An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

Conferences & Me

May 20, 2014 · 6 Comments

cf.Objective() is over for another year and the reactions I've seen were all very positive. As a long-time member of the Steering Committee, that makes me very happy. This is the first time I've ever missed cf.Objective(). Yes, I've attended eight of the nine, and I've been a speaker at six of them (I think?). I've also attended as a sponsor (2012, as Railo's "booth babe").

This year also saw Into The Box the day before - a one day conference dedicated to all things *Box, not just ColdBox. That conference also seemed to go well, from what I saw on Twitter, and I'm very interested to learn more about CommandBox, the CLI and package manager they previewed!

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed posts from me back in November and December indicating that I'd submitted talks to cf.Objective() and Scotch on the Rocks, which had been accepted... and then those posts disappeared. I took the posts down to reduce linkage to them and, to some extent, to head off any questions. I try really hard not to back out of commitments: I had to cancel Scotch on the Rocks back in 2009 because my wife broke her ankle just before the conference and she was laid up in bed for a couple of months and then in a wheelchair for another couple of months.

Over the last few years, I've attended a lot of conferences and most of them have been out of my own pocket and out of my vacation allowance. Over the last few years, my technology focus has shifted. When I joined World Singles full-time in 2010, I came in primarily as a CFML developer, with experience in a number of other languages. At BroadChoice we'd gone to production with Groovy and Flex alongside CFML. At World Singles, we went to production with Scala alongside CFML and then we introduced Clojure. Now we're primarily a Clojure shop: it's our go-to language for all new work and we're slowly replacing CFML code with Clojure code as we touch that CFML code to make enhancements. The benefits of immutable data, pure functions, and composable data transformations - and the ease with which we can operate concurrently - are huge.

That shift has meant that CFML conferences, once core to my work, are now a personal luxury. The once bleeding edge, new technology events that I could justify as an investment in my personal growth have instead become core to my work: MongoDB Days, Clojure/West, The Strange Loop, Lambda Jam, Clojure/conj. Even with an employer as generous as World Singles, I can't get to all of those on the company dime and company time.

I've been very lucky to be able to attend and speak at so many conferences over the last decade, and I've loved attending all those CFML conferences: MXDU, Fusebox, Frameworks, CFUnited, CFinNC, cf.Objective(), Scotch on the Rocks. I have a huge number of friends in the CFML community and that's a big part of what I love about the conferences. The desire to see my friends is a large part of why I've continued to submit talks to CFML conferences.

Unfortunately, as Jay & I reviewed our commitments back in January, both financial and timewise, as we started to prepare our 2013 tax return, it became clear that there was no way I was going to be able to attend Into The Box, cf.Objective(), and Scotch on the Rocks. It led to some very uncomfortable discussions with those conference organizers. I'd already overreached in 2013 and, realistically, I shouldn't have even submitted talks.

In the end, of course, Into The Box and cf.Objective() were both great successes - they are so much more than the sum of their speakers - and Scotch on the Rocks looks absolutely amazing. I wish I could attend! I miss my friends in the CFML community and without the conferences I don't get to hang out with them.

I'm sorry that I caused the conference organizers hassle by submitting talks and then pulling out. As a long-time member of the cf.Objective() Steering Committee I know that flaky speakers are a pain in the ass!

Realistically, all this means that unless you attend The Strange Loop (or a Clojure conference), I'm probably not going to get to hang out with you in the future. That makes me sad for the friends I won't get to see but I hope we all grow...

Tags: cfinnc · cfobjective · clojure · coldfusion

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Phil // May 21, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Sean, if you're not going to be doing much in the way of CF conference attending, then will you still keep maintaining FW/1?
  • 2 David McCan // May 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Perfectly understandable. As things shift, commonsense and practicality should win out.

    You have made huge personal and professional contributions to the CF community. Thank you very much. I hope you are able to remain active even if not attending conferences.

    Best regards,

    David
  • 3 Aaron Longnion // May 21, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    I think it's safe for me to speak for so many in the CFML community in saying that you, your knowledge, thoughtfulness and helpfulness will be sorely missed at various conferences. Best wishes as your career continues to expand, and you inspire others in all your future endeavors.

    Cheers!
  • 4 Sean Corfield // May 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    @Aaron, @David - thank you!

    @Phil, yes, FW/1 has a roadmap that I am committed to and although World Singles is slowly shifting away from CFML, we have several FW/1 apps that will remain in production for the foreseeable future (and three large ColdBox apps too).

    I also maintain a Clojure version of FW/1 so both will continue to be maintained, borrowing features off each other over time.
  • 5 Tariq Ahmed // May 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    So ... the important question begs - are the days of being a booth babe also no longer in the future? :)

    Kidding aside - your involvement in the technology community is inspirational and a model of what we can all aspire to!
  • 6 Sean Corfield // May 23, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    @Tariq, thank you!

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