The amazing adventures of Doug Hughes

Last week I found myself at the annual cf.Objective() conference in Minneapolis, MN. Being that this was my first time to attend a conference like this, I was unsure what to expect or what the experience would mean to me in the end.

Upon arriving at the Hyatt Regency (lovely hotel by the way), I immediately noticed there were several developer types sitting around in the lobby. At this point it also occurred to me that some of my Alagad compatriots might be two feet from me and I wouldn’t know it. I had never met any of them in person except for my long time friend Jeff Chastain. As it turned out, one of them was an Alagad guy. How was I to know Jared is a big, burly, biker type? Let’s just say his Facebook picture must be old. Very old. This same process continued in a nice “for.each” loop until I had met each of the guys with one notable exception. I think I would have recognized Doug Hughes without any help at all. I’m not sure why, I just would have.

On Thursday morning we went to the Key Note presentation by Adobe. It was well delivered and quite informative. Talking mainly about products we, apparently, are not to mention, so I won’t. I did find it oddly humorous that the Adobe guys were somewhat surprised that the new features added for code development got such loud applause of approval. Who did they think was in the audience? Let the presentation parade begin!

You know, it’s really hard to decide on which presentations to attend. On more than one occasion I found myself thinking I should go to this one and that one. Crap, they are at the same time! As I understand it, in previous years Saturday has been reserved for repeat performances. I know I would have really appreciated that being the case this year as well. The diversity of the presentations was refreshing. I sat in on everything from “Indiana Jones and the Server of Doom (thank you, Mr Brunt) to Mark Esher’s “Writing Testable Code”. Without exception I found each of the presentations informative and engaging. I suppose that’s why I was there in the first place.

As we all know, conferences are not just for learning. Fun is an integral part of the whole experience. Thursday night proved to be the fun part. All of Alagad and many others went to Fogo de Chao for dinner. I’m relatively sure that by the time we left they were completely out of meat. In our group, Chris Petersen was the winner. Honestly, the man ate at least three and a half pounds of some of the best meats I’ve had in long time. After dinner the same group of convention goers all met at the Minneapolis Zoo for an IMAX presentation of Star Trek.

A very special word of thanks to Doug, our fearless leader, for making all of this possible. We all had a terrific time and as a team building exercise, it scored very highly.

You know they say in software development there is no clear cut way to get from point A to point B. Judging from the wide diversity of opinions in the presentations, that rule certainly applies in our section of the industry. Whether it was listening to Dan Wilson singing the praises of Model Glue 3 and how it handles scaffolding or Peter Bell talking about rapid OO development and how scaffolding is useless. Each presenter had his own way of doing what they do.

I realize that there are many different solutions to a particular problem set but sometimes it be can overwhelming to hear one and think you might use it in the future only to go to the next presentation and find yourself liking that solution better than the one before. Fortunately I have friends like Jeff Chastain, Scott Stroz, and Simeon Bateman to offer their views. Of course it would also be nice if they could agree. Sometimes. Just kidding.

Upon leaving the conference I was struck by the fact that I had just been in the presence of the best-of-the-best our industry has to offer. Whether it was Mark Drew or Doug Hughes or Sean Corfield or Peter Bell (forgive me if you think you should have been included in this list), these guys are the movers, shakers and shapers of our industry. I found myself a little awestruck at times even though everyone I met was accessible, friendly and ,most importantly, willing to share what they know. It’s an interesting trait in our little corner of the world, people are willing to teach you what they know. You don’t usually find that in the hyper-competitive world we live in. I, for one, sincerely appreciate it.

I have been a ColdFusion developer since version 1.5. I have learned more in the past year from guys like these than I had in the previous ten years. With people in our industry like these I have no doubt that our little corner of the world will continue to grow and prosper. Jared, cf.Objective() was a resounding success for myself and for the many people I talked to. Thank you for all of the effort you put into it. I hope to see you there next year.

Comments on: "Cf.Objective() – Musings From a First Timer" (1)

  1. Andy Sandefer said:

    I have yet to attend a conference but you may have just sold me on going to one. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I will add that I completely agree with you about the fact that many of the top cf minds out there are constantly sharing their knowledge with others.
    For some reason cf must attract people who are not afraid to be wrong or let their guard down and talk to people. You have to let your guard down in order to publish something on the web because a lot of guys are truly just waiting to tell you that you’re wrong and in many cases they’re not nice about it.
    I’m not surprised that many of these folks are approachable because I’ve never personally met many of them but all of the guys you mentioned, along with one that you didn’t – Ray Camden, are very approachable people online and will help damn near anyone who is in need of sound advice or a quick example.


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