Happy to say that with some wrangling, a much appreciated TASCC scholarship to cover my conference fee, and some payments from clients, both my partner (aka co-developer, bud, other half of the team, etc etc) and I were able to attend cf.Objective() 2012! We flew out of Houston on Tuesday and returned home yesterday. After six days away from home, I was exhausted but all in all, it was a great trip and I think we both walked away with some new knowledge and some new things we'll be implementing over the coming year as part of our continued efforts to improve the quality of our apps.
As I mentioned before, this was my first time at cf.Objective() My first experiences with conferences came back when CFUN was around. I attended it in 2002, 2003, and I think 2004. Back then it was a young, relatively immature conference but I learned some stuff. I took a break from it for a few years, then it became CF United which I attended in 2009 with my partner. We came back from it with a renewed love of ColdFusion, a deep sense that were falling way short of being the "experts" we were supposed to be, and some seriously crazy energy for developing and improving ourselves.
From that one conference, we instituted a serious paradigm shift in our small development group, including implementing a vastly improved coding standard, splitting our business model from our UI, moving towards a more object-oriented coding style, and adding some new tools to our standard developing: Mach-II, jQuery, and centralized libraries of our own code. Seriously, if you'd seen what we were doing before and what we were doing a year later, you'd have wondered if it was the same coders!
Suffice to say, for me cf.Objective() had a lot to live up to! And in most ways, the important ways, it lived up to the need. I can't say we left with the same insane energy, but we both learned enough that we can step up our game yet another notch. I'd say the main two areas we focused on were security and performance improvements, with dips into UI and third-party options for apps/services. We learned of a potential app we hope to pitch to our bosses as an option for replacing an app they have been shopping for an alternative option for for two years. Being able to suggest a ColdFusion option would rock :)
Some stuff we learned we'll have to wait on implementing, at least on our work stuff since we're still running CF 8 (we bought a license for CF 9 a year ago, this year we might finally get it set up on some servers and start transitioning our sites to it). Most of the sessions I attended taught me something and all in all, it was well worth the trip. I've come to learn with conferences, that there will always be a few sessions that will be a complete letdown and one or two time slots where you just can't find anything applicable to your needs, but fortunately these were just little annoyances on an overall great experience.
Over the next few posts, I'll talk more about my experiences at the conference, including a quick run down and impressions on the sessions I attended, and my overall thoughts on the event, the venue, our hotel, and the area.
P. S. To all the new readers I seemed to have gained lately, welcome! :)