Tom Cruise + Scientology = Bad.
Sea Cruise + ColdFusion = More Gooder

Yeah, that title’s a stretch. Serves me right for trying to come up with a witty title before I’ve had my full morning dose of caffeine.

This made the rounds a while back, but since then things have been relatively quiet and I’m afraid it may have fallen off of most folks’ radars. Joshua Cyr is organizing a “non-conference” cruise. What’s that mean? It means the best part of the average conference… you know, after the sessions, alcohol in hand, hanging out at the bar with your fellow developers sharing war stories and talking shop… without the pesky sessions getting in the way.

And the best part? It’s on a boat. A big boat that sails from Miami to the Bahamas (and back). Food? Check. Drink? Check (um… gotta pay for those tho). White sandy beaches and inviting blue waters? Check. People you talk to online but have yet to meet in person (or don’t meet often enough)? Yup.

I think it’s a great idea and I applaud josh’s efforts for putting it together and coordinating the effort. I’d love to attend, but living on the left coast means paying for cross-country airfare for a family of 5… and that alone would run me about 4x the cost of the cruise itself. But I’d like to see this succeed. I’d like to think that it’ll be so successful that it’ll be an annual event, and that maybe I can make it in 2010.

What about you? What are you doing feb 9-13th of 2009? Check out for all the details.

East Bay CFUG Needs Your Help

In an earlier post I had mentioned that I was in the process of starting up an East Bay CFUG. It’s no secret that Bay Area traffic sucks hard and for those people living in areas like San Ramon (that’d be me), Livermore, Dublin, etc, the drive into San Francisco after putting in a full day at the office isn’t a terribly appealing notion. I’ve thrown out the idea of starting a CFUG in the East Bay and it’s been met with some pretty positive feedback. sweet.

Here’s the fun part… finding a location. I remember going through this with the IECFUG. Trying to find a location that will accommodate enough people, has internet access and a projector, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is a challenging endeavor. I’ve contacted a few schools in the area. Either they hold classes at night and don’t offer rooms to external groups, or they want $50/hr per meeting or they require the group to have a non-profit tax ID number (which as far as I understand would entail filing paperwork and filing taxes each year… then the hassle of transferring ownership as management changes… hoping to not have to resort to that). The business park that my company is in has a facility, but they charge over $300 (and no tenant discount).

While I continue to scout out a location on my own, I figured I’d put this out there publicly. Does anyone in the East Bay know of a potential meeting site? Would anyone’s business be willing to “sponsor” the group by way of allowing a monthly meeting?

Any thoughts and/or suggestions are appreciated

ColdFusion 8 – Enhancements You May Gave Missed

ColdFusion 8 – Enhancements You May Have Missed

A few weeks back, I was approached by Packt Publishing and asked if I’d be interested in writing an article for their article network. Their original request was about arrays in ColdFusion 8, but I asked if we could flesh it out a bit and cover some of the other enhancements that CF8 brought to the table. They were very accommodating and gave me quite a bit of leeway.

What’s really exciting about this to me is that, I believe this is the first ColdFusion-related article on their article network. And they approached me. It wasn’t as if I (or anybody else in the community) approached them and convinced them to accept an article on ColdFusion. They wanted a ColdFusion-related article. Hopefully it’ll be the first of many, as every little bit of exposure helps dispel the FUD that still pops up today regarding ColdFusion.

I’ll also point out that Packt is planning on releasing a ColdFusion 8 book, The ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial, written by John Farrar. Very nice to see a publisher getting behind ColdFusion, and I’m thrilled to be contributing even a small part to that.

Please feel free to check out the article and let me know what you think. In addition to feedback on the article, I’d love to hear some ideas for other topics that you think might be of interest.

Support your Local User Group

This is a topic i’ve been thinking about for a while now. Nolan Erck just posted something to the South of Shasta blog that prompted me to flesh out my thoughts a bit.

What can user groups do to promote regular attendance?

My first user group was the Phoenix CFUG back in 2002 or thereabouts. It was (and presumably still is) an awesome group to be a part of. Decent attendance on a regular basis, and a real sense of “community”. After the meetings, most of the attendees would go out for a drink or three and talk about ColdFusion. What they were working on, or what obstacles/issues they were currently dealing with. It was a blast. I always enjoyed stepping out of “my” ColdFusion world and hearing about what others were doing.

I left Phoenix at the end of 2004, and have had the opportunity to be a part of a few other groups. One thing that i noticed is that after the meeting… people bolted. There was no discussion, no sense of camaraderie… just a few folks showing up, listening to the speaker, then heading home.

Read More»

Dealing with Form and URL Variables

It’s not terribly uncommon to have a page that is expecting a particular variable, but the page may not know if that variable will be in the form scope or URL scope. Case in point might be a resultset that does pagination. On the first submit, the variables would likely be in the form scope. As the user pages through the results, it’s entirely possible that the variables would be in the URL scope.

The most straightforward way to handle this would be:

<cfparam value="myNewVar" default="" />
<cfif structKeyExists(URL, 'myVar')>
	<cfset variables.myNewVar = URL.myVar />
<cfif structKeyExists(form, 'myVar')>
	<cfset variables.myNewVar = form.myVar />

It checks both scopes for the var, and if it finds the variable in either, it assigns it to a new local variable. It’s straightforward, but not particularly “clean”.

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cf.Objective() is Tomorrow…

I arrive @ MSP 2:03pm tomorrow. Anybody else hitting town about that time wanna split a cab/shuttle from the airport? If so, ping me.

Flex: Objects are like Structures. Kinda. (Part II)

Last night I started documenting my journey of learning Flex, focusing on my use of the built-in Object datatype and some issues that I faced in that respect.

There was one other aspect of this that I meant to touch on. To recap, I was passing a single Object to a ColdFusion CFC method. In my little ColdFusion brain, I thought of this as being not unlike a structure. So, I expected the method to receive a single argument much like a struct with multiple keys.

Let’s say my ActionScript function looked like this:

var args:Object = new Object();
args.stateCode = "CA";
args.zipCode = "94583";
args.territory = 3;

// call the remote object method

I created an Object, populated it with 3 variables (keys), and passed it as an argument to the getFilteredCustomers() method in my remote object (CFC). Originally, my CFC looked like this:

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Thank You Charlie Arehart

A couple of weeks ago I started looking at Transfer. I found myself wishing that I hadn’t missed out on Mark Mandel’s presentation to the Inland Empire ColdFusion User Group that he had given a couple of months ago. Heck I would have been thrilled to see any presentation on Transfer right then and there.

In an all-too-rare moment of clarity, I remembered that Charlie Arehart has a compendium of links to recorded Breeze/Connect presentations, including six on Transfer and, as of this writing, 231(!) on various other topics. Very nice.

I’ve been aware that this existed for quite some time, but I guess I took it for granted until I actually found myself needing it. I meant to post something back then, not only to thank Charlie but also to mention the UGTV page in case there might be a few folks out there who were unaware.

Fast forward to today. Somebody on the BACFUG mailing list asked a question about code generation. I pointed out two resources that I thought may be of use (one being Peter Farrell’s Rooibos Generator, the other being Brian Rinaldi’s Illudium PU-36 Code Generator).

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Flex: Objects are Like Structures. Kinda.

Over the past few months I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to start playing around with Flex at work. Overall it’s been a pretty good experience. I think Flex itself is a very cool technology, and FlexBuilder absolutely ROCKS as an IDE. Of course, there have been hurdles. Some I was able to overcome pretty easily, and some left scars. I figured I’d post some of them here and hopefully save some other Flex n00bs the hassle of figuring things out the hard way.

The application that I’m currently working on is fairly straightforward. Let’s call it a user manager. I present a couple of comboboxes that let the user filter by certain criteria (state,
zipcode, etc) and populate a DataGrid with the list of users that were returned.

I chose to pass these values in a single object. In ColdFusion, this single object would be a structure. Flex, or more appropriately, ActionScript, has a comparable datatype, simply called Object. an Object would be created as follows:

var args:Object = new Object();
args.stateCode = "CA";
args.zipCode = "94583";
args.territory = 3;

Fairly straightforward when compared to a ColdFusion structure:

<cfset args = structNew() />
<cfset args.stateCode = "CA" />
<cfset args.zipCode = "94583" />
<cfset args.territory = 3 />

Read More»

My Schedule for cf.Objective() 2008

cf.Objective() 2008 is just around the corner. Registration is still open, and the deadline for the convention rate at the hotel has been extended until April 15th. If you’ve been putting off registration, the clock’s ticking.

If you’ve already registered, be sure and use the online scheduler to sign up for sessions. Which sessions get repeated on Sunday are driven entirely by the number of people signing up for those sessions. Kudos to the cf.Objective() team for getting the repeat sessions scheduled early. It really helps to know which ones will be repeated when you’ve got a scheduling conflict.

My current/tenative schedule:

cf.Objective() schedule

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