Commingled with the fun and excitement of attending this year's CFUNITED conference was an acknowledged sadness associated with knowing it was to be the last. We've grown accustomed to seeing each other once a year (for some not often enough, for others...just the right amount) and the loss of an opportunity to reconnect is a moment we should recognize and appreciate.
Many of us can say a lot of the same things about CFUNITED: we've seen great and not-so-great presentations, enjoyed great and not-so-great food, partied into the wee hours racking up bar tabs that were impressive or simply outrageous, and met the people that we call our community. Or more accurately: our friends.
A community without a place to commune isn't complete, and simply doing it on the internet isn't enough. Michael Smith and the TeraTech/Stellr team identified the need for a physical place for our rabid online community to gather outside of DevCon/MAX and user group meetings. The creation of CFUN and subsequent evolution (and growth) into CFUNITED gave us just that place. CFUNITED became one of those few gatherings that was both technically *and* socially valuable to the full spectrum of ColdFusion developers. CFUNITED also helped other members of the community identify the things they wanted in a conference, implicitly leading to the creation of cf.Objective to cater to the advanced CF crowd with many others to follow suit in their own way. All of these things added credibility and value to our community as a whole.
It is for those reasons CFUNITED will always represent a special place and time for us all. This conference turned newbies into real developers, the fortuitous hallway/bar conversations turned intermediate developers into professionals, and creative topic selections turned quiet cube monkeys into amazing speakers and teachers. Simply being together made us all feel a little less weird for being so enthusiastic about what ColdFusion enables us to do.
So as we move ahead without another CFUNITED on the calendar, I hope we all remember that the community is more important than any one event, that none of these things that we appreciate would be here without our continued passion and participation, and that it's important for us to support the things we have and the things to come. Doug Boude said it best: "now that one of the larger trees in the forest has sadly fallen, the vacancy it leaves us with is the opportunity and catalyst to allow for the currently smaller, more focused, and/or regional conferences to flourish and fill this niche."
NCDevCon, BFusion/BFlex, cf.Objective, RIA Unleashed, D2WC, and tons of user group meetings (online and in person) happen every single year. MAX will always be there with the extremely promising CF Unconference component. Out of the collective will of the ColdFusion community new events will emerge, and as they do we'll find our new normal. We've inherited a great gift: a passionate community and proof that there is significant interest in conferences at all skill levels.
This is a fond farewell and thank you to CFUNITED for what its creation and ending have done for our community. Thank you, everyone, who ever attended and made my CFUNITED experience better as both an attendee and speaker. I look forward to the day we're all in the same place again.