MXDU – Day 1 Keynote

The MXDU day-one keynote just wrapped, and was a great one. After another brilliant animated introcourtesy of Flash animation superheros Nectarine and introduction from MXDU conference ringleader Geoff Bowers (of Daemon/, the body of the keynote kicked off with zeal.
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First up, Clinton Ennis from Infomedia walked us through his current redesign project- a highly complex parts ordering system for Toyota dealers/repair shops. Originally written in DHTML (~6 months development), the time savings in Flex were considerable- multilingual support added within hours, and the skeleton of the application was brought up in less than a day. The Flex front end talks seamlessly with a backend .NET web service, a dealer/repair shop can quickly enter a VIN or license number and get all the pertinent parts for their specific automobile. Clinton took a license number from the audience and sure enough- it got it right, even down to the paint color. Awesome application.Next, Barry from Flight Center LTD previewed an in-development travel planning system for Australian customers. Originally implemented an HTML/ASP application, the change to Flex allowed Barry to considerably reduce the clicks/screen refreshes required to pull in pertinent information on available flights (and add considerable new features)- with no modification of their existing business logic required. A variety of features that had previously been implemented as pop-up windows were easily converted as well, saving customers with pop-up blockers from missing key information.Next up- Tim Buntel talked the crowd through the current ColdFusion release- ColdFusion MX 7 (a.k.a. Blackstone). Accompanied by a fantastic 60′s era soundtrack and slides, his preso was like the best merging of mime, hands-on engineering and live demos into the real-time construction of a very complex Flash-based personal profile management system (for a possibly fictional house party) using the amazing new Flash form features in CFMX 7. CFDOCUMENT features (allowing easy output to FlashPaper and PDF) were then covered before moving through a ultra-fast expose of the new ColdFusion Report Builder to rapidly implement a reporting system complete with graphs/summaries/etc. for his freshly-implemented ‘party attendee management system’. Great demo!(Tim then followed up with the more expected slide preso for CFMX 7, but I give him serious kudos for what was possibly the most innovative no-talking preso I’ve seen in some time.)Obviously that’s just a quick peek at features in CFMX 7, so I would refer any further feature curiosity (and man, there’s a LOT in this version) to the online ‘What’s New in ColdFusion 7 presentation, which gives an excellent summary of the new capabilities available to developers.Now off to hallway conversations at morning tea before the sessions begin- first up for me being the advanced Dynamic Flash session. Keep posted, more to come as the day progresses!