Coder's Revolution

Do you want a revolution?

Please Help Get Proper CFML support for the Cloud9 Editor

A twitter user named @JesusFreak84 pointed out that Cloud9's web-based editor service didn't support syntax highlighting for CFC files. Cloud 9 is a pretty cool concept.  I gave it a try and after just a few clicks, I logged in via GitHub, cloned a repo and was editing my code in their web-based editor.  It's pretty slick-- except for the fact that it needs some CFML love.  After a bit of digging I found this bug Mike Henke put in back in 2012 but it never really went anywhere other than a lot of "me too!" votes.

Cloud9 lists ColdFusion as a supported language and it seems it may have come through this p

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CFClient: The Agony & The Ecstasy -- Making It Purty

CFClient, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder, JQuery, Mobile

In my last entry, I discussed my decision to  create a "CFClient Sampler" app that would simultaneously allow me to play with each mobile client API, all the while providing the community with some nature of blog-based documentary on my attempt.  With a solid proof of concept under my belt (and on GitHub) I pushed forward with two goals in mind this time:

  1. Pick another API to play with
  2. Figure out some organization for the code before it got out of hand
  3. Ok, I guess there was a third goal too:  Make it not so ugly.

I'll start with the last one, which was to make the app not look like a middle schooler banging something out with Microsoft FrontPage.  Quite frankly, I suck at UI stuff.  I'm a "function over form" guy and I'm quite happy architecting the back end of an application far far away from the perils of CSS, responsive layouts, and viewports.   For this I used my phone-a-friend and dialed up jQuery Mobile.  JQM has been around for a while and it doesn't make web pages that very unique (kind of like the BootStrap cookie cutter sites) but it's stupid simple to setup and covers every major navigation, button, control, and layout concern I'll be detailing with.  

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My CFClient Proof Of Concept and GapDebug

CFClient, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder

So, in my first entry I discussed that I'm trying my hand at CFClient, mostly drawn to the idea of winning a $1000 gift card from Adobe.  Previously I followed Ram's YouTube videos and articles on setting up a Mobile project in ColdFusion Builder, installing his sample app, compiling that app via Adobe's cloud-based PhoneGap server, and installing it.

This venture was met with mixed success.  The PhoneGap shell app which allows one to test without needing to recompile after EVERY code change fell flat out of the gate for me.  I'm still waiting to hear back from Adobe on that.  I was able to compile and run the sample app, but couldn't get the file APIs to work.  I've sort of given up on that for now-- there's just not enough time to keep banging my head on that wall for the time being.

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My First Foray Into CFClient

CFClient, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder, Mobile

This didn't start as a blog entry.  I originally typed it up as an E-mail to Anit Kumar, Adobe's rockstar support guy who offered to help me on Twitter.  See, I'm trying to build a mobile app using ColdFusion 11 mobile technology to have a chance at winning the $1,000 prize from Adobe's little contest.  If you didn't know about it, please forget about it-- I don't want any more competition :)

So after several hours of fiddling yesterday, I got a lot of the workflow understood and working but still have some major hang ups and questions.  After I finished typing this E-mail to Anit, I thought to myself, "Self, why not make this conversation public so everyone can benifit from it?"  There's precious little information about CFClient out there already and some people like Adam C has already expressed interest in hearing my experiences-- not that I expect to sell him on CFClient or anything :)  

This is a little rambly and I apologize for that.  I'll try to blog some more organized thoughts after I get this all working.  So, without further ado... Anit, please reply here if you can just so everyone can benefit from the answers-- even if it means I'm a numbskull and did it all wrong.

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What Languages Did You Use This Year? (Vote For CFML)

ColdFusion, Technology

There's an interesting project going on over at code2014.com to see what languages were used the most this year.  Now, I have to preface this by saying that I generally dislike these sort of popularity contests.  They give the appearance of something statistical, but only represent a subset of the population that's exposed to them and bothers to vote.  Perhaps I'm also just bitter since CFML seems to get shafted by a lot of these sort of things.  (See the Tiobe index for details)

But nonetheless, I've thought a lot recently about the declining mindshare of CFML in the eyes of other developers (or the complete lack of knowledge of it in some cases).  This is easily evidenced by attending a non-CFML conference and telling people that you're a ColdFusion programmer and observing the disbelieving stares.  So, I think it's in our best interests to increase the presence of CFML on the Internet in circles outside of ours where we all know it's a great, modern language used by many.  It's honestly hard to blame people for asking if anyone still uses CFML when they literally haven't heard a mention of it in 5 years.  News like the recent addition of Railo to Bitnami was huge for CFML and I was happy to see the CFML community gathered and voted it straight to the top for the entire month.

So, go vote.  Right now. it's easy, just Tweet out the names of all the languages you've used this year with the hashtag #code2014 somewhere in the message.  At first, they didn't even have ColdFusion or CFML on the list, but were quick to add it after several people on the Internet brought it up.  I'm unclear on whether they're counting "CFML" or "ColdFusion" so you might add both just for good measure. 

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Update, Hybrid group confirmed they are looking for both CFML and ColdFusion in their search:

https://twitter.com/hybrid_group/status/550060557596766209

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CommandBox Documentation Now On GitBook

CommandBox

Luis and I are moving forward with the  documentation as a GitBook.  GitBooks are comprised of markdown files stored in a GitHub repo and can be: 

One of the coolest things is that the community can submit updates and additions to the book via the standard Git pull request process.  Just fork the repo, made edits with the Windows/Mac book editor, commit and pull. Please check it out and provide any feedback:
 
 
Also, please help us spread the word to those interested in CommandBox who haven't tried it yet.  I just finished the Getting Started Guide yesterday:
 
 
And for anyone interested in seeing how it's made, the Git repo for the book is here:
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How CommandBox Has Changed The Way I Help People On The ColdBox List

ColdBox, ColdFusion, CommandBox

I spend a lot of time answering questions on the ColdBox Google Group.  Perhaps too much time, since it's all volunteer, but alas I enjoy helping people.  Often times people can't get something working in their site like they want.  It may involve optional ColdBox libraries, specific handler setups, or modules.  The best way to help them is to actually create  their setup locally on my PC and try it out.  Of course, this can be a prohibitively time-consuming process just to answer a question.  

Boilerplate Drudgery 

I do most of my development on Railo, and setting up a new site consisted roughly of the following:

  1. Add hostname to hosts file tat resolves to localhost like myProject.dev
  2. Create a folder somewhere on my hard drive to host the root of the site
  3. Add new context to Railo's server.xml using the same hostname and web root
  4. Add site to Apache w/permissions and reverse proxy and rewrites
  5. Restart Railo and Apache

Now, if this was a ColdBox site, I would also need to:

  1. Visit the coldbox.org download page
  2. Download the necessary version of ColdBox
  3. Unzip it into the web root
  4. Grab an application template, or use the ColdBox platform utilities in CFBuilder IF I have a project set up for this site.

Wow, NOW I'm ready to start replicating the user's issues.  That's a lot of work for a one-time site I'm going to delete in 20 minutes.  Now, what happens when I want to tell the other user how to set up the same site to test on their end?  I think you get the picture.  To be honest, I usually didn't bother and would just throw out a guess as to what the user's issue was.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Enter CommandBox.  This is a CLI, Package Manager, and REPL and comes with an embedded server and a growing list of generator commands.  This means I  can open up a console and in a few SECONDS have a brand new site created in a folder of my choice with ColdBox installed, an application template generated, modules or handlers installed, you name it.  And then I just type "start".  That's it.  About 3 seconds later a browser window opens and I'm using my new test ColdBox app.  

Let's take a look at the commands I used earlier today to test URL routing to two different handlers with the same name in different subdirectories.  

mkdir myTestSite
cd myTestSite
coldbox create app myApp --installColdBox
coldbox create handler event userlists
coldbox create handler pdt\real\ldr\ldr_nm\ldr_portal\ldr_agt\event userlists
start --!openBrowser --force
server open URI="/index.cfm?event\=event.userlists"
server open URI="/index.cfm?event\=pdt.real.ldr.ldr_nm.ldr_portal.ldr_agt.event.userLists"

That created an app that exactly matched what the original poster had reported and even opened up the test URLs after starting the server.  What's even better is I actually threw those commands in a recipe file called makeSite.boxr so I could tweak the recipe and run it repeatedly like this:

recipe makeSite.boxr

This is the beauty of making something automatable!  Then, I pasted those commands back into the mailing list so the user could try the same thing I did.  And when I was done, I just stopped the server with the "stop" command and removed the directory.  It's like it was never there.

CommandBox has changed the way I develop.  Admittedly more than I ever thought it would.  Spinning up test sites, installing/uninstalling modules, or even trying out a few lines of ad-hoc code with the REPL is so easy now.  I even use CommandBox for my client work too.  I can start up multiple dedicated servers based on what I'm working on that day, and just stop them when I'm through.

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CommandBox Preso and Slides for the Online ColdFusion Meetup

CommandBox, Presentations

Thanks to Charlie Arehart and the Online ColdFusion Meetup for letting me present on CommandBox. Here is the recording URL:

Connect Recording

And here is the slide deck:

CommandBox - Brad Wood.pdf

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CommandBox Presentation Recording And Slides For NECFUG

CFSummit, ColdBox, ColdFusion, Presentations

I was honored to be able to present on one of my newly-favorite topics tonight to the Nebraska CF User Group: CommandBox CLI, REPL, and Package Manager.  CommandBox is a brand new tool and unequaled in the CFML world.  It has the potential to really bring CFML devs up to speed with the kinds of tooling and automation that other platforms enjoy if people really embrace it and help build the community it needs to thrive.  

I had a wonderful time showing off cool features and answering great questions with the group and others who joined online.  I've also had this topic selected to present at CF Summit this year so I'm soliciting feedback (good or bad) on the slides, demos, or presentation style to help me tighten up my talk some more before CF Summit.

Recording URL 1hr 30min:

http://experts.adobeconnect.com/p8q3zuxan1j/

Slide Deck:

CommandBox - Brad Wood.pdf

Links from the presentation:

 

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Slides And Recording For Chicagoland ColdBox Preso

ColdBox, Presentations

I'd like to thank the Chicagoland user group for letting me present on the ColdBox MVC Platform tonight-- I had a great time.  Here is the recording URL and slide deck.  Be forewarned, I spent most of my time building a simple ColdBox app from scratch that showed bare-bones usage of MVC, models, logging and caching.  I'm ok with that though, I always prefer to show via examples than boring slides :)

Show Recording

http://experts.adobeconnect.com/p6x8qi42zml/

Slide Deck

ColdBox Platform - Brad Wood.pdf

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