CF Brain Trust Questions: A Summary
Compiled by Michael SmithAs first published in FusionAuthority
In the Brain Trust session at CF_Underground, the audience was split up into groups and each group was given a question of particular interest to the CF community. Here are the questions, and the answers each group came up with. While some of the answers have already been announced by Allaire (check out question 5 and you'll see that the community and Allaire have been thinking along the same lines), other ideas are new and may provide good feedback to Allaire:
1) Allaire consulting has recently expanded its services to include more customer support of ColdFusion installations--design, tuning, methodology, and testing scalability. What services to you think Allaire Consulting should offer to help you and your customers work together to ensure customer success?
Allaire should make its support scalable. This is better for handling a high volume of calls.
2) Allaire Consultants and staff create and a lot of technical information on using CF that is not currently well known. How can Allaire better share information in the larger CF community?
3) What would you change for the next release of CF?
· Making your own functions.
· Tag for debug on/off.
· Unchangeable formatted structure.
· Less buggy project management at Allaire.
· All variable scopes on debug info at bottom of page as part of standard CF.
· VB port for CFX headers.
· Debug on for IP ranges or C Class instead of simple IP address.
· Integrate Microsoft cluster server with CF server.
· True constants (Read only).
· Easier setup for debugging and browsing -- maybe a wizard?
· More efficient multi-developer source control.
· Design tab should not reformat code!
· Distribute VTOM scripts with CF standard.
· Integrate active directory support.
· Fix CFGRID.
4) There is a shortage of CF Programmers worldwide. How can we help with the shortage of CF Programmers? What are the best resources for learning CF?
5) Where should CF and Java go? Given Java server pages’ portability and increasing flexibility, what is going to be Allaire’s focus in the coming years: JRun or ColdFusion?
6) What will the nature of web-related development look like in a few years and what should we be doing/learning now to be ready? Which technical skills are needed to leverage the next generation of Allaire products? Should we move "down" to J2EE or "up" to packaged systems like Spectra, or both?
· Learn about ASP (Application Service Provider)/Desktop model via the web apps.
· Learn good programming skills enhance/training so you can apply new technology.
· Be flexible. Use Java, ColdFusion, Spectra. Use appropriate language/technology.
7) Recently there has been a large of number of concerns expressed on various community listservs. How should Allaire address community concerns? How should Allaire interact with CF Community Leaders? How can Allaire improve the two-way communications with the CF community? For example by setting up a Community Relations Board, or supporting/getting on CF-talk and other lists.
· Allaire should have someone monitoring CF-Talk and other community lists. On the other hand, is that fair to Allaire? Should the community take some of the responsibility? Since cf-talk is supposed to be a 'technical' list (with extremely high traffic), there's no need for Allaire staff to monitor that … but the cf-community list could be monitored.
· Question: Would people be more or less likely to post an honest opinion if they knew Allaire was listening? Maybe it would be better for key individuals in the community to summarize the posts and forward them to allaire (with the names of the posters omitted).
· Maybe we should have some kind of governing body that represents all of the developers. Suggestion to follow same model that the Hewlett Packard (HP) community did: some kind of umbrella organization with dues, which would put out a newsletter, etc. Once a year, it would present its members needs to Hewlett Packard. Because of the fact that it had thousands of developers behind it, and the monetary factor, it had clout.
· Is there a central person at Allaire who is responsible for addressing community issues? Who do we go to? That is unclear. At one point, it was Sam Coe, and then his responsibilities changed. From the discussion, it was clear that no one knew whom to contact when addressing these concerns. [Editor's Note: Since then, I have learned that Sam Coe will again be taking up this position, together with Marlena Patton, and that Amy Brooks will be working with Sam in her position as CFUG liaison.]
· Even if we get some kind of Developer's Governing Body together, or some central person, how do we insure that that person has clout? How do we get Allaire to take him/her seriously? Conclusion: We need to have one central person at Allaire and one person in developer community, or one governing body. Point of contact for us, point of contact for Allaire.
· We need to somehow get a mass of developers behind this body, and it needs to be representative not of just specific people, but of the WHOLE community. We need to get the community more involved. There are 1800 people on the CF-Talk list, yet Allaire records 500,000 Allaire developers. Let's say 200,000 of those are CF developers: Look at the discrepancy. A lot of people are coding CF that aren't really active in community.
· A joint survey, created and disseminated by many mailing lists/publications with one central web location. Ability to then poll large quantities of people and accurately report back to Allaire with that "mass" of developers behind us. Then Allaire would have to take us seriously.
8) The 3.0, 4.0 and 4.5 release of CF were buggy and the 3.01, 4.01 and 4.5.1 release were better. Should Allaire release bug free products or are other goals more important? If so, how can Allaire release bug free products? How can Allaire improve their beta program to produce less buggy code?
9) How should Allaire change the way it relates to Allaire Partners and CFUGs? Would a clear public mission statements toward partners and CFUGs help? If so what should such a statement say?
· Help CFUGs with getting speakers.
· Help organize partners to speak at CFUGs, and offer partners time to talk about their products/services.
· Offer TechNet style database (aka Microsoft) for partners. Such as the Allaire consulting white papers.
· Send an Allaire paid-for speaker once a year for every CFUG.
· Offer a library of presentations made by other CFUGs.
· Discounts on training for partners
· Discounts on conferences—for partners
· Have a central location on Allaire.com for CFUG leaders and members to find presentations and post presentations for other CFUGs to use.
· If giving partner consulting leads is not possible, remove it from the partner information.
· Offer streaming video of presentations for CFUGs.
10) Allaire's stock tanked recently. What should Allaire do, if anything, differently? Both in products, marketing and internally?
· Focus programming and marketing on CF -- stop buying new products.
· Improve company culture within Allaire.
· Clearer mission statements and goals.
· Listen to the community more.
· Have departments within Allaire work together and not against each other.
· Only hire people who fit the Allaire culture. Encourage misfits to leave.
· Be more careful releasing bad news.
Brain Trust Group Leaders
We thank the group leaders for each brain trust group:
1. Michael Dickinson, Austin CFUG
2. Tom McKeon, Albany CFUG
3. Arden Wise, MDCFUG
4. Adam Churvis, ACFUG
5. Nat Papovich, SDCFUG
6. Nancy Leiby, MDCFUG
7. Tobe Goldfinger, LICFUG
8. Leon Chalnick, SCCFUG
9. Steve Nelson, Fusebox.org
10. Jo Belyea-Doerrman, MDCFUG
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