I just presented Blackstone to CFUN. The only adjective that I think adequately describes the atmosphere in the room is “intense”. I was given 40+ minutes to talk and so had to scale back the content and also talk and demo really quickly. The crowd of over 500 loved everything they saw, spontaneous applause throughout, and then a standing ovation when I was done! Incredible, the general consensus seems to be that Blackstone is right on target, and has nailed the features that users want.
As promised, I did demo one new feature at CFUN, something not shown previously anywhere else. That feature is the introduction of event driven gateways to ColdFusion, essentially allowing events other than HTTP requests to trigger ColdFusion processing. The example I gave was dropping a file into a folder (maybe via an FTP upload), the act of which fired an OnAdd method in a CFC to be invoked, and the code in that method read the file and updated a database with its contents. I discussed other possible gateways, including listening to sockets, responding to database changes, firing asynchronous CFML processing, and more. This capability radically changes what ColdFusion is capable of. I think it will take time for the idea (and its potential) to sink in, and many will comment on this in the near future.
I did not catch all of CFUN, I drop-shipped in for the last half day, but what I saw was incredible, and the buzz was phenomenal. CFUN has become the premier CF specific event, and Michael Smith and his team deserve all sorts of praise for their hard work in pulling it all off yet again.

14 thoughts

  1. Rick, no, but tell you what, I’ll be thinking of you as I use those wonderful new not-yet-available features myself.
    (Hey, you deserved that one) 🙂

  2. Ben,
    All the features I saw at the CFUG were great, no, amazing, but this one really takes the cake. I mean really. I look forward to any more information you post on the subject. I’d like to hear about how I can create my own socket listener port and what type of coding will be needed to run it, etc. Most of the features at the CFUG were, like you said, for making our customers happy, but this one will really make CF developers happy 🙂 – especially when, like you said, it really sinks in.

  3. Ben, what we saw at CFUN looked great, thanks for the presentation. The reporting tools, the Flash forms, and the non-HTTP event gateway were all very slick.
    However, one thing I didn’t hear discussed at all were changes/improvements to CFCs in general. On one hand, we heard that MM wants newer users to start using CFCs earlier. But on the other hand we have issues with advanced use of CFCs (particularly the lack of interfaces and null). Any thoughts on this? It seems like adding just a few things and fixing a few problems would multiply the usefulness of CFCs by a large amount, particularly for folks trying to use CFCs in more advanced, OO ways.
    Great talk, thanks again.

  4. if i could do socket level stuff, and i could do some of this other ASYNCH stuff, i could REALLY bang on some .NET heads around here, i guess ben, alot more to come @ MAX2004?

  5. My impression: I think I STARTED the standing O! Enough said? 🙂
    It was a pleasure seeing you again, although I didn’t get to talk to you until you and Eddie were about to leave for DC.
    I wanted to attend the Mid Michigan CFUG meeting, but I couldn’t swing it… I look forward to having you virtually with us on the 8th.

  6. It occurred to me about an hour ago that I could do some odd things with the event driven gateways to ColdFusion stuff. For instance, I could write a web server in coldfusion. *sprains brain trying to think about it*
    I’ve been thinking it might be possible to write interesting desktop applications which use CF as the back end.
    It’s hard to even begin thinking about how this could really break the mold of "traditional" web development.

  7. Firing events like that …almost orgasmic. I am glad to know that such a lot is being done for the future release. What about inheritence issues?? a la implementing interfaces??

  8. I hate to be the one to sound negative or disappointed, but I’m still waiting for the one thing in Blackstone to really make me want to upgrade. I love to see some things in 6.1 addressed…that would even be enough for me. Like invoking complex webservices or something as simple as better whitespace handling. I think the reports, sourceless installations (especially bundled with some sort of CF runtime license) etc are great and I would definitely make use of them but they’re just not enough to make me upgrade multiple Enterprise licenses (except for maybe the ability to install as a runtime license..I’d definitely upgrade for that). I’d even settle for massively overhauled documentation! I know there are bound to be countless new features that aren’t being demoed yet and I’m really anxious to see the great things MM are planning, but for me, I haven’t found that magic upgrade-worthy feature yet. So please Ben…post more stuff! I’m checking every day!

  9. I’ve used event-driven process automation, specifically the presence or absence of files, and it is such a great way to get things done. I used it on a network to get disparate processes to trigger each other, to hand data back and forth, and more. Once you start using it, the possibilities are endless. And that’s just with file-listening. With the other possible gateways Ben mentioned, we’ll have some amazing capabilities!

  10. Brian, CFC enhancements are being reviewed, but I can’t comment yet on which (if any) will make it in because we are still working on it. Arindam, the same applies to interfaces.
    Access to sockets is an easy one, that is one of the included gateways (or at least it is in my current build). So, all you need to do is define an instance of it, create a configuration file which defines the port to listen to for this instance, and create a CFC which responds to events. 3 minutes work. 🙂
    Jeff, there are lots of enhancements, and some to Web Services support, but I don’t have final specifics yet. The will be enhancements to existing features, we’ll talk about those too, but for now we’ve primarily been showing the new stuff.
    Stay tuned, I’ll post more shortly, and I know that Sean Corfield is planning on commenting too.

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