Ray Camden is next in my series of interviews of speakers at this year's CFUnited conference (see the prior interview with Matt Woodward at my blog). As ColdFusion's resident "Jedi Master", Ray probably needs no introduction, but he's getting one anyway. Ray has been among ColdFusion's most recognized and widely read, via his blog and books, people in ColdFusion. He is also ColdFusion's most prolific open-source developer, with an ever-growing array of projects and his work maintaining RIAForge. Raymond runs his own consulting company, Camden Media.
What sessions are you doing this year at CFUnited?
A session on Ajax and ColdFusion.
Can you tell me a little more about the session and what you plan to cover?
I'll be talking about new Ajax features in ColdFusion 8, which is quite big and I'll have a lot to cover. I think people will be surprised by the level of support.
Right, I know I have been impressed. I particularly love the cfajaxproxy tag which you have covered recently on your blog. I don't think everyone realizes how powerful that tag can be. Can you expand on what features perhaps in the new Ajax support have impressed you most?
Ajaxproxy without a doubt, and outside of that - the built in support for returning cfc data in JSON is very nice.
I know you were doing a lot of Ajax work with Spry before ColdFusion 8. Have the new features affected how you approach a new project that would use Ajax?
Well yes, I definitely feel like my tool set is quite a bit bigger. Does that mean I don't use Spry? Not necessarily. I really like how Spry works especially on the display side. Right now you can say I'm playing the field. If a new project came along, I'm not sure which one I'd use, and you can, of course, mix things up, and use both. Again, I think the point to bear in mind is that you have all these new options at your disposal in CF8. That's really cool.
Do you have a particular favorite feature in CF8? Would it be the Ajax support?
I spoke about this to... someone recently. I forget who. And what I told him was - right now I'm really digging the small stuff. Like I love being able to do fileRead() as a function. I love being able to do ++, etc. There were a lot of small things in CF8 that are really nice and that I actually use more often.
Right, and those are the kind of productivity enhancing features that don't make headlines on any feature release but make a difference day-to-day.
So, changing topics. I noticed you added some really nice features to RIAForge today. Maybe you can talk briefly about the growth that site has seen over the past year. Also, are you planning any releases of your own projects for the conference?
Sure, from a code perspective, not really as much as I'd like. Mainly just small updates here and there. The SVN update recently was the biggest one. Traffic wise it's got pretty good traffic, and usage in general continues to climb. I was a bit concerned how folks would take to it with other similar sites out there - but it's really been a success so far I believe. And no - not really. The only project in active development now is BlogCFC 6, and that's going very slowly. I'm not rushing it because I want it done right. It may be ready for CFUNITED, but I'd be surprised. I'd like it to be at least be in Alpha stage.
Right. Well, I understand you are making a lot of major changes in BlogCFC 6, correct?
It's a complete rewrite. BlogCFC is quite old, so I'm starting from scratch, although I'm sure some bits will carry over.
I am acutely aware of its age since I haven't updated mine in years. Might be about time! So, switching gears to wrap things up. What are your thoughts on the recent announcement of the new venue and dates for CFUnited?
None at all really. This new location looks pretty nice, but honestly, it's the conference itself that is the important thing. So long as the facilities don't get in the way, then I'm fine. Then again, I'd rather not have something like the last MAX where each session involved a 30 minute walk. ;)
Yes, I do remember the walks at MAX. Many a session got missed for not wanting to walk it. Last item, given your status as the ColdFusion Jedi, when are you going to officially designate me as a ColdFusion Padawon?
Heh, school starts tomorrow morning. See you at 5! ;)
Well, thanks for chatting Ray and I look forward to seeing you at CFunited.