Duncan's blog

June 10, 2013

Scotch on the Rocks

Filed under: Coldfusion,Javascript,Web — duncan @ 5:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m just back from this year’s Scotch On The Rocks in Edinburgh. This used to be a ColdFusion-specific conference but now positions itself more for general web-development (although I’d guess easily 80-90% of attendees were CF-developers).

My colleague and ColdFusion über-blogger Adam Cameron wrote up a much better-written post about the whole event. I simply wanted to jot down a bunch of things I’d taken note of during the talks, probably more for my own benefit for future reference than anything else. These are going to seem really disjointed, apologies for that, but I’ll try and annotate them with lots of useful links. I’m also writing all this up several days after it all wrapped, so I might mis-remember some of the details; let me know anything incorrect.

Day One

1. HTML5 Mobile App Development with PhoneGap

Mark Lassoff from LearnToProgram.tv

A quick example (and fun presentation) using HTML5 and PhoneGap to develop a working app for multiple mobile devices. Useful for me, because at this stage I’m not doing any real mobile development, but I expect that to change.

He was using Sublime for his editor.

The viewport meta tag he used was something like

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1">

PhoneGap and Cordova are basically the same thing

For doing a device ready check he did this:

window.onload = function() {
  document.addEventListener('deviceready', init, false);

function init () {...}

Mark was using the DDMS view in Eclipse for debugging.


2. Mobile Frameworks Shootout!

This talk was scheduled to be by Steve Drucker of Fig Leaf, but it ended up being delivered by his CEO, Dave Gallerizzo. It was a comparison of three major Mobile frameworks.

jQuery Mobile:

  • works off one file for entire app, but in reality you would split it into separate included file
  • good for automatic filtering of lots of data
  • probably use Backbone.js for getting data
  • editors: Aptana Studio, Codiqa, Theme Roller, Brackets, Dreamweaver
  • no MVC framework
  • need 3rd party plugins – Backbone, Google jquery-ui-map
  • good for small apps

Sencha Touch:

Appcelerator Titanium:

  • Eclipse-style editor
  • MVC/XML based
  • good for native app features. Limited forms functionality
  • good for integration of audio/video/photos for native devices


3. Quit your boring 9-5er

Kay Smoljak mentioned all the following:

I’m not convinced it’s a viable idea for myself, but it was an interesting presentation anyway.


4. The number one ingredient behind (technical) success: Team

John Peebles of peebs.org and getadministrate.com gave an engrossing presentation on team building. Some random links he mentioned:

And my favourite quote of the conference, “The plural of anecdote is not data“. Although apparently the original version of the quote was the inverse of that, “The plural of anecdote is data“, but that version’s much less widely used!


5. Zombie Code

Marco Cedaro of cedmax.com speaking about bad javascript code, and going into specifics of writing better code using the AMD pattern. Although a lot of what he mentioned could also apply to other languages too. Slides available here. Some things he mentioned:

I need more time to read up on some of this stuff before thinking of using it.


6. How To Destroy The Web

Bruce Lawson of Opera delivered the most enjoyable presentation of the conference, an ironic look at how we as developers limit our websites (and much more besides).


Day 2

1. Cultured Localisation, or ‘How not to offend one billion people’

Ryan Stenhouse gave the first talk I saw, which had quite a small crowd… unfortunately this was the least professional presentation I saw. I’m not usually critical, but this didn’t meet the standards set by everyone else. His talk was just over 20 minutes compared to the 50 minute slot everyone else I saw filled. His presentation skills were sorely lacking, and he seemed genuinely embarrassed by the end. I’d been looking forward to this as well. The presentation was very similar in style and content to this one he did last year at a Ruby user group, which should give you an idea of what it was like.


2. Using personas in service design – continuously

Tuuli Aalto-Nyyssönen of Ambienta gave a fun presentation about how to use personas when planning and designing websites and apps. Some random things she mentioned:


3. Don’t become Agile, strive for agility

Chris McDermott talking about Agile and Kanban, quite interesting and introducing some things I wasn’t aware of


4. Frakking effective planning: not just for Cylons

Sally Jenkinson discussing technical planning from her position as a consultant. It wasn’t 100% relevant to me, but a good presentation nonetheless. She had a useful mindmap for common questions she always goes through when taking on new work, and I can see a similar approach (or a checklist) being of use to me.


5. Just Mock It: Discovering Mocks & Stubs!

Luis Majano of ColdBox talking about using MockBox when unit testing. I’ve seen him talk before, always entertaining. Adam wrote up a good description of this already, and we both picked up on some new ideas that we could apply to our unit testing. One thing he talked about – You shouldn’t amend your code to accommodate unit testing – this implies you’re probably making your code too complex, tightly-coupled or just aren’t mocking properly. Some links:

Phew, that’s it – mostly just a collection of links to various things which might be useful to me later. Overally – a good conference in all ways.


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