Matthew J. Clemente

Into The Box 2018

Apr 26, 2018
3 minutes

I was lucky enough to attend (and speak) at this year's Into the Box conference in Houston, TX. The event is organized by Ortus Solutions, the team that created CommandBox, TestBox, and all other manner of Box products. Ortus is undeniably the leader in creating cutting edge CFML tooling and features, and I left the conference incredibly impressed at the work they're doing.

While I use CommandBox extensively, I've been slower to embrace the broader Box ecosystem - not because of any specific shortcomings in the products, but rather, because I simply haven't seen the need. FW/1 has been sufficient for my applications, and when I need something more, I've been able to write the code, or find a Github repo that fills the gap.

That assessment changed during this conference; I don't have a reason to put off diving (apologies in advance for the pun) into the Box. In session after session, I saw tooling, features, and functionality built by the Ortus Team that I wanted to use; that it would be incredibly helpful to use. In no particular order and without any attempt to be comprehensive:

  • Eric Peterson's project qb looks extremely helpful. We're considering switching DB platforms, and having a grammar agnostic query builder would streamline this process. Additionally, it would standardize practices and conventions that we've partially implemented on our own - automatically returning arrays, convenience methods to confirm the existence of a record, etc.
  • Jon Clausen discussed cbElasticSearch and I was very intrigued. While I had heard of Elasticsearch, I honestly didn't know what it was. Its speed and flexibility handling large datasets were compelling and the module for working with it looked very intuitive. Definitely a technology I want to explore further.
  • The focus on Docker in all aspects of Ortus’s development is also appealing. We’re hoping to leverage Docker more extensively into our development stack, so products built with containerization in mind are obviously going to be preferable.
  • And finally, perhaps most remarkably, I was blown away by the architecture and capabilities of ColdBox 5. There have been times, with our more complex applications, where we've needed to build conventions and configurations on top of FW/1. These are complexities that we need to maintain ourselves. I realized, as Luis Majano explained their modular approach to the framework and in speaking with Eric Peterson later, that the ColdBox ecosystem would likely support these applications, out of the box (apparently the puns cannot be avoided).

I'll certainly be posting more on ColdBox in the future, but for now, in closing, the conference was excellent. Thanks to the entire Ortus Team for all the work they put into it. Aside from the fantastic content, it was well organized - the venue was nice, the food was delicious, and they provided plenty of the two most important conference ingredients for developers: coffee and power outlets. I'm looking forward to working more with the Box offerings, and to attending next year.