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Flex Has Forced Me To Think Differently About My Code

Posted by Brad Wood
Oct 04, 2008 20:40:00 UTC
I have been enjoying my dip into Flex so far. Sometimes you don't notice habits until you have to change them. One rut I've gotten into over the years is the procedural way web-based apps have gotten be thinking about programming.

Flex Step 0.1 Alpha

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 24, 2008 09:58:00 UTC
Wow, I don't know if I have ever been so happy to get such a simple piece of code working. I have jumped into Flex 3 with basically no knowledge in order to make some charting functionality and I can confirm that I hate learning new stuff. I mean, I love it AFTERWARDS; but that time at the very beginning when you don't have a clue why your code won't work, Google isn't your friend, and you swear you're the first person in the world to have just received that weird error message-- yeah, that is the part that sucks.

ColdFusion's Object Instantiation Penalty: How Bad Is It?

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 22, 2008 13:58:00 UTC
There has been a lot of talk recently about design patterns aimed at circumventing the overhead ColdFusion imposes upon us when creating CFCs. I'm not sure who coined the term "Object Instantiation Penalty", but the first reference to it I can find in the CF community was over at the Dot Matrix blog. Everyone seems to agree that object creation in ColdFusion leaves something to be desired, but I haven't seen anyone really quantify the price yet. I decided some line charts were in order.

Synthesized Objects

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 20, 2008 18:12:00 UTC
The other day I was writing a wrapper CFC to consume a web service, and return the results. Several of the web services' method returned arrays of structs and I was in the mood to experiment, so I decided to have my CFC present the data back as an array of components. I knew that there would really never be more than 20 or 30 objects coming back so the cost of object instantiation wouldn't be a big deal. There were 7 different "types" of objects coming back in the various method containing mostly strings and an occasional binary image. I didn't want to do all the typing so I decided to toy with Object Synthesization similar to what Peter Bell has been talking about.

A Look Into ColdFusion's Future: Centaur, Sully?, Link?

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 17, 2008 22:39:00 UTC
Kristin Schofield released a long-overdue Evangelism Kit PDF on her blog today that is basically marketing information about ColdFusion aimed at the Executive level. I found this timeline from page 6 rather interesting. It shows Centaur being released in 2009, but then it goes on to show what I can only assume to be the next two releases of ColdFusion: "Sully", and "Link" in 2010 and 2011 respectively. (See picture) Most Notably, Link lists a "Pluggable Architecture". Hmmm...

Can you hack your own server?

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 11, 2008 22:41:00 UTC
I am not just a programmer, but to some extent a sys admin. Because of that responsibility (and the fact I have had servers compromised before) I am always interested in security. I think to stop crackers; you've got to think like them. When was the last time you tried to hack into your own server? If you don't know what your vulnerabilities are, how can you close them?

OO Design Patterns and IBO

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 10, 2008 23:29:00 UTC
If you missed it, Jeff Chastain put up a very interesting post over at Alagad's Blog. Also good was the "spirited" discussion that followed between Barney and Peter Bell. I don't know how I feel about all of it, but the entire thing is very fascinating.

ColdFusion, CFC Binding, Ajax Proxy and Updater 1

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 10, 2008 09:05:00 UTC
This week I got a much belated chance to play with some of the CF8 Ajax features I've never gotten around to. I've had CF8 developer's edition on my home PC for a while, but never worked for a place that actually had CF8 in production so I didn't get to play much with the new stuff. I had a big show stopper though. Both my cfgrid bind attribute and my cfajaxproxy tag weren't working. The CFC's I wanted to bind to were web accessible, but there were in a series of subdirectories. ColdFusion, however, kept constructing Ajax code to look in the web root.

ColdFusion, JSON, and Booleans

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 10, 2008 08:17:00 UTC
Last night I found myself wrestling with the behavior of ColdFusion's JSON serializing where the strings "yes" and "no" are converted to a Boolean and come out the other side as "true" and "false". This happens when variables are passed through SerializeJSON(), or a CFC is called with returnFormat="json". Nathan Mische pointed out not too long ago that 1 and 0 are NOT converted to Booleans, which is interesting. I have a feeling the logic goes something like this: If string can be converted to a number Treat it as a number Else if it can be converted to a Boolean Treat it as a Boolean Else Treat it as a string 1's and 0's probably get picked off early that way. As annoying as it is though, I'm not sure what the better solution would be. Unfortunately, in a loosely typed language the server has to make guesses for you that can be kind of un-forgiving when you translate them to a strictly typed language. In my case, I was passing back a result set to be bound to a cfgrid, so I didn't really have much control of how it displayed once it left the server. I needed it to come back from the server in the correct format. My solution was to add a space before or after each word such as "yes " and "no ". It's not quite optimal, but it works. The results were left as string and made it safely back to the browser. As far as a work-around from Adobe, I had originally thought of adding an additional setting called strictBooleanParsing or something, but what worked for one person would probably never work for someone else. In the end, it might have been best for them to ONLY accept "true" and "false" as Booleans. I don't think that would be too much to ask programmers to do. I mean, it's nice that you can be all loosey-goosey inside of ColdFusion with your data types, but I wouldn't expect that same kind of freedom when I want to convert my data to a less forgiving format. This might never be changed though given the backwards compatibility issue. There is probably code out there now that depends on "yes" and "no" turning Boolean. What would your solution be?

ColdFusion SQL Color Coder

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 03, 2008 21:41:00 UTC
A while back while building a monitoring tool for running processes on SQL Server 2005 I encountered the desire to color code SQL in the same manner of MS Query Analyzer (Or Management Studio) for HTML output. I hit up the CF-Talk list and Google for an existing ColdFusion implementation but got crickets. Not being one to give up, I created my own.

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