cf.Objective() 2012 – Day One Sessions

So let's talk sessions! As in the sessions I attended at cf.Objective() not ColdFusion sessions 😉 Fair warning, I'm honest of my views, positive or negative. For the first day, I hit five sessions. The titles link to the presentation slides if they have been posted online and I could find them.

Introduction to HTML 5 – Ray Camden
You really can't go wrong by starting your day off with a session by Ray, developer evangelist for Adobe, multiple published author, and just an all around fav in the ColdFusion community. I've been avoiding the whole HTML5 thing for awhile, seeing it more like a gimmick or fad than anything else. However in my continued efforts to step up my game, I figured I should at least get some sort of intro do it and Ray gave a great one. It was easy to understand for someone who pretty much just knew “HTML5” and “next big thing” about it. He gave a lot of great examples and an overview of stuff that actually made sense to me and would be great to have. The only down side was most browsers barely support any of it yet, so while it will be cool to play with one day, it won't be today. When the time comes, though, I'll be ready thanks to this session!
Using Amazon Services – Simon Free
Of the sessions available in this hour, this one seemed like it would be the most useful, though more for my private developing versus my work stuff. In some regards, I was a bit disappointed. Simon is a great speaker and fun to listen to, but I ended up finding that the info was less useful than I expected. He did discuss some of the basics of accessing AWS items with ColdFusion, but the bulk of the session was running through a few of the services and what they do, but only for the email did he give any compelling reason why it might be better to do AWS versus using your own, particularly with the prices of some of this stuff. I do agree with him that the docs can be very hit or miss and the warning about a possibility of big bills was a good one.
Enterprise JavaScript Applications – Simeon Bateman
This session was really the first big disappointment for me. I was expecting an intro/overview to some JavaScript frameworks and tools, but it seemed like Simeon presumed we all already knew all about them and after just briefly noting that Backbone JS was a framework, he jumped straight in what seemed like a lot of complex code for Backbone JS. No discussion of why we'd want to make it even more complicated or how this improves applications. (I never go along with the “it just does” idea – explain it so I can actually see why it's better). He also just talked way way way too fast, to the point I finally just gave up trying to follow him until near the end and instead worked on some work stuff until the session ended.
Practical Performance – Make It Go Fast! – Dan Wilson
Another of my favorite speakers! Besides learning that he is from my home state, this session gave me a ton of info the sort through. It was almost a little too much, but it was all so good! Learning more about that JVM mess was great, as was his clearing up a misconception I had about indexing. I think one question that really struck home for me was asking if the app really has to be 100% real time or can it be cached for 5 minutes? 1 minute? .5 seconds? In many cases, the answer for our apps is yes, and we could save so much processing with just some basic caching!
Writing Secure CFML – Pete Freitag
The last session of my first day, and so so good! In our shop, we are beyond the basic security stuff (like using CFQUERYPARAM), but of course we're always looking for more ways to improve, so it was great to have a session that didn't focus just on SQL Injection, but on some other topics! Like session hijacking, something we hadn't really thought much about, doing more secure file uploads, and ways to defend against cross script hacking. I'll be looking up AntiSamy and combined with this session, we're already planning to start implementing ESAPI in our applications.

So for the first day, three great sessions, one eh one, and one I would have done better skipping all together. Not really so bad as far as conferences go. One complaint I did find myself having throughout the conference was the number of presentations that delivered as if you were already on CF10 or about to go to it. I get folks were excited about it, but it came out just a few days before the conference and not every organization has the budget or resources to upgrade immediately. So having so much CF 10 focus in this year's conference just annoyed me in general. Don't get me wrong, I know next year will be all CF10, which is appropriate, but for this year, focus on CF 9 and mention CF 10 when it's so new its barely even shipped yet!