Scotch on the Rocks 2010

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend my first ColdFusion conference last week, Scotch on the Rocks 2010, but only for the first of the two days.  Since our employer was funding the trip, colleague Mister Dai and I mostly went to different sessions to get the maximum value out of the day. The folowing is a quick roundup of the sessions I attended, minus the two that we both went to as Dave has already covered them on his blog:

Geting Started with Adobe AIR

(Matt Gifford, Fuzzy Orange)

Despite being hampered by lack of Internet connectivity, Matt demonstrated a couple of Flex-based AIR apps built using Flash Builder 4 – a Twitter search and a music player.  Unfortunately I don’t have much a a clue when it comes to Flex, so a lot of it was a little over my head, and some of my notes don’t make an awful lot of sense, but Matt certainly made it look easy.  He also demonstrated the ease of adding automatic updates to an AIR app and mentioned that AIR 2 features an HTML5-capable Webkit browser.  I’m not sure that AIR is something I’ll have much of an opportunity to use in my day job, but it’s definitely something I want to look at for my own interest.

A Whistlestop Tour of HTML5 and CSS3

(Chris Mills, Opera)

I have to admit I haven’t really paid much attention to the new features in HTML5, so Chris’s introduction was a good session for me. He covered the background to the development of HTML5 and described some of the new features in the areas of semantics, forms, dynamic graphics and multimedia, followed by some of the feature in CSS3 (transparency, shadows, corner rounding, transitions etc)

Chris’s slides are available on line so I won’t reproduce my copious notes here but I will add that a couple of questions were asked about fine control of the new features (date formating for example – the date returned from the calendar control in the demo was returned as YYY-MM-DD).  The answer seemed to be that HTML5 didn’t cater for that specifically, but JavaScript could come to the rescue.

The take away message was that despite lack of support in some browsers (OK, just Internet Explorer) there is no reason not to use HTML5  now as it is designed for Backwards compatibility and graceful degradation.

As a side effect, Chris’s presentation also prompted me to dig out my old copy of Fighting the World which I can’t have listened to in about 20 years.  Other bands play, Manowar kills!

How Catalyst will Transform the ColdFusion Developer

(Terry Ryan, Adobe)

Terry had briefly introduced and demonstrated Adobe’s interaction design tool Catalyst in the Keynote, and this session was basically a more in depth treatment of the subject.  He demonstrated a mobile-targeted speaker search app developed for a presentation at the Australian WebDU event.  Again he walked through the process of importing static images into Catalyst and defining the behaviour of certain areas (text box, vertical scroll bar, button etc).  He then added effects to button states, created different stages (search, list, detail) and set up transition effects for moving between them and then linked to CFCs to provide the data.

The Art of Emotional Design: A story of pleasure, joy and delight

(Aral Balkan)

Aral’s session was well attended and he seemed a little concerned that he might be in for a hard time from the audience so he started with an apology/clarification concerning some previous comments on the future of ColdFusion.  Fortunately no-one seemed to have taken it too badly!

This was the presentation that appealed to me most when I first read the description in the programme and Aral didn’t disappoint.  Although it wasn’t technical in nature, this was may favourite presentation of the day.  The message (Don’t just make software that works, make software that people actually want to use) was simple and well-presented and illustrated, and Aral’s presentation skills are first class.

Again, I won’t reproduce my notes here as there is a video of this presentation available (albeit a slightly different version given from the Future of Web Design).  It’s well worth a watch.

[Edit: Unfortunately, the video has since been password-protected]

Overall, I really enjoyed the day, though traveling to London and back from Cardiff on the day made it pretty tiring, and sneaking out after the last presntation to catch the train home meant that I missed picking up a prize in the raffle :(.  With any luck I’ll get to go to next year’s event in Edinburgh, and stay for the full experience.

Thanks to the organisers and all the speakers for a great event.

One Comment

  1. Logan Beel says:

    I totally agree.