Speaking at NCDevCon 2014, and Why NCDevCon Rocks

I'm really honored to be speaking at this year's NCDevCon. This will be my fourth year in a row as a speaker at the conference, and I'm excited to be returning to Raleigh for what I expect to be another great conference.

Why do I love NCDevCon?

  • It's cheap. For the quality, variety, and number of sessions, this conference is a steal. Equivalent conferences held elsewhere in the U.S. that don't have quite the same regional flair usually run upwards of $800 for registration. NCDevCon has always been incredibly affordable.
  • The speakers are great. The NCDevCon team puts a lot of effort into recruiting well-established speakers and finding new ones, especially new speakers from the Raleigh/North Carolina area. Fresh voices are always welcome, and they mix well with the established speakers who you see headlining conferences elsewhere.
  • There's a good mix of Web technologies covered. While NCDevCon used to be heavily focused on ColdFusion development — and there's still a track dedicated to ColdFusion — the conference over the past few years has swayed towards the front-end and mobile. This has brought in new opportunities for learning, especially for ColdFusion developers who don't see new versions of our main application server runtime for 12-18 months at a time.
  • It's small(ish). Given that there are 300 tickets for the conference, you can actually meet people, talk to speakers, and make new friends. You don't feel like you're lost in a sea of 2000 guys from Oracle and IBM (not that there's anything wrong with working for Oracle or IBM).
  • Raleigh (and the surrounding area) has great food. I'm a foodie. There's lots of good stuff to be had in Raleigh, and in nearby Chapel Hill. I make an annual pilgrimage to Allen and Son BBQ outside Chapel Hill, but that's because I'm a sucker for awesome Carolina BBQ.

So now that you know why I love NCDevCon, I figure I should talk about what I'm going to talk about!

"Start Using Amazon Web Services in Your ColdFusion Apps"

Amazon Web Services provide a wide array of highly scalable tools which solve common problems in modern Web application development. ColdFusion fits right into the AWS ecosystem, and this session will show you just how easy it is to start using AWS in your ColdFusion applications. We'll look at:

  • Cheap, fast, and easy content storage thanks to ColdFusion's integration with AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • Creating ColdFusion servers in AWS using the official Adobe ColdFusion Amazon Machine Image
  • Plug-in points for other AWS services in your ColdFusion applications
  • A reference architecture for running scalable ColdFusion applications in AWS
  • Some hard-earned lessons about running Web apps in AWS

AWS is a huge topic (Amazon has their own 5-day conference with over 150 sessions dedicated solely to AWS), so this is a lot to cover. I'll be employing my usual, "firehose" presentation style, but if you want to get up to speed quickly with what AWS can offer your ColdFusion application (or, honestly, web application development in general), you should get a lot out of this session.

I hope to see you there!

Slides from My UBTech 2014 Presentation "Unleash Your Inner Spielberg When Flipping the Classroom"

I was asked to speak again this year at UBTech. It's an interesting educational technology conference with a pretty diverse audience of faculty, instructional staff and senior-level administrators. I always get a lot out of the conference, and this year was no different.

Attached to this post is a PDF version of the slides from my presentation "Unleash Your Inner Spielberg When Flipping the Classroom." It was another good presentation, with great follow-up from a number of attendees.

This was my favorite tweet about the presentation:

Brian Klaas' Unleash Your Inner Spielberg talk...MIND BLOWN

If you're interested in me speaking at your institution about this topic, please get in touch!

Video of My jQuery San Diego 2014 Conference Talk

The great team behind the jQuery San Diego 2014 conference has posted videos from the conference. You can see the video of my talk — Promises, Promises: Unlocking the Power of jQuery's Deferreds — up on YouTube!

I'm Speaking at jQuery San Diego!

I'm really excited that I have been asked to speak at this year's main US jQuery conference in San Diego. This is the first time I've been asked to speak at a non-education, non-ColdFusion related technology conference, so I feel like it's a big step forward for me. I'll be speaking at a conference with some pretty awesome JavaScript hackers, and hope that I can meet the expectations of the audience with all those smart people around!

My presentation is titled "Promises, Promises: Unlocking the Power of jQuery's Deferreds." It's an updated (and shorter!) version of a talk that I gave at NCDevCon 2013. jQuery Conference sessions only run 30 minutes, so I've got to cut out a good amount of material, and I want to update it to look at implementations of promises in current, ES6-compliant JavaScript engines.

Here's the description of the session. I can't wait!

Managing the order in which asynchronous callbacks in JavaScript occur can be a nasty business. Without a lot of overhead and management, you're never quite sure that a certain callback has succeeded or failed. One technique for handling this problem that has gained a lot of traction in the past year is to use deferreds and promises. In fact, if you're making jquery.ajax() calls, you're already using deferreds and promises. In this session, we'll look at how deferreds and promises bring order to the chaos of multiple asynchronous JavaScript calls -- often known as "callback hell." We'll look at how you can leverage promises when making network requests, loading content on the fly, caching resources, performing serial transactions, and building a publish/subscribe model for browser or server-based applications.

Slides from My CF Summit 2013 Presentation "Start Using Amazon Web Services in Your ColdFusion Apps"

You don't have to look much further than the relevant tweets and blog posts to know that the first official CF Summit was a great success. It was awesome to be a part of this inaugural event, and I certainly hope that I get the opportunity to give a presentation next year.

Attached to this post are the slides from my presentation "Start Using Amazon Web Services in Your ColdFusion Apps." I know I went pretty quickly (one tweet described it as "drinking from a firehose"), but I actually felt like everyone kept up and was really satisfied with what I covered. With the slide deck, you can now check out all the resources I pointed to during the presentation. You can also find the presentation slides in the Dropbox folder for CF Summit 2013 speakers.

If you have any questions about CF + AWS, feel free to drop me a line!

Slides, Code, and Links to Recordings from My NCDevCon 2013 Presentations

NCDevCon continues to be one of the best conferences for web developers that I've had the privilege of both speaking at and attending. The speakers are excellent, the location great, and the price is incredibly low compared to similar conferences. I look forward to going again next year (and hopefully speaking too!).

At this year's conference, I gave two presentations. The slides, related code, and links to the recordings of each session are listed below. The slides contain references to all of the articles, sites, and tools I used in putting together my presentations.

I apologize that the end of my talk on Amazon S3 and CloudFront is slightly cut off. That's completely my fault for going three minutes over the allotted time. (I swear, when I rehearsed -- and I rehearse a lot for my presentations -- it came in at 45 minutes!)

If you have questions, feel free to post them here!

Promises, Promises: Unlocking the Power of jQuery's Deferreds

Better (and Cheaper!) Content Management with Amazon S3, CloudFront and ColdFusion

NCDevCon 2013 Is in Less Than Two Weeks, and I'm Speaking There Twice!

NCDevCon has to be one of the best bargains around when it comes to technology conferences. Not only does the conference have a great lineup of very good, very knowledgeable speakers on all things Web — JavaScript, mobile, design, devOps and workflow — it's also super cheap. This year it's $200 for the weekend conference. It's also located in Raleigh, NC, which is a very affordable travel destination and near to one of my favorite BBQ places in the US: Allen & Sons.

I'll be presenting twice at the conference this year. It's a little overwhelming trying to get two new presentations done, but I'll certainly do my best!

The first topic is "Promises, Promises: Unlocking the Power of jQuery's Deferreds." This session focuses on one of the most annoying problems with asynchronous JavaScript: managing the order in which asynchronous callbacks in JavaScript occur. Promises are a recent approach to this problem and have a lot of power that can be leveraged throughout JavaScript applications. I'll give an in-depth look at how promises work in jQuery, but also look at how they work in Node.js as well.

The second topic is "Better (and Cheaper!) Content Storage With Amazon S3, Cloudfront, And ColdFusion." This session focuses on handling ever-increasing storage needs for your websites and your clients by leveraging Amazon's pretty awesome S3 and CloudFront services. While the code in this session is ColdFusion code, you can take advantage of the power and flexibility of S3 and CloudFront using almost any server-side language. If S3 serves as photo storage for Instagram and CloudFront serves as the content delivery network for Amazon itself, then they'll both definitely work for your needs!

I look forward to a lot of great sessions at the conference. If you're there, feel free to say hi!

I'm Speaking at the First Official Adobe ColdFusion Summit!

I'm very pleased to announce that I have been asked to speak at the first official Adobe ColdFusion Summit, which is being held in Las Vegas on October 24 - 25, 2013.

While the final session names haven't been announced, I can say that I'll be talking about Amazon Web Services (AWS) and ColdFusion. I gave talks about architecting highly available ColdFusion apps at both NCDevCon and cf.Objective this year, and both talks included a lot of information about architecting for AWS.

The Trello board for CF Summit session ideas had two proposed sessions related to AWS and ColdFusion. "Cloud AWS & PaaS (possibly two topics)" and "VFS, File handling, CFHTTP, S3 (What is a file anyway?)" both made references to using ColdFusion with AWS, and my current plan is to try to pick from both cards for my talk. I think that a PaaS (platform as a service) comparison is probably way out of the scope of an hour-long session at the CF Summit, so my plan is to cover the following:

  • AWS Overview
  • S3 integration in ColdFusion
  • The official CF10 AMI (quick setup and some caveats)
  • A quick reference architecture for CF apps on AWS
  • The reality of running production apps on AWS (gotchas)

I'd love to hear feedback about this. Would these topic areas interest you? Are you looking for something more advanced? Remember, I only have about 50 minutes for the entire session, and although I'm a fast talker, I can only cover so much!

Non-Technical Presentations: Double Speaking Duty at UBTech 2013

As much as I love giving talks on Web development at conferences like cf.Objective() and NCDevCon, I also talk at numerous educational technology conferences throughout the year. I've been asked to speak at the always-interesting UBTech 2013 conference this year — and not to speak just once, but on two different topics!

I've had the privilege of speaking at this conference for the past two years, but this year I'm taking on double duty by giving two separate talks. They are:

  • From Media Hype to Reality: One University's Experience with Coursera: My team has been offering Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera platform for a year now. There's a huge amount of hype and concern about MOOCs and how they will affect (save? destroy?) higher education across the globe. My colleague, Ira Gooding, and I will be talking about our direct experience offering MOOCs and how that differers from the sometimes exaggerated stories being pushed out in the education and technology media. MOOCs are really interesting, and are a serious pressure point on most colleges and universities, so we expect good discussion at the end of this session.

  • Unleash Your Inner Spielberg: The Director's Cut of Online Lectures: This is another variation on the very popular talk that I've given at a number of conferences over the past few years, and a talk that I've given in long workshop form as well as an annual talk to students where I work. This talk is all about using techniques from the worlds of film and theater to create more engaging lectures that result in greater learner information retention. I really enjoy giving this talk, and this year there's new stuff on how cognitive science is telling us to focus, edit, and sharpen our information delivery in order for people to actual retain the information they are given.

If you happen to be at the conference, please come check out these sessions!

Slides from My cf.Objective Session on Highly Available CF Apps

The organizers of this year's cf.Objective() had the brilliant idea of setting up a shared Dropbox folder for the slides, code, and supporting materials from all sessions at the conference. I've posted a PDF of my slides from my session, "Making Your ColdFusion Apps Highly Available," to this Dropbox folder. The PDF includes links to a lot of the tools, services, and articles that I referenced in my talk.

Thanks again to everyone who attended, and for the excellent questions and feedback I've received after the session.

Based on some of the questions I've received, I think I'm going to put in a conference proposal next year to talk about Amazon S3 and CloudFront, and how amazingly simple they are to use in ColdFusion!

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