Tag: adobe

Episode 5: CF Roadshow and Rakshith Naresh from Adobe

Description:

On this episode of the podcast Script talks with Rakshith Naresh, the Senior Product Manager for ColdFusion  at Adobe.  They discuss many of the items featured in Adobe’s recent “ColdFusion Roadshow”. This includes information about some of the highlighted features of the ColdFusion 2016 (the current version), as well as some of the anticipated features of its next version, codenamed “Aether”.

But Script kicks off the podcast and his conversation with Rakshith with a discussion about ColdFusion’s reputation of being a “dead language”.

You can find out more about ColdFusion at  http://www.adobe.com/products/coldfusion-family.html or find out more about it on Twitter @coldfusion.

You can follow Rakshith on Twitter @rakshithn

Adobe is putting on events similar to the “ColdFusion Roadshow” on the west coast from April 10-17. For more information go to  http://blogs.coldfusion.com/post.cfm/adobe-coldfusion-events-april-10-17

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Transcript:

Hello and welcome to Episode 5 of the “Wake Up! With Script Van Winkle” podcast. My name is Chris Laning, a.k.a. Script Van Winkle. But my friends call me… collect. Come to think of it there Junior Developer, you might need to look that one up.

Two months back, Adobe put on their ColdFusion Roadshow. It was an informational meeting taken to several cities on the East Coast. I got to attend their session in Durham, North Carolina. I got lots of information about the current status of ColdFusion, and a look at some of the features  that might be in future releases.


As someone who is been developing in ColdFusion for over 20 years, obviously I was interested. Especially because I am working with servers that are  several versions behind the current one. So I wanted the opportunity to at least get a taste of what I’ve been missing.

I have run into many people who believe  that ColdFusion is a dying language. While I resisted that opinion for the longest time, I have begun to believe it as well. I have seen a lot of the giants in the CF field move on to other languages and technologies. However, as you will hear in the interview, Adobe has numbers regarding ColdFusion usage and adoption which just don’ t jive with that  line of thinking.

Which leads one to wonder where the truth lies.  Is it really dying, or could it be that a lot of people who have been doing ColdFusion for all these years have moved on to other things not so much because the language is falling behind, but rather because they were tired of doing the same old things and wanted new challenges. I have to admit, I’ve somewhat lost my enthusiasm for programming in CF. But in my case, that may be because I’m still stuck so many versions behind. But what if it is the case that people’s tastes just change from time to time? Maybe there are people coming to ColdFusion from other technologies that they have been doing for a long time.

 

It’s also hard to say what the job market is like in the ColdFusion field and I have heard mixed opinions. Some recruiters have told me that while there are not a lot of jobs in ColdFusion  there are considerably less experienced ColdFusion developers to do those jobs. In short, they have assured  me that if I ever need a new job, I should not have a problem finding one. Unless of course my potential employer has listened to the podcast.

 

Now at the ColdFusion Roadshow, Adobe mentioned how it has taken several steps to help make it easier for other developers and particularly students to learn about CF. At its heart, it is not a difficult language to pick up. Especially if you’re coming from the strictly front-end HTML side.

 

ColdFusion is really easy to understand for beginners. But, they have also made many advancements to it over the years to bring it more in line with other programming languages. That, ultimately, makes it easier for people to jump from those languages to ColdFusion.

The long and short of it is this. Perception may not be reality. I don’t know whether ColdFusion is a dying language or significantly growing. But I will say this. It is certainly possible that it is just in a phase of transition bringing on different types of clients and different developers. I guess that remains to be seen.  I will let you decide that for yourself.

I also had the chance to sit down with Rakshith Naresh who is the Senior Product Manager for ColdFusion.  I am grateful to Adobe for making Rakshith available for an interview that day. I made it clear to them that one of the questions I was going to ask was about whether it was a dying language. So this is not “gotcha”  journalism. Rakshith, Elishia Dvorak, and the rest of the staff from Adobe who were there that day were friendly, personable, and willing to take on any and all questions. That is why I am glad I get to bring this interview to you.

 

Now on the last episode I explained in great detail why I was dropping the phony character accent I used on Episodes 2 and 3.  This interview was before before I dropped it. So enjoy my bad accent one more time.

 

Without further ado, here’s Rakshith Naresh from Adobe.

 

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INTERVIEW BEGINS

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Script :

Alright, so I came to this ColdFusion Roadshow that they had going on here in Durham, North Carolina and it was kind of giving us a map of, well first they were giving us a map of the future, but they were also talking about what’s out in ColdFusion 2016.

 

Very informative and very enlightening. I decided to grab Rakshith Naresh, that’s the Senior Product Manager with Adobe. He gave some of the presentations and I thought I’d get him to talk to us a little bit about what’s going on.

 

Welcome to the show, Rakshith.

 

Rakshith:

Thanks, thanks a lot. It’s great to be a part of the show.

 

Script :

So I got to start with the 2,000 pound elephant in the room here. You know I’ve been a ColdFusion developer for all these years but in the last few years I keep hearing over and over ColdFusion is dying. I know you’ve heard that, so what do you say to people that really think that ColdFusion is becoming a dying language?

 

Rakshith:

It’s definitely not dead. I had this on my slide deck as well. It’s clearly the best undead language ever. We are working on the next version of the product already. I spoke to you about the roadmap as well.

 

Just last year, and we run a business at Adobe clearly, so ColdFusion is about business for Adobe. The business last year was really good. This was one of the best years that we’ve had over the last eight years or so. ColdFusion is really doing well for Adobe, so what it means is that Adobe is more and more committed to ColdFusion as a platform.

 

That’s the reason we have a 10-year roadmap as well, so we have support commitments to 2027. With every version of the product you get five years of core support and two years of extended support. Our existing support commitments for ColdFusion Aether, which is the code name for the next major version of the product, and the version beyond that goes up to 2027. That’s the longterm commitment that Adobe has for the product as a platform.

 

Some of the things that we are doing as a part of the next version really excites me. We are focused on the things that really matter to a ColdFusion developer. We will improve on performance, improve the security aspects of ColdFusion, make the platform more secure by default, improve the CFML language as well. We have some exciting stuff going on in the next version. Somebody who thinks that the language is dying, it’s just a myth that’s floating around. It’s definitely not dead and we are actively working on it and we’re working on the next version of the product, code name Aether.

 

Script :

I think one of the impressions that people get, and frankly I got that impression myself when you’re out there seeing what’s out on the market. It seems like ColdFusion seems to be mostly focused in like federal government and big bank institutions. Is there any push for ColdFusion in the more nimble, start-up type arena?

 

Rakshith:

Absolutely, so that’s the reason we have two different versions of the product, which is ColdFusion Enterprise focused more towards the larger companies, and ColdFusion Standard geared more towards start-ups and even a small size organization. That’s the reason we still have standard alive today. If we were not focusing on the small companies, the start-ups, we would not even have ColdFusion Standard anymore, we would just focus on ColdFusion Enterprise.

 

Standard gears towards somebody who’s starting afresh and trying to bring new stuff using ColdFusion. One of the talks that we have, which is still an initiative that we have in mind is, can we do something with the start-ups? For instance if there’s a new start-up coming up, can we provide them with licensing support for the first few years to support the start-up? Then once the organization matures, obviously they will become ColdFusion customers as well.

 

That’s one of the thoughts, we still are working the details of it, but clearly even though existing customers set-up today, we do have all kinds of companies. We do have federal government, we do have really large customer organizations, and we do have really small organizations, start-ups as well.

 

Just so that you know, even today we added on 2,000 new customers every year. It’s not just an existing customer story, the platform is growing. It may not be growing to the extent of some of the competing technologies. We have to accept that as a fact it’s not a super growing product, but at the same time it’s not a product that has stagnated. We continue to grow, we continue to add 2,000 new customers year over year.

 

Script :

One of the questions that we heard here today, somebody wanted to know what you’re doing to go out there and recruit the newer, upcoming junior developers. That’s a good thought, I mean me, I’m an old, grizzled, senior developer, whatever. If you don’t get the fresh blood in there, it’s going to be some problems. What are you doing in that realm to try to get these guys and girls onboard?

 

Rakshith:

Yes, absolutely. That’s a great question. We have quite a few initiatives, we clearly see that as an issue. Whenever we talk to our customers and even developers out there, we hear that hiring new developers, that is the number one challenge out there. It’s not so much about the product; the product runs great. Where can we find those new developers? That’s basically the problem that our customers have today.

 

We have quite a few initiatives to fix that. It will take some time to eventually see a noticeable difference, but we have made that move already. The first one is we do have a free education curriculum available. It’s a semester long course on web application development; it focuses on web application development in general. We have client-side, HTML, CSS, JavaScript. It introduces the client-side bits to you and then it also introduces server-side via ColdFusion. This is a free course available and we have quite a few community colleges who are adopting this web application development course.

 

One of the issues that we saw was the curriculum at the community college, they are pretty much outdated. We wanted to come up with this new focused web application development course for the community colleges, or even for any university in general, and provide them with a semester-long course, provide them with instruction videos as well, curriculum material, even projects so everything is right there. They just need to hand it over to a certain instructor to teach that curriculum in the college.

 

What we’ve also been able to do is create a model where we have tied in our customers with a few community colleges where they typically go hire new developers. It’s worked out quite well for us in a few areas where we have the schools in place at a community college. Developers love to be a part of the course, more so because there’s a customer who’s looking to hire interns from the community college. They take part in the web application development course, and once they’re out of it they get an internship opportunity with one of our customer organizations. It’s kind of like a win-win, both for the new developer as well as our customers who are looking for fresh blood in the ColdFusion community. That is one part of it.

 

The other issue that I generally see is a lack of introductory training materials out there for ColdFusion. There are a few, like Learn CFML in a Week and a few other training materials, but we are focused on bringing in some new curriculum courses with new training courses as well for a new developer. We have this Adobe platform called Adobe KnowHow. We do have … I don’t know how much it is, I think it’s 30 hours of instructional video for a new developer on Adobe KnowHow. That’s a great resource for somebody who’s trying to get in to ColdFusion and learn. Videos are the in-thing today to learn any kind of technology. You don’t go through a set of documentation to learn, so we are doing that.

 

The third really interesting project that is my favorite is the CF Fiddle. This is an online tool that works in your browser. What it does is, it shows you a code snippet that you can go tweak and you can run the code snippet from within the portal itself on the browser and see the output right there. The whole idea is instead of showing ColdFusion developers static content or new developers some static content in the documentation, we will have a link to CF Fiddle that will take you to an online portal where you can run the code snippet and see it working.

 

You can tweak that, share it with others, and also if you have any kind of questions, if you want to ask a question to the community on Stack Overflow or Adobe forums, you can now link a CF Fiddle code snippet and link it in the forum, and somebody who’s an expert in the community can take a look at it, see the output right there, see the issue, fix it for you, and then pass it back to you as an input. We have all these initiatives in place. It’s not going to change things drastically in just a year or so, but we believe that it will change the game in the next few years.

 

Script :

That’s really cool. We’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back with Rakshith Naresh, Senior Product Manager with Adobe.

 

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FAUXMERCIAL: “Fusion Kingdom”

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Coming soon to the Adobe Studios Resort in Orlando, a brand new theme park experience for the entire coding family, Adobe’s Fusion Kingdom.

 

Your journey begins on a scenic ferry boat ride across the majestic CFCs lagoon. Next you’ll take a magica stroll through the enchanted Allaire forest.

 

Once Inside the Fusion Kingdom your true adventure begins. Enjoy Popular  roller coasters like the Oop de loop, Cache mountain and the futuristic suppress white space mountain.

 

And be sure not to miss the dazzling splendor of Thunder mountain, where you will bolt like Zeus down the mystic Merrimack river through a stormy blizzard, dodging scorpions while being chased by a centaur. Who knows what else may develop before your ride is over?

 

For more family-friendly  fun experience the many different settings in the Adventures of Neo and friends  or enjoy classic attractions like the Carousel of Progress Bars.

 

If you are hungry, you can dine in an award-winning restaurant like the spaghetti code Café, or trythe retro chic Macaroni Meatia restaurant.

 

As night falls the Fusion Kingdom comes alive with the  glowing pagentry of the Spectra Magic parade followed by the Adobe’s world famous Fireworks.  As you exit the park, don’t forget to preserve those memories by picking up a hat, tshirt or put your name on your very own Fusion Kingdom custom tag.

 

Great times and precious memories at Adobes Fusion Kingdom. Where the action is always unscripted.  Unless you want it to be.

 

Construction of Fusion Kingdom is slated to begin soon, upon completion  of Adobes Photoshop pier, Acrobat Adventure, llustrator Island, Flash Fantasy Island, Preimer Park, Dreamweaver Farms, After Effects Experience, Audition Alley, Muse Magic, In Design Dominion, and Creative Cloud Land.

 

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INTERVIEW RESUMES

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Script :

Welcome back to the Script Van Winkle podcast. I’m Script Van Winkle and I’m here with Rakshith Naresh, the Senior Product Manager at Adobe. The main purpose of this CF Roadshow was to kind of tell us what’s going on in 2016, and then take a look at the future. First off, what do you think are some of the highlights of 2016, the things that you’re most excited about?

 

Rakshith:

I’m really excited about the performance improvements that we’ve done. Your existing applications will run up to 30% faster. Even without having to make any code changes, you can get 30% increased throughput.

 

What it means for you, for a developer is that your existing applications, even without you having to change the code, tweak the application, you will be able to leverage those runtime improvements, perhaps to deliver on one of your goals or one of the KPIs that you may have. You may have a KPI to reduce the end-user response time by so many percent, but the new platform itself will give you the boost so that you can accomplish your goals. That is one thing that I’m really excited about.

 

The second one is security. We are focused on security so you have access to a team within Adobe called PSIRT. They’re a group of security experts who work within Adobe and they give us recommendations and how to go about fixing a security threat. Even if it’s a threat in the wild out there, we get to hear about it from the PSIRT team and they interact with the product team and help us release those security fixes on time.

 

We do have frequent security fixes as well. In 2016 specifically, we came up with this new security code analyzer. Let’s say you may have some legacy applications that you’re just maintaining. Somebody else wrote it, let’s say 10 years ago, and you have been assigned to maintain it. You don’t really know what kind of security issues are present in that particular legacy application. When you run the static code analyzer that we have, it points out exact line numbers, which have the vulnerabilities and it will also recommend how to go about fixing that. That is something that I’m really excited about.

 

The third one is API Management. I just love what we have built. Even the customers who we work with, they just love the solution. Some of our customers have actually moved out off some of the leaders in the API Management space to adopt our solution. That helps you take your APIs to market with ease. You just have to worry about designing your API, coding the API. Everything else about securing, managing, engaging developers, analytics, everything is baked in, in the product.

 

This is freely available as a part of ColdFusion and it cannot just manage CFML-based APIs, it works with any kind of APIs. One of the things that we saw was 74% of our customers have multiple technologies in their organization. If the API manager can actually track those individual technology-based APIs as well, be it a .Net API or a PHP API, the relevance of the importance of ColdFusion all of a sudden is so much more within the organization, so that’s one of the reasons why API Management excites me. 2016 in general with performance security language improvements and API Management are like the top picks for me.

 

Script :

We got a lot of listeners here that maybe aren’t so up-to-date on things and may not understand what you mean by the API Manager. Are we talking like services, micro-services, what are we talking here?

 

Rakshith:

That’s actually a great question. The way API Management platform works is, it’s actually a gateway that sits in-between or before your ColdFusion server. Your back-end APIs, be it REST APIs or SOAP APIs, will be returned in CFML.

 

Now there’s a gateway component that you install either on the same machine or a different machine, so this kind of routes all your API calls to the back-end. While it’s routing the calls to the back-end, it provides this additional layer of security. It provides you access control so that nobody can hit the back-end API without having to bypass the API Management layer. It has to pass through the authorization mechanism that we have, and then access the back-end.

 

Similarly SLAs, so service level agreements. You can enforce them at the gateway. Similarly analytics, since the traffic is routed through the gateway as a separate constant, it’s a stand-alone component, it can track analytics as well. All this that you were supposed to take care of as a ColdFusion developer when you’re building an API, is now offloaded to this new component that sits in front of your ColdFusion server. That’s the whole idea about the API Management layer.

 

Script :

Okay, that makes it sound a lot simpler, because I know there is this big push toward moving toward services and things like that. I have mentioned in other podcasts that this whole of micro-services, I kind of like it. I want these little short things to do what you need to do. Sounds like it’s a good direction.

 

Rakshith:

Right.

 

Script :

One of the things that caught my eye, being an old-school developer, is some of the language changes. In particular, could you explain the changes in the structure?

 

Rakshith:

In 2016, we introduced this concept of ordered structure, so you can now retain the insertion order. So just like an array. An array maintains the insertion order. You can get elements out of an array based on how you insert on index one, two, and three. What if you want something like this on a struct to get data back out of the struct in the insertion order? That is what this ordered collection gives you.

 

We also have this new capability of ordered structs. What it does is, whenever you insert something on the struct, you can order the struct based on the key values that you insert. You can customize it by your own function that it can pass, or it can say that you want an ascending order struct or a descending order struct, and you would just order the keys based on what you select.

 

Script :

This keeps us from having to take stuff that was in the struct, moving it into an array to do the ordering, and then dumping it back out?

 

Rakshith:

Yes. Internally it works slightly different but yeah, for a developer it feels as though the struct, when you do an array and got back all those elements in the insertion order, absolutely.

 

Script :

Awesome. Before we go, real quick. You mentioned some of the things that are coming up in the next version called “Aether”.

 

Rakshith:

Yes.

 

Script :

Just a real quick overview of some of the hot things that you think are coming out with that.

 

Rakshith:

I’m excited about Aether as well. Again, through multiple service, through multiple customer interviews, what I find is our customers and developers are looking for performance improvements. We did performance improvements to the runtime in 2016 but we plan to take a slightly different approach in the next version.

 

We are planning to provide tooling that will help you extract the best part of your existing infrastructure. We’re planning to come up with an auto connector tuner that can optimize your connector to the best. We also will revamp the server monitors so you can figure out any kind of bottlenecks in your application, JVM settings not tweaked in an appropriate manner.

 

You’ll get notifications on all of this using the revamped server monitor, which will have a new dashboard that will kind of give you a sense of how well is your application performing in just one snapshot. That is one thing. We are also planning to introduce a code profiler for performance. Performance improvements will obviously be there. We’re also planning to support a distributed cache. Those are some of the things in performance.

 

On security, we may have an integration with a web application firewall just to make your application so much more secure. This also functions like a gateway, even before your ColdFusion applications come in the picture, it just scans your HTTP request pattern and prevents malicious request patterns from hitting your back-end. That is also something that I’m excited about.

 

Quite a few language changes as well. We are planning to improve the object-oriented support, perhaps look at introducing CFScript 2.0, introduce null support. There are a lot of potential directions but we may not be able to accomplish all of it as a part of Aether because we only have limited resources available.

 

The directions are pretty interesting and the nice thing is in all these Roadshows, I get a sense that everybody likes the directions that we are taking. That’s the best part about the directions that we have. I had this $100 test for people who are here and it seems to echo what we are planning to do. Clearly performance, everybody likes performance. The performance improvements that we’re doing, the security, the language, so exciting times for the next version as well.

 

Script :

We appreciate it. We’ve been speaking with Rakshith Naresh. He’s the Senior Product Manager at Adobe. I thank you for your time and real quick, the Aether is due out, when is that 2018?

 

Rakshith:

Yes. We’ve been having a two year cycle pretty much. Potentially I can’t comment on the exact date of-

 

Script :

Come on, I want a committed day right now, down to the day. Let’s go, break it here!

 

Rakshith:

Okay, it’s going to be in 2018.

 

Script :

Awesome. Again, we’re speaking with Rakshith Naresh, Senior Product Manager at Adobe. Appreciate your time and thank you for being with us.

 

Rakshith:

Thanks a lot, it was great being a part of the show.

 

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INTERVIEW ENDS

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That’s all for my interview with Rakshith Naresh.  I hope you found it as informational as I did and  that it left you with some things to think about it.

 

That’s all for Episode 5 of the “Wake Up! WIth Script Van Winkle” podcast.  If you’ve got questions or topics you would like me to cover, drop me a line at  script@scriptvanwinkle.com or find me on Twitter @ScriptVanWinkle.  You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, Google Play,  or on Stitcher. You can comment on this episode, see blog posts and find more info at ScriptVanWinkle.com.

 

Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you next time.


 

Episode 2: Meet, Eat, and Learn!

Description:

On this episode of the podcast Script discusses conferences in general and his recent trip to NCDevCon in particular.  He also has a great interview with Ben Nadel (@BenNadel)  who has a very popular blog on Coldfusion and Angular programming.

Links:

  • NCDevCon– An awesome development conference in North Carolina.
  • BenNadel.com – Ben Nadel’s blog with lots of great coding help as well as a jobs board and pictures of a virtual Who’s Who of the community.

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Transcript:

Welcome to the second episode of the Wake Up with Script Van Winkle podcast!  My name is Script  Van Winkle, but my friends call me… only when they need something.

Now when you are trying to play catch up with the programming world, like I am, one really great way to do that is to attend one of the dozens if not hundreds of programming conferences put on each and every year. But how do you pick one? How do you afford to go? And just what the heck happens at one of these puppies?

By sheer coincidence, would you happen to believe, I just got back from an awesome conference last weekend in North Carolina.  So I might be persuaded to talk about some of what went on there.  And as a treat, I also caught up with Ben Nadel, who runs a pretty popular blog for those who program in ColdFusion or Node.js., so stick around for a sweet interview with him.

Ok.  So Webster’s defines a conference as “a formal meeting in which many people gather in order to talk about ideas or problems related to a particular topic (such as medicine or business) usually for several days.

Now I have no flipping clue why people insist on starting education discourses with a definition from Webster, nor why Emmanuel Lewis is considered such an expert in etymology. Yeah, that’s a real term there Junior Developer, look it up.

So last weekend I attended NCDevCon, an amazing developer conference in Raleigh, NC.  Now in its ninth year, this conference is held on the campus of NC State.  It was started and run by the Triangle Area ColdFusion User Group, but while there is certainly some ColdFusion specific content among its sessions, it covers a lot of other topics including Javascript, Nativescript, Mobile Development, CSS, database, testing, continuous integration….you get the picture. A wide swath of topics.

While conferences vary of course, most start off with a general session. This is where all the attendees gather in one big room, hear some housekeeping announcements and usually a keynote speech.  In the case of NCDevCon this is almost always a talk from their longtime sponsor Adobe.  Usually Adobe is giving a roadmap to the future of one of their products, usually ColdFusion.  This year though, Elisha Dvorak, Adobe’s ColdFusion evangelist, actually started off the talk by discussing microservices.  While not brand new, microservices is kind of the hot buzzword right now.  

Essentially, the microservice architecture is one in which you break up tasks in your application into smaller, logical, completely independent applications or services, which take input via an API (usually through REST protocols), and return data usually through JSON.  These services should be entirely stateless so that given the same input, they should return the same output.  And since they use network protocols in access, they should be completely platform independent, meaning each and every service could be written in an entirely different language and they should still all be able to work together.,Now, if that didn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry. I plan to cover microservices on an upcoming episode, because I do like the concept and am working on learning more about them.

Now Elishia’s talk did of course eventually divert to talking about current and future versions of ColdFusion. Personally, I am cool with that.  Even if you aren’t using CF or work at a company that is still stuck four versions behind, its still cool to see what they have elected to focus on in the future.

Now I did hear a couple of grumpy gusses complaining about the talk being too salesy.  But those same dudes didn’t seem to be complaining much when they were picking up their sweet FREE Adobe water bottles. And they certainly weren’t complaining when they were eating and imbibing at the Adobe sponsored after party. I’m just saying.  Sponsors help make conferences go. If it means you have to listen to a pitch every now and then who cares.  Get over it!  

After the general sessions, the breakout sessions usually begin,. Now a lot of conferences organize them into tracks, meaning that they have the schedule set up so that you can stick with one topic area should you want. For example, they may have a back-end track, a front-end track, and a mobile track.  At NCDevCon this year they didn’t have any definable tracks, but I figure that is because they had such a variety of topics to choose from.

For someone trying to play catch up, a conference like this offers a great opportunity to get schooled across the realm of programming.  Of course we are talking, in this case anyway, about an  hour a topic. It’s hardly enough to time to truly LEARN everything, but it definitely gives you a chance to wrap your arms around it and gives you a starting point for further exploration.

Case in point, there were a handful of sessions on CSS.  I hate CSS! Ok, I don’t hate it. And I do work with it in my projects obviously.  But sometimes when you are trying to nail down a look or a font, or size something to wrap it the right way, it gets flippin’ maddening!

On day 1, the first and last sessions I chose involved CSS. The first was actually a talk on how to convert desktop apps to mobile by Jessica Kennedy.  Jessica, unlike me, is a HUGE fan of CSS!  I sat in amazement as she showed some tricks that she recommends for being able to manage both a desktop and mobile application.  She won me over.   I actually started to get excited about the possibilities. I really need to revisit CSS. It looks like a blast!.

The last CSS talk I saw that day really showed how to press the boundaries of CSS. It was given by Brandon Kennedy, who as it turns out is very happily related to Jessica. Brandon and his chill preso showed what just a few lines of code can do to make sites come alive. Most of it was way over my head, but definitely something I will explore a lot more!  I am looking at CSS in a whole new light. And  I owe the transition of my opinion to the bold style of the animated couple……see what I did there?

Beyond the learning of course is the networking. Whether or not you are looking for future opportunities like I was, you  should always take the time to talk to other attendees. Or, if you are shy like me and don’t know how to start a conversation, just rudely insert yourself in an ongoing one and smile and nod a lot.  They may think you are weird, but keep those ears open and you may just learn something.

Now conferences generally are not cheap.  Most assume you are going to have your employer pony up the dough for it. But more and more companies are running on leaner and leaner budgets these days, so that is not always an option. One of the things I love about NCDevCon is its affordability. Its tickets this year were only $200 bucks, and I believe it was half that for the Early Bird registration.  Now I had to go on my own dime this year and wondered if I would feel I got my money’s worth. I did ten times over!  Well worth the price!

So to bring an end to this seemingly endless diatribe, let me simply say this. If you are trying to keep up with technology, keep pace with the industry, and feel out potential opportunities for future growth….conference it baby!  Find a local one or one in a place you would love to travel to  (like Vegas or something). But take the time and money to go. You will learn a lot, feel more connected to the profession, make new contacts who could be useful resources, and, if it’s anything like NCDevCon, enjoy some really amazing food!.

Now don’t go away….we’ve got a great interview with one cool dude…come up after this.

(BEGIN Fauxmercial: “Progeny.js”)

Announcer:

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FOR INSTANCE YOU CAN TRY THE POPULAR CLEAN METHOD. JUST PASS IT ANY ARGUMENT LIKE “ROOM”, “DISHES”, “LITTERBOX”, OR EVEN “SELF” AND WATCH THE BUBBLES FLY!

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PROGENY EVEN HANDLES REST! NO, NOT THAT REST! BUT THIS REST IS FAR MORE USEFULL! JUST CALL THE REST METHOD, PASS IT THE EXACT NUMBER OF MILLISECONDS YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP, AND ITS LIGHTS OUT! EVEN BETTER, YOU CAN PASS THE REST METHOD AN EVENT LISTENER….JUST IMAGINE THE FUN YOU COULD HAVE WITH THAT!

BEST OF ALL, PROGENY CAN BE RUN ASYNCHRONOUSLY. SO PLAN OUT YOUR KIDS’ DAY, EXECUTE THE SCRIPT, AND FORGET ABOUT IT. YOU CAN RELAX BY THE POOL, IN THE YARD, OR AT THE BEACH, SECURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT PROGENY AND NODE JS HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL.

PROGENY, A NEW MODULE FOR NODE JS. NOW NODE REALLY CAN DO EVERYTHING!

(End Fauxmercial)

(Interview with Ben Nadel)

Script:

I’m walking around NCDevCon here and you are not going to believe who I ran into. We’re talking the man, the myth, the legend, Ben Nadel himself. I’m telling you, if you guys don’t know who Ben Nadel is, welcome to ColdFusion programming because you’ve obviously been doing it for only two days. I’m telling you, if you ever, ever have a problem and you Google it, you are going to end up on Ben’s site. If you haven’t done that, good luck to you there. I guess the first question Ben, welcome by the way.

Ben Nadel:

Thank you, great to meet you, sir.

Script:

The first question I got to say is do you go looking for trouble or does it just find you?

Ben Nadel:

I’ve been very happy to come across a lot of trouble in my daily work. I just try to write about it as best I can and share solutions to the hurdles that I have fallen over and hurt myself on. I’m just a lucky man in that sense.

Script:

How long ago did you start all this?

Ben Nadel:

I’ve been blogging since 2006. It just started out as something … I don’t even remember how I started. I was just excited to learn. I love learning. It’s like I get up in the morning and I’m excited to learn. I’m excited when I get to try new things at work. I’m excited when things are difficult because it means something new to learn, something new to write about. It sort of just took a life of its own at some point and it became … Sometimes it’s a passion and sometimes it feels like a job. I get up in the morning and I do it. I just try to keep the momentum going. It’s been 10 years now, 2016.

Script:

I’ve always said for all the work you saved every programmer out there owes you two, three drinks, me included.

Ben Nadel:

I appreciate that. I’m still shocked when people say that. When people come up to me and they’re like, “I want to thank you. I read your website.” I’m blown away. I’m still surprised anytime anyone even noticed who I am.

Script:

That’s absolutely awesome. We know that for many years you were working on ColdFusion, but tell everyone what you’re working with now.

Ben Nadel:

We have teams that are more specialized doing what I do, but because I’ve been with my company for so long, I have a lot of tribal and historical knowledge. I can jump around and help fix bugs, help work on database bottlenecks, help work on code. I work in ColdFusion. I work in Angular 1.x primarily. I try to jump over and do a little React with the teams that do React. I work with MySQL. I do a little bit of Redis, a little bit of MongoDB. Just a little bit all over the place.

Script:

Showing off again, aren’t you?

Ben Nadel:

No, trust me. If you saw me doing any of these things, it would not be showing off. I can show off maybe in ColdFusion and some Javascript. Everything else is like just trying to not make it break.

Script:

One of the other things about your blog, I just hit you up for this, is you have been taking photos of people at conferences over the years. How did that all get started?

Ben Nadel:

You know what it is too is I am by nature a very shy person. The photos also help push me out of my own comfort zone. I feel like I got to psyche myself up to talk to people. I got to psyche myself up to ask for a photo at this point even all these years later. Part of it is how I try to grow as a person and part of it is, the fun part of it is community building. It’s just great. I love doing it.

Script:

You’re not even going to admit that it’s really about hit counts? I ain’t going to tell you how many times I’ve refreshed that screen just trying to get an idea of who’s who in the community.

Ben Nadel:

I will not fight any collateral benefit that comes from it, sir, absolutely not.

Script:

Just so you know, for all the listeners out there, if you want to see what I look like, I just got a great picture with him, which he’s already agreed he’s going to leave up as the primary picture for the next three weeks. Maybe, maybe not, we’ll see how that one works out. The other thing that you have on your blog, which is awesome, totally awesome, is the jobs board. I may or may not have gotten a few interviews that way. I refuse to talk about that, but I’m just going to ask how did that come about?

Ben Nadel:

I was charging I think like $199 at some point. I think I started charging $99. I got to a point in my life where I wanted to start giving back more, consciously, so I started to donate a portion of each job post to Kiva, which is a crowd-source loan site. That almost became more interesting to me than the job posts themselves. I finally just lowered the price to whatever covers the Kiva loan. I think now a job posting’s like $29. That just covers the $25, plus the processing fee to Kiva. It’s just exciting for me to be able to help the community in whatever tiny way I can, and then funnel that back into kind of a greater sense of the common good.

Script:

Has anybody ever thanked you for getting them a job that way?

Ben Nadel:

Yeah, a couple times. I almost sort of think it’s never helping, but I have a couple of times in person, people have said thank you. A couple of people have emailed me and said they’ve gotten it. It’s a low traffic. It doesn’t have a lot of posts typically, but occasionally it gets lucky. I feel really good about that actually.

Script:

I for one, absolutely thank you. I appreciate that. Ben, it was a pleasure to meet you. If you guys haven’t checked out his blog, it’s BenNadel.com. Believe me, you’ve probably found it by Googling it, but just check it out. Hang in there. Follow him on Twitter too and see the great adventures of his dog. What’s the dog’s name?

Ben Nadel:

Lucy.

Script:

Dog’s Lucy, vacation out in nice exotic places I see.

Ben Nadel:

Any opportunity to take the dog to the beach makes me happy. Chris, it’s wonderful to meet you. I really appreciate the opportunity to sit down and talk.

Script:

Thanks a lot, Ben. Take care.

So that wraps episode 2 of Wake Up! With Script Van Winkle. I want to personally thank Ben Nadel for taking the time to sit down and talk with the weird unknown dude shoving an iPhone in his face.  Seriously though I had wanted to meet Ben for a long time and he did not disappoint.  As you could hear a truly down to earth guy with positive attitude and pretty good programming chops to boot.

And thanks to the organizers of NCDevCon for graciously taking my money…….and giving me an experience back worth so much more.  The organizers and volunteers here are the best!  And, in case I didn’t mention it, all of the talks will be online shortly. So if you were there and missed a few sessions or couldn’t make the event at all, it’s all there for you to check out! Just visit NCDevCon.com.

Now, this was kind of a special episode. I’m going to get more into technical things in the next few episodes. So if you’ve got questions or topics you would like me to cover, drop me a line at  script@scriptvanwinkle.com or find me on Twitter @ScriptVanWinkle.  You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, Google Play,  or on Stitcher. You can comment on this episode, see blog posts and find more info at ScriptVanWinkle.com.

Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you next time.

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