ColdFusion Summit 2021 Recap

January 17, 2022

Last month was the ColdFusion Summit 2021 Conference. Like many events lately this one was virtual (as opposed to the usual meetup in Vegas) but I'd say this was still worth attending for anyone near the CFML space.


Ashley Willis from Microsoft gave the keynote. The presentation focused on Developer Relations, a topic that's been on my mind a lot the last few years, so it was great to hear Ashley's insights on this end of the industry. Additionally, I like when the keynotes (and sessions in general) are more expansive, and contain info that can be applied not just to ColdFusion, but to other aspects of the tech industry as well. Ashley did a great job of this, I'll be following her on social media for more updates.

(Semi-related, roughly 25% of the speakers were women. Always glad to see efforts being done to make for a more diverse list of speakers at conferences. Thanks, Adobe!)

Session Highlights

Pete Freitag's talks on security are always a must-attend for me. Even if I've seen his preso before, I'll usually attend it again as he always adds new gems, and I always learn something new.

Brian Bockhold's talk in migrating web apps to AWS was really informative. This is a task that has become a growing part of South of Shasta's workload in recent years (and will continue growing in 2022) so it was great to hear his take on things to watch out for along the way on such projects.

Full disclosure: Jessica Keener is one of my favorite people on the conference circuit, and she's just generally a great human too. I don't get up early to watch a 7:30am talk on CSS for just anyone...but when Jessica is presenting, it's always a very well put together preso with humor and great slides and her delivery is the right combination of human and informative. Her talk "CSS Crash Course for Haters and Novices" was no exception. Seriously, go watch Jessica speak any time you get the chance.

Much like AWS migrations, integrating Java into CFML applications has been another growing amount of work we've seen coming in lately. Matthew Clemente is another one of my favorite speakers and his talk "Getting Started with Java in Your ColdFusion Apps" was an excellent intro to the topic -- anyone that feels overwhelmed by the idea of using Java directly in their CFML apps should definitely watch his preso. (Matthew's slide decks are always full of easy to follow code samples, you can grab them from his GitHub repo.)

My Session on Design Patterns

I gave a new talk titled "CFML Design Patterns and Uses" that cycles through a handful of OOP Design Patterns, and gave some brief real world examples of when each could get used in a web application. Given that it was a new talk, I'm very happy that it went over without any hiccups. Several pieces of the content were taken from the Object Oriented Programming Video Series I recently put together over on with the nice folks at Ortus Solutions. If you enjoyed this talk and would like to learn more about Design Patterns, I'd recommend checking out that video series.


The conference was held via an online platform called VConFex. It gave attendees both the video stream and chat capabilities you'd expect from any such system, as well as the "virtual expo floor" features so attendees can wander about and check out the sponsors. I suppose this worked as well as it ever does in such a virtual setup; personally I don't spend as much time visiting the vendors in virtual conferences. Typically between sessions, I'll need to check email or get something else done quickly in the office. (Hopefully I'm the exception, and the sponsor booths all got their money's worth).

Video got choppy a few times during the conference. My experience has been that's usually the fault of the platform itself not doing enough real world stress testing. Given that there were a LOT of attendees from all over the world at CF Summit 2021, I think that was the case here too. Usually logging out and logging back in (or reloading the browser) would fix the issue. Mildly annoying, but at least it's a quick fix.

The survey questions at the end of the sessions didn't really make a lot of sense. For example one question might be "How would you rate the content quality of this session?" but the options were "Strongly Agree, Agree, Not Sure Disagree, Strongly Disagree" and there was no notes field for me to add any additional info for the speakers. For these reasons, I skipped the surveys entirely.

So is ColdFusion Dead?

As with every year that I've attended this conference, math doesn't lie. The number of attendees is high enough (and always growing) that I don't see Adobe stopping support for ColdFusion any time soon. Are there features I'd like to see changed or made more of a priority? Sure, but that's true of any technology we use.

Looking forward to the 2022 conference, hopefully in person at a Vegas hotel for maximum value!