Today was seriously intense. The day started at 8am with a Welcome talk to introduce all of this year's speakers followed by a great keynote address by Ben Forta and Tim Buntel, with guest appearance by Simeon Bateman of the CFEclipse proejct (Thanks for the Sam Adams!). At first I tried attending sessions while taking notes which I later blogged, and this worked for a while during Ray Camden's, Nate Nelson's, and Simon Horwith's talks.

CFUNITED Keynote Soon, however, some of the talks either grew more complex or I was tiring out, but I couldn't take blog notes at the same rate as the presenter's pace, so I decided that although I really wanted to share the information and capture the moment through text, if my notes weren't going to be complete then its better to just pay attention and put the laptop away.

Michael Dinowitz's talk on Advanced Regular Expressions was not only very practical, but Michael's quick wit made it a really fun talk to attend. Regex patterns are not a stenographer's ideal topic, so look for Michael's slides available on houseoffusion.com soon.

Damon Cooper answers questions at CFUNITEDSean Corfield presented a comparison of Fusebox 4 and Mach II, illustrating the framework internals and highlighting the pros and cons for each approach. Sean noted that all projects going forward on macromedia.com are built on the Mach II framework, including 12 of 50 projects already completed during his tenure, however for personal usage he generally prefers Fusebox. Hal Helms interjected with message that developers shouldn't get hung up in the quest for a perfect framework but just consider which one might be most appropriate for task at hand, choose a framework, and go forward. I think this is mostly in response to many of the recent threads and blogs that are issuing those Mach II is dead framework flame wars. Sean echoed Hal's sentiments by adding that each framework has its pros, cons, limitations, and applications and you shouldn't give up a framework because you bump into its limitations because moving to another solution might solve those problems but others will be introduced.

Meet the Macromedia ColdFusion EngineersAt 8pm I sat in with the Macromedia clan at a Meet the Engineers BOF session. The real superstars, Ben Forta, Tim Buntel, Damon Cooper, Mike Nimer, and Tom Jordahl fielded all the questions. There was quite a turnout and I was surprised to find that the majority of customer feedback regarded the upper management view that ColdFusion is not as robust as Java or other "enterprise" solutions, in both education and government. These guys get upper level feedback that ColdFusion isn't a serious app server, and they do their best to defend CF but they want to see more Macromedia marketing that Fortune 500 customers that are using CF. I know that many are, including BOA, Boeing, AT&T, Sprint, etc... not to mention nearly all the Federal Government, but their bosses just don't get the message. Tom Jordahl advocated strongly that ColdFusion is Java, ColdFusion is J2EE. You can build an application entirely in CFML to take advantage of the RAD (Rapid Application Development), compile all the pages to Java, build a WAR or EAR file that includes only the sourceless Java bytecode and the ColdFusion runtime engine, give it to your J2EE server administrator and tell them, "Hey, here's that EAR file just the way you wanted it.", and they just deploy it as a J2EE app. Boom. All Java, no CFML. ColdFusion is J2EE. Period. From a technical perspective, ColdFusion can't be more Java, and the disparity in your boss's opinion is purely a perception problem, and Damon, Tim, and Ben all noted that, yes, Macromedia could do more to highlight just how many BIG companies are running on ColdFusion MX.Tim takes questions at Meet the Engineers BOF A few other topics poppped up including a request from Kai of bloginblack.de for a real slider in the Flash Forms, and Mike Nimer took note that the Flex slider is the right component to fill that void. A question came in regarding a scheduled task not running, and everyone started pointing at me to indicate that I should field it, but frankly I didn't understand the point.... Was the problem that scheduled tasks wouldn't run as scheduled or perhaps they wouldn't run only when conditions a,b,c weren't met. I was just going to proffer the suggestion that he use logging in the begining and end of the task template to confirm it was in fact running as expected or not, since sometimes scheduled tasks do get kicked off but either error or timeout and never complete, making it appear that the scheduler didn't keep its contract. Another interesting question regarding the inability to plug a newer Log4J into ColdFusion server to meet some application demand for the newer version. Tom J, who is also on the Apache Foundation and W3C Webservice Group, commented that ColdFusion is currently locked in to its version of Log4J because it happened to qualify for the very narrow exception list of why an app couldn't migrate to the newer builds, but Tom went on to say that its very unlikely that your app *needs* that newer build and its mroe than likely that you can use the older Log4J that ships with CF. If you really want to use the newer Log4J then the only solution now is to unjar it, changing the package structure, recompile, and re-jar it, so in this way the package structure is distinct from the Log4J in CFMX so they won't overlap in the classpath. Macromedia: Bob Powell, Hemant, and Tom Jordahl

As soon as the room cleared, the Model-Glue panel poured in. Originally, a Model-Glue Breezo was planned to run 9:30 in the "community pit", but at the last moment things got shifted around and a 9:00 Model-Glue BOF got added, so all was chaos while trying to make all this happen. The wireless network in the hotel today has been spotty at best and was generally a pain all day, so setting up the Breezo was a chore since the network bandwidth here is extremely throttled and when Joe went to install the Breeze Presenter Plugin, well it took several minutes for something that is normally just a few seconds, and all the outgoing audio got cut off because the plugin download clogged the pipe. Model Glue BreezoWell, Joe Rinehart was definitely a good sport during this Wild West Show, and he managed to juggle the crowd, his presentation, the online chat, the microphone issues, the microphone complaints from the chat, and oh, Jared Rypka-Hauer's cell phone going off under the podium in the middle of the talk (You had to see the bewilderment on Joe's face when suddenly a Green Day wookie ring tone began eminating from under his laptop :). It wasn't the best Breezo for the remote attendees, why, with all the audio/bandwidth problems, and then 1/2 hour into the hotel management came bearing signs to STOP, so we got booted from the room. Joe quipped that his former experience with the sport of fencing helped build up his concentration skills so that explains how he could maintain focus on Model-Glue while all this craziness was going on around him. Thanks to everyone online that attended the Breezo while tolerating the major hiccups we ecountered.

The day as a whole was fantastic. I learned a lot, and I met many members of the ColdFusion community that I'd previously only known online. It's very cool to meet all these people here at the conference and chat with them a bit, including Tony Weeg, Jeff Coughlin, Scott Stroz, Damon Gentry, Doug Hughes, and Joe Rinehart, as well as reconnecting with old friends including Michael Dinowitz, Simon Horwith, Pete Freitag, and of course TACFUG's Critter. Judith and Michael Dinowitz of Houseoffusion.comI was especially impressed when I heard more about Critter's white hat hacking background and that he's a master of Assembly language. Very cool. I think putting faces to names in online community really helps build just that... Community. I mean online the mask of annonimity (sorry, its late, can't spell) sometimes brings out the worst in people since its so easy to flame someone one when no one knows who you are, but when you're a member of a real online and offline community like ColdFusion's, well then people really know each other and that lends a lot to a sense of belonging to group, getting information from it and adding back when ever possible, helping newbies, and generally caring about making that community prosper. Scott Stroz filled us in on his positive experience when he first came on the ColdFusion scene, and he was really enthusiastic about all the fast, quality help he got online from the likes of Sean Corfield or Doug Hughes for example. What really shocked me was how many people said they read my blog often, and each an everyone stopped me to say hi, or in Sim's case, buy me a beer. I'm glad so many of you find my posts helpful, so I'll try to improve the quality and scope.

Day one is a wrap.... Here's to an even better day tomorrow.