Max 2007 Day 3

My last day at Max was marred by the technical problems. I was going to give a 5-10 minute demo of some of stuff we’ve done with ColdFusion 8’s Exchange features. My laptop died right before I was to start, then I couldn’t get my laptop’s VGA to display on the projector at the same time. I totally fizzled out. I have to thank Jason Delmore for covering for me, and trying to explain to the audience that I wasn’t a complete idiot.

I then wandered into a session named Best Practices for Creating Great Web Experiences. I was a pretty interesting view into the interworking of a design team. I found it interesting because it was so far afield of what I actually do.

I then wandered around for awhile and spent some time in the community area. There I demoed the exact thing I was supposed to demo at the Boot Camp, basically deleting all of my work contacts from Exchange and letting my ColdFusion application repopulate them. At least someone saw it.

Max 2007 Day 2

My day started at the Keynote. I have a few random thoughts about it.

  • Bruce Chizen would be pretty bitter about being the rich and famous CEO of Adobe if he didn’t enjoy it so much. He made me feel guilty though for continuously looking up his salary for one of my work projects. It’s impressive.
  • Scene 7 does some absurd stuff with dynamic imaging.
  • Share looks promising
  • Thermo will be absurd if it does all it promises. Photoshop Composition to Flex application in one click.
  • Next version of ColdFusion is code named centaur. My supposition is that it is so named because if angered, it will shoot you with an arrow, and then trample you to death. It does make me feel a little afraid that they will strap a horse’s body on a shirtless Ben Forta, ala “Scorpio Man.” I am disturbed.

I sat through Sean Corfield’s session on Design Patterns, it was simply tremendous. I tend to be a fan of Sean’s but I’m not exaggerating. He did a great job of explaining the theory and the concepts behind patterns. Even though I thought I knew them already, he did bring a new perspective to the whole thing.

I also attended Ryan Stewart’s session on Air and PDF integration. It looked interesting, but I have no idea why the hell you would ever do it.

If my day looks a little light, I had a minor problem with something back at home, so I had to skip my first session. I also had an opportunity to give an ad hoc demo of Squidhead, so I took it. If for any reason anybody wants a 5 minute demo, drop me a line. I’m always willing.

I finished up the day at Max Awards and Sneaks Session. The following really stood out to me:

  • Visual Communicator is a niche product that will make video presentations very easily. I think it’s going to be a very cool boon to the vlog space.
  • Photoshop express is just beyond cool. Pretty much everything anyone would need to do to a photo can be done in an online client. The demonstrator completely retouched a photo in under 30 seconds. Crazy.
  • Hemant presented on ColdFusion publishing to Air. This is something I really wanted for CF since I saw the Air Bus Tour. They’ve done more with it than I ever thought. You can do online and offline applications. Cooler than what I was imagining.
  • Flash gets skeletons. Very cool.
  • C++ on Flash leads to Quake on Flash. Tremendously cool.
  • Adobe hired that guy who does the dynamic image content resizing.

I ended up skipping the Event, because it didn’t really cry out to me, I had to prepare something for the CF Boot Camp tomorrow, and I’m beat from last night.

Max 2007 BOF

I attended 2 Birds of a Feather last night.

The first was Meet the Team: ColdFusion. I think Sean Corfield blogged about it, and I tend to agree with him. I was fully expecting the crowd to go feral again, but no it was quite cordial. I think ColdFusion 8 being so rich, and the alpha and beta program being so inclusive was definitely a big part of it.

The second was Selling ColdFusion Outside of the Community. I think the biggest thing I got out of it was the idea that the ColdFusion community has to start swimming in other ponds. We tend to form an echo chamber amongst ourselves. Then when something negative is said outside the ColdFusion community piles on and just disagrees. Instead we need to be continuously engaging those outside of the community so that we can build credibility over the long whole. So when we tell them ColdFusion is an enterprise worthy language that can really drive rapid application development, they might just believe us.

Afterwards I lured Steve Rittler and Rob Brooks-Bilson over to the Hilton to have a stogie with Ryan Steward and John Piotrowski.

Adobe Max 2007 Day 1

I’ll be updating this over the course of the day, so feel free to come back, the contents will change.

For the first time in a few years I did not oversleep at all. I actually made it to see the entire Keynote. There were some cool things to be seen. For me the highlights, in no particular order, were:

  • Refactoring and profiling in Flex. Finally Flex developers have the kind of detailed performance information that ColdFusion developers have had for years.
  • Hydra ?? A language that allows Flash developer to write their own effects.
  • Premiere Express, a web version of Premiere, that while not great for the power editor, would be a huge boon to the amateur video editor.
  • The sheer plethora of Air application that I want to download and try, specifically:
  • Adobe Developers Connect which will now keep the introNetworks application for Max up all year round.

Unfortunately, staying for the entire keynote made me late to my first session. With it booked solid this year, if you are in a popular session, and you are late, don’t expect a seat, or standing room. I wandered into a few other rooms, but nothing grabbed me.

After Lunch I attended the session given by my coworkers. Before I recommended their session based on knowing them; now I can recommend it on the content. They did a great job of explaining how and why they converted a VB 6 Trading floor simulator to Flex and ColdFusion. I highly recommend it: A Virtual Trading Floor: Bringing Wall Street to the Classroom.

Next I wandered into an Inspire session about the design of Buzzword. It started late and had a lot of technical issues. That was a real shame because Buzzword just looks too good to be true. I signed up for a beta, and I’m hoping to get a test account soon.

Max 2007 Day 0

I’m here, and loving it so far. The venue is ginormous. I was at the Welcome Party, and halfway through discovered that there was a whole half of the party on the other wing of the center. Huge. HUGE!

While at the welcome party I picked up two interesting bits of information.

1. During Ray Camden’s Inspire session on Riaforge, I learned that Riaforge automatically makes a zip of your project if you post it to Subversion. Very cool, and will simplify posting Squidhead updates for me.

2. I caught Damon Cooper and had a great talk with him. In the course of that he told me something very interesting about the business side of ColdFusion and Adobe. I don’t think he necessarily wanted it spread, and I’m going to honor that. But I encouraged him to show up to the BOF session that Brian Meloche is running (and I’m on the panel,) and let the rest of you in on it. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that Adobe as a company is pretty surprised about the success of ColdFusion 8 and that may have very positive implications for its marketing. So, if you see Damon tomorrow, make sure you remind him to go.

I also learned that Steven Rittler smokes cigars, and Rob Brooks-Bilson and I have almost identical taste in TV’s shows, but that’s probably less interesting to you all.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Max 2007 – BOF

I responded to an open call for panelists for one of Brian Meloche’s Birds of a Feather Sessions, titled “Fixing ColdFusion Perceptions and Reputation.” I’m in.

I looking forward to it, especially since I disagree with a lot of the solutions I hear to solving the problem. A quick preview or my opinions:

  • I don’t think Adobe has to give away production-ready ColdFusion
  • I don’t think Adobe should sell an IDE.
  • I don’t think Adobe should take over CFEclipse (I’m not against them throwing some pounds Mark Drew’s way)
  • I don’t think magazine or journal articles are the problem

My thoughts aren’t fully fleshed out, but I think it has to do with the fact that ColdFusion’s niche isn’t clearly defined. If you’re a Microsoft shop, you use a .Net solution. If you’re a startup you use Ruby or PHP. If you see yourself as providing enterprise solutions you use full blown Java. Caricatures to be sure, but I think close to the mark.

I think if you asked most ColdFusion programmers why they use it, they would say, “Because it makes my job easy.” But people who like things to be easy, is a sort of hard niche to get a hold of, I mean who doesn’t want that.

Anyway, these are just ramblings. Feel free to argue with me either here, or next week in Chicago.

Max 2007 – A Virtual Trading Floor

I’d like to highlight a Max 2007 session: A Virtual Trading Floor: Bringing Wall Street to the Classroom. It’s being given by a few of my co-workers here at Wharton (Charles Rejonis, Alec Lamon, and Erin Wyher). I’m not sure about the exact topics that they will discuss, but it’s about a pretty hardcore application that simulates a trading floor. Consequently it deals in multiple transactions per second on large amounts of unique user data. This application was originally a desktop application written in Visual Basic and running in a controlled lab. After a few unsuccessful attempts (because the technology wasn’t there yet,) the Learning Lab team managed to replace the old application with a RIA version using ColdFusion, Flex and Flex Data Services (or LiveCycle Data Services). They ran into a lot of challenges that truly tested the limits of all of the underlying technology.

I highly suggest this session to you all. It’s a great story that responds to the argument: there are some things that RIA’s can’t do. Because here is at least one seemingly impossible thing they can indeed do.

Max 2007 – I’m in

It was up in the air for a bit, but I’m coming to Max 2007. I had a conflict that I’m also bummed about missing, but a few things came up that made it hard to stay away.

I’m staying at the Palmer House. If anybody is up for meeting up and having some scotch and cigars let me know. I should have a good supply with me.

My tentative schedule is below:

Time Session
Sun 12:45 PM Flight USAIR 1632
Sun 5:00 PM Welcome Reception
Mon 8:00 AM Breakfast
Mon 9:30 AM General Session
Mon 11:30 AM The Design Shootout with Adobe Gurus
Mon 12:30 PM Lunch
Mon 2:00 PM A Virtual Trading Floor: Bringing Wall Street to the Classroom
Mon 3:15 PM Inspire Session: Building Buzzword, a New Breed of Word Processor
Mon 4:30 PM Inspire Session: Lessons Learned on AIR
Mon 7:30 PM MTT: ColdFusion
Mon 8:30 PM ColdFusion Developer Hiring 101
Mon 9:30 PM Fixing ColdFusion Perceptions and Reputation
Tue 7:30 AM Breakfast
Tue 9:15 AM Inspire Session: Yahoo! Presents “Examples of Integration
Tue 10:30 AM General Session
Tue 12:00 PM Lunch
Tue 1:30 PM Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) Tips and Tricks
Tue 2:45 PM Inspire Session: Design Patterns and ColdFusion
Tue 4:00 PM Leveraging PDF within Adobe AIR Applications
Tue 5:30 PM Sneak Peak General Session
Wed 8:00 AM Breakfast
Wed 9:00 AM Boot Camp for Flex
Wed 12:00 PM Lunch
Wed 1:45 PM XD: Best Practices for Creating Great Web Experiences
Wed 3:00 PM Optimizing ColdFusion Application Performance
Wed 4:15 PM Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) Security
Thu 12:50 PM Flight USAIR 1564