Business and technology create synergy. It is more about the right mix than the hottest technology.

Wow, which is another way to say Ortus Solutions. If you have never been to Into The Box, you will not understand why those who go, go again and again. This conference checks the boxes.

  • Grow Technical Knowledge
  • Advance Productive Skills
  • Great Community
  • Multi-Track Options
  • Happy Box (Entertainment and Connecting)
  • Great Price
  • Leave Excited about CFML and Beyond

I used to have Laravel envy. They had so much going on and still do. These days there is so much going on in the Ortus Open Source community that I don’t even get tempted to look in that direction anymore. It was tempting to jump ship, yes, this is a confession, and move to PHP.

ColdFusion, from Adobe to Lucee, has provided so much to so many. This is a great year, and Adobe is bringing a dream item from my wish list to market, the Plugin for VSCode. The long-awaited Lucee 6 is in the pipeline, covered by Zac in the pre-conference sessions.

Workshops were a hit again this year.

  • VueJs SPA and Mobile App with Rest APIs
  • TestBox: Getting started with BDD-TDD Oh My!
  • Legacy Code Conversion To The Modern World!
  • Containerizing & Scaling Your Applications
  • Async Programming & Scheduling
Don’t Feed the Technology

Then day one started with a bit of a road bump right at the start of the keynote. It was not our technology. It was getting the remote attendees included. I think that is awesome to have a hybrid conference. You would think we actually believed in using the internet to include those who couldn’t make it here in person! It was a small delay, and the Ortus team shook off the frustration and conquered the gremlins.

What followed was two days of keynotes and sessions that made me forget about the short delay, and here is the part you have been waiting for, what were the valuable takeaways from ITB 2022?

Keynote Notes

12 New, Existing & Coming Solutions

  • cbCommerce: ( pre-release ) Commerce without the legacy constraints in long-term popular packages.
  • cbElastiSearch: ( v2.3.0 ) Module for Elastisearch.
  • cbFS: ( new ) file storages, this module allows you to abstract filesystems by leveraging a fluent storage API.
  • cbPlaywright: ( new ) Integration testing for your front end that runs from TestBox.
  • cbq: ( new ) A protocol-based queueing system for ColdBox.
  • cbWire: ( v2 has landed ) ColdBox + Livewire allows pseudo-JS free front end SPA via back end magic.
  • cfScribe: ( new ) Sophisticated log management for CFML.
  • commandbox-esher: ( pre-release ) This is a CommandBox library for drawing UI widgets in the console.
  • ColdBox 7: ( in the works ) Currently, the docs show stuff most missed about series 6 updates.
  • ForgeBox: ( v7.0 ) CFML development tools and packages that help you build modern web applications
  • qb: ( v8.9 ) A query builder for the rest of us, elegant code.
  • quick: ( v5.1 ) ORM, Object Relational Mapping, that doesn’t suck.

The awesome site, Abram Adam’s TRY ColdFusion, is now getting partnership support from Ortus Solutions.

There was more, but you must come in person to get it all. Well, for the last few years, you have been able to join the keynotes live online. Again, well, you could watch the keynotes today, post-conference. They are available.

Day One Keynote
Day Two Keynote

Sessions

The sessions were really good again this year. More than one attendee commented that if they had to choose between Into the Box and ColdFusion Summit, they would choose Into the Box. A common question was asking others who else was going to CFSummit, and many were. The point, this is a premier CFML developer conference you should not miss.

Pre-conference

10 Pre-conference Talks, this was incredible content from a preview of what is coming in Lucee 6, Meilisearch, including Java in your CFML apps, to two excellent talks on upping your PDF solutions with a talk by Mark Takata and another from Ray Camden.

Day 1

Day 1 Sessions

Each day had two tracks, one in the “BoxTrek” room and the other in the “BoxWars” room. 2022 Sessions

(cbCommerce)
I started the day off with Jon Clausen giving us a reveal of the soon-to-be-released cbCommerce. There are several popular solutions out there that are adding more features, but for those of us who tried them out, they are not extremely agile. Supporting years of legacy architecture has created opportunities for market disruptions. cbCommerce looks to do that as it offers multiple approaches to putting your commerce solution online. There is a UI available, a separate Admin, and an isolated API that allows us to build in the headless realm for our commerce and beyond.

(Web Components)
Next, to Nolan Erik’s excellent introduction to Web Components. As a huge fan of Vue and a huge NOT FAN of IE 11, modern browsers have given us the ability to create custom web components. For market-driven reasons, many companies, not just those I have worked for, were reluctant to let go of IE. As of 2022, it seems we have finally been freed from the legacy baggage of IE. With that comes the opportunity to use Web Components, with Vue and similar frameworks, or as Nolan did an amazing job showing, as standard Javascript without any extra libraries. These will be part of my work moving forward.

(CBWire)
CBWire, with Grant Copley, was interesting for two reasons. The first is his excellent advancement in integrating LiveWire concepts into ColdBox solutions. You can build reactive SPA, single page application, like sites using this technology. He also seemed to be aware, among many attendees, that the big dog on the block was VueJS. He was right. There are definitely times when this would work better than Vue. He didn’t cover all the times it didn’t work better, which was OK because I spoke on that in a later session that day. 🙂

(Advanced PDF Generation)

Wow, two pre-conference sessions and another live session. PDF is alive and well this year. Scott Steinbeck did a wonderful job of expanding our understanding of what we can do with PDFs on our sites and how to get it done.

(Box Therapy)

Well, that wasn’t the actual name of the session, but it could have been. Dan Card did a talk on about a hundred box solutions in one hour. What was more amazing than covering a hundred was it actually was far more meaningful than just a categorized list.

(Modern Vue)

I choose to attend my session even though the opposite session by Daniel Garcia was something I wanted to attend also. After all, I already saw my presentation. We covered all things good that happened with Vue 3 was released, kinda. It actually took a year for the community to update their tools to be Vue 3 ready, but that integration has come and passed. In addition to the code, I also showed Storybook for documentation of your Vue components and Slidev, which I used for the presentation.

Happy Box

If you have never been to a conference live, one of the top things people enjoy is the people they meet. Ortus provides a special event every year to make meeting each other more than geek-to-geek exchanges. They bring in a first-class mariachi band. There was a meal that was totally awesome and lots of great conversations in the happy box room.

Day 2

Day 2 Sessions

Again, I was one person, so attending both sessions was a limit to my humanity. Many times, two sessions I wanted to attend were very hard choices. Fortunately for attendees, Ortus records these sessions, and as part of our attendance, they will offer the recordings to us on CFCasts. There are many other great resources there if you have not checked them out.

(cbq)

Everything doesn’t need to happen in real-time, and the end-user on our sites waits for it. Queues can process the information and manage things like retries if and when needed. This is often a better solution than trying to create a thread and tie up the resources of the main client server. These can be passed on to external services to manage the jobs that need to be done. Eric Peterson is creating a tool to help us with managing these delegated jobs more elegantly.

(headless CMS)

In this session with Esmeralda Acevedo and Javier Quintero, we saw the power of CMS, which is a content management system. They did an excellent job of showing the power of ContentBox in its fully refactored form, and they also surprised us with a behind-the-scenes secret. Their slide deck was being run using content from their CMS, and it was actually a practical approach. Managing content is a big thing. This session expressed how to disconnect the content properly. It has changed how I look at content management!

(ContentBox 5 in the Cloud)

George Murphy gave me the honor of being his co-pilot in this presentation. After Happy Box, we met to walk through my part assisting his talk. If you have ever deployed or tried to deploy to the cloud, custom deployments are the worse definition of possible. George has made this approachable for AWS and is continuing to make it even better.

(cbPlaywright)

End-to-end testing is getting better with these amazing automation tools. Eric Peterson has integrated this new tool into TestBox to automate these types of tests. Testing is another tool advancing the need for approachable solutions, which is amazing and getting better fast.

(task scheduling)

Sure, we could use CFSchedule, but it is a built-in feature that works on a certain level. Brad Woods introduced us to a scheduling tool using some features of Java that are not yet included in ColdFusion or Lucee that take what we can do with scheduled tasks to a completely different level.

(mental health)

After a full day of workshops and two days of sessions, including presenting, I am not sure if this was a topic that was of interest or needed for an overloaded brain. The session Dan Card offered was great either way. We are each more than developers and architects. The same goes for Dan. Mental health is a topic we should all remember in our workplaces.

Conclusion

That checkbox beside was it worth it? Yes, check it off for me. Oh, next year it will be moved back to the month of May. Hope to see others there!

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