CFUnited Blog

Important Topics for Government Developers

Hear what Chaz Chumley, one of our Advisory Board members and fellow speaker, has to say about CFUnited for developers in the government:

Working for the government has its benefits and its challenges. As a web developer I often have constraints with technology. Being told what I can use, what I can't. Facing challenges to common problems but not always knowing what tools to use and what new technology is best suited for a government business.

With a lot of government agencies using ColdFusion, having a conference like CFUnited makes my life a little bit easier. Yet, every year the schedule comes out I find myself wondering with so many great presentations what will I benefit from the most. Often there are multiple topics going on at the same time and since I can't be in two places at one time, I may split my time between them. While this is not the best way to absorb all the information what else can I do?

So I thought I would help those this year that face this challenge by suggesting the Top Ten Topics to take in based on a typical application life cycle:

1) Setting up a Solid Local Development Environment - Kurt Wiersma

Good development starts with a solid development environment and for new to seasoned developers this is important to us all. If you find yourself struggling with the setup and are tired of wasting your time scouring the Internet to figure out the best way to setup your environment, then you don't want to miss this topic.

2) HTML5: The cool, the really cool, and the "huh"? - Christian Ready

As web design has progressed over the years and government websites needing a facelift to bring them into the Web 2.0 era, HTML and CSS has stepped up to make it easier. So what exactly changed with HTML5 and how do I use it along with CSS3 to get more bang for my buck in the latest browsers? Well this topic is for you as Christian shows you the ins and outs of the latest flavor of HTML.

3) ColdFusion and jQuery: Two Great Tastes that Go Great Together - Jeff Coughlin

Since ColdFusion 8 we have been introduced to Javascript User interface enhancements and with even more tools introduced in ColdFusion 9 you may be scratching your head. Maybe there is more you would like to do with the client interaction than what ColdFusion provides. JQuery is a great javascript library and ColdFusion a great server-side language. If you like to put your chocolate in the peanut butter and see what you come up with then you don't want to miss out on this topic.

4) Hidden Gems in ColdFusion Builder - Charlie Arehart

With cost and budgets constraints always at the forefront of government, it pays to know which editor you should be using to do your development in. Adobe has released a great editor target specifically for ColdFusion development but extensible to allow you to build upon it without buying additional software. Join Charlie as he shows you how to get the most out of ColdFusion builder.

5) ColdFusion and the Open Source Landscape - Sean Corfield

I have started to see a trend of the government moving toward more Open Source with databases, programming and server environments. Why? More Support? Cheaper costs? Where does that put ColdFusion? Join Sean as explains how ColdFusion plays a big part in the Open Source Landscape and how you can benefit both from the community and your next budget meeting.

6) CFWheels - Convention Over Configuration - Mike Henke

Choosing a framework in general can be a daunting task. How you manage your development team can often dictate which one to use. With so many good frameworks out there, how do I choose? I prefer convention over large XML configuration files and finally we have a framework that fits just that mold. Join Mike as he walks you through ColdFusion on Wheels, based on the popular Open Source Ruby on Rails, this framework has powerful database interaction, extensible plug-in support, provides rapid development, SES friendly url's and works out of the box on both ColdFusion and Railo.

7) Writing Secure CFML - Pete Freitag

If there is one thing synonymous with Government, it's Security. Being able to write secure ColdFusion code should be at the top of everyone's list. This presentation will cover several common yet dangerous vulnerabilities, and offer tips and tricks to protect your applications.

8) Searching with Apache Solr - Shannon Hicks

Search functionality or the lack of it has always been a topic of long conversations. Government agencies generally pay a hefty price tag for leasing a Google Appliance and while Google search is definitely powerful, it lacks the ability to provide a more faceted approach. With ColdFusion 9 introducing Apache Solr and Lucene you will definitely want to attend this session as Shannon explains how to harness this new search functionality.

9) ColdFusion Report Builder - Chaz Chumley

How many times has your manager or director asked you for a report? Does your agency spend a lot of money on report writing tools? Do you know ColdFusion provides a reporting tool for free? You definitely want to join us for the presentation as we look at how easy it is to use ColdFusion Builder to build and display reports right inside your applications.

10) AIR development with jQuery and ColdFusion - Raymond Camden

With Web 2.0 the buzz around the Government now a day, teams are scrambling to find the next coolest widgets, iPhone application or user interfaces to build. Why not consider AIR then to take your existing ColdFusion application and easily turn it into a desktop client. Join Ray as he walks your through how to put the tools you already know how to use to work in developing an AIR application.

Speaker Spotlight - Jason Dean

Jason Dean - Currently employed by the Minnesota Department of Health, in St. Paul, MN, Jason Dean he has been working in Information Technology for 12 years, focusing on application security for the past 3. A veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard trained in both physical and information security, he held a secret security clearance and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology Management from American Military University. He keeps himself busy managing a ColdFusion User Group at the Department of Health, sitting on the board of the Twin Cities ColdFusion User Group, speaking at conferences and user groups, training, writing, and blogging at

CFUnited session: Practical Ajax Security
Understanding Security in Adobe AIR Applications

1. Have you spoken at CFUnited in the past?

I have not. This will be my first time. I am very excited about it.

2. Why should people attend your sessions?

Security is an important topic, and, all too often, it is considered as an afterthought in the development process. My goal is to help people think about how security affects their applications and how it should be built in from the very beginning.

I will be talking about Ajax security and AIR security. Both Ajax and AIR are relatively new in the Web 2.0 (bleh) world and there are security considerations that developers may not even know exist.

3. Do you have any projects in the works that you will be revealing at CFUnited?

Maybe. Too early to be certain.

4. Besides your topic, what other sessions are you looking forward to?

The topics I am most interested in are: Mike Henke's "ColdFusion on Wheels" (I want to see what all the hype is about), Jeff Tapper's "Flex 4 for Flex 3 Developers", and Jim Priest's "Digging into the Developer Toolbox".

That said, I have actually seen several of the other presentations and I can say that Bob Silverberg's "What Your Mother Never Told You About ColdFusion 9 ORM", Daryl Banttari's "How to Read a Stack Trace", Kurt Wiersma's "Real World ColdSpring" and Shannon Hick's "Searching with Apache Solr" are all fantastic presentations and are sure to delight the audience.

5. What are some of the hot topics you'd like to see at RoundTable discussions?

Of course I always love to talk about security, but I would also like to see topics on OO, input validation, TDD, and accessibility.

6. Where can people find you at CFUnited?

Anywhere but in my room. I will be at sessions and BoFs, and I am usually in the bar well past midnight. I love to talk, so no one should hesitate to say "Hi".

7. What's the latest news with you? Has anything changed since last CFUnited?

I started grad school this year, so I have been very busy with that. I am working toward an M.S. in Information Assurance and Security. Also, I am writing a column for the Fusion Authority Quarterly Update called "Let's Talk Security" where I discuss different application security topics in greater detail than what I have in my blog posts or presentations.

8. What is unique about CFUnited?

CFUnited is HUGE! Last year was the first time I attended, and I could not believe how many people were there. I have only attended smaller conferences in the past, so it was really great to meet so many people and to see so many old friends. It was hard to make time for everyone I wanted to see, but it was also nice that there was never a lack of good company.

9. What do you like to do in your free time?

In my what?

With work, school, training, presentations, blogging, and writing, I find very little extra time for anything other than my wife (who is a full-time culinary arts student) and my two children, Elizabeth (7) and James (3).

Early Bird ends today and Hotel Rooms block 97% full

Hey everyone!!!

Tomorrow is the last day for the Early Bird pricing!!! Make sure you register tomorrow!!

Also, the room block at the Lansdowne Resort is about 97 percent full! Also, tomorrow is the last day before the room rates bump up! That's right - $179 for a single per night is only good 'till tomorrow! So make sure you reserve your room soon!

Also, if you need anything from our end in order to register, or book your room, please contact info (at) with your questions!

Thanks everyone!

Hotel Rooms Booking Fast!!

Hello Everyone!

Rooms at Lansdowne are selling like hotcakes! To those of you who have already booked your room - well played. To all the rest, rooms are being reserved way faster than expected. Currently, 83% of the discounted rooms are booked!!

The discount ends March 31st, 2010; after that room rates will increase. Beginning April 1st the rate will jump to $199 per night for a single. Still, this is quite a discount from Lansdowne's regular room rates of $279 per night for a single. I mean really you just can't beat that. We love you Lansdowne!!!!!!

Keep in mind that our Early Bird pricing expires on March 31st, 2010 as well. If you are on the fence, now is the time to make your move!

Register for CFUnited and book your room now!

Speaker Spotlight - Aaron West

Aaron West - For the past nine years I have been heavily involved in the Web development space building enterprise-level, database-driven Web applications and leading technology teams. I'm incredibly passionate about what I do and attempt to inject my enthusiasm and love for technology in all those around me.

CFUnited session: New Caching Features in ColdFusion 9

1. Have you spoken at CFUnited in the past?

Yes! I've attended CFUnited for years but last year was my first time speaking. I did a talk on ColdFusion 9, BlazeDS, and AIR integration.

2. Why should people attend your sessions?

Because it will be the best? Ha, all kidding aside, my talk on caching should be attended by those who need to make the most out of their Web apps. It's not enough to write code and deploy it to a badass server. You need to write code a certain way to ensure it performs as expected and scales as needed. Understanding caching in ColdFusion 9 (as well as how to use it) should be a critical component in every developers toolbox.

3. Do you have any projects in the works that you will be revealing at CFUnited?

Absolutely. I'm currently working on a new technology startup that's using ColdFusion (and other Adobe technology) as part of our development stack. By the time CFUnited rolls around we should have our first customers in production.

4. Besides your topic, what other sessions are you looking forward to?

What interests me most are the ColdFusion integration topics. My favorites are the ones that tie Flex/AIR and ColdFusion together, but anything that involves building compelling Web applications with ColdFusion and other technologies are the most intriguing.

5. What are some of the hot topics you'd like to see at RoundTable discussions?

Personally, I'm interested in the role cloud technology will play in the application server space. I used to think this was cutting edge stuff until I started researching and found people deploying cloud solutions as early as 2006. From a developer perspective, it's still somewhat new and there's not a lot of exposure to folks using ColdFusion in the cloud. I think this will be changing throughout 2010 and beyond. Roundtable discussions are always fun, and one centered on the impact of cloud technology on ColdFusion would be delicious!

6. Where can people find you at CFUnited?

Simple, where the action is! During the day I'm attending sessions and hanging out in the hallways and vendor booths. I love chatting it up with other developers and enjoying hearing about other folks projects. At night, I can be found wherever the beer is located.

7. What's the latest news with you? Has anything changed since last CFUnited?

What hasn't changed? The last several months have been quite awesome. Toward the end of 2009 I made a big decision to leave my employer of 5 years. I'm now working on a new technology startup and loving every single minute of it. It's amazingly challenging work but comes with some great rewards too. I've had to break out of my shell and learn several new technologies and bone up on a few rusty ones. The experience has been positive and I hope to be sharing much more about what I'm doing at CFUnited 2010.

8. What is unique about CFUnited?

CFUnited presents the most unique opportunity to learn from other developers. Sure there are fantastic topics and speakers - all of which are extremely valuable - but CFUnited is the one spot, all year, where hundreds of ColdFusion developers get together to talk shop. If you can't engage with others and learn something from both the sessions and the unstructured time, you are simply discarding a big part of what CFUnited is all about. Forget about going to bed early; you can sleep when you get home. Attend sessions, talk to the speakers and other attendees. Learn what others are doing (and what they aren't doing) and leave the conference having capitalized on every opportunity to grow as a developer.

9. What do you like to do in your free time?

Many geeks will say they don't have free time but I'm not one of them. Having time to recharge my batteries and focus on non-technical things is very important to me. Most of my free time is spent with my wife and son who are the most important things in my life. I love coming home to them and simply hanging out and playing cars or trains. I'm also big into reading and spend a lot of time with my Kindle. I try to read at least one book a month and often get in two. I'm also an avid motorcyclist - I ride a Yamaha R6 sportbike - and scuba diver.

Discounted Room Rates Extended until 3/31/10

Good News Everyone! Lansdowne Resort has decided to extend the discounted room rates until March 31, 2010. The folks at Lansdowne are our heros of hospitality!

We heard from some people who were trying to book a double (1 room with 2 beds) and getting no availability on certain dates. The hotel has fixed this issue. Currently there are both doubles and king rooms available on all dates of the event.

Rooms are going fast, they sold out last year! Avoid being stuck without the room you want AND save some money. It just so happens that our next Early Bird discount for registration is also ending on March 31, 2010. So register and book your room now to take advantage of the savings!

Last bit of topics!


I know everybody has been anxious to see the rest of the topics!

Mate Flex Framework: What's in it for me? - Laura Arguello

20 Security Threats to Flex Apps and How to Avoid them - Elad Elrom

Flex Data Binding Pitfalls - 10 common misuse mistakes - Elad Elrom

Object Relational Mapping in CF on Wheels - Chris Peters

ColdBox Platform 3.0.0: Sustainable ColdFusion Applications - Luis Majano

ColdFusion Powered iPhone Applications - Luis Majano and Joshua Geise

Flash Catalyst: Design to Flex - Dee Sadler

CSS and the CMS - Dee Sadler

Beginning Flex for ColdFusion Developers - Brian Rinaldi

These will most likely be the last of the topics released, not including sponsor-speaker slots. Those will be released as they come in.

Thanks to everyone who submitted topics!!

The Heart of Virginia Foundation!

We wanted to thank to everyone who registered during November, December and January. A dollar from each of those registrations was added on our $300 donation, which came out to be a generous gift for a worthy cause.

The Heart of Virginia Foundation is a non-profit foundation formed in response to the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. They offer charitable and educational opportunities to promote emotional well-being through the arts and to fight the stigma of mental illness.

They are currently looking for volunteers, so if you're in the Leesburg area and want to help out, check out their site!

Topic Selection Procedures

As we finalize topic selection for CFUnited 2010, we are lucky and proud to have had so many quality submissions from great speakers. Topic Selection at CFUnited is quite an exciting process, a real nail-biter! To pick and choose what topics make the cut we relied on guidance from our wise, and much appreciated Advisory Board, including our faithful Track Chairs who oversee each track. Using a sleek spreadsheet within the genius of Stellr Intranet containing all the topics submitted to the Call for Speakers, the board voted on the topics in each track.

The public was asked to assist the process. Given the same spreadsheet the board uses to vote, people put in their two cents. As results came in from the vote, Stellr was able to use them to run a double check on the advisory votes. Also, if there is a discrepancy amongst the advisory votes and the public votes, we would If a topic got few advisory votes but was getting a lot of public votes, we could start a discussion with the board possibly reexamining their choice and giving a topic a second chance. This worked the other way too, examining why topics that had a high number of advisory votes were not popular with the public vote. Thanks to all the public voting, we were provided important leverage among the community voice and the voice of community experts!

There are other things too that come in to play like feedback on surveys from last years' presentations, which is we why we encourage attendees to participate in those. We do read them and we even send them to every speaker. They love it - you should see them go all gaga! They are always so eager to hear attendee comments. Makes you think twice about skipping them, huh?

The submissions for each track are key. We strive for topic relevancy and diversity. We aim to create a balanced event with engaging presenters - true rock stars. The topic selection process at CFUnited is indeed supreme, intricate, thorough and glorious in action. For example, from last week's release of topic, Pete Freitag's "Writing Secure CFML," received highest number of public votes of all the topics and it received a high number of votes from the Advisory Board. (Yay for Pete Freitag!). Another example is our own Elliott Sprehn, known as a good, interesting and reliable speaker. We were able to look at the public votes to see which topics we would like him to speak on. He submitted 3 topics, and the two chosen had the highest amount of votes.

As topic selection slowly comes to its close in 2010, we are pleased with the results and grateful to all who contributed to this thrilling contest. We look forward to completing the selection process and making those announcements. Hip Hip Hooray for all of our bona fide presenters and tasty topics! Woot woot for CFUnited!

And the topics just keep coming...

Some more topics to look over!!

Designing Scalable and Creative Algorithms - Elliott Sprehn

HTML5: The cool, the really cool, and the "huh?" - Christian Ready

Locking Down ColdFusion - Pete Freitag

Writing Secure CFML - Pete Freitag

Excel Generation Made Easy with CF9 - Ajay Sathuluri

Accessible Javascript - Sandy Clark

How To: Data Structure Upgrade - Selene Bainum

Advanced T-SQL - Selene Bainum

Validation in ColdFusion - Dan Vega

Developing Web Applications for Mobile Devices - Dan Vega

You can check out their descriptions and read over the full list of topics!

Also, if you still haven't registered, make sure you do so before 3/31/10 when the prices go up!!

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