Cassandra Day Atlanta 2015

As a heavy user of SQL relational databases for the past 25 years, I log into databases like MS SQL Server, MS Access, Oracle, and MySQL every single day when I’m at work. However over the past couple of years I’ve become aware that there’s a new kind of database called NoSQL which apparently are the database of choice in Big Data applications.

So earlier this year I was excited when I came across the announcement of an all day event to be held at the Galleria called Cassandra Day Atlanta. Fortunately I was able to attend this free event on March 19th and learn a few things about one of the more popular NoSQL databases, Apache Cassandra.

The event was sponsored by Datastax, a company selling an enterprise version of Cassandra along with consulting and support services. As an Apache open source project Cassandra can also be downloaded for free at But with the free version you don’t get the enterprise features provided by Datastax or the support.

Walking into the event on a rainy day at the Galleria I was initially impressed by the large turnout. I don’t know the exact count but would guess several hundred in attendance. The event was divided into three tracks for beginners, advanced users, and business executives. I stuck to the beginner track where the large room I was in was packed by at least a couple hundred people.

I attended the sessions, “Getting Started with Cassandra and Datastax”, “Getting Started with Cassandra and Python”, and “Apache Cassandra Data Modeling 101”; all of which provided an excellent introduction into the technology.

My main takeaway was that since in Cassandra there are no joins and no aggregations, you have to design the database backwards from what I’m used to in the relational model. First considering the queries needed by your application and then designing schemas to fit the queries….the opposite of relational where you first design the schema to 3rd normal form and then create queries based off the well designed schema.

All very interesting I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend.

According to DB-Engines rankings, the three most popular NoSQL databases are MongoDB, Cassandra, and Redis.

Read more about NoSQL databases here.


Salesforce Elevate Workshop Atlanta Rocked!

On January 15th I was lucky to get to attend a sold out hands-on developers workshop, Salesforce Elevate, held in midtown Atlanta’s Proscnium Building.

The entire outline for the course is available at

We started from scratch by signing up for a clean new Salesforce Developers account, then diving into declarative programming, Apex, SOQL, DML, Triggers, Visualforce Pages, and Controllers all before noon.

After lunch the class dove into the advanced portion of the workshop. The outline for which can be found here:

Subjects covered in the afternoon were, Using javascript in Visualforce pages, Salesforce1 Platform APIs, Using Static Resources, Canvas Applications, Writing Tests, and Batching and Scheduling.

It was definitely a full day for a workshop that included something for everyone, with both beginner and experienced Salesforce developers able to gain a good amount of information from the materials and exercises and interactions with the instructors who both did an awesome job!

Cloudforce 2012 Rocked in Atlanta


Attended Cloudforce in Atlanta, held at the Georgia World Congress Center on Thursday, November 1st. I’ve attended all of the past Cloudforce events in Atlanta and I have to say this year was the best and the biggest! I have no idea how many attendees were there but it must have been thousands…well 2000 at least. The marketing extravaganza at Cloudforce is always amazing…but this year was taken to a new level…blowing off the doors with glitzy videos and music pounding out a message…of what I’m not sure…but the effect was awesome…I was pumped!

There were keynotes on different product lines, Cloudforce expo with a couple dozen 3rd party vendors on display ready to answer questions and demo products, numerous break out sessions, and the main keynote featuring Vivek Kundra, former chief information officer for the USA, now a senior VP at Salesforce.

At the Cloudforce main keynote I learned about new products and features like the ipad app, Chatterbox (file sharing),,, and Chatter Communities. But the thing that always impresses me most at these Cloudforce events is the customer testimonies. We heard from GE, Toyota, E-Trade, Coca-cola, Virgin Airlines, and Commonwealth Bank (largest bank in Australia) just to name a few. Most memorable was the Toyota “social car”  which they termed the “iPhone of cars” and Coca-cola’s freestyle machines where you can create your own custom drink and then share it with friends.

Two  breakout sessions I enjoyed were “Social in Government” and the Salesforce Platform keynote. In the government session we heard from GSA’s region 4 IT exec on how the GSA used to consolidate 1700 legacy applications into 15 and then built 26 new applications in less than 6 months. All 17,000 GSA employees and contractors are on Force. We also saw examples of how Salesforce platforms are being used throughout the CDC, FDA, and New Jersey Transit Authority. In the Salesforce Platform keynote we heard from the Intercontinental Hotel Group and Home Depot where both companies built field inspection applications with In viewing the demos I also picked up a cool new feature I didn’t know about called schema builder…not to mention two free books.

The most exciting thing I learned overall at Cloudforce was the new Salesforce Touch platform, which drives Salesforce mobile apps and allows enterprises to build their own mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms in either native or HTML5 hybrid modes. One of the free books provided to attendees of the Salesforce Platform keynote was the mobile development guide for the touch platform. I’m looking forward to giving this a try ASAP!


Drupalcamp Atlanta Was the Best and Biggest Yet!

I’m still pumped from this year’s Drupalcamp…held on Saturday October 28th at the Galleria Convention Center in Cobb County where they were able to register everyone who wanted to attend in a much larger venue. As a result this was the largest Drupalcamp in Atlanta ever! This year’s schedule included pre-camp training sessions held on Friday. I attended an outstanding intro to Drupal training class from ostraining….which really helped me get more out of my Drupalcamp experience held the next day.

After the morning keynote I attended several breakout sessions throughout the day. My favorite was “Designing for Content Management Systems” by Jared Ponchot where Jared effectively explained concepts like make mantra, user types, content types, and visual hierarchy as part of the step by step process of site design. This one session totally justified Drupalcamp for me. Other sessions I enjoyed were “Beginners Guide to Views” by Steve Burge and “Lets Dig Into the Omega Theme” by Kendall Totten. For me this was by far the best Drupalcamp yet!

Group Photo

SQL Saturday #111 in Atlanta (well Alpharetta)

SQL Saturday #111 was held at Georgia State’s Alpharetta campus just off State Bridge road (hwy 120) from 9am until 5pm on a beautiful spring day in Atlanta. The event was packed…every session I attended was completely filled (no seats available) so you had to arrive early if you wanted a seat. Since my work nowadays with Microsoft SQL Server is mostly about coding T-SQL stored procedures I limited my time to the T-SQL sessions. While the entire event was outstanding…well organized…good lunch…great speakers and session topics…the entire day was made worthwhile for me by one session I attended  called T-SQL Brush-up by Jen McCown. I don’t have a ton of experience coding up T-SQL stored procs and so some of the commands Jen covered like OVER and PARTITION BY were like revelations to me. It’s always a great feeling when you are sitting at a learning event hearing things that immediately make sense and are applicable on your very next day of work. So thanks SQL Saturday #111 and Jen especially…as soon as I publish this post I’m going to start re-writing my T-SQL procedures to incorporate the things you showed me…work life suddenly became much easier!

CodeIgniter, FuelPHP, and Sparks Oh My!

The Atlanta PHP meetup in February was a good one. Nic Rosental gave an entertaining and informative talk on the ecosystem surrounding the CodeIgniter PHP framework. Nic gave a brief overview of each of these platforms:

  • CodeIgniter
  • Sparks (package manager)
  • Bonfire (framework bootstrap)
  • FuelPHP (yet another framework)
  • PyroCMS (free/commercial CMS)
  • ExpressionEngine (commercial CMS)

Before the main presentation Logan Gray gave a quick demo of CodeIgniter.

My impression of CodeIgniter is a lightweight and easy to use framework for PHP which I plan on getting into during 2012. I learned about FuelPHP for the first time at the meetup and and will definitely take an exploratory dive into this promising framework sometime soon.

The sponsor for the meetup, Thompson Technologies, provided catering from Willy’s Mexicana Grill and a Kindle Fire for the end of meeting raffle…nice!

First PHP Meetup of 2012 was a good one!

Strongbox West PHP User Group Meetup

Really enjoyed the January 2012 meetup of the Atlanta PHP User Group…held on January 19th at Strongbox West. This was a joint meeting with the Atlanta MongoDB user group and the presenter was Richard Kreuter who gave an entertaining and informative talk on the fundamentals of MongoDB. Interesting to learn that MongoDB is the database used by both Craigslist and Foursquare…who knew? The sponsor for this meetup,, provided much appreciated pizza and chicken strips as well as MongoDB coffee cup swag for all attendees. Before the meeting I hung out as usual at MidCity Cafe on West Peachtree where the feature is 1/2 price pints from 4 to 7pm was in effect! Looking forward to February’s meetup!