A quick recap of the final day of Adobe MAX…
- Started the day in an excellent hands-on lab session led by Simon Slooten on building CF-powered Flex applications. He did a great job moving through an appropriate amount of material to introduce those of us who haven’t yet had a chance to play with Flex and using it as the front-end for Web-based, data-driven apps.
- Sat in on a fairly interesting panel discussion on what might lie ahead for the next year or so within the RIA area for developers. This one could have (and probably should have) been at least half an hour longer.
- Finished the conference with a session with Sean Corfield on event-driven programming within CF. Kind of a mind-bending concept, focused on using a similar paradigm within the server side of the Web app world as you would use on the client side with a Flex- or AJAX-based front end. Very interesting. It might have been easier to get my head around more completely had it (my head) not just plain been full at this point in the week.
- Spent a couple hours wandering around downtown SF and Chinatown with the guys. It was good to just wander and watch people. Had a great dinner at a place called Santorini Mediterranean Cuisine: dolmos, saganaki, hummus, babbaganoush, souvlakia…
And it’s a wrap. I head for home and family this morning.
All in all, not a bad conference. I’d come hoping for a better feel for what Flex is/does/might help us with and hoping for some general nuggets as far as CF and Web app development in general. I got both of those, along with a chance to talk to fellow developers and get a read on where Adobe is taking CF. Adobe, generally speaking, did a decent job with the conference: decent broad coverage, decent venue, good end-of-day events, decent stuff in the exhibit hall. Thumbs up for those. Thumbs down for not providing a decent bag to the conference attendees, nor for even including a pen with the shopping bag full of throw-away product literature when you check in, and for not ensuring decent WiFi in the convention center (Opera Mini and Google Talk on my Blackberry were lifesavers this week). And a big “Thank you!” for Kristen Schofield of Adobe’s CF team for the CF t-shirts for me and Jeff on the last conference day!
It will be interesting to see where the new Bolt CF IDE goes, and how it compares to existing alternatives like CFEclipse, etc. Mark Drew has indicated that Bolt by no means signals the end of life for CFEclipse. Given that IDE’s tend to be a religious thing with some (most?) devs, I’m sure there will be some interesting turns ahead.
A quick recap of MAX Day 2…
- Two very good sessions by Charlie Arehart on hidden (or less well-known) stuff in CF8 and the use of Derby (the open source Java-based database from the Apache project that comes as part of CF8). Both were excellent sessions with lots of good pointers that left me with a fairly lengthy list of things to follow up on for our team at work. Charlie, as always, did a great job covering lots of ground at the right level. I’ve sat in on several of his presos at CFUnited in the past and he is a very strong presenter. So far, these two sessions were probably — in terms of valuable potential takeaways — the high point of the conference so far.
- A disappointing session by Scott Stroz on “hack-proofing” your CF app. Not much new ground to plow (which I suppose could be considered a good thing, given our focus on some of this stuff in the past 18 months). He kind of let the audience hijack his session with questions, comments, and even “me too’s” and ended up spending 75% of the preso on SQL injection which left very little time for the remaining two thirds of his talk.
- Another disappointing talk on the use of jQuery and AIR by Ed Finkler. Too much jQuery, particularly given that about 90% of the audience indicated that they were at least somewhat familiar with it, and not enough AIR. Sharp guy, obviously knows his stuff, entertaining speaker with a dry sense of humor, but the preso itself missed.
- The keynote, hosted by Ben Forta and Tim Buntel, highlighted some pretty impressive workflow integration on the design side of Adobe’s product lines, touched on the coming IDE for CF (codenamed “Bolt” in honor of the old CF lightning bolt; an Eclipse-based environment which looks to have some pretty interesting capabilities for the coders in house but for which few if any details are really available), and some cool stuff called Alchemy that allows for existing C/C++ code to be automagically transterpolated into ActionScript for use in Flash.
- Spent a bit of time talking with the CF designee in the Adobe “support lab” about a couple things we’ve bumped in to, and posing a couple of questions about things that Ben had mentioned related to the new CF IDE. Walked away thinking “That was a waste of time…”
- MAX hosted a customer appreciation event at the de Young Museum and California Museum of Sciences in the evening. Very cool place to spend a couple hours hanging out. Saw the show in the new Morrison Planetarium; also very cool!
- Late dinner with Jeff and Blaine (we lost Marco somewhere at the museum, but did talk to him late after he got back) at the Pinecrest Diner. Try the hot pastrami on rye. It’s the kind of place that — had they had one on the menu — I would have ordered the chicken fried steak sandwich. The guy who runs it is a 30-year old guy whose grandfather had it in this same location since the 1960’s, is trained in Italy as a chef, and is keeping the place going. Great basic food and an interesting menu.
So, kind of a mixed bag from a technical standpoint but I did get a couple of items of real value from Charlie’s presos.
A quick recap of day 1 of the MAX conference:
- Kevin Lynch’s keynote was impressive and earth-shaking but there wasn’t much really earthshaking there for me as a CF developer. Maria Shriver stole the show, as far as I was concerned with her appearance and talk on the work — supported by Adobe — in conjunction with California’s Legends Trails project.
- Good presentations by George Neill and Jerome Doran on the role of laziness in innovation and by Stephanie Sullivan on solving some common “design problems” (from the talk title; I’d call them more layout challenges) with CSS. Both suffered a little — particularly the session on laziness — from trying to cram way too much content into a 1-hour timeslot.
- Excellent presentations — introductory level, for the most part, but that’s how they were advertised and what I needed — on Flex and ColdFusion by Jeff Tapper and Mike Nimer.
- Probably the best piece of schwag I’ve gotten so far is a House of Fusion Library Volume 1 CD with all of the past issues of the Fusion Authority Quarterly and Flex Authority Quarterly magazines in PDF format. Kudos and thanks to the HoF folks for making these available! Both are good pubs.
- The venue is decent, but suffers the common temperature problems (read: too cold!) of most conference centers, particularly in the rooms where the sessions are held. I’m not packing my laptop or anything else that needs WiFi coverage to work, but Jeff indicated (and this was backed up in a couple of blog posts I read as well as what I saw during presos) that the wireless coverage is spotty and slow.
- Decent evening meal of Indian food at a place called Naan-n-Curry on O’Farrell a block or so from the hotel with Jeff, Marco, and Blaine. We’re only a couple blocks from Union Square, so we wandered a bit after dinner. I saw a family there in the square by the ice skating rink with a little girl who looked a lot like Li and had to be very close to the same age, and it made me realize how much I miss her; that’s the one real downside to traveling, especially being gone two weeks in a row.
We made it to San Francisco for Adobe’s MAX conference at the Moscone Convention Center late last night. The trip itself got off to a pretty rocky start when Jeff happened to check his e-mail and found a message from Delta indicating that our IF to SLC flight had been cancelled, and that Delta had graciously booked us on the next available flight: leaving IF at 6pm… the next day.
A quick trip to the airport, a conversation with a Delta employee, and we were off to Pocatello to catch a different flight to SLC that would enable us to hit our original connection from SLC to San Francisco. After that it was surprisingly smooth: we were early into SLC, and actually early into SF, too, but having to sit for 20+ minute on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open up — the one disadvantage of being early, I suppose — negated that. A quick cab ride later, we were dropped at the door to the King George Hotel on Mason on downtown SF. Cool older hotel. Free WIFI. Clean. Not bad at all.
We will start today with a walk over to the convention center to get checked in, and the day’s keynote kicks off the conference sked at 9:30am. Looks to be a full day, with sessions running all the way up to 6pm and a welcome reception from 6:30 – 8:30pm. The sessions this afternoon and tomorrow that I’ve signed up for look pretty meaty, with Wednesday being the lightest day at present.
I’m off to find a cup of coffee. I’ll write more later…