The first annual OpenCF Summit was almost a month ago but I've hardly stopped traveling since and then I got sick! So, finally, here's my thoughts of how this inaugural event went...
The overall impression was one of friendliness, openness and collaboration. From the moment I arrived at the hotel to register, I was immediately swept up in the hackfest where all attendees were able to contribute to an application to help a not-for-profit organize its volunteers. This application grew from a skeleton to a fairly full-featured application with a nice user interface over the course of the summit as various attendees worked on the application. It was great to see such team spirit among attendees, especially since the development environment - Mach II, Open BlueDragon, Google App Engine - was new to most of the contributors!
The opening keynote, by Matt Woodward, on Monday challenged us to be proud that we write CFML, instead of almost apologizing for our favorite technology. Matt emphasized the power of our technology and the upbeat state of the union for CF developers, the growth in open source within our community - although tempered with a caveat that we can (and should) do better: Rails 3.0 was held up as an example of an open source project with thousands of contributors whereas we often have less than half a dozen on most CFML projects. Matt also made the important point that what we need to help CFML grow is great open source applications, rather than yet another utility / framework.
The sessions all took place in one room, as a single track, which I think helped people get to know others at the conference and fostered more of that sense of community and collaboration. The sessions were varied, with some covering the business and/or cultural aspects of open source, some covering specific technical topics (scalability, REST, development environments) and others covering more esoteric topics (such as Denny's deep dive into the CFEclipse project or Ean Schuessler's fascinating look at how the Government 2.0 movement is embracing both open source and community contributions). I gave two talks focused on the open source ecosystem. The first was an updated version of my "Open Source Landscape" talk that looks at how open source projects and collaboration have evolved in the CF community. The second was a new talk that looked at how two "rising star" languages are evolving as open source projects - Scala and Clojure - and comparing that process to the remarkably similiar ones behind Railo and OpenBD. On the third day, the main track featured deeper looks at the two main open source CFML engines (OpenBD and Railo) whilst Unconference sessions went on in other rooms, featuring content requested by and created by the attendees themselves. Finally, we all got together again to review the conference and the progress of the hackfest application - and give prizes to the biggest contributors!
As a sponsor, Railo Consulting was very happy with the event. We spoke to a lot of attendees about projects where we could be of assistance, so we expect to get several consulting engagements out of the summit. In addition, of course, a number of the attendees were not familiar with either open source engine so this was a good opportunity to show them what open source alternatives are available - several were already looking at other open source technologies (often for policy reasons, as well as cost), so they were glad to discover that they didn't have to abandon CFML in order to satisfy their needs.
The facilities were excellent! The convention center was a good venue with wifi, plenty of power strips, coffee and nice boxed lunches (catered locally, I believe). The hotel was very nice and modern with spacious rooms and there were several places to eat and drink within easy walking distance.
I'd consider the event to be a great success and I'm looking forward to next year!