Blog

Blog posts made in January 2007
31Jan
2007
Bruce Eckel On Why Flex And Flash

Bruce Eckel has posted his thoughts on Rich Internet Applications, why Java has failed as a viable client-side technology, and why he thinks Flash and Flex deserve some serious attention.

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30Jan
2007
Flex Data Services Minus The Flash Client

Flex Data Services provide rich data management and messaging capabilities. But what if you are not using a Flash client? What if you are using good old JavaScript, including Ajax type clients? Well, as first sneaked at MAX in Las Vegas, now JavaScript clients can leverage FDS using Ajax Data Services just posted on Labs.

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30Jan
2007
RIAForge Now Supports Screenshots

Ray Camden just noted that he posted an update to RIAForge to support screenshots of which thumbnails are automatically generated. How did he perform this magic? By running RIAForge on a prerelease version of Scorpio (and no, that's not usually allowed, but we love Ray, or so we'd like him to think, so he was given special permission to do so). See Ray's post for some details, and here's an example of a project that includes screenshots. Incidentally, Ray is reporting some serious performance gains, but more on that in a future post.

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30Jan
2007
Scorpio Sneak Peek In Brussels

I will be in Brussels next month for meetings with the European Commission (the largest ColdFusion customer in Europe). While I am there I'll have the opportunity to chat with ColdFusion developers, and to sneak some Scorpio. The event is scheduled for February 14th, and registration is required.

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29Jan
2007
Flex Team Posts Usage Survey

The Flex team would like you to fill in a survey about Flex use.

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26Jan
2007
Book Publishing Dilemma, Input Requested

For about a decade now, my ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit has been the de facto standard used by virtually all new ColdFusion developers, and by many who want to brush up their skills as ColdFusion is updated and enhanced. This book (and its Advanced sequel) in many ways helped define ColdFusion, played an important role in the growth and evolution of the product. Over the years I've pulled in respected, trusted, and well-known ColdFusion developers to help with the books (most notably Ray Camden who assumed the role of co-lead author on the most recent CFWACK, and who will be doing so again for the next edition). I am genuinely humbled at how important these books have become to the ColdFusion universe, and honored by how many of you have relied on these books to do what you do.

But now I am faced with dilemma, and I'd love any and all input.

Here's the deal. The books have grown to be huge. We started with a single volume in ColdFusion 2 and 3 days, and quickly had to move to two volumes as of ColdFusion 4. And then two volumes were not enough, so we tried moving the language reference appendixes to a dedicated little third volume in ColdFusion 5 (a decision that did not go over well with most readers, although some loved it and have asked for that book to be revised and updated). For ColdFusion 6 and 7 we put the appendixes back into the book, and thus had no choice but to remove some lesser used chapters, and also made the very painful decision to make some chapters only available electronically (as PDFs on the accompanying CD).

But now things have gotten worse. The books are now several thousands pages combined (taking into account CFWACK and CFADV as well as all of the electronic chapters). And as I work on the Scorpio updates (Scorpio has so many new features that there are lots of updates, and even more new chapters needed) it is becoming apparent that page count is going to be a massive problem. Consider the following:

  • We've reached about the maximum page count that can be physically bound as a single volume.
  • Printing costs industry wide have gone up. I have fought hard against book price increases before, but I am being told that there is no way we can continue to print books of this size at the current price.
  • And, as already stated, I really don't like electronic only chapters. I am fine with chapters being made available in print AND electronic, heck, I'd like for the whole book to be made available as an e-book on the CD. But I don't like electronic chapters in lieu of printed chapters.

So, what to do?

  • We can eliminate the language reference appendixes (tags, functions, Verity language, etc.). Those ran about 400 pages in CFWCK7, and will be even bigger in the Scorpio edition. We can consider making those electronic chapters, or perhaps try a separate reference volume as we did back in CF5 days. My big concern with this one is that many users tell me that these are the most used parts of the books, and I regularly see copies with colored tabs and the like plastered all over these sections.
  • We can make additional chapters electronic only. Deciding which ones to pick is painful and never what all users will want. Plus, as already said, I really don't like this idea.
  • Some users have asked me to do away with the intro material, the first several hundred pages of CFWACK. And the truth is, for all but new readers, those are unnecessary. But, at the same time, I get several e-mails every single week from readers thanking me for just those chapters, in particular the ones that explain basic relational database theory and review SQL language basics.
  • For ColdFusion 7 I had chatted with the publisher about breaking the books into three volumes. That would solve lots of problems by allowing us to create three thinner books with a greater total page count. But, three thinner books will cost readers more than two thicker books, and so I decided not to go with this idea because I felt guilty charging readers more money (especially those who only buy CFWACK who would now need to buy two books to replace it).

As you can see, we have no great ideas, just lots of imperfect options. So, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. If any of these ideas make sense, tell me. If any are flat out wrong, tell me that too. And if you have other ideas we've not thought of, please share those as well.

Thanks!

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25Jan
2007
Get Paid To Provide Dreamweaver Feedback

Adobe User Research is researching work flows and functions of Dreamweaver by holding two Focus Groups in our San Francisco office on Monday, January 29th (next week). We know your time is valuable, so in addition to free parking, food and Adobe-branded gifts, we will also pay our participants $75 for this two-hour focus group. To see if you qualify, please fill in this survey. You will be contacted to schedule sessions.

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24Jan
2007
Flex Utilities Posted To Labs

Two Flex-related technologies/utilities were just posted to Labs:

  • Flex Ant Tasks provides a convenient way to build your Flex projects using an industry-standard build management tool.
  • Flex Compiler Shell provides a shell environment that you use to compile Flex applications, modules, and component libraries.

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24Jan
2007
TiVo Investor Relations Pages Powered By ColdFusion

Troy Pullis noted that TiVo Investor Relations page is powered by ColdFusion. Actually, it looks like TiVo (like many other companies) uses shareholder.com to publish investor information, and shareholder.com is powered by ColdFusion MX7. Still, good to see .cfm pages on the TiVo site, thanks Troy!

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23Jan
2007
Your Chance To Weigh In On The Future Of Flex

Adobe is looking for experienced developers (including ColdFusion developers specifically) to join an advisory panel dedicated to the next major version of Flex and beyond. If you are interested, fill in the online application. Selected panel respondents will have the opportunity to provide feedback on future versions of Flex, and will get to test early releases of Adobe software. In appreciation, all active participants will be eligible to receive a complimentary license of an Adobe desktop product.

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