Fusion Authority on Fusebox 2003 Conference
Fusebox Conference 2003
Compiled by James Husum
and Mike Brunt
This year's Fusebox conference was held at the Rio Hotel and Casino on
Sunday, August 31st and Monday, September 1st in beautiful and very
warm Las Vegas; temperatures topped 100 degrees every day. Ninety-three
people from all over the globe attended, including folks from Britain
and Australia. There were eleven ladies signed up for the conference.
According to Sandra Clark, a speaker at the conference, this is the
highest ratio of women attending ever in the history of Fusebox. Other
notable firsts at the 2003 conference were the launch of Fusebox 4.0
for procedural programming and Mach-II for 'OO' development. Charlie
Areheart, CTO of New Atlanta, also announced the impending launch of
NewAtlanta's Blue Dragon server 3.1 for running CFML pages.
The conference commenced with a reception and registration on
Saturday night including the now legendary Fusebox Fuseball contest.
Conference packets were distributed that contained handouts for the
presentations, a demo copy of Adalon 2.6 from Synthis, a sheet for the
CF tag game, and a really cool FB beer glass (sadly there were no free
samples to test the glasses!). Steve Nelson, from SecretAgents.com, was
showing off two tools he has developed - the improved Prototype Toolkit and the Fusedoc Validator. The evening also hosted the annual Fuseball tournament (full report further on).
Day 1: Fusebox 4.0
|On Sunday, things started off early at
8:00 AM and finally wrapped up at 10:00 PM. This was a marathon session
featuring a number of good presentations and a Fusebox Panel finale
that included Sean Corfield from Macromedia. Many noted Corfield's
presence as a good thing for Fusebox and he made the point of asking
for more Fusebox and Mach-II contributions for DevNet. Michael Smith of
TeraTech handled the welcoming duties and the general Master of
Ceremonies tasks. TeraTech has been a major sponsor of Fusebox events
for several years. You can find conference details at http://www.cfconf.org/fusebox2003/.
Hal Helms kicked off the day with an introduction to Fusebox 4, which
helped bring everyone up to speed on the new framework. FB4 uses the
power of XML to great effect to configure, amongst other things, the
application level settings. Since XML is language neutral, these same
files can be used to control your app in ColdFusion, PHP, JSP and other
languages. More information on Fusebox 4.0 can be found at Fusebox.org.
John Quarto-vonTividar presented a session on a powerful new feature in FB4 - plugins.
Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of the FB4 core files
without having to change the core itself. They can also handle things
such as security or error handling for an app. Multiple plugins can be
used within the same application without conflicting with each other.
The presentation by Sandra Clark went over how FB4 gets
away from the nested layouts used in FB3 and gives you greater
flexibility in creating your own layouts. She demonstrated how nested
layouts and the resulting nested HTML Tables can cause issues in some
browsers. (FB3 nested layouts can be done with FB4 if you really
want to do so.) She also demonstrated how using tables to format your
design can cause problems with speech readers and other devices. Using
CSS and the content component variables in FB4 present a much better
alternative for accessibility, design, and ultimately, maintenance of
Jeff Peters' session on Fusedocs covered the XML-based
documentation standard for Fusebox. Jeff went over the benefits of
using Fusedocs, such as having an easy way of knowing what the fuse is
meant to do and what variables it handles. He also showed how Fusedocs
provide a good way of documenting what your thought process was in case
you have to revisit your code six months later for maintenance.
Steve Nelson has already used Fusedocs very effectively for his ongoing
Michael Smith came back for a presentation on Real World FLiP
(Fusebox Lifecycle Process.) In the session he went over some of the
problems developers encounter while using FLiP. He then departed from
the usual format and broke the audience up to form teams. Each team
took one of the problems and brainstormed possible solutions. At the
end, each team presented their solutions for peer review.
Picasso would have been proud of some of the drawings!
To end the first day, Michael Smith, Sandy Clark, Steve Nelson and Sean
Corfield sat on the Fusebox Panel and fielded questions from the
audience. One nice piece of information came from Corfield. He said
that while Macromedia was optimizing the CF 6.1 code, several Fusebox
apps were used to help optimize and tweak performance. This involved
testing Fusebox 3.0, Fusebox 4.0 and Mach-II (formerly Fusebox MX)
applications to ensure that the new XML-driven FB apps also ran faster
under ColdFusion MX 6.1! He also mentioned that Macromedia was using
Mach-II to build some internal web applications and shared some amazing
metrics for the number of hits the MM web sites get in a typical day.
Day 2: Mach-II
The second day focused entirely on the
Mach-II framework, which is based on object-oriented principles and
uses ColdFusion Components as an integral part of its design. Mach-II
was developed by Ben Edwards and Hal Helms. Helms explained that 'mach'
represents breaking the procedural barrier, and 'II' stands for the
implicit invocation architecture, on which the framework is
based. Sean Corfield is likely to be a major contributor to the
Mach-II effort, and mentioned he was already working on some
enhancements. In fact, since the conference, he has built a whole
section of his blog to cover Mach-II topics: http://www.corfield.org/index.php?fuseaction=machii.main
The first presentation focused on object-oriented principles and how
they apply to coding web applications. Helms listed the three essential
aspects of object-oriented (OO) programming as Polymorphism,
Inheritance and Encapsulation. He stressed the long-term need for us
all to start grasping OO principles. We have a golden opportunity
to do so, thanks to ColdFusion MX. Head First Java
by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, published by O'Reilly, was recommended
as a good reference for ColdFusion developers wanting to get up to
speed on Java and OO.
The next segment went into more of the architecture and configuration
of a Mach-II app. Configuration of the app is done using XML. The
system is event-based. A component of the system broadcasts an event.
Other procedures in the system are set to listen for the broadcasted
event. When they 'hear' the event their own methods are invoked and
run. There are sample apps along with the Mach-II framework available
from the Mach-II web site (http://www.mach-ii.com).
Hal Helms and Ben Edwards
The last segment provided further detail on the workings of Mach-II,
such as how events are defined and examples of how to create listeners
and event filters.
View from Starship Fuseballprise! Where's Stan Cox?
before the drawings for the door prizes started there was an appearance
by TV personality ALF, standing in for the legendary Stan Cox. It seems
that Stan is now living on ALF's home world (Melmac) and enjoying
having every fantasy fulfilled, courtesy of Mach-II! (It couldn't have
happened to a more deserving guy than Stan.)
Finally, the winners of this year's Fuseball tournament were Devin
Holloway and John Vachalek. On their way to glory they had a really
hard-fought, tight game against Rey Muradaz and Steve Nelson. For their
efforts, they won nicely laminated posters proclaiming them Fuseball
Champions for 2003. Congratulations, guys, and better luck to everyone
else next year.
We talked with many attendees after the conference. Overall,
most attendees had a positive experience with the conference and
thought it was worthwhile. Kathryn Butterly said, "I liked it very
much. FB4 has a lot of things we need, such as layouts and security."
But the whole conference was probably best summed up by Chris Phillips,
who said, "It was just so awesome!"Source Courtesy of Fusion Authority
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