Into The Box 2023 Recap

June 12, 2023

Into The Box 2023 wrapped up a couple weeks ago. And as always, it was a great conference!


It was held at the same hotel as last year, the Houston CityPlace Marriott at Springwoods Village. This is a nice upgrade from the previous place (not that there was anything wrong with the last venue). CityPlace Marriott is modern and near several options for food and amenities -- my personal favorites being the gym, and a bonafide Starbucks just a few feet out the front door.


As always, Into The Box was full of modern web development content, much of which is applicable to any CFML application, not just those running ColdBox!  There were sessions on AI, FlexBox, unit tests, app design, No SQL modeling, and more! Seriously, even if you're not using ColdBox at all, Into The Box is very much worth attending.

I took the pre-conference workshop on Async Programming and Scheduling. It was a great look under the hood at various options for scheduling work, how threading works, the Java Futures API, and other related concepts. Some of the new features added to ColdBox Async Manager seem like they'll mostly benefit apps with extremely high amounts of traffic...not something I'll necessarily need today, but it's good to know these options exist for (wait for it) the future. :)

I gave 2 talks -- "Real World ColdBox App Architecture", and "Crash Course in CSS Grid + FlexBox" -- they both seemed to go over well enough. My favorite moment was during the FlexBox talk, I gave a shout-out to Scott McCallister who recorded a preso for my Sac Interactive Meetup a couple months earlier. As soon as I said his name, a guy in the back raised his hand and says, "I'm Scott's boss...he said to tell you hi."  Small world! :)

Of the sessions I attended, highlights included:

Brian Klaas' talk on Pub/Sub Mechanisms was an excellent as expected -- Brian always does such a great job, I try to attend his talks any time I'm able to.  Will definitely be looking into this for a project soon. (If you're doing anything involving CFML and AWS, go look up all of Brian's previous talks on the subject -- they're fantastic.)

Gavin Pickin's talk on "QB + Migrations + Seeders" is something that will be very useful for a project South of Shasta is currently spec'ing out -- I love when the timing of conference sessions and projects lines up that well! QB by itself hasn't appealed to me in the past -- I like writing SQL directly whenever I can, as I find it easier to think about the data modeling that way, and ensure that my schema structure is correct. But Gavin's talk covered using QB plus Migrations and Seeders, which solves a different type of problem, and that's worth looking into further. As usual, Gavin gave me a lot to think about.

Alas, I had some work issues to deal with so I wasn't able to attend as many sessions as I had hoped. But the conference overall was still great. As many attendees will tell you, the reason you go to a conference is for the networking -- the stuff between sessions, the after party, the conversations at the restaurant, and so on. Regardless of how many sessions I attend, those moments always make physically being at a conference worth it.

There was talk of maybe moving Into The Box to a new location for next year; I don't know if that was anything "official" or just kicking around ideas. Personally I think having Into The Box stay in the mid-west somewhere is a good idea, even if it leaves Houston. We have CF Summit events on both coasts, and CF Camp for Europe.  Into The Box can be the midwest US event so everyone's got something near-ish them. Just my thought.  (If it does end up moving, I'd like to put my vote in now for Minneapolis or Chicago, but during a warm time of year please.)

Thanks again to everyone at Ortus Solutions for putting on such a great event -- see you next year!