ColdFusion Muse

Kevin Hoyt on ColdFusion 9

You may or may not know that the Muse' company, CF Webtools, sponsors the Nebraska ColdFusion User's Group (NE CFUG). Actually all the real work is done by our ColdFusion and Linux Guru, Ryan Stille who's energy keeps ColdFusion thriving here in the heartland. Last night we heard a presentation by the affable and knowledgeable (and really really tall) Kevin Hoyt. He spent about 2 hours both in presentation and chatting with us afterward. He was pretty cool and called his presentation a "slide deck" and talked about how the "newbies" put in too many "transitions". Oh you Adobe people and your fancy pants lingo. What will you think of next.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a ColdFusion zealot. I know that's not news to my regular readers, but it bears mentioning in case I slip up and say something negative. All in all the Muse has been thrilled with each release of ColdFusion and I have waited with bated (or is it baited) breath for each Beta (or is it Baita) version. When CF 8 came out I rewrote our entire tracking and project management system to take advantage of the new UI features. I'm an early adopter and a CF enthusiast. Also I should note that, although I have the beta version of CF 9, I will only be talking about what was in the presentation. Here's my take.

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Coldfusion IDEs Part II - Projects Vs. Work Orders

Many of you enjoyed (or were irritated by) my previous post on the "Great Coldfusion IDE Debate". In that post I introduced Warren - a Coldfusion developer who approaches development from a technical and practical viewpoint. Many of you pointed out that Warren was a stereotype. Thanks for noticing. I would add that water is wet, Bill Gates is rich and Dick Chaney is a bad shot. Of course it is worth noting (as I did previously) that you need the qualities of both a technical and design oriented developer to make a complete skill set. Meanwhile the point of the previous post was that when we talk about a new "Coldfusion IDE" we are not really targeting design folks. Instead we are targeting technical coders who are involved in creating CFCs, interacting with databases and data and doing the "heavy lifting" on the server. In short, we are targeting Warren. In this post I would like to talk a little more about some of the challenges a technical coder faces in development, and how such challenges relate to a chosen IDE. In particular I would like to talk about the dichotomy between high end and low end development - between "projects" and "work orders".

NOTE: As before, remember that when you comment you do so as a guest. I realize you may have strong feelings on this topic. Just keep in mind that this is my bully pulpit. Now back to our regularly scheduled post.

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The Great Coldfusion IDE Debate

I've been following with some interest the discussion regarding a Coldfusion IDE that has been raging on CF-Talk since yesterday. Ok, maybe "raging" is a bit much. How about "simmering". The thread started when someone requested that CF-Talkers get the word out about a survey being done to determine how Coldfusion Coders use development tools. I blogged about the survey a couple days ago. Of course anytime you bring up Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and coding practices you inflame the passions of the CF faithful. In the next post or two I will try to boil down the issues into some nice categories that may prove useful for discussion. Today's issues are:

  • Cross-platform Compatibility
  • Why Not Dreamweaver

Muse Note: My regular readers know that I love and appreciate comments - but topics like this always invite people to air pet arguments or grievances against this platform or that. Keep in mind as you comment that you are invited to do so as a guest. Be civil and reasonable - even if you are disputing something that I or another guest have said - thanks!

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Take the Coldfusion IDE Survey!

If you are a Coldfusion developer you need to fill out this survey. None of the existing IDE's score high enough to be called "really great" (in my view). I'm really glad to see someone investigating the possibilities of a new IDE.

Joe Rinehart on Sys-Con's Propaganda

I don't usually favor chain blogging, but I thought this was worth repeating. I was reading a post by Coldfusion legend Ben Forta that he wrote on Oct 12th - immediately after sys-con published their now infamous Coldfusion demise article. Ben (as always) was succinct and took exactly the right tone in my opinion. It was while reading the comments however, that I stumbled onto a comeback that makes my top 10 list for funniest flames. Model-glue guru Joe Rinehart quoted the infinite monkey theorem:

"Given an infinite amount of monkeys, an infinite amount of typewriters, and an infinite amount of time, they'd eventually write Hamlet."
Then he followed it up by saying that if you applied the theorem to the sys-con article it would take "...two monkeys (one deceased), one typewriter and ten minutes" to produce it.

Thanks Joe. That was precious. It's the one deceased that really had me cackling. I'll put that one in my quip arsenal.

CW Article Favoritable to Coldfusion ( In anUnrelated Story, Hell Freezes Over)

In an article posted on Oct 5th by Computer World titled Can Adobe make Coldfusion hot again, CW says some shockingly nice things about Coldfusion. Now if they can please stop comparing it to Ajax. I hate it editors can't distinguish between the client side and the server side.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly: MAX in Review

This is the first MAX I've attended since the Adobe bought Macromedia. My overall take is positive. Adobe has certainly provided a great venue for developer networking. The community lounge, "AIR" park and the various spaces are configured to be comfortable "hang outs" centering around various technologies and by and large they work really well. All the sessions are recorded and the docs are available pretty quickly.

The conference was pretty lavish as well. The last 2 nights featured parties with an open bar and excellent food (including late night pizza!). The meals were excellent and the conference facility (McCormick place west) was awesome. And now... the rest of the story....

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Coldfusion Abandoned in Favor of Client Side Tools (Film at 11:00)

The Coldfusion Developers Journal (CFDJ) is being discontinued by sys-con. You can read about it here. If you look closely it appears that the tech-savvy editors of the former CFDJ have determined (no doubt through research and careful analysis) that Coldfusion developers are fleeing to Ajax, Flex and Silverlight. Quoting the erstwhile Engin Sezci, "We have seen a rapid trend and move from ColdFusion to other emerging rich web technologies such as AJAX, Flex, and Silverlight.".

I was surprised to learn that developers mostly concerned with server side technologies are trading in their work boots for tasseled loafers and moving to the client side. One wonders if the editors of the former CFDJ have ever even seen a live Coldfusion application. I suspect Mr. Sezci is an offshore outsource editor. Certainly if they are paying him more than 5.00 an hour they are getting ripped off. Coldfusion is from Mars and Ajax is from Venus (Flex is from sentari 5 - an advanced technological planet). If anything, with the tight integration of Flex and Ajax - CF is more entrenched than ever as the server side component.

Perhaps the best quote of the day came from the inestimable Dave Watts on the BACFUG mailing list. "In a similar vein," wrote Dave, "I've decided to abandon bicycles in favor of oranges."

Scoropio's Integration Tools and Widgets

A few posts ago I wrote about Scorpio for the developer. I was reviewing a topic covered by Adam Lehman at our local Coldfusion User Group. His topic was presented in 3 parts. The first part (covered in the previous post) had to do with developer tools or widgets that are features of the language. His second part had to do with integration. Here's the rundown:

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Open Source Client Side Libraries - What Could Go Wrong?

Reader Ken Auenson made some insightful comments on my previous post regarding "Scorpio" - the upcoming ColdFusion 8 release. Regarding my concern about keeping client side code up to date with the latest browser compatible version he said the following:

"...Adobe is utilizing open source products can that can be directly edited as non-encrypted files. He [Ben Forta] actually mentioned that the calendar widget was taken from the Yahoo UI API and it would be possible to modify it yourself if you needed additional functionality. I took this to mean that we would upgrade/enhance them as we want/need to, so we shouldn't have to rely on CF putting out an upgrade to CF when new versions of these products are turned out."

I starting writing a response but it turned out to be lengthy so I decided a follow up post is in order. I certainly don't disagree with Ken's take in the short run, and I got the same impression from Adam's presentation. Still, although this might seem like a free pass to the zoo, it is actually a double edged sword.

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Scorpio For the Developer

No it is not the latest movie by Jean Claude Van Damme, nor is it a perfume by Este' Lauder. Scorpio is the code name for the next version of ColdFusion. At our meeting of the Nebraska Coldfusion User Group last night we heard a great presentation from ColdFusion specialist Adam Lehman previewing this enticing product. Needless to say it whetted our appetite. Here's some of the scoop.

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BlueDragon 7 - Coldfusion's Little Sister is Growing Up

You probably already know about BlueDragon. It's a fine ap server from the folks over at New Atlanta (the makers of Jturbo and ServletExec). BlueDragon is an interpretive engine for CFML that is a direct competitor to Coldfusion. Last night I was privileged to see a presentations by Josh Adams from New Atlanta at the Nebraska CFUG on the upcoming release of Blue Dragon 7. I have always thought that one of the knocks on BlueDragon is that BD is forced to play "catch up". The folks at New Atlanta have to wait and see what features appear in Coldfusion and then hurry to implement them in the next version of BD. I was pleasantly pleased and surprised to see that the next version of BlueDragon may force Adobe to play a bit of catch up on their own. It has a number of quite innovative features and I was duly impressed. Here are some of the more impressive things I saw or heard about.

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Coldfusion 8 Wishlist Survery

CF developer Tariq Ahmed has posted a survey based on the Coldfusion 8 wish list. He's going to compile the results and share them on Aug. 11th. Let's fill it out and give Adobe some real feedback.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=354942405396

Merger Mania and Nervous Developers

Now that Adobe and Macromedia are one big happy family the wave of anxiety is cresting once more toward the shores of our tranquil Coldfusion Island. Contrary to what the uninitiated might think, technology people are quite passionate and they invest a great deal of themselves in their work. When it comes to passion, we Coldfusion developers are the Rudolph Valentino of the IT world - second only to hard core open source Linux fanatics. Our favorite spokesman, Ben Forta, is officially titled an "evangelist" - one who spreads the "good news". It pains us to think that something we care about might be diminished in some way by a corporate conglomerate with no thought other than the bottom line.

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Coldfusion Panic - why CF coders scare easily

CF coders are a curious lot. They tend to be among the more engaged members of the I.T. community - at least for a product with a reputation for running mostly on Windows (ha). Each time a merger happens there is a great hue and cry from the CF community about what it "means" for Coldfusion. You design folks will have to forgive us (well you don't have to... but it would be nice) for our lack of inner fortitude. There are some reasons for our panic - though none probably based in reality. We are just afraid of losing hard fought gains in the I.T. arena. Here's a list of items (in random order) that make me panic when I think they are in jeopardy.

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