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An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

Where did they go? A look at (former) CFML bloggers

June 7, 2014 · 11 Comments

Update June 9th, 2014: Ray Camden used my list of "dead" CFML blogs to prune the feed on coldfusionbloggers.org down to just 146 active blogs. I'm going to leave the old list (of 680 blogs) up for a while then I'll update it and rewrite this blog post to reflect the changes. This will give folks on the "dead" list a chance to look at their blog and decide whether to add it back or not.

Back in March 2013, Adam Cameron posted a list of CFML blogs that he follows, asking the community to comment with additional blogs they followed. The comment thread kinda went off in a different direction but it is an interesting discussion nonetheless that would be grist for several blog posts on other topics. A month later, he posted about a new CFML blog and it made me wonder what had happened to a lot of the "old guard" of CFML bloggers. I thought it might make an interesting blog post to take a look at the blogs of a number of formerly very active members of the CFML community and see what they are up to these days.

I started doing the process manually, based on the list of feeds on coldfusionbloggers.org and after a while I just ran out of steam so I put the project aside. Back in January 2014, a conversation with Mark Mandel on IRC spurred me to at least put that ages-old draft into Mango Blog so that I'd see it every time I logged in, thinking it might spur me to go through some more blogs and categorize them. For a while it did, but it was a tedious process, visiting each blog (if it still existed), and figuring out whether they mostly blogged about CFML or something else these days and writing up some notes. There are nearly 700 blogs listed on coldfusionbloggers.org and about half of them had ceased to exist in their original form (some were still blogs, some were even still about CFML, but the old RSS feed had gone away so they weren't contributing to the aggregator). I got tired again.

Then this week I decided to write a little code to automate the review process. Due to vagaries in the format of various RSS and Atom feeds, it took me a while to get a viable "parser" working that could segregate blogs into missing, present but no longer parsable, and valid feeds. In deciding to automate the process, I'd decided to give up on the manual review and annotation: I figured that whatever I write will become outdated and having a blog post full of links to outdated material wouldn't be much value. So instead I created a separate HTML page, auto-generated by code, listing the most recent blog post I could determine on every (former) CFML blog that still exists. Of the 250 or so that weren't directly parsable, some have genuinely gone away, replaced by an HTML placeholder for the domain, some have updated their sites and still have an RSS feed but never updated coldfusionbloggers.org (if you're on that list, head over and let Ray Camden know your updated RSS feed!). And then there's nearly 90 that my code couldn't get a response from. I decided to leave links present to all 680 entries so folks can take a look for themselves, and add comments here about changes (but see my note about letting Ray know about updated RSS URLs!). Note that some of the RSS feeds that were unreachable belong to blogs that clearly do still exist! (e.g., Open BlueDragon's blog still exists, but the RSS feed on coldfusionbloggers.org is for openbd.blog-city.com which is offline).

I can run the code and update that page whenever there are significant changes.

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sean Corfield // Jun 7, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    It's also worth noting that some of those marked unparsable could be made parsable by some cleanup of the RSS feed's text. For example:

    unparsable http://blogs.coldfusion.com/feeds/rss.cfm org.xml.sax.SAXParseException; lineNumber: 1047; columnNumber: 207; An invalid XML character (Unicode: 0xb) was found in the element content of the document.

    This is due to the blogging software not producing valid XML because it doesn't escape characters properly.
  • 2 Sean Corfield // Jun 7, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    For anyone who is interested, the Clojure code that produces both the HTML page and a JSON file (that Ray Camden asked for) is here:

    https://github.com/seancorfield/cfbloggers
  • 3 Andy Allan // Jun 8, 2014 at 6:52 AM

    My feed has changed. That being said, at the start of this year I dropped ALL my content going back to 2004, and I doubt I'll mentioned anything CFML going forward
  • 4 Sammy Larbi // Jun 8, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    Mine's on the list of unparsable with "not an rss feed?"

    My guess is it's because I wrote the RSS generator to only include posts within some date range starting at now(), and I haven't written within that range.

    For example, here's what the feed looks like: view-source:http://feeds.feedburner.com/codeodor

    I guess I better start blogging more often. =)
  • 5 Raymond Camden // Jun 8, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Sean- did you link to the JSON version?
  • 6 Sean Corfield // Jun 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    @Andy, yeah, I think there are quite a few in the not found / unparsable category that are simply using new blogging software and never updated their coldfusionbloggers.org entry.

    @Sammy, "not as rss feed" means my code couldn't find any 'item' or 'entry' sections in the XML - an empty feed would do that.

    @Ray, I sent you a PM on IRC with the link (but it's just .json instead of .html).
  • 7 Sean Corfield // Jun 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    BTW, one thing I've noticed if I run this code several times in a row is that several blogs alternate between returning content and timing out (and indeed, hitting them manually also yields the same behavior) so if you're on the 90-ish "no response" list and you think you shouldn't be - maybe you need to do some performance / reliability tests on your blog and/or your hosting company?
  • 8 Raymond Camden // Jun 8, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    So, I'm working on my "culling" script. I've decided to kill any blog that hasn't posted in over 300 days. As well as those that returned an empty/bad value. It looks like 146 will remain.
  • 9 James Mohler // Jun 8, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    I get my fill of the latest going on with ColdFusion from Stack Overflow. I wonder if there is a way to work that content in
  • 10 Sean Corfield // Jun 8, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    @James, well, CFOverflow on Twitter is a feed of those questions https://twitter.com/CFOverflow and, to be honest, Twitter is where I get nearly all my CFML news these days. I don't actually go to coldfusionbloggers.org (no offense Ray), and the feed of posts from that aggregator also pops up on Twitter (via multiple sources).
  • 11 Raymond Camden // Jun 8, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    No offense taken. :) I don't go to the site either. I subscribed to the daily email so I can get them all at once and quickly scan to see what's going on.

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