Software Development, Web Design, Training

May-17-2015

Into the Box Recap

As is usually the case, I don't have time to blog anything until after the conferences are done and I'm on my way home!  Both Into The Box and Dev-Objective are now complete, finally giving me a chance to catch up on email and blog a few thoughts on the conferences.

This was my first year attending and speaking at Into The Box, and it appeared to be a great success for everyone.  Between both conferences, I gave a total of 3 talks -- quite exhausting to say the least! Two of my talks were brand new, written specifically for the events this week.   The prep time for everything cut into my initial plans more than I would have liked, and I ended up skipping out on watching several other presentations to either review everything, or to catch up on sleep!

I (wrongly) assumed Into The Box takes place at the same hotel as Dev-Objective -- it's actually about a mile down the road at Embassy Suites, which was a very nice location.  We had a "corner" of the main floor to ourselves -- 2 rooms for the 2 tracks and a "lobby" room for registration, vendor booths and food.  It worked quite well -- very little confusion as to where any sessions were held.  

Another misconception I (and possibly others) had is, this *isn't* a ColdBox-specific conference! About half the content relates to "Box products" (many of which are quite impressive, and work independently, not requiring you use ColdBox at all).  The other half is content that would be valuable to anyone, even those not on a ColdBox (or even a ColdFusion) platform.

Luis asked me to give a "Crash Course on AngularJS and Ionic". I've taught AngularJS classes before, but this was a new presentation I wrote just for Into The Box.  Trying to "cram" both topics into a 1-hour timeslot proved to be a bit of a challenge.  There are only so many points that can be removed before the content is almost useless. It seemed like the preso went pretty well based on the feedback I received.  And all 10 demos worked without a hitch! :)

Highlights (for me) included --

The "Battle of the Hot Wings" with all the UK folks on Monday night. You had to be there. ;)

Scott Coldwell's talk on "Migrating Legacy Applications to ColdBox" was very informative. Though I don't have a lot of clients on ColdBox, I do often get calls from people with legacy apps that need help. I'm always looking for new ideas on how to start migrating these applications over to some sort of structure (often it has to be done without the ability to rewrite everything from scratch).  Scott provided a lot of great tips on solving this problem.  Legacy apps is a difficult topic to motivate people; Scott did it quite well.

Nathaniel Francis and Curt Gratz's preso on using Angular and REST was another great one.  Content-wise, they picked up right where my "Crash Course in Angular and Ionic" talk left off. It was almost as if we planned it that way!  (I love it when conferences have the more "intro" talks at the beginning of the schedule, and move into the advanced ones later on -- it adds a nice "flow" to the day for people starting from scratch on a topic.)

Many of the talks were very demo-centric, spending a lot of time actually looking at code.  While I don't have a preference, it is harder to take notes when I'm focusing on reading blocks of code on the screen.  Thus I didn't end up taking as many notes as I usually do, but I'll post what I have as time permits.

Thanks to Luis and everyone at Ortus Solutions. I will plan on attending (and hopefully speaking) again next year!

-nolan