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  Think Big – Now Think Even Bigger
  Join Us at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo, November 11-13,
at the Javits Center!


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend Internet of Things at Cloud Expo in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!

Delegates to Internet of Things at Cloud Expo will be able to attend eight separate, information-packed tracks:

  • Enterprise Cloud
  • Digital Transformation
  • The API Enterprise | Mobility & Security
  • DevOps | Containers & Microservices
  • Cognitive Computing | AI, ML, DL
  • Big Data | Analytics
  • IoT | IIoT | Smart Cities
  • Hot Topics | FinTech | WebRTC

There are 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.


We'll see you in New York!



Day 3 Keynote at @ThingsExpo | Chris Matthieu, CTO of Octoblu
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu's platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
  Themes & Topics to Be Discussed

Consumer IoT
• Wearables
• Smart Appliances
• Smart Cars
• Smartphones 2.0
• Automation
• Smart Travel
• Personal Fitness
• Health Care
• Personalized Marketing
• Customized Shopping
• Personal Finance
• The Digital Divide
• Mobile Cash & Markets
• Games & The IoT
• The Future of Education
• Virtual Reality

Enterprise IoT
• The Business Case for
x IoT
• Smart Grids
• Smart Cities
• Smart Transportation
• The Smart Home
• M2M
• Authentication/Security
• Wiring the IoT
• The Internet of
x Everything
• Digital Transformation
x of Enterprise IT
• Agriculture
• Transportation
• Manufacturing
• Local & State
x Government
• Federal Government

IoT Developers | WebRTC Summit
• Eclipse Foundation
• Cloud Foundry
• Linux Containers
• Node-Red
• Open Source Hardware
• Ajax and the IoT
• Leveraging SOA
• Multi-Cloud IoT
• Evolving Standards
• WebSockets
• Security & Privacy
x Protocols
• GPS & Proximity
x Services
• Bluetooth/RFID/etc
• XMPP
• Nest Labs



The Top Keynotes, the Best Sessions, a Rock Star Faculty and the Most Qualified Delegates of ANY Internet of Things Event!


The future of computing lies in these things. As computing takes a much more active role in our lives it will at the same time become much more invisible. Internet of Things Expo will address the challenges in getting from where we are today to this future.
 
The high-energy event is a must-attend for senior technologists from CEOs on down – including CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, and communications and networking specialists.




@ThingsExpo Power Panel | The World's Many IoTs: Which Are the Most Important?
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Benefits of Attending the Three-Day Technical Program
  LEARNexactly why Internet of Things is relevant today from an economic, business and technology standpoint.
  HEAR first-hand from industry experts the common issues and requirements for creating a platform for the Internet of Things.
  SEE what new tools and approaches the Internet of Things requires.
  DISCOVER how to drive a distributed approach to the Internet of Things, where applications move to the data.
  FIND OUThow the vast volumes of new data produced by the Internet of Things provides a valuable new source of business insight through advanced analytical techniques.
  MASTER how the ongoing development of smart cities, cars, and houses will enhance connectivity infrastructure.
Lunch Power Panel | Microservices & IoT- Moderated by Jason Bloomberg
In this Power Panel at @DevOpsSummit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, president of Intellyx, panelists Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana; Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks; and Troy Topnik, ActiveState's Technical Product Manager; and Otis Gospodnetic, founder of Sematext; peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem filling in your buzzword bingo cards.


ColdFusion Components and Data Abstraction
CFCs provide basic object functionality to CF developers part 2

In my last column we looked at using ColdFusion Components to abstract database access, essentially divorcing presentation code from anything database specific. As you will recall, the benefit of this was that when a database change occurred (a column being renamed, for example), presentation code was not impacted at all. In this column I'II take this concept one step further.

Beyond Simple Abstraction
First, let's review. Here is simple code to retrieve a list of employees:


<!--- Get employees --->
<CFINVOKE COMPONENT="emps"
          METHOD="list"
          RETURNVARIABLE="employees">

<!--- Display list --->
<UL>
 <CFOUTPUT QUERY="employees">
  <LI>#LastName#, #FirstName#</LI>
 </CFOUTPUT>
</UL>

<CFINVOKE> invokes list in component emps, which obtains an employee list. emps.cfc contains (as we left it last month), with two methods: list is used to obtain a list of users, and update is used to update an employee's name (see Listing 1). So far so good.

Components Are NOT Query Replacements
Thus far we've used CFCs and methods as simple query replacements. That's not a bad place to start, and if you were to never again use a <CFQUERY> in your .cfm files, that would be a very good thing indeed.

But CFCs aren't designed to simply be inline query replacements. In fact, CFCs need not map to database tables or queries at all. For example, if you had an online store you'd probably work with several types of components:

  • A customer component to provide access to customer specifics and any customer related processing
  • A catalog component used for catalog lists and searches
  • An item component used to obtain item specifics, as well as pricing, availability, images, and more
  • An order component
  • and so on
These components may map to tables. Internally, a customer may indeed be a single row in a database table. But then again, it may not. The truth is that internal storage doesn't really matter. What's more important is that components are logical entities used to encapsulate and abstract related functionality. In more understandable terms, components are like little black boxes that contain everything you need to perform specific operations for specific functions.

Components As Objects
This brings us to the subject of using components as objects. The best way to understand this concept is with another example. Look at the following code:


<!--- Get employees object --->
<CFOBJECT COMPONENT="emps"
          NAME="emp">

<!--- Get employees --->
<CFINVOKE COMPONENT="#emp#"
          METHOD="list"
          RETURNVARIABLE="employees">

<!--- Display list --->
<UL>
 <CFOUTPUT QUERY="employees">
  <LI>#LastName#, #FirstName#</LI>
 </CFOUTPUT>
</UL>

If you were to run this code, it would generate the exact same output as the previous invocation example. But something is very different here.

Previously, <CFINVOKE> was used to access a component and then invoke a method. It did both of those tasks, all in one tag. Here we have separated the component access from the method invocation. <CFOBJECT> loads the component as an object - the new object is named emp. This <CFOBJECT> call does not execute any method; in fact, no method name is even specified. It is <CFINVOKE> that invokes the list method in the already loaded component object. (Notice that #'s are used in the COMPONENT attribute in <CFINVOKE. This is because it refers to a variable as opposed to a file name).

The advantage of this type of access and invocation is that it allows for components to be instantiated (obtain an instance of) independent of any method invocation. This allows for multiple invocations against the same component (perhaps a series of inserts or updates). It also allows components to persist (to stick around, especially if the object is in a persistent scope like SESSION or APPLICATION). And it allows for alternate forms of invocation. Look at this example:


<!--- Get employees object --->
<CFOBJECT COMPONENT="emps"
          NAME="emps">

<!--- Get employees --->
<CFSET employees=emps.list()>

<!--- Display list --->
<UL>
 <CFOUTPUT QUERY="employees">
  <LI>#LastName#, #FirstName#</LI>
 </CFOUTPUT>
</UL>

Once again, the code here accomplishes the same result as in the previous examples, but notice that there's no <CFINVOKE> tag used here. Rather, a simple <CFSET> is used to save the results of emp.list() (the list method in component emp) to a variable named employees.

This form of invocation is used when working with objects, which is what the component here is being used as. Once a component is loaded as an object, it can be used in lots of different ways, and repeatedly too.

Methods, More Methods, and Even More Methods
Now you know how to use components as objects. Great. Now what? The next step is to define all sorts of methods in your component, methods for anything you may need to know about or do.

For example, imagine we had a second component we could use. Unlike emps.cfc which is used to access all employees (lists of employees), emp.cfc provides access to a single employee, and everything that you'd need to know about him or her.

Look at this simple invocation in Listing 2. <CFOBJECT> instantiates the employee object, just as we saw previously. But which employee's object is this? Actually, it's not associated with any employee - we'd need to do that ourselves. The <CFSET> statement invokes an Init method (as in initialize) and passes an employee ID as an argument (we've hard-coded it to 22 here, but you could pass a variable or any expression instead).

Once initialized, the employee object can provide access to everything you'd want to know about an employee. The GetName method (invoked as #emp.GetName()#) returns the employee name, GetStartDate returns the employee start date (which is formatted using the DateFormat() function), GetYears returns the number of years at the company, and EligibleForCar returns true if the employee has worked long enough to be entitled to a company car (hey, we can all dream!). Load the object once, initialize it, and then use it over and over as needed.

All of the code is presentation code. There is no database access, there is no logic, no calculations (as would be needed to figure our company car eligibility). All of that is buried in the little black box, the component. And once that component has been instantiated and initialized, all of the other methods can be invoked as needed.

So what does the emp.cfc component look like? And how does it remember the employee that it is associated with? The code is shown at Listing 3.

Component emp.cfc contains lots of methods. Init is an important one; it requires that an employee ID be passed to it as an argument, and it then uses it to query a database for employee details (using the emp_id in the SQL WHERE clause). The query name is THIS.emp, THIS is a special scope that refers to the CFC itself. As the query is placed into THIS, it persists for as long as the query does, and will be usable on subsequent method invocations. This is why, after calling init in the calling page, the code was able to make all of those subsequent method invocations. The GetName method returns an employee name, extracted from the saved query. The CFC need not query the database again, as the query created in init still exists (in THIS).

GetFirstName and GetLastName do exactly what their names suggest. They are not used in our example, but you will generally want to create all the methods that you may end up using at some point. There's no downside to doing this, and the extra effort up front will make the components far more reusable.

GetStartDate returns the employee start date stored in the table. GetYears uses the start date to calculate the numbers of years of employment. This is a great example of the type of calculation that's too often erroneously placed in presentation code (where it's used, but where it absolutely does not belong). The EligibleForCar method is similar; it does the calculation (need to have been employed for at least 5 years) and simply returns true or false. This type of calculation does not belong in presentation code, ever. Logic, business rules, data abstraction, all of that and more belong in CFC code. Presentation code is for, well, presentation.

We're Just Getting Started
We've just scratched the surface. CFCs are the most important enhancement to the CFML language since the language was first created almost a decade ago. At a minimum, CFCs should subtract all database access. I'll say it again, no more <CFQUERY> tags in your presentation code.

But beyond simple database abstraction, ColdFusion Components should be used for all data abstraction, including calculations, business logic, any data processing, and more.

Yes, it takes a little more time up front. But once you try it you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that it really is just a little more time.

And the upside?

  • More reusable code.
  • More manageable code.
  • Performance gains (when using persistence properly).
  • Dramatically reduced risks when making changes.
  • The ability to easily replace or add presentation layers. (Need a Flash front end? Flex? Web services? Those are all alternate presentation layers against the same back-end CFC).
In other words, there's plenty to gain, and nothing to lose.

Summary
ColdFusion Components, first introduced in ColdFusion MX, provide the fundamental building blocks used to design applications the right way. They provide some of the power of objects while retaining the simplicity that is uniquely ColdFusion. In the last column we looked at basic data abstraction, separating data (and data integration) from presentation. This time we looked at encapsulating more than just data processing, persistence, and more. For your next project, you'll most decidedly want to use ColdFusion Components.

About Ben Forta
Ben Forta is Adobe's Senior Technical Evangelist. In that capacity he spends a considerable amount of time talking and writing about Adobe products (with an emphasis on ColdFusion and Flex), and providing feedback to help shape the future direction of the products. By the way, if you are not yet a ColdFusion user, you should be. It is an incredible product, and is truly deserving of all the praise it has been receiving. In a prior life he was a ColdFusion customer (he wrote one of the first large high visibility web sites using the product) and was so impressed he ended up working for the company that created it (Allaire). Ben is also the author of books on ColdFusion, SQL, Windows 2000, JSP, WAP, Regular Expressions, and more. Before joining Adobe (well, Allaire actually, and then Macromedia and Allaire merged, and then Adobe bought Macromedia) he helped found a company called Car.com which provides automotive services (buy a car, sell a car, etc) over the Web. Car.com (including Stoneage) is one of the largest automotive web sites out there, was written entirely in ColdFusion, and is now owned by Auto-By-Tel.

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Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
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How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
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Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
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