An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

Entries for month: October 2009

cf.Objective() 2010 - Update

October 28, 2009 ·

The Content Advisory Board (twelve of last year's speakers) have just finished their initial selection of topics and potential speakers for the four tracks at cf.Objective() 2010. Best Meetings, the cf.Objective() conference planner, will be sending out invites shortly, asking a variety of speakers to submit on topics that we've picked. Since this all happens behind the scenes, I thought it would be worth a blog post to explain the process. The CAB start by approving the tracks (we'll have four in 2010, very similar to the 2009 tracks) and then pick about a dozen topics they think 'fit' in each track. Some of these topics are popular staples, some are deliberately bleeding edge and / or very advanced, in keeping with the conference's reputation. Next, the CAB pick up to three speakers for each topic so that we get a chance to see multiple submissions on each topic and can pick what we think sounds like the best content for the attendees. Some speakers get multiple topic invites, some get only one. An invite is not a guarantee that you'll be picked but it gives you 'first shot' at slots on the schedule (indeed, about half the submissions are rejected precisely because we invite multiple speakers to submit on each topic!). Our goal is to fill about 80% of the schedule this way. Once we have the initial responses in, we'll open a public Call For Papers for general submissions to fill most of the remaining 20% (the platinum sponsor gets four slots plus a keynote). I think the CAB have done a great job this year and we have some great topics lined up. As soon as we can confirm speaker submissions, I'll post a list. In the meantime, here's the CAB volunteers:
  • Architecture & Design in Software
    • Brian Kotek
    • Brian Meloche
    • Matt Woodward
  • RIA: Flex / Ajax / AIR
    • Laura Arguello
    • John Mason
    • Dan Wilson
  • Process & Methodology (including Frameworks)
    • Mark Drew
    • Adam Haskell
    • Kurt Wiersma
  • Tools & Integration
    • Jeff Coughlin
    • Peter Farrell
    • Bill Shelton
Thank you!

Tags: coldfusion · flex · cfobjective

More Flex / ColdFusion Training This Weekend!

October 23, 2009 ·

After the success of CFinNC, I wanted to remind people about BFusion/BFlex which is happening this weekend (Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th) in Bloomington, IN. Saturday is ColdFusion day, Sunday is Flex day. Each day is just $10 and offers a choice of three all-day training courses or three full tracks of sessions (two intermediate and one advanced)! You can still register here for the conference! More information about the content each day:
BFusion is a full day of hands-on ColdFusion training. It features a true beginners track, a beginners track for programmers new to ColdFusion, an intermediate track on framework-based development, and other hands-on sessions for intermediate and advanced developers. BFlex is a full day of hands-on Flash Platform development with Flex, AIR, Catalyst, and Flash Builder. It also features beginner and true beginner tracks, as well as hands-on sessions for intermediate and advanced developers. New this year is a track for designers looking to use Adobe Flash Catalyst for developing Rich Internet Applications.
Check the web site for hotel availability if you're not local!

Tags: flex · coldfusion

CFinNC Rocked!

October 20, 2009 ·

Now that I'm back from CFinNC and (almost) caught up on lost sleep, I wanted to share my thoughts about this event (and the trend it represents). First off, huge kudos and thanx to Dan Wilson, Jim Priest and the entire TACFUG crew who put on this event! It was well organized (especially for a first attempt) and I'd rate the content - and the networking - right up there with some of the best ColdFusion conferences I've attended. The fact that it was free did not mean that quality suffered at all - well done to all those involved! After a smooth and well-staffed registration process, Adam Lehman presented his opening "not a keynote" talk, pointing out that he was technically on vacation and it was a bit odd doing a keynote-style talk now that ColdFusion 9 has actually been released! He covered a lot of ground in a nice, relaxed style that went over well with the crowd (which included quite a few folks for whom this was all news anyway). On day two, Joe Rinehart opened with an "inspirational" keynote-style piece based loosely on his CFUnited keynote. He explained why he'd fallen in love with ColdFusion and then drifted away and how he'd recently fallen in love all over again, this time with the community and what they'd shown ColdFusion is capable of. It was a good, upbeat talk that also went over well with the crowd.

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Tags: cfinnc · coldfusion

ColdFusion and the Open Source Landscape

October 18, 2009 ·

This morning I presented ColdFusion and the Open Source Landscape (PDF, 544k) at the awesome CFinNC conference. The feedback has been good so far so I wanted to get the slides online quickly for everyone to download / read. The talk covers several aspects of open source development in ColdFusion and gives some insights into the For ColdFusion Foundation (4CFF).

Tags: coldfusion · oss · cfinnc · 4cff

Databases supported by Railo

October 15, 2009 ·

A question just came in from a prospective Railo user: "What databases does Railo support?" I answered it in email directly to that user but figured it was worth a blog post so others can easily see the full list:
  • DB2
  • Firebird
  • H2 Database Engine
  • HSQLDB (Hypersonic SQL DB)
  • MSSQL - Microsoft SQL Server (Vendor Microsoft)
  • MSSQL - Microsoft SQL Server (Vendor jTDS)
  • MySQL
  • JDBC-ODBC Bridge (for Access,MSSQL)
  • Oracle
  • Other - JDBC Driver
  • PostgreSQL
  • Sybase
Of course, since you can configure any JDBC driver directly (under the "Other" option), you can use Railo with any database for which you can get a JDBC driver but most people are interested in the default, out-of-the-box list. We'll be adding support for Apache Derby in a future release.

Tags: coldfusion · oss · railo

FW/1 - Framework One Updated

October 12, 2009 ·

Since I promised to keep most news about my lightweight, convention-based MVC framework, FW/1 on the RIAForge project blog, this is just a quick to say it's had a few updates and is currently at build 0.6.3. Recent updates have mostly been bug fixes as more and more people start using the framework and some FW/1 sites are now in production which of course makes me very happy! I'm planning to complete the Reference Manual soon and make another pass over the Developer's Guide and examples. I hope to declare a stable 1.0 release fairly soon!

Tags: oss · fw1 · coldfusion

Adobe MAX 2009 - Day Three

October 08, 2009 ·

I spent most of the morning in the ColdFusion Unconference and most of the afternoon in the 360|Flex Unconference. Kurt Wiersma opened with his presentation about leveraging frameworks. I'd seen this (it's a good preso) so I hung out in the community lounge, mostly talking to potential consulting clients. Josh Adams was up next with a fascinating talk about iPhone development. I'd expected this to be a bit of a cop-out about developing pure web apps for Safari on the iPhone but it actually dug into the whole process of how to use the SDK and some JavaScript frameworks to build native applications (using JS, CSS and HTML instead of Objective-C). Josh also went into the interactions you have to have with Apple to get apps launched on their store and provided lots of insight about problems you can hit and steps you can take to avoid them. Overall, a much more interesting talk than I had expected and enough to make me consider at least trying to build some test apps with the iPhone SDK now! In the afternoon I watched Justin McLean at the 360|Flex Unconference show us how to connect up Flex and simple hardware to create some fun, interesting toys and tools. It's been a long time since I played with electronics and I was a bit shocked as to how small, cheap and powerful things have become! Definitely an entertaining and informative talk! After that I stayed for Elad Elrom's overview of AIR 2.0 features and was very impressed by the native integration coming to AIR apps in 2010. Unfortunately, I don't have access to early builds so Elad's demos were an exquisite tease! :) For the last session of the day I went back to the ColdFusion Unconference where Ray had hoped for a couple of Adobe folks to show up for an open roundtable. Instead we were treated to nine members of the ColdFusion team who fielded all sorts of penetrating questions covering the full spectrum of ColdFusion issues from marketing to education to image to specific technical topics. It was a very good session with a lot of insight being offered into decisions and processes and some very reassuring words about the solid future of ColdFusion at Adobe. And then it was time to say goodbye until MAX returns to Los Angeles in October 2010 (24th-27th). For me, it was good value (the $200 exhibit hall pass provided access to general sessions, sneaks and a lot of networking) and, despite my reservations about the low 'buzz' factor, it was a good experience with some great material presented at the Unconferences. I'd definitely do it again (but still can't imagine paying the full conference ticket to attend regular sessions in addition).

Tags: adobemax09

Adobe MAX 2009 - Day Two

October 08, 2009 ·

The Unconference saw much better attendance on the second day and had a very lively roundtable discussion about the use of / pros and cons of Object-Oriented techniques in CFML which everyone seemed to enjoy. Adobe's Terrence Ryan presented on how to 'sell' ColdFusion to non-ColdFusion developers, Kevin Schmidt suffered some technical issues and ended up just sitting down with us all and talking about using ColdFusion to power Flex. Laura Arguello presented on Mango Blog (rescheduled from Monday) and during her talk I downloaded, installed and configured Mango Blog - it's very impressive and when I rebuild my site (fairly soon - I just need to find the time!), I'll switch from my ancient build of BlogCFC (3.5.2 with a custom Fusebox skin) to Mango Blog instead! Tuesday also saw the Day Two Keynote / General Session and the MAX Awards and Sneak Peeks. The keynote focused mostly on demos of what people are doing with Adobe technologies and some of it was quite impressive. The most eye-catching was the "augmented reality" demo of AKQA's USPS virtual box simulator (see the YouTube video of the simulator for more details). The second most impressive demo was probably FedEx's Custom Critical vehicle tracking system which showcased Flex and LiveCycle: real-time mapping, temperature sensors, live communication with drivers and integration with an AI engine that constantly evaluates the data coming in and makes recommendations to solve problems and tune the business. I hate to admit that I can't remember what else they demoed! The awards were hosted by Mark Hammill in a very brisk, efficient manner with extremely brief video clips of each nominee. A couple of the nominees were truly impressive but it really went by a bit too fast to take much in (which is still better than the awards segment dragging on and on as they have sometimes in the past). The sneaks were therefore all in a Star Wars theme which added humor but got a bit forced at times. Mark Hammill was very good natured about the obvious fact that he clearly had no idea what most of the engineers were talking about during their demos, as he sat on a couch stage left with Ted Patrick (as Obi-Wan), who introduced each demo. The sneaks focused almost entirely on the creative side of the house with the usual stunning demo of an upcoming Photoshop feature (content-aware spot healing / fill). Server side ActionScript made another appearance, this time with seamless debugging across client and server (Adam Lehman later said we should not assume that ColdFusion is not involved in this prototype technology - excuse the double-negative!). Another cool ActionScript debugging sneak was edit/continue (where you can edit/fix code live while debugging and simply continue your debugging session with the newly edited code, without the current quit/rebuild/restart loop. After the sneaks, the Adobe MAX Bash took place with food and drink in four locations around L.A. Live. I spent the evening in the Conga Room listening to the live salsa band (and saw almost no CFers there - no surprise, I guess).

Tags: adobemax09

Adobe MAX 2009 - Day One

October 05, 2009 ·

The opening keynote had its ups and downs today. There was a lot of exciting news about the upcoming Flash Player 10.1 version which brings better memory management (and some impressive automatic reductions in memory usage), better performance on lower-powered devices and multi-touch support - with plenty of cool demos of smart phones and netbooks. It's really the first time Adobe's message about mobile Flash has gotten my attention, mostly because this time the release dates are all "soon" (first half of 2010) as opposed to "coming to Japan next year and eventually to the US". The CEO of Omniture told us lots about himself and how great his company is and completely overstayed his welcome (if you hadn't heard, Adobe is buying Omniture). The "enterprise" section of the keynote was pretty dull as well - but at least the Adobe staffers had the good grace to joke about how unexcited we'd probably be about new LiveCycle stuff. ColdFusion got a few mentions (and applause each time of course) but not much was made of the fact that CF9 was released today. Still, the day two keynote is traditionally when they dive deeper into technology and CF gets more coverage. We also got a quick run through of some upcoming new stuff in some of the Creative Suite products which got lots of oohs and aahs from the large creative contingent in the audience. And then the real treat: a preview of several scenes from the upcoming James Cameron movie, Avatar, in 3-D, introduced by Jon Landau. Very impressive! Definitely one to watch when it comes out in the middle of December. As we filed out, we picked up CDs containing ColdFusion 9, ColdFusion Builder Beta 2, Flash Builder 4 Beta 2 and Flash Catalyst Beta 2 so no need to download anything (thankfully!). I spent the rest of the day at the ColdFusion Unconference with talks by Scott Stroz (setting up a local development environment), Dan Wilson (AIR and CF9 integration), Mike Brunt (server monitoring, load testing and tuning). Some good stuff in each of those talks but attendance was lower than I expected (and much lower than last year). At 6pm the sponsor reception began with some pretty good food (and beer and wine of course). I think this was the first time I've ever done the "passport stamp" thing but the prizes are pretty good so it's worth a shot :) Then it was meet the team time. The CF team was very informal and mostly encouraged folks to eat pizza, drink beer and hang out for the first hour. I gather a lot of questions were asked in the second hour but I'd retired to the hotel by that point. Overall then, not as "wow!" as many previous keynotes and the conference as a whole seems more subdued and smaller in scale than the last few years. It'll be interesting to see what Tuesday's keynote brings...

Tags: adobemax09

Improving ColdFusion Open Source Software

October 02, 2009 ·

One of the common complaints I hear about ColdFusion's popularity (or perceived lack thereof) is that we don't have any of the 'killer' open source applications that make PHP (or insert language of choice) so popular. If you look around at great open source applications (MediaWiki, Drupal, Wordpress, Apache, OpenOffice, Linux, Firefox etc), they all have a few things in common:
  • A dedicated team of developers - and documentation authors and testers and so on
  • An organization that helps with project logistics, community management, marketing and so on
  • Financial support of some form - usually in terms of sponsorship for infrastructure, sometimes in terms of actually paying people to work on the project
In the CF community, we have none of these. A handful of open source projects have a small team of developers, rather than being just a lone developer. Some projects have infrastructure (e.g., Trac/SVN) donated by a company - and that includes RIAForge and any of the source code hosting companies that offer free plans for open source projects. What if an organization existed to help open source CFML projects grow? What if that organization could offer infrastructure, assistance with project logistics and marketing, and could help marshal volunteers to encourage better documentation and testing and so on? That's the idea behind the For ColdFusion Foundation. 4CFF was announced at CFUnited as a incorporated, non-profit organization with a board of directors in place and a set of bylaws based on the Apache Foundation. The goal of 4CFF is:
The For ColdFusion Foundation (4CFF) is a non-profit dedicated to helping the ColdFusion Community at-large through fostering a collaborative environment for ColdFusion Free Open-Source Software Projects and their Developer Communities, so that we all may enjoy great software.
Since CFUnited, 4CFF has been working on logistics and is close to announcing the first two open source projects that will be moving under the 4CFF umbrella. It's early days for the foundation but you can read more about the concepts behind it and the people involved on the 4CFF website and you can follow announcements on Twitter. You can join the foundation's free membership mailing list or send your thoughts to the foundation, via the 4CFF website. If you're at MAX, quite a few of the board will be there and you can ask your questions in person. Look for the Space Chimps!

Tags: 4cff · adobemax09 · coldfusion · oss