Today was a great start to the conference. After a brief welcome session by Michael Smith, it was Adobe’s turn to take the floor and give their keynote to start things off. Ben Forta took the stage first and gave a mini-State of ColdFusion, followed by the official announcement (if you weren’t reading blogs at 12:01 last night) of the release of ColdFusion 7.02, Flex 2, and Flash 9. He then spent a few minutes detailing the highlights of Flex 2, particularly in how it interacts with ColdFusion and how it is superior to its predecessor Flex 1. And then.. the moment the Flex development community had been waiting for… the price! Ben prefaced the price announcement by reminding the audience that Adobe has made assurances that it would be under $1000.00. After a dramatic pause, he went to the next slide triumphantly and unveiled:
This was met with an obviously underwhelming response as Ben looked on with a grin. Then in a moment reminiscent of Let’s Make a Deal, Ben went slide by slide at the urging of the audience whittling the price down $100 at a time until it reached:
This was met with a much more positive response from the audience…as I thought “Did Ben just pull a used car dealer tactic on us?”
After the price announcement, Ben dove a little further into Flex and proceeded to demo some features, such as the Flex Application Wizard, which allows a developer to create a functional database driven Flex application in just a matter of a few clicks. This is a pretty remarkable tool in that it creates a well formed “best-practices-for-now” MVC sample that immediately gives a new developer a good example to build their Flex applications from, including the creation of Bean and DAO components and the CFCs that Flex actually talks to. The speed and effortlessness to make that happen is certainly impressive.
Although Ben’s presentation was rock-solid as always, I couldn’t help but recall Tim Buntel and Ben on stage the year before and I briefly wondered if Tim was missing being a part of the show this year. Little did I know…
At the end of Ben’s presentation, he brought Jason Delmore to the stage, who is Tim Buntel’s replacement as the ColdFusion Product Manager. Jason discussed the things to look forward to in Scorpio which as many know is the product that will eventually become ColdFusion 8. He stated that he could not speak in great detail about much of the current development efforts, but he would offer some hints to the future. He then very ambiguously offered up:
- More Platforms
- More Development Tools
- Leveraging other Adobe Technologies
One of the only real specifics he shared was a very cool feature, CFPDFFORM. This tag will allow developers to populate PDF forms directly from their applications. It also allows extraction of data from PDF forms. He showed a working demo. I did’t get all the attributes jotted down, but it looked much like this:
<cfpdfformparam name=”foo” value=”bar” />
<cfpdfformparam name=”morefoo” value=”morebar” />
<cfpdfformparam name=”mostfoo” value=”mostbar” />
Jason also announced the ability to create Breeze presentations on the fly and showed a simple dmonstration of this ability. The new tag is:
<cfpresentation attributes-a-plenty=”" />
He made the comment that with CFPRESENTATION, there is no need to make screen captures ever again. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the real world.
Then as things were winding down and Ben appeared to be wrapping up, the doors burst open and two Adobe employees were dragging a blindfolded guy to the stage who was yelling about how there must have been a mistake as his birthday was last month. They pulled off the blindfold, slapped an Adobe shirt on him and the audience then welcomed Tim Buntel. After a few moments of explaining how it came to be, Tim announced that he is the new ColdFusion Senior Product Marketing Manager. Tim has a great energy and is very passionate about ColdFusion. It is great to see that he is back on the team.
I have so many notes to translate to my blog from the day, but that about wraps my take on the Adobe keynote.