Well this is an overdue post that unfortunately work and personal things kept me from for a bit, but as promised I wanted to share my personal experience at Into the Box (ITB) this year. Also, why I feel it is one of the best, if not the best, ColdFusion conference I have ever attended.
I like others, have asked, “Why"? Why should I go to this gathering, isn't it just for users of ColdBox? Not, that I haven't used ColdBox, in fact I do and still support apps written in ColdBox. However, if I'm going to be honest, I am more of a Framework One kind of guy. So, before I go any further into my experience, let’s put that thought to rest.
Now, the keynote speakers presented a lot of great information geared towards ColdBox and their arsenal of tools. But, did you know, you do not have to use ColdBox to use them? Remember, as stated in their site, "ColdBox is an MVC framework for ColdFusion”, but the ColdBox Platform is so much more than that which include: WireBox, CacheBox, LogBox, TextBox, MockBox, ContentBox and CommandBox (which is my favorite). So, to answer the question, no you don’t have to use ColdBox MVC framework to attend, all you have to be is a ColdFusion developer that is interested in learning from and meeting peers in our community.
To start with my experience, from a personal stand point, this has been the best. Over the years of me working from home (although a blessing) I found myself becoming more of an introvert rather than the extrovert I was when I played music back in the day. This is something that I eventually break thru and once we start talking you might even wonder when was I ever shy, but I am. The setting for this particular conference was very different from others. From the moment I arrived thru the doors of the hotel and immediately introduced myself to Jorge Reyes and Bill Garoutte, it just felt different and very welcoming. The venue was just perfect and was intimate unlike the feeling I get from the conferences sponsored in Vegas. Please note, I hate Vegas and always have, from the days I attended Adobe MAX, Microsoft’s Connections to name a few and right from my first visit to the Magic Convention, which is not even a developer conference instead a retail industry convention. You may not share the same feeling for Vegas like I do which is perfectly fine as we are all entitled to our own opinion. At ITB, I found the intimacy and detail to personal connections to be extremely refreshing. We were more like a group of friends than strangers meeting in some large hall.
In regards to content. I found the information presented was truly amazing in how it was laid out and described. Going back to our first concern of, “Don’t I have to be a ColdBox user”, well you can say the proof is in the pudding. I would like to highlight some of my favorite moments but would first like to say I am grateful to every presenter that took time out of their busy schedules to share the knowledge they have with the rest of us. From Kevin Jones' presentations on NGINX, John Farrar’s on using Vue and introducing some modern development workflows, Mike Brunt’s on Tuning and Troubleshooting ColdFusion, Luis Majano’s on ORM, Brad Wood’s on CommandBox and introducing CFConfig (thank you), Charlie Aerhart’s on opening our eyes to what those damn spiders are doing to our servers and by far the one that blew my mind and inspired a CFC and a blog post to follow this was Gert Franz’s "How to make CFML script fast".
I can’t forget to mention the Happy Box Event featuring the Mariachi Band. This was the cherry on top, the moment I truly felt like I was part of a special group of people, a strong ColdFusion community and almost Family. Jorge, you sir have pipes, Luis you escaped your performance too quick, Brad and Gavin, next year the spotlight will be on you guys.
So, to close out this post, Into The Box was amazing. You can expect to see me at future ones and spreading the word. I can’t wait until next year and experience it all over again. To everyone at Ortus and anyone else involved, thank you for putting such a great event together.