The Best of CFGURU

Other than a blog post by Simon Horwith, I haven't seen much chatter regarding the new CFGURU blog. The CFGURU blog is a companion site to the private CFGURU mailing list. The site is moderated by Shlomy Gantz, with a charter to share useful discussions from the mailing list with the ColdFusion community at large.

There are currently only a handful of posts on the site, but you can expect a lot more great content as Shlomy compiles and publishes posts from the list.

Help Support CFEclipse

The CFEclipse team has done a fantastic job developing an open source, community driven IDE for ColdFusion developers. If you're using CFEclipse, you know exactly what I mean. If you aren't using CFEclipse, you owe it to yourself to give it a look.

That said, the team at CFEclipse is always looking for volunteers to help out with the project. Java skills are especially helpful. However, if you don't know Java and still want to contribute, there are several other ways you can help.

If you find that you just don't have the time to help technically, you can also contribute to the project financially. The CFEclipse team has put together a selection of branded CFEclipse merchandise that you can purchase. They have everything fron hats and t-shirts to coffee mugs and even a messenger bag.

CFUNITED Flickr Pool - 2006

With a little more than a month until the kick-off of CFUNITED, I figured I'd remind everyone that there's a Flickr pool for CFUNITED photos. There are currently 25 members, with over 150 photos posted from last year's event.

If you are going to this year's conference, sign up for the group (it's free) and share your conference pics. If you can't make it to CFUNITED this year, the Flickr pool is a great place to see what you are missing ;-)

JTOpen 5.1.1 Released

For all you ColdFusion junkies working with DB2 on iSeries/AS400's out there, IBM has just released version 5.1.1 of their open source JTOpen JDBC driver. You can download it from SourceForge.

cf_stockGrabber Custom Tag Updated to 3.01

cf_stockGrabber, a custom tag I wrote way back in 1997 when custom tags were first introduced in ColdFusion still has a lot of users today. The tag uses cfhttp to query Yahoo with a list of ticker symbols and returns the results as a query object which can then be used in a variety of ways.

There haven't been any changes to the tag since 2002. However, I've had several people contact me in the past week or so with problems related to certain ticker symbols. It turns out Yahoo made some changes to their feed which resulted in company names containing commas in certain instances. This in turn caused the tag to return an error as it was interpreting the comma as an extra delimiter and throwing the whole column count of the result set off.

This was easily fixed by adding a set of double quotes to the TEXTQUALIFIER attribute of the cfhttp tag. I've updated the tag on the Macromedia/Adobe Exchange with the changes. Here's the link to the latest version of a zip containing the file on my site:

cf_stockGrabber 3.01

User Interface Design Patterns from Yahoo Developer Network

I saw this one over on the Playfool blog. Apparently, Yahoo has a new Design Pattern Library over on their Developer Network website. JavaScript Source code and examples are available for several common UI design patterns including the following:

Autocomplete
Breadcrumbs
Drag and Drop Modules
Module Tabs
Navigation Tabs
Object Pagination
Search Pagination
Rating an Object
Writing a Review

Some of these are really cool. I especially like the drag and drop module as this is something I've been looking to do in a portal application we have. It will be interesting to see how the library develops as more people start contributing.

Finally! RDS Support For CFEclipse

One of the most requested features for CFEclipse is finally here. That's right, RDS support is now available from the Adobe Labs website. The engineers at Adobe have been collaborating with the CFEclipse team to bring RDS to the masses.

I personally know quite a few people who just couldn't make the switch from Homesite to CFEclipse because of the lack of RDS support (myself included), so now that it's finally here, there should be one less barrier keeping people from switching.

I've been using the plugin for a while now, and it is working rather well. In addition to the standard file browsing capabilities, there's also a nice dataview which allows you to visually build queries and generate SQL statements. Very handy.

If you've been on the fence about using CFEclipse before, download the latest build, download the RDS plugin, and give it another shot. There's an active and vibrant community coming up around CFEclipse as well, so there's plenty of opportunity to help shape and contribute to the ongoing development.

Back to the Philippines Again

ColdFusion related blogging is going to be slow for the next three weeks while I head to the Philippines for a non ColdFusion project I'm working on (although ColdFusion will ultimately interface with it). I'm working on a very exciting project centered around quite a bit of "new" technology. I'll probably be discussing some of the details as the project moves forward and I'm allowed to say more.

This is my second trip to the Philippines in the past 5 months, something I'm starting to get used to. If you want to keep up with what I'm up to, you may have better luck over on my food blog, Foo(d) Bar. I'm more likely to be logging updates there as I eat my way through the local Filipino dining scene.

If you're a ColdFusion developer and happen to be in the Makati area sometime between now and March 2nd, drop me a line!

Using the ColdFusion Report Builder – Part 2: Creating Charts in Reports

A coworker of mine, Jim Bambrough just had his second article published on the Adobe DevNet website. The new article, Using the ColdFusion Report Builder – Part 2: Creating Charts in Reports is a follow on to his earlier article Using the ColdFusion Report Builder—Part 1: Creating Reports and Subreports which I previously blogged about.

Jim's a talented developer and very knowledgable on the subject of reporting. His articles are a good read for anyone building reports using the ColdFusion Report Builder.

A Word on the ColdFusion Cookbook Philosophy

We've had several people ask about the criteria for what gets published and what doesn't over at the ColdFusion Cookbook project. The main point people have been asking about revolves around when should users look in the docs vs. google vs. the cookbook site, etc.

One email we received this morning had a lot of positive feedback on the site, but also went on to say that the sender felt that some of the entries were for things that were too basic, such as how to use the now() function, and that developers would do better to look these types of problems up in the docs or via other means.

I'd like to share the response I sent back, as I think it does a good job of explaining what the site is about, and the approach that's being taken.

"I think the difference here is in the approach. The CF Docs do exactly as you describe - how to use the now() function. The approach we're taking with the cookbook isn't how to use the various functions, but rather how to solve specific problems - which is exactly your point. In this case, it's how do I get the current date/time. While it's true the answer is simple, you wouldn't believe how many times I used to answer that question back on the old Allaire forums.

Just about everything in the cookbook so far can be found by searching the docs, adobe forums, or by using google. The real value here is that the cookbook is a central clearing house for this type of information that has the opportunity to synthesize answers to the questions that developers ask, whether they are absolute beginners, or gurus. I'd much rather come search the cookbook site First for a solution to a specific problem than go to these other sites knowing that the quality of information on the cookbook site and the resulting discussion probably provides a better answer than a relatively static documentation set can."

I'd be interested in what others think as we want to make this the best community resource for ColdFusion developers to find information on specific problems (easy and hard) as well as act as a forum to discuss approaches to those problems.