Well I just got out of the first general session. As usual Kevin Lynch had lots of goodies to show us. From Internet enabled phone running the full version of Flash 10 to cool community widgets for sharing screens. But the real show stopper was that Maria Shriver stopped by and spoke for about 10 minutes regarding her California Legacy Trails project - a new feature of the california museums web site. She was charming and unscripted. Referring to the information presented by Kevin she said something like "I didn't understand anything that was just presented... I thought I had stubmled onto a star trek convention. But when I realized that the crowd was 90 percent men I figured I would stay." She was very fun and we enjoyed hearing her.
On Tuesday I took in a workshop on Cryptography by Dean Saxe. Dean is an impressive character with a head stuffed full of knowledge and spilling out everywhere. He obviously knew what he was talking about. As a topic, cryptography is so impossibly complicated and intricate that he could not do it justice in a 50 minute session. Most discussions about cryptography center around keys, algorithms and best practices - and this was no exception. Dean recommended against relying on CF's own encrypt and decrypt functions for anything but the most rudimentary encryption. In fact, he probably didn't even go that far. That tidbit of advice is common from almost every security pro I have ever heard mention the subject. When it came to discussing keys it was like a trip to the dentist.Read More
CF Optimization Guru Mike Brunt gave an awesome presentation on tuning ColdFusion. In a short 50 minutes he covered such topics as JVM configuration, multi-server install and load testing. It was an excellent overview. One recommendation (that he made in is lyric British access) was to install See Fusion or Fusion Reactor instead relying on the built in monitor. His take was that, because the monitor is running under ColdFusion, it is too easily become affect itself by performance - or perhaps could become part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.
I had thought, based on a presentation by Adam Lehman on CF 8 a year ago, that the monitor ran in a different JVM space than CF. One of the things I have noticed with the monitor always shows a Flex gateway thread in the request monitoring. That thread is the monitor itself. So I'm thinking Mike might be right. Perhaps the server monitor does exist "inside" of ColdFusion. I like the new server monitor and I've found it useful. But I really like SeeFusion's default view which shows requests and visuals of the heap on one page. I think it is a better aggregate of the things I want to know immediately when I'm looking at a performance problem.
Another excellent tip is a "how to" on enabling verbose garbage collection. This is easy to do. You simply add the following arguments to the JVM.config file and restart ColdFusion.
The information is going to be stored in a log file in the default logs directory (like /runtime logs). How would you use this? One of the best ways to use it is to figure out when new generation collection is going on, when tenure (old "stop the world") collection is going on, and how much data is going from new to old. You can get a good picture of what is going on by examining this log information and using your imagination. Check out Mike's blog on GC tuning for a good outline of the process.
I'm sitting through a session by Peter Bell of System Forge fame. He's talking about frameworks and OOP. His take is somewhat unique. Unlike many of the speakers I've heard on this topic (who shall remain nameless but their first name is usually Polly-Anna), he is giving us some real world work arounds and tips on when to break and when not to break framework rules. It's practical and very useful. Kudos to him.
I'm here at Webmaniacs soaking in knowledge from various CF luminaries. This morning, a harried but erudite Ben Forta gave us a very thin sketch of Centaur (the upcoming CF 9) and an overview of the under utilized but extremely powerful Live Cycle Data Services (LCDS - and no, it's not a denomination). I don't suppose I ever grasped the nuances between remote object calls from flex (flash remoting and "flexgateway") and integration with data services.
I always knew that the "express" version of LCDS was limited to a single processor. But I had assumed (wrongly as it turned out) that LCDS was really the new label for the venerable old "flash remoting" - meaning the translation engine for AMF3 requests. What I had not realized was that the ES version allows for messaging and data synchronization services "out of the box" without a 10 thousand dollar license upgrade. While the processor limitation is significant in some cases where the load is expected to be heavy, in many cases it is a tolerable condition. Consider, for example, a typical intranet application. Even with a few hundred users a single dual or quad core processor would no doubt be enough to handle expected load.
Of course it's also possible that I missed some important cost aspect of ES - or that not all the features are enabled on CF standard and require enterprise. That gives me a bit more digging to do. Perhaps I'll look up Ben Forta and ask him for some clarification. The problem is that his face glows so brightly I have to shield my eyes (See Exodus 34).