Friday, November 12, 2004

Thursday, November 04, 2004

My Sessions

I gave my first session on Blackstone Event Gateways yesterday afternoon and again this morning at 11:30. I think it went well. I was trying to work on my pacing and speaking effectively. The MAX conference organizers give us access to a speaker coach, who gave me lots of great feedback on what I do that is good and (mostly) bad. I tend to talk really fast, run out of breath and mumble a the end of my sentances. Hopfully I didn't do too much of that. He also explained to me how I can completly get rid of al of the umms and ahhhs in my speaking. Great stuff and I hope I put it to good use.

My voice has been shot due to (at first) being sick but staying out late, drinking, and screaming at people in noisy bars didn't help much. The voice held out for Wednesdays session OK, and I didn't drink at all last night and I think I am getting better, so the voice was stronger this morning.

In any case, I had a bunch of people for the first(100-150+?), and a good number (50?) for the second go 'round. The feedback I got was universally good in that lots of CFML developers are very excited about using the gateway to do really interesting stuff. I really can't wait to see what people are going to do with this stuff. And since we gave Blackstone B2 to every attendee, I hope we get lots of good feedback in the Beta forums.

I finished really early in both sessions, much to my dismay. I was worried that I didn't put enough content in the slides, but I believe that I built in 10+ minutes for questions, and I didn't get that many. In talking with people about why this is, I believe it is because the gateway is so new, users are just trying to get their heads around the feature so they do not have the "how do I...?" and "Can you do..?" questions that (I hope) they will have next time.

All-in-all, I think it went really well. I love speaking about ColdFusion and I certainly can't ask for a better audience than we get at MAX.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Object Oriented ColdFusion session

Sitting in on Hal Helms session on OO. He is giving a very nice intro to the subject and tying it in to CFML very nicely. He has the most soooooothing voice and I haven't been getting much sleep. Hard to pay attention, but if I didn't already know the subject matter, this would be a great intro in to how to slide from procedural CFML in to using CFCs and thinking more OO.

Notable quote: "Encapsulation is at least 60% of the benefit of OO".

Another thing, Hal is giving his preso sitting down, which I could never do.

General Session - Day 2

The second day keynote session is in progress and I must say that there is much more interesting content than I expected. Rob Burges, our CEO talked for a while and then Juha Christenson, our president of Mobile & Devices unit of Macromedia. He is always an interesting speaker, and he really showed the serious inroads that Macromedia is making in to the overseas mobile marker with Flash and FlashCast. The real kicker is the 1.4 billion users out there that (obviously) Macromedia wants a piece of.

After that Rob came back to demo Breeze, which if you haven't seen is the best thing since sliced bread for making presentations. He showed the Macromedia quarterly results conference call, which if you haven't seen Breeze, is a great introduction to how cool it is. Before that though, he did something which I think was great. He emphasized the fact that Designers and developers (i.e CFMX, Dreamweaver, Flash) was really core to our business and that we were not losing sight of the fact that even though the company is going after these new opportunities, we continue to invest in these products.

Tom Hale then showed off Contribute, which is also a wonderful product for allowing users to control web content, while keep control of the site style.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Coding for Reuse

Just finished listening to Ray Camdens "Coding for Reuse" session. Not much to say, Ray knows his CFML and he did a good job of covering custom tags, a part of CFML that doesn't get as much PR as the more glamorous CFCs, but are still very useful and a bit simpler for CFML coders to wrap their heads around.

MAX 2004 General Session

The general session was pretty good. Lots of incredible stuff, but of course not enough ColdFusion for my taste. It seemed to me that the crowd was just patiently waiting for the 'interesting' stuff (i.e. ColdFusion) to happen. Or maybe it was just me. Stephen Elop, our new COO, did a great job at the opening. Kevin Lynch talked a lot about the various types (5) of Rich Internet Applications that Macromedia sees emerging, and showed multiple demos of each.

Tim and Ben did a good job of showing just a little bit of the Blackstone stuff in the 20 minutes they were given. The crowd seemed to perk up during this, and Ben made sure we all knew when we were supposed to respond to the things he said.

The sneak peak of the next generation Flash player (Maelstrom) came at the very end and the performance improvements did demo very nicely. This stuff doesn't rock my world, but there seemed to be some excitement in the room.

Putting on my CF customer hat, it was a mildly interesting general session, but there was tons of Flash (duh) and probably not enough CF. But it did a good job of showing our customers some of the things Macromedia is focused on moving forward


I started out in Tim Buntel's Blackstone session, but realized that he always has great presentations and that there would be nothing that I already didn't know and left after the first few minutes. It was in a big room that was mostly full, which is great. A good number of people raised their hands when asked if they were in the Beta, so I am not sure if they will hear much news there also.

I moved over to "Building a Basic CMS with CF and Dreamweaver" given by Dave Gallerizo. He was a dynamic speaker and I enjoyed listening to him talk even though it is very unlikely that I will ever design web sites, much less ones with Dreamweaver templates. I did gain even more respect for what you can do with DW and Contribute, and I liked how Dave worked in lots of ColdFuison references in to a DW based talk.

I moved on to catch the last 15 minutes of"CF performance Tips and Tricks" given by Rob Rusher. Rob had some really good advice (scope your variables, arrays are faster than lists, use cfswitch, watch out for whitespace). My favorite comment about someone who used a 30 deep - cfelseif: "Are you on crack?!!?"

There are many thing that I "know" about CFML, just because I am in the code every day. It is good to see stuff like that to remind me that some day we need to fix the fact that CFML lists use Java string functions and are dog slow, so our CFML users wont have to worry about how fast/slow a particular tag or function is. True, we may not be able to prevent every bad coding practice from slowing things down (for instance, we may never be able to 'fix' our friendly variable scope searching) , but everything we provide to users should not penalize them for using it!

On to the keynote!

Printing and Reporting

I am sitting in Dean's, Xu's and Sherman's reporting and printing session. The functionality that these guys have put together is just awesome! It's around 8:45am, which is ridiculously early for a session since Burbon Street is just 5 blocks away and let me say my head is still feeling the hurricanes from last night. :-)

The crowd is pretty good considering the early hour and everyone seems jazzed for these features. Of course there are the usual questions about how much and "can you give me", which we really can't answer given the fact that we are still in Beta and have not announced pricing and packaging.

There was just a question about Excel format reports, which always confuses me as I am really not sure what people do with reports in Excel. I know I am being short sighted, but perhaps I can talk to someone about what happens to reports once they enter a spreadsheet.

I am off to Tim Buntels Blackstone session, which ought to be really good.