” at Amazon, the release of the ColdFusion 10 certification exams, and that ColdFusion 11 is already being worked on. One thing I was particularly excited about was they spent some time talking about Adobe's efforts to try to solve the issue of seeming developer scarcity, particularly by reaching out to the Java community, continued releases of white papers, spreading the message of the benefits of ColdFusion, and the positive new analyst briefings with the launch of CF 10. All in all it sounded very positive and, to me at least, it affirmed that Adobe is not trying to dump ColdFusion and that they are fully embracing and supporting it.
And no, ColdFusion is not dead!