Into The Box 2022 Recap

September 09, 2022

Into The Box 2022 is a wrap! My first in-person conference since this pandemic madness began two years ago. While the attendance level was a bit smaller (but expected) I think the event was a big success overall.

(Before we get into the recap…a brief reminder: this is not a ColdBox-specific conference! While yes there are many sessions related to ColdBox, I count at least 10 sessions, some of the workshops, and most of the pre-conference virtual sessions that have nothing to do with ColdBox. Seriously, if you’re a CFML developer of any kind, this conference will add value to your development experience.)

The new hotel (Houston CityPlace Marriott at SpringWoods Village) is a big step up from the last one, not that there was anything wrong with it. Lots of room here for ITB to continue growing in the future. Plus tons of food options within walking distance of the hotel, and a really good on-site gym as well. Speaking of growing, this year we had 2 days of sessions as usual, and 1 day of pre-conference workshops (also usual) but new this year there were 10 virtual sessions the week before the in-person events kicked off. While we have fewer CFML related conferences happening than years prior (I miss you, CFCamp!) I’m glad to see that the currently active ones are growing. Who said CFML is dying? ;)

The keynote was kind of what you’d expect: a “state of the union” for all the things Ortus has going on (which is a really impressive list of accomplishments), and some announcements about upcoming projects or things that are in beta at the moment. Among the many announcements we heard about some new features in WireBox that I need to check out, as well as a growing presence in Spain for Ortus Solutions…perhaps even including an ITB Spain in the future.

I think both of my talks (”Web Components in Your CFML Application” and “I'm Still Scared of Aspect Oriented Programming!”) [LINK AND LINK] went over well enough. Didn’t have any demo fails, fortunately, and I picked up a few ideas for improvement the next time I give them.

Other highlights for me included…

Gavin Pickin’s talk on Alpine.js was excellent, and filled in some knowledge gaps I had about not just Alpine but also Vue.js. Really stellar talk for anyone looking to checkout Alpine. (We’re looking at it for an upcoming project so this was perfect timing for me.)

Grant Copely gave a great talk on a newer module called CBWire. I think this library is a great middle ground for developers that need SPA-like functionality in their applications, but aren’t able to rewrite the entire thing as APIs. CBWire reminds me a lot of all the hacks we used to do with CFinclude and URL variables in order to get “interactive” or Ajax-style UIs into older CFML applications. However with this module, it’s done using ColdBox, and a more proper MVC structure. I think this could save some time on a few features I have to deal with soon…will definitely be looking into it more next week.

Sessions on soft-skills are becoming more common at conferences, a trend I’m quite happy to see. In that vein, Shawn Oden gave a talk titled “I’m Just Here For The T-Shirt” in which he dove into Imposter Syndrome, and the ways that can affect not just developers, but anyone looking for a new job, trying to avoid burnout, and other perils. This talk would make a great podcast episode or user group meeting, for any technology (none of the content was CFML specific).

Yesterday I got asked what session had the most value for me. While all the sessions were great, I got the most value out of a group conversation on Thursday evening over dessert, then another with some of the same folks on Friday morning at breakfast. We covered everything from stress to dealing with the pandemic, families, anxiety, and how we’re coping with everything happening in the world currently. It was probably the best conversation(s) I had all week, and was very much worth the trip by itself.

Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to put this event together! ITB 2023 has (semi-officially?) been scheduled for May 2023. So it looks like I’ll be back in Houston this coming spring. See you then!