CF Summit 2013 Rant

I was unable to attend the summit, which is too bad.  I love Vegas in October and I love ColdFusion… great combination.  Most importantly, it seems like everyone who was able to attend had a great time.

On the flip-side, the coverage outside this event has been HORRIBLE!  Beyond bad!  Aside from Ray’s post (of whom I share the same sentiment as the first commenter), where’s the blog entry covering everything that happened at the event with slides of the presentations (thanks to the dude on twitter who shared the dropbox link)?  In that entry there should also be links to all the slides of those who presented.  How about bullet points of all the new features covered in CF11 including the cfclient crap nobody wants (and maybe at least try to sell us on it).  How about an official response regarding the stolen source code.  Honestly I’m still miffed about EOL Dreamweaver support… how about a meaningless apology followed by details, screenshots, etc on an improved CF Builder which I currently loathe, but dying to hear info on improvements because you know, CF Builder is still EXTREMELY inefficient to code with (seriously, it’s painful… like adding days, not hours, but days to projects) and I’m clearly not going to get CF11 Dreamweaver extensions.  How about maybe a shout out to what’s going on with ColdFusion Brackets support as well.

I’ve been hanging on the fence whether to continue ColdFusion development for future projects. Hell, Ben’s response to me in one of his blog entries was quite unsettling: ‘even ColdFusion at some point in the future will end up in maintenance mode‘.  To reiterate, Ben’s closing statements (according to Ray’s blog entry) further acknowledged: ‘it is no longer enough for us to be “ColdFusion developers” but rather “developers” instead‘, which isn’t really a big deal because this has really always been the case, but it is a big deal regarding what seems to be Adobe’s attitude toward ColdFusion as a language.  C is hanging around in forms that are being used to code all of our iPhone apps… so why does ColdFusion have to ever go into ‘maintenance mode’?  Java’s oldschool and so damn awesome that ColdFusion rides on top of it (lets not mention Java’s use on Android… or everywhere else lol).  It’s almost hard to swallow, but is maintenance mode the plan for ColdFusion with Adobe?  And it’s not like there was public information that came out of the event… if you haven’t read Ray’s post or followed Twitter, there was NO information period!  Thank goodness I was tipped off to follow the #cfsummit2013 hash tag on Twitter (make sure click on the all link at the top), but it is very difficult to sort through the nonsense and figure out the very little information that is relevant.  Nearly a week after the event we get an ‘official success‘ blog post with absolutely no information about the event… not even a picture!  So there’s an education program that’s long overdue (like so overdue it might be too late) and there’s statistics that nobody can validate but Adobe….

CFSummit also gave Adobe an opportunity to showcase both the current and future of the product and receive valuable feedback from the community.

Showcase what?  There’s not a single link, screenshot or code sample in the post.  This event was a success?  If getting from start to finish is what measures a successful conference, then I guess it was.  I was unable to attend so I know I’m missing the ‘conference high’, but I have certainly found nothing motivating, refreshing or exciting out of the conference to drive me to want to continue being a CF developer other than my current commitment to the language, my clients and their projects.  And I tried to follow the conference as closely as I could, but man I had to pry and dig for info.  Who the hell handles the press for this anyway [rhetorical]?  So I’m still on the fence and rapidly coming to a point where I must make a decision.

I was expecting this weekend geeky buzz/high on ColdFusion information for me to pick through and go over and there hasn’t been so much as a peep.  I used to show off features to clients when I was beta testing so my clientele could get a glimpse of how easy the cool new stuff was.  If you want to get people excited about ColdFusion again, the communication outside of this year’s summit is exactly how NOT to do it.  Hell, the headlines on ColdFusion in Google news are still on the source code being stolen nearly a month ago.  Was that covered at the conference?  There’s not even so much as an afterthought of the conference to be found anywhere.  Did it even happen?

I keep telling myself it’s irrelevant whether CF is dead or not because I use it (and like it).  But if I have to code an application that needs to last ten years, stay relevant and stay functional in ten years before it’s redeveloped (precisely why frameworks and MVC are unacceptable), I’m beginning to believe I need to look elsewhere.  Maybe I’m the last one to realize this… or do I wait till cf.Objective() 2014? /sad CF fanboy.

26 comments

  1. Adam Tuttle says:

    Did you not follow the #cfsummit2013 hashtag on twitter? It was buzzing for days, and there are a bunch of blog posts linked there. Lots of summaries of sessions, features, the keynotes, etc.

  2. Scott Stroz says:

    Are you implying that in order for an applcation to last 10 years, you should not use ‘MVC’ or ‘frameworks’?

    • Rick Smith says:

      Absolutely! In addition to code updates you also have to apply framework updates. Frameworks and MVC alike have been counterproductive in ALL (100%) of the projects I’ve worked on that are long term projects (government). For anything short-term that you know will be redeveloped, proactively maintained, etc… I highly recommend them both (primarily commercial).

      • Scott Stroz says:

        Frameworks and MVC have been counterproductive in ALL long term government projects on which you have worked? Maybe the problem is not with ‘MVC’ or ‘frameworks’, but rather the way they are being implemented?

        I have worked on many government projects and used a framework and the MVC design pattern EVERY time without issue. As a matter of fact, NOT using a framework would have been counterproductive.

        Using a community supported framework (rather than a homegrown one), as using it correctly, will only help others to be able to maintain the application. Using a popular design pattern, and using it correctly, will only serve to make the application easier to support. If you could not accomplish these things…you were doing it wrong.

        • Rick Smith says:

          without insulting you by saying you’re wrong… therein lies the problem: “using it correctly”. To do so would require the firing of older contractors who know the current system and hiring of new contractors who don’t. There is nothing easy in a “popular design pattern” in a government application where the old is just as relevant as the new. Everything in government must flow and be gradual from one phase to the next in a critical data environment. Any other way would be like… well… upgrading everyone to Windows 8 (say hello to IT nightmare and the very definition of counterproductive)!

          • Scott Stroz says:

            You won’t insult me by saying I am wrong, because I know I am not.

            There is another option you failed to mention. Teach the existing developers how to use MVC and frameworks. Then you get the best of both worlds. You can get the guys who know the system better than anyone else to build it better using modern development design patterns – with the added bonus that the developers will actually learn something.

            I have been working with government agencies long enough to know how things must ‘flow’. Using some half baked method of coding (that some 5 tagger probably came up with) is NOT the way to make things ‘flow’. Tested design patterns and an easy to maintain architecture are the way to make that happen.

            EVERY government application I have worked on that was crap had 2 things in common – 1) A homegrown ‘framework’ and b) they did not utilize ANY design patterns.

      • Joe Rinehart says:

        I often work on a government IT project that’s over 10 years old. I’ve come and gone from it (the company, too), as have a rotating cast of characters, qualified and unqualified.

        The framework used and the rules for its use are what have kept everything in line and functional to date.

  3. Dave Ferguson says:

    All I got out of this was someone that seems bitter they didn’t go to the conference.

    • Rick Smith says:

      I am sorry I missed the event (I even had the means to go). I am in no way bitter. MORE information and where to get it was the purpose of this post. I’m sorry you missed that point.

  4. Honestly it sounds like you are upset you were not there. The solution is simple – next time – go. The twitter stream was *overflowing* with commentary. Speaking for myself, my blog post was focused on a high level feeling I had about the conference itself. I wasn’t there as a reporter and I wasn’t going to repeat every little detail that was *already* published since that would – well – be repeating myself. Take a few seconds and open up a twitter search column for the hashtag. Or hit up coldfusionbloggers.org and search for summit. I see 300+ entries (ok, I’m sure not all of those are relevant).

    “but it is a big deal regarding what seems to be Adobe’s attitude toward ColdFusion as a language”

    Ok, my own rant time. Here we go again. Adobe doesn’t like CF. Adobe doesn’t care about CF. Same. Old. You know what.

    You would think that after committing to working on a new release and, oh, *sponsoring* a conference for 500 people, that this same old stuff would go away. I guess not.

    • Rick Smith says:

      I know you weren’t there as a reporter Ray, but I my point here is that nobody there was. Therefore, aside from those who went, there’s really no single, collective place to go and get just about everything from the conference. I was anticipating this would be the case from the CF blog.

      I think you’re taking me a bit out of context on my quote. I preceded that line with a quote with some relevant information and followed up with, “why does ColdFusion have to ever go into ‘maintenance mode’?” I am certainly not a ColdFusion doomsayer. However, I am definitely taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture to provide sound advice to my current and future clientele. Is Adobe’s vision of ColdFusion going to be “maintenance mode”? I certainly hope not. I’m actually VERY excited to see what might be happening with CF12, which looks to me as groundbreaking as when CF was rewritten on Java. I do see a future to CF, but I’m not very enthusiastic about the idea of maintenance mode.

      • Rick, I attend a bunch of conferences – all different techs – and there’s never a “single, collective place to go and get just about everything from the conference”. The folks who get the most information from conference organizers are the attendees on the mailing list. You always have to rely on Twitter for details before / during and a wide variety of blog posts afterward. Slides are often posted in a single location but it’s often not the conference web site! My conferences this year: PyCon, Clojure/West, MongoSF, cf.Objective(), Lambda Jam, The Strange Loop, and the upcoming Clojure/conj. No single source for information with any of those.

        I didn’t attend CFSummit (for many reasons) but I found the steady stream of tweets and the blog posts a great way to follow what was happening and what various attendees thought about the event.

        As for “maintenance mode”, that’s an unfortunate term but it’s a reality for all commercial products. It doesn’t mean “death”, it just means the product will be maintained – enhanced, updated, new releases – but isn’t a company’s primary focus. That should be no surprise with Adobe, nor Macromedia before them: they are both “desktop boxed software” companies, especially Macromedia which pretty much couldn’t manage a single successful server product! Don’t get me wrong: I loved Macromedia – I worked there for six years and I stayed at Adobe for a year after the acquisition – but ColdFusion just isn’t the kind of product that these companies would ever have center stage.

        I think what was sneaked about CF12 is _very_ exciting. My only concern is that if they can’t get it out until 2015 or later, it’ll still be too little, too late, as the rest of the web world moves forward even faster.

      • CF is not in maintenance mode. They are working on a new version and a version is planned beyond that. Obviously plans can change. Heck, they could can the entire CF team right now. But by no means is it in maintenance mode. No one said that (afaik) but you.

  5. Jason Dean says:

    It is interesting that you feel this way. As a member of the content committee for this year’s conference, I assure that I will look into this and bring it to the attention of the rest of the committee and the Adobe ColdFusion team. Perhaps there are more and better ways we can deal with this next year.

    There was certainly a lot of information about CFSummit available before, during, and after the conference. The community has been fantastic about getting the word out.

    For example, Adam Cameron, who was not at CFSummit, seems to know more about CF12 than I do, and I was in the second row at the keynote.

    http://cfmlblog.adamcameron.me/2013/10/cfsummit-interesting-coldfusion-12-stuff.html

    Other community members that have posted slides, reviews and other details include:

    Ray Camden

    Adam Tuttle

    Me (with a link to the Preso drop box)

    Jason Graves

    Brian Klass

    Nolan Erck

    In addition, I have no doubt that the Adobe team will release more information in a short time. The summit ended less than a week ago, in addition to after-conference duties in Vegas, the team had a long and arduous flight home (20+ hours) where I am sure they have families and backlogs of work waiting. So give ’em a minute.

    If you want immediate gratification in the future, I recommend attending the conference. No one will get the details faster than those that attend. And it is an amazing amount of fun.

    Hope to see you there next year.

  6. Thomas Kamnikar says:

    Let me just say this was the first conference I’ve ever attended – and your way off base on your impression of it. It blew me away. Not only because of the effort Adobe (yes Adobe, not just the CF team) put into putting it on, but because of ALL the developers there. I stated over and over again before this past weekend the most CF Devs (sorry Ben) I’d ever been in a room with was 2. To sit in a convention hall with over 500 other devs all speaking with passion about CF it gave me great hope about the future.

    I admit it may seem like there isnt a lot of info about the summit – the twitter stream at first seemed more like a place to bitch about the cold rooms than it was to relay info. And I have a theory about that – I think those of us tweeting all assumed those who were interested in CF were there. Why tweet to your followers about Ray’s awesome preso on SOLR when all your followers are in the room with you? That’s obviously something I will have to work on when I attend my next conference (and i’m hooked now – so there WILL be more)

    As far as “official statements about the theft of code” – this was a bit of a hot button topic all conference. And as Scott so eloquently put it on the live CFHour podcast (Did you listen? You can’t bitch about not being there and then NOT listen to a LIVE broadcast from the conference!) Rakshith would have loved to talk about it – but they are all under NDA’s and other restrictions. It’s an active investigation going on – they are trying their best to deal with it. And the poor guys, it’s not like it was their fault – this was a total separate area of Adobe that got hacked and now they are having to deal with the fallout.

    Finally – I encourage you to follow the Adobe-CFsummit List that was put together on Twitter – https://twitter.com/m_evangelista/lists/adobe-cf-summit-las-vegas it contains a wealth of CF Dev Tweeters that I never knew existed that are all posting their notes and thoughts on all of the classes they attended. I especially appreciate this because I felt for every session I attended there were 2 more I was missing. I highly recommend checking out Nolan Erck’s blog http://www.southofshasta.com/blog/index.cfm he has done a FANTASTIC job of documenting all the sessions he attended.

    Its ok to be jealous about not attending– its NOT ok to be bitter about it. Just plan for next year – Vegas is one of the cheapest cities to fly into (allegiantair.com) and if they keep the price the same CFSummit is the cheapest/greatest value Conference out there.

  7. Joe Rinehart says:

    > Frameworks and MVC alike have been
    > counterproductive in ALL (100%) of the
    > projects I’ve worked on that are long term
    > projects (government)

    > I’m beginning to believe I need to look elsewhere

    You’re going to need a ton of luck looking to any other platform and not using frameworks and/or some overarching pattern.

    Ruby? Rails.
    Java? Play, Grails, Spring MVC
    .NET? ASP.NET MVC
    Python? Django.
    PHP? Zend, cake, many more…
    Node? Sails and about five million others.

    My point is that they’ve proven themselves so useful that it’s nearly unthinkable to approach Web development from a “I’m doing it from scratch” standpoint. If you’re finding the use of these tools counterproductive, I’d examine your use.

    What is it about them you find counterproductive, and what’s your replacement?

    • Rick Smith says:

      You’re combining my quote from my post with a quote from a reply which are two completely separate, unrelated topics. And I never stated I was ever in search of a platform free of frameworks (ColdFusion has a great many). I did in fact state frameworks ARE the right tool for the right job (reread the replies). This blog post topic is about inadequate reporting of information from a conference, not frameworks. I’ll write another blog post covering the subject in depth, although it seems like I’m walking into a highly opinionated battle of who’s wrong and right (looks like you and Scott are picking a fight — why I stopped responding to Scott), so I’ll certainly try to be careful how I word things.

      • You’re not going to get much sympathy by suggesting that frameworks are the cause of the productivity problem on all those projects… The problems lies squarely with the developers involved, not knowing how to use their tools properly. But a blog post on this topic is always a great way to start a “conversation” :)

      • Joe Rinehart says:

        I asked for a meaningful reply – “what is it about them you find counterproductive? – and instead you’re baiting me into a flame war over frameworks.

        BTDT.

        • Rick Smith says:

          I’ll reiterate… “I’ll write another blog post covering the subject in depth”. A meaningful reply is in the works.

          Where is there “bait for a flame war”?

  8. Jason Graves says:

    You’re preaching to the choir my friend. I was there, and I must say I wasn’t impressed at all with what Adobe had to offer. There were a lot of great presentations. The 2nd day keynote alone validated the trip for me.

    ColdFusion has been good to me over the years, and I’m not ready to give it up just yet. But I have adapted the way I’m using it now. First and foremost, I switched to Railo, I have no intention on giving Adobe anymore of my money for technology they don’t seem to appreciate.
    I’m also only going to use CF as a REST Web Service, which I believe CF excels at. However, since I discovered that MongoDB also offers a RESTful web service, I might end up scrapping CF all together in the near future. Between, AngularJS, BootStrap, MongoDB, and Amazon’s S3… I have all my bases covered.

    I’ll tell you this though, after Ben Forta’s keynote, I went to LinkedIn and took the word ColdFusion out of all my job titles. :)

  9. Tim Cunningham says:

    Rick, sorry you didn’t get to go. It really was a blast and we will be doing it again next year. As a member of the content committee, we will take your suggestions for a better news channel coming out of the conference and placed in an official place. It is a good suggestion, one we didn’t think of in time to enact.

    I am not making excuses but this was our first time putting on CFSummitt. Dan Wilson, Jason Dean and I were approached by Adobe in May 2013 a little prior to CF.Objective to help with the new conference. That only gave us 5 months to get it done. 5 months! To put that in perspective, the Steering Committee for cf.Objective() 2014 started meeting in June of 2013 to start organizing. The Content Advisory Board started meeting this October for a conference that will be in May!

    I will be honest, I thought the chances that the whole conference would do an embarrassing “face plant” were high. There are so many moving pieces to track and any one of them could have created a train wreck. So our first priority was to deliver to the people that actually attended the conference and I think we did that rather well on that score.

    Next year we will see about making those who can’t attend feel more included as this may encourage them to attend in the future. We have received many good suggestions that we are taking note of for next year.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions.

    Tim

  10. Tim Cunningham says:

    Oh and the central dropbox location for most of the speaker slides is on my personal dropbox account.. so, your welcome. :)

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