Using the JTOpen JDBC Driver with Multiple CFMX 6.1 Instances

I recently setup a new development box running multiple instances of ColdFusion MX 6.1. I posted a question to the CFGURU mailing list asking about the best place to put my 3rd party JDBC driver. Sean Corfield and Simon Horwith both chimed in that they recommended placing it in:

{jrun.home}/servers/lib/

In my previous non J2EE installations of ColdFusion, I always placed my driver in c:\jt400\jtopen\bin. Whenever I setup a new server, I also had to add this location to the JAva CLASSPATH in the ColdFusion Administrator. What's my point? Well, using Sean/Simon's location, I no longer have to add the CLASSPATH to my ColdFusion server as the location is already known to the JRun/ColdFusion server. Very convenient!

Also for you iSeries fans out there, a new article by Jeremy Lyon is in this month's ColdFusion Developer Journal. The article, "MX to iSeries Demystified - A world-class database platform paired up with a world-class Web application server" gives some decent information on using CFMX to query data from DB2 on that platform.

Webreference.com publishes Web Services Excerpt from Programming ColdFusion MX

Webreference.com (an Internet.com site) recently published an excerpt from my book Programming ColdFusion MX. The excerpt is actually the entire chapter, so for those of you who don't already own the book, this might be worth checking out - especially because my book is the only ColdFusion book that covers ColdFusion MX 6.1.

The CFCDev Mailing List - A Growing Community

If you are into CFCs, and are looking for a high quality, no-nonsense resource for all things CFC, you might consider joining the CFCDev mailing list over at cfczone.org. Currently, the list has over 550 members, with an average of 30 messages per day. Although the discussion tends to center around more advanced topics, developers of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. The list can be subscribed in regular or digest versions, and an archive is available for searching.

Sneak Peek: Blackstone (ColdFusion MX 7)

Of course there is no commitment on Macromedia's part to include anything I'm about to blog in any future version of any of there products. That said, here are some features/functionality to think about from the MAX Sneak Peek session:

  • cfform tags as flash components
  • cfgroup to create, layout and group form fields
  • Flash based forms within cfml
  • Tab navigators within the cfgroup tag
  • Accordion panes within cfgroup
  • Binding text fields to the data grid in Flash based forms
  • Reporting via a cfdocument tag. Handles tables, divs, headers, pagination, etc. All layout done via HTML, and the output can automatically be converted to PDF.

CFC Geeks of a Feather Wrap-Up

Last night, a group of about 20 developers met over at the Marriott to have an informal discussion about CFCs. Ray Camden and his company Mindseye sponsored the room.

There was a lot of great discussion regarding how people are using CFCs right now, as well as the challenges they face and the enhancements they would like to see in the next version of CF. Among the key themes:

  • CFCs could use a true constructor
  • People would like to see interfaces
  • The ability to serialize/deserialize CFC is a key requirement
  • Copying of CFCs needs to be fixed

The general agreement in the room was that CFCs are the best thing to happen to CF in MX, and that Macromedia should continue to evolve them to meet the needs of developers.

As Ray stated in his blog, we really could use more of this type of session at the next MAX conference. Time to meet with developers in a formal space, but an informal discussion format (with Macromedia in attendance) would be a great addition.

ColdFusion MX 2 - Codename Blackstone

At today's keynote, Ben Forta "unofficially" announced the next version of ColdFusion MX, code named Blackstone. No details on the development cycle, or when alpha/beta would be available for testing.

According to Ben, the most requested feature for this version is enhanced reporting/printing. In my opinion, it would be a waste of time and resources for Macromedia to try to come up with their own reporting engine, especially when enterpries class engines such as Crystal and Actuate already exist. What I'm hoping is that they add intgration into popular reporting engines, as well as built-in support for generation of PDF files (via Apache FOP and XSL-FO, perhaps?). I would also think that some level of advanced report formatting could be achieved via CSS, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Other features hinted at were improved performance, more deployment options, and the ability to "protect" source code. My guess on that one is some sort of obfuscation scheme.

ColdFusion MX, Portals, and JSR's 168 and 170

I've been doing a lot research into corporate portals lately as part of my job here at Amkor. I've evaluated the offerings of some of the major players such as IBM, Plumtree, and Oracle, and am always interested in how we can leverage our investment in ColdFusion within the portal space, which is dominated (mostly) by Java.

The Portlet specifiation as outlined in JSR 168 and the Content Repository for Java technology API outlined in JSR 170 (both of which Macromedia participate in) standardize the framework for portlets in a vendor/application server neutral way. To me, this standardization and the fact that Java is the portlet technology of choice has me wondering if Macromedia could/will support portlet development within ColdFusion in a furure release of ColdFusion MX.

As I see it, there are (at least) two ways this could be supproted. The first, and probably the simplest would be simply to have ColdFusion MX expose "remote" portlets as web services. WebSphere v5 now supports remote portlet calls, as long as they are registered in a UDDI directory and (presumably) adhere to a specific WSDL format. IBM Portal Server and Web Services, a whitepaper from IBM explains how this works in some detail.

The second way I see ColdFusion supporting portlets would be to actually write the portlet using CFML, and have the underlying CFMX (JRun) application server compile the code to Java and package it up appropriately as a WAR file.

Possibly interesting as well would be how this could be done if you were running ColdFusion MX on top of a J2EE application server (such as IBM WebSphere) that was running as the portal server.

What do you think? Is this something that seems reasonable or even desirable for a future version of ColdFusion?

Brian Kotek on Composition and CFCs

I really should pay more attention to Builder.com. They seem to have more and more ColdFusion related articles lately.

While browsing today, I noticed an October 2003 article by Brian Kotek called The ColdFusion Core: Write efficient code with the Composition object pattern and CFCs. The article gives a nice succinct description of how to use Composition in your CFCs.

Brendan O'Hara on Creational Patterns

Brendan O'Hara, author of the monthly Design Patterns column in the CFDJ, has a column in the October issue on Creational Patterns. In the event you aren't a subscriber, you can read the article, in its entirety on the CFDJ website.

Brendan is a huge proponent of CFCs and the use of design patterns in ColdFusion development. His articles are an asset to the evolution of ColdFusion from a purely procedural language to the realm of OO.

Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide Released

O'Reilly has just released Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide, by Tom Muck and friends. The book covers all the ins and outs of Flash Remoting using several languages on teh back end, including ColdFusion MX. I haven't had a chance to review the book yet, but I'm hoping to get the time soon as I've been waiting for a decent book on the topic, and O'Reillt rarely disappoints (and I'm not just saying that because I write for them).