Scotch on the Rocks summary
June 19, 2008 · 6 Comments
Working backwards... I already blogged the Adobe keynote at Scotch on the Rocks but wanted to cover some of the sessions and the overall feel of the conference. As I said before, it had a nice, relaxed feel to it and Andy Allan, Big Mad Kev and Stephen Moretti did a great job creating a conference that felt like a bunch of developers simply sharing their experiences and their wisdom. It was a really enjoyable three days with some fascinating sessions in an incredible location. Neil Webb "Cairngorm for Beginners". I like Neil's analogies and presentation style. He was very frank about some of the things people don't like about Cairngorm but showed how code is organized and did a good job of making it approachable. Nicholas Lierman "Web Analytics for Developers". This was a hard hitting presentation (most of what you think you know about analytics is wrong) with a lot of good, real-world advice and some real insight into using tools properly to filter and segment and analyze data to identify behavior. Neil Middleton "jQuery in a Nutshell". An excellent introduction to the power of jQuery. I'm only just starting to get into jQuery so I learned quite a few things from this session. Borre Wessel "Modularizing Flex applications". This was mostly over my head because I'm not doing much Flex but it was interesting to see how much work has been done in this area. Adam Lehman - ColdFusion 8 and PDF (I can't remember the exact title). A good run through of the PDF capabilities in CF8 including the DDX stuff which gives you a lot of control. Toby Tremayne "Becoming an Enterprise Developer". A highly entertaining and insightful talk about how to improve your skills and the key things that distinguish an "enterprise" class developer. Toby is also quite the magician and used several impressive tricks to illustrate some of his points (including nearly setting Adam Lehman on fire - who was sitting just a little too close to one of Toby's tricks!). I covered the Railo keynote (albeit briefly) and will talk more about this in due course. Kai Konig - internationalization. Real world experience on what it takes to create global applications and the various pitfalls you can run into. He covered techniques and tools but made it clear this was not an easy task - it requires effort to do it properly. Neil Middleton - Testing. Neil covered the basics of unit testing with MXUnit, UI testing with Selenium and touched on continuous integration with CruiseControl. Adobe BOF about Centaur. This was much more productive and calm than the session at cf.Objective(). A lot of good ideas came out of the audience (it even inspired me to suggest some new features that I hadn't thought of before). Charlie Arehart / David Stockton - Keeping servers healthy. As always, a good talk from Charlie with lots of hints and tips as well as a demo by David of the forthcoming Fusion Analytics AIR application that analyzes log files and ties events together across multiple log files and server monitoring output. A very impressive tool for diagnosing the cause of bad behavior on your servers! Peter Bell "RAD OO". A pragmatic and interesting look at the slightly different way Peter does object-oriented development when he's building out dozens of projects in very short timelines. He uses a mixture of code generation, metadata, generic reusable base classes and other techniques to achieve very high levels of productivity. It validated some of the techniques I've been considered as well as providing food for thought on some new things I might try. Somewhere in between all of that were my two sessions (event-driven programming and getting dynamic) which were both somewhat experimental and left-field - and were mostly met with bewildered looks and a handful of puzzled questions. Some people said they enjoyed the talks and took useful ideas away so I'll consider them a qualified success. It looks like Scotch will be back in 2009. Maybe even in the same fantastic location. I definitely want to attend next year - it was a wonderful shared experience and it was great to meet new people that don't get out to the US conferences!