Thursday, June 30, 2005

CFUnited Roundup #2: Miscellaneous Wednesday Sessions

Rather than give blow-by-blow summaries of some of the excellent sessions I've attended thus far, I thought I'd give a brief roundup and I'll dig in deeper on some of these topics after the conference. (I'll say again, if you're a CF developer you NEED to make plans to be here next year!)


Verity for Fast Text Searching: Ray Camden

Members of my CFUG will know from my recent presentation and my inability to shut up about it that I'm a huge (and relatively recently converted) fan of Verity, particularly with all the slick new features in CFMX 7, which was an upgrade from Verity 2.6.2 to Verity 5.5. Ray Camden gave a great talk on not only the new features of Verity, but why you would want to use it, even for database content. Verity can go a long, long way towards making your searching better and faster for your users, and can GREATLY simplify your development efforts in the search arena as well. If you deal with searching at all you owe it to yourself and your users to check out Verity.

Joel on Software Live: Joel Spolsky

This keynote alone was worth the effort to make it to CFUnited. Joel Spolsky gave a great, great, GREAT talk about Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Keanu Reeves, and many other important aspects of software development. If you're saying "HUH?" at this point, it's a bit hard to explain in writing, but Joel managed to weave all this and more into his presentation in a fantastically witty way so you knew EXACTLY what he meant without him getting into boring and obvious specifics like "make good software for your users." I left this presentation with more of a strong feeling about what I needed to do than specifics, and that feeling will carry over into my projects without me even thinking about it. Joel is a very sharp guy and a fantastic presenter.

Undocumented CFMX: Nate Nelson

Great stuff about how to tap into more of the available-yet-undocumented functionality in CFMX now that it's on the Java platform. I personally use the string and query functionality that's been exposed as well as many of the other things Nate discussed pretty extensively, so I'll probably give additional notes/thoughts on this stuff later. Weird multi-step hacks that may be necessary in pure CF are dead simple to get around with simple calls to Java methods right from within CF, often right from your CF variables.

Advanced SQL: Selene Bainum

Selene REALLY knows SQL Server. I mean REALLY. In my own application development I tend to do more in CF and less in the database for portability reasons, but I'm starting to become a believer in offloading more work to the database even if it means a bit of rework later. Particularly if you know (as I do at my current job, which I'll be at for another two weeks) that your apps will always live on a specific database like SQL Server, use the database as much as is humanly possible. It makes your CF code simpler and cleaner, and performance can improve exponentially for certain operations.

LAMBDA Boxes: ColdFusion Apps on the Cheap

David Epler gave an excellent presentation on running BlueDragon on Linux for extremely cheap/free CF application deployment. I'm doing this with some sites on my own variant of LAMBDA called MAMBO and this is a great way to get around the "but it's free!" argument we as CF developers often face. David is neck-deep in BlueDragon on Linux so it was great to hear a lot of from-the-trenches information, gotchas (of which there are very few), and general thoughts on this environment and how it relates to Macromedia's ColdFusion engine.

As an aside, New Atlanta announced here at CFUnited that, by far the most heavily trafficked ColdFusion site on the web and the number 5 site overall on the internet in terms of traffic (yes, you read that right, the number 5 most heavily trafficked site on the internet was built in ColdFusion) has switched to BlueDragon. I think this bodes EXTREMELY well for the ColdFusion community since this makes it very clear that there are two extremely capable, proven ColdFusion engines from which we as developers can choose.

CFMX 7 Reporting and Rich Document Creation: Dean Harmon

Dean Harmon is the engineer on the CF team that created the new CFMX 7 report builder, so "from the horse's mouth" stuff is always great. There wasn't a huge amount of new information in this one for me, but I will be digging into the reporting capabilities a great deal more for a project I have coming up so it was very informative to see the person who built the application using it and talking about it. If you need to do reporting at all, I think the report builder and new reporting functionality in CFMX 7 is one of these numerous "hidden gems" in CFMX 7 that a lot of people just haven't used yet. It's powerful, powerful stuff and is far easier than integrating with any third-party reporting tool.

Exhibitor-Sponsored Open Bar Event

I shot down five CF gurus with a nerf gun, but after that it gets really hazy for me ... ;-)

More later ...

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