[Looking for Charlie's main web site?]

Lots of upcoming ColdFusion/CFML-related events

I thought I'd take a moment to share news of several upcoming CF/CFML-related events, from conferences to half-day events, some as early as next week. First up are the upcoming conferences:

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See you at dev.Objective() in mid-May (I'll be speaking)

Just wanted to share word (sorry it took so long) that I'd been selected as a speaker at the upcoming dev.Objective() conference, in Minneapolis in Mid-May. Hope to see lots of my fellow CFers there, and of course new folks who were not CFers.

While the conference name has changed (from cf.Objective()), there are still plenty of CF-oriented topics, and of course as nearly everyone would point out, it's good for everyone to expand their reach and focus.

To that end, I'll be doing a topic a bit different than my normal focus of CF server troubleshooting. Instead, recognizing that there will be folks there who either use other servers, or develop web apps or mobile apps, I'll do a bit of a "soft" topic on how to troubleshoot performance problems more generically, in:

Hey, my web app's slow. Where's the problem?

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CFHour going off the air. End of an era? Thanks, Dave and Scott

If you haven't heard the news yet, the CFHour podcast has had it's last show, it seems. Dave (Ferguson) and Scott (Stroz) announced the news at the end of their last episode (#213), quietly and without fanfare (or any advanced indications), citing time challenges, etc.

I'm holding a glimmer of hope that it's all an April Fool's prank, but if true it's indeed the end of an era and time to pause and reflect as if on the passing of a friend.

Update: I'm vindicated! :-) The guys announced in their next show that it WAS INDEED an April Fool's prank. Even so, I'll leave this entry, untouched, for posterity. Plus, most of the info is just as valuable to have shared, with them and with readers, whether they did or did not end the show. And like I said below, this gave them a chance like Twain and Nobel to see what folks thought when they thought they were dead. :-)

I also want to give some solace to fans of the show (and the general CFML community) with respect to where they may want to turn now to keep up on news, resources, etc. Fortunately, there are some places being actively updated. (And while surely some will see this as one more nail in CF's coffin, I don't and I'll address that briefly too.)

But first let's give credit where it's due about the podcast...

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Most-viewed ColdFusion blog entries of 2012

As the year comes to a close, many bloggers take a moment to document the most-viewed entries of the year on their blog. In that spirit, here are the top-viewed entries of the year for my blog.

I have more to say about the list (and such lists) below, but for those who like to "get to the point", here's the list:

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Give to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, get a chance to win something

The boys at the CFHour podcast, Dave, Scott, and Matt, are running a relief effort for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

If you'll make a donation of any amount to any relief effort devoted to victims of Sandy (like the popular Red Cross texting program), and then let the CFHour guys know about it, you'll be put in a draw to win a copy of CFBuilder 2.

To enter the draw, either or email them at show(at)cfhour(dot)com (the latter was added after the episode, in a reply to a comment on Adam Cameron's blog, where he too is kindly promoting the effort.

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If ColdFusion or CFML are "dying", then why are there still 12 active conferences covering them?!

Often we hear some assert that CF's dying, whether they mean CF the product or CFML the language. I want to make one contention against that which I don't hear too often at all:

There are an awful lot of currently active conferences covering CF/CFML for such a "dying" product and/or language.

I count 12 annual conferences (for the current year) which cover the topics (CF or CFML) entirely or as a major track, as listed in the category on CFML conferences which I keep updated in my CF411 resource.

Here first are the next several coming up:

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This week will be the 175th episode of the online CF Meetup

Just wanted to take a moment to recognize a bit of a milestone for the online ColdFusion Meetup.

This week will mark our 175th episode, with Jim Harris presenting on "Security: Hiding Info. from Individuals Not Authorized To See It", being held Thursday at noon US ET. (And the 176th episode will follow just after that "Requirements and Estimating", with Peter Bell.

If you've missed out on any of the past sessions, they're recorded and posted at recordings.coldfusionmeetup.com, and since 2010 are available in either streaming or downloadable (flv, mp3, mp4, wmv) format.

If you want to know about future meetings, you can join the 2400+ other members of the group (for free at the first URL above) to get email notifications, or you can follow the RSS feed of the calendar there, or if you can't get to meetup.com (being a social networking site), you can also just follow us via @cfmeetup on twitter.

Here's to 175 more episodes in coming years. :-)

PS If anyone is wondering, I count the sessions since I began hosting the CFMeetup in April 2007. Steven Erat had organized it originally and run it in 2005-2006. I simply started counting the recordings as I posted them and didn't think at the time to go back and find/count any previous sessions, so technically the number could/should be larger, but we'll leave that as a historical aberration. :-)

Did you know CF's used by Dell, TomTom, BestBuy and more? Well...

Did you know CF's being used by Dell, TomTom, BestBuy and others? Well, it is, but through a service they license, but for public-facing parts of their sites, so it's indeed worth noting.

I had noticed today that Budd Wright from PelcoSolutions (aka DVS Interactive) blogged this weekend that "BestBuy Uses ColdFusion". That certainly caught my eye (heck, I was in the store just yesterday.)

Just the BestBuy "trade-in" site, but more than meets the eye

As I read it and saw it was about their trade-in site, I thought, "well, some may bemoan that it's 'just a subsite'", and therefore may not find it quite as compelling as if it were the main site. That may be so.

But on closer examination I found something that is indeed still more compelling. What BestBuy is using (that uses CF) is really a licensed service from dealtree.com. And if one looks at that page (where DealTree lists others using their service), we see that indeed it's used also by Dell, TomTom, Sharp, Buy.com, Gateway, Casio, Ebay, and others. So this is about more than just BestBuy! :-)

These other companies (Dell, TomTom, etc.) would have high expectations

They all certainly wouldn't have chosen if if it wasn't suitable to the task, and you'd think someone higher up in each company had to clear it, since trade-in processing is pretty public-facing (both in-store and online).

Perhaps we can hope it may raise the profile of CF within the companies (though really, it's probably just seen as a utility to most, SAAS that just works, so that may be too much to hope for.)

Still, since these are companies which will require fast response in both the in-store and online sites, it's certainly a nice set of examples of e-commerce CF use that we can point to, so thanks for sharing, Budd.

I figured this was all a little much to put in his blog as a comment. :-) Plus I thought that my blogging it separately might be a nice way to give his entry a little more "link juice" in the search engines. :-)

Who else is using CF?

I'm adding this after a couple of comments below, of people noting other sites using CF. I didn't think to mention it when I wrote this but I do keep a list of resources helping people who may wonder what other sites run CF. It's one of the 125+ categories in my CF411 site:

CFML-Powered Web Sites (who's using CFML?)

To be clear, I'm not keeping a list. Instead, I point there to many sites that do keep such lists.

Come watch the Mura Show as we enable CArehart.org under Mura CMS

This could be very interesting. Starting today at 4pm EST, and over the next few weeks, the "Mura Show" (a weekly online user group for Mura CMS) will dedicate a few episodes to focus on the conversion of my site, CArehart.org.

A real live use-case, from scratch

What's interesting is that it will be an installation from scratch, in a "cinema verite" approach where we will assume nothing and if we trip over things, we'll talk about them. We'll talk about what I hope to gain by using Mura, and why it seems a good fit.

Ee'll proceed each step of the way with me as the new user (I have never used Mura), the Mura guys as my trusty guides, and of course with people able to ask questions all along the way and hopefully learning for themselves as we go.

Though I've not yet used Mara (or any CMS), I've been a big fan for a couple of years, observing it from the outside. Indeed, I blogged about how very impressed I was with their site in my May 2008 entry "A CFML-based product that really gets how to win customers, and what we can learn from it". And then I've watched as a couple of the ColdFusion Meetup episodes recently had covered Mura.

Though I've never really considered a CMS for my site, as I saw all that was possible with Mura and how it allowed for integration of existing CFML, I started to wonder if it may make sense to consider it for my site.

Going about enabling a CMS for a hodgepodge site

My site really hosts a few things and therefore offers different challenges in considering enabling a CMS. And this is what we'll cover over the next few weeks.

Some parts are static while others are dynamic (database driven). Some are just long static lists (my articles and presentations). Similarly, the CF411 site (which redirects to a page on my site) is an even larger list.

Each has just grown over time and naturally I'd love to make them both database-driven and to have some sort of paging, categorized presentation, searching, and such, and Mura can provide that. It can also allow me to let others contribute (especially to the CF411 site), which is a natural fit for a CMS.

Of course, I could also enable such db-driven paging and user contribution by hand. Idneed I had done that already for another part of my site, my UGTV repository of links to hundreds of recorded CF presentations. I knew when I started that it would not only grow substantially and that it would require entry of data by others.

So besides wanting to add more dynamic (and user-contributable) features for the other "static" parts of the site, it would also be interesting to see if/how I might keep or change this existing CF-driven part of the site. FWIW, the CF-driven part does not use any framework, either, since it was really a smallish app.

Another thing I've long wanted to add with all these sections (articles, presentations, UGTV, and CF411) is the concept of a "Landing page", where each item could have a page with more detail about it as well as features like rating, commenting, recommended related items, and such.

Again, I could do that for the UGTV site since it was already DB-driven, but since I'd have to make the other three sections be DB-driven and I'd have to code that, I just started to wonder if a CMS may be the way to go.

Mura to the rescue, and a case study is born

I thought to ask the Mura guys about things, and they felt on the surface that it woudl be a good fit. They asked me to present a list of the things I'd be interested in adding (as well as preserving), and on reviewing it, they not only felt it would work fine, but that it would make a great case study for the Mura show. They knew me from the past CFMeetups and they sensed that I would welcome the chance to do all this live on a Connect session. I said I would, absolutely, as I was sure many would benefit from seeing such a raw, live presentation. As they thought it over, they decided to propose a few weeks (whether they happen consecutively is to be determined), and I was open to that, as well.

Indeed, I expressed how I preferred (with the extra time) that we really do do it from scratch, so that people see really everything entailed. And of course we'd introduce how we got to this point (what you've read above), how they think it can all be done, and then (once we do the install, all this in the first show), we would proceed in future shows to start really integrating the site into Mura.

I'm really looking forward to it, and I hope others will too.

Update: The recording is now posted and available.

20 bucks buys you considerable training in good development practices

I'm sure many readers have seen mention of the upcoming event, A Wee Dram of Scotch. If you haven't taken a look at it, it's shaping up to be quite a good value for getting a considerable amount of training in good development practices, all in one day and for just 20 bucks (10 British Pounds).

They have a great lineup of 7 terrific speakers, presenting on topics that many want to know or know more about: ColdSpring, OO, clustering, Subversion, dev practices, and Railo. And the topics are bring presented consecutively so you won't need to worry about missing a single one. That also makes for an easy read of the web site: it's just a single page, with popups for each talk. Take just a minute to check it out.

Put on by the same folks who run Scotch on the Rocks, I'm sure A Wee Dram will be as fun (and relaxed) as it will be informative. And since I spoke at this year's Scotch event, I say that from pleasurable experience. They've also got a nice lineup of sponsors, who I'm sure are helping make the low cost possible, and who should be thanked. Be sure to visit their booths while there.

(I only wish I could attend, but I've already got a commitment that week, volunteering at the PGA Tour Championship that's held yearly in Atlanta.)

It's being held 2 weeks from this coming Thursday, the 25th, in London. I realize that puts it out of reach for many, but hey, that low price gets you lunch, 2 free drinks, 10% off Scotch on the Rocks 09, and the great lineup of speakers. For folks in the greater London area, it's a no-brainer. And if you'd need to fly in to make it, and your training budget can cover that cost, it's a bargain, a good value, and sure to be a good time as well.

BTW, someone may want to ask, "is it being recorded?" The site doesn't say, so I'd assume not. It's in their interest (and that of the sponsors) to get people to come. Someone else may ask if I could get the speakers to present on the ColdFusion Meetup, and I'd surely like to, but none have offered yet, so do consider going to the event instead. :-)

Yet another way to keep up on the CF news of the week

Thank you, Steve Bryant, for your CF_Blogpicks for the week, a series of weekly blog entries he started on Jan 7, highlighting what he feels are newsworthy blog entries that all CF developers ought to consider.

Last week I praised and highlighted Kay Smoljak's week in ColdFusion blog entries. Then last night I was perusing FullAsAGoog and noticed for the first time one of Steve's entries. What a delight to find that.(It's funny to note that he started his about the same time Kay did hers--funny how that goes.)

I recommend you keep an eye on Steve's list, too. He strives to pick 5 key entries a week that he feels most developers will benefit learning from. (I'm delighted to see he picked one of my entries this week, but really it's totally coincidental that I tripped across it this week while perusing the 'goog.)

Do we really need yet another source? I say yes

Now, some may say, "why do we need these additional resources? Aren't aggregators like the 'goog, MXNA, FeedSquirrel, and ColdFusionBloggers, all one needs? And what about the dzone cf page?"

Sure, those are all great. But here's the thing: Steve's been doing his news for a few weeks, and this is the first I'd seen it (same with Kay's last week). I'm sure many of us miss things that come through the aggregators. Most of us don't have time to read EVERY message they show--and then, which aggregator do you pick? While they mostly show the same things, with different approaches, some blogs aren't in all.

Most of all, I have to admit that I don't even have time to keep an eye on even any one aggregator each day, or really even each week. There's just too much content being created for most of us to stay on top of it all.

That's why I LOVE these attempts to do that hard work for us. Like I said last week of Kay's, and earlier this week about the various CF podcasts past and present (and future?), any sort of manual effort to gather and present key news and info shared is really a tough job, and my hats off to all who try.

I have some approaches in mind myself. One of them is similar to the dzone approach, and feedquirrel's recent addition to let the community of readers vote on entries. Those are both steps in the direction I was headed, though my idea is still different. We'll see. But until then, I want to make sure people know about these various features.

ColdFusion Podcasts, past and present (and future?)

In my blog entry yesterday about Kay Smoljak's valiant effort to do a weekly news entry, I commented about how others have tried it in the past, It's a tough job. Two of those who did were CF-related podcasts.

If you were asked how many CF podcasts are there, and have there been, what would be your answer? I did a little digging myself and present here what I found. It's a fun trip down memory lane of the world of CF podcasting.

If I've missed any, please do let me know.

Current (still running)

The following podcasts are still being updated:

  • ColdFusion Weekly, with Matt Woodward and Peter Farrell
  • CFUnited, playing recordings of conference presentations, hosted by Christian Ready
  • All Things Adobe has had one CF-related podcast, but has a category for them so may have more

Past

The following all appear no longer to be being updated:

  • OutLoud, with Hal Helms and Jeff Peters, ran for 47 episodes from Oct 2005 through Sep 2007
  • The ColdFusion Podcast, with Bryan Kaiser and Michael Haynie, ran for 38 episodes from Oct 2005 through Jan 2007
  • ColdFusion Muse, with Mark Kruger, ran for 13 episodes from Nov 2005 through May 2006
  • cfframeworks.com offered 8 interview podcasts hosted by Nick Tong and Kola Oyedeji, from Jan-Mar 2007
  • Mark Drew offered a few CFEclipse Videos as a podcast in 2006 (note they videos were designed to be small enough to view in an iPod)
  • the WebDU conference organizers (Geoff Bowers and Daemon), presented a couple of recordings of previous WebDU conferences in 2005
  • the Scotch on the Rocks conference organizers (Stephen Moretti and Andy Allan) tried to do this also with one episode in 2007
  • Aboutcast ran for a couple of episodes in 2006, hosted by Nic Tunney and AboutWeb
  • Steven Erat made two attempts at podcasts in 2005, first with the CFMX 7 podcast, where he read selected Macromedia Devnet articles about CF7, and then the even shorter-lived CF NewsRadio
  • I'm my own sql, hosted by C. Hatton Humphrey, ran out of HouseofFusion.com for just a couple of episodes in late 2006

Again, I welcome additions or corrections to this list. If you have any to offer, please do let me know.

Future?

Finally, what about that "and future?" tag in the subject? Well, I've been torn about saying anything before it's ready, but I've been contemplating entering the podcasting realm for a long time. I know others have considered it. Clearly, the list above shows that it's tough to make it.

That said, I've begun serious discussions with a colleague who some will know, John Mason, who runs FusionLink and FusionLink Labs (which has lots of neat stuff!). We've also worked together as board members of the Atlanta CF user group over the years.

I'll have more to say about what we plan. Naturally, I'd rather not just copycat what others have done. Indeed, I think there are a lot of areas that have not been covered, and we both are excited about the prospects. Look for more news in the near future. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments about what you might like to see in a podcast. Open your eyes beyond what you've heard before, and think beyond just what you may like. What do you think the CF Community, whether beginners or experts, could benefit hearing in a podcast form? We'll share out plans, and perhaps fold in some of yours, in the near future.

PS I know that others have also hinted at doing a podcast and then not gotten around to it. Again, I've been reluctant to say anything before being close, but since I had this history resource and wanted to share it, I figured I may as well "put my name into the race", to borrow a term from the current election season. :-)

"The week in ColdFusion": weekly news update from Kay Smoljak

If you haven't heard of it, I want to give a tip of the hat to Kay Smoljak and her relatively new "the week in ColdFusion" series of blog entries, where she intends to track the week's news. You can find it here:

http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/category/coldfusion/

The URL above is for all her CF entries on her blog, so you need to find each week's entry among her other entries for the week. But she's noted to me (in a comment in one of them there) that she won't have too many each week to make it hard to pick out the news items. (While someone could also setup a Yahoo Pipe to solve the problem, perhaps out of respect we should just get her entire feed and keep an eye out for those news entries.)

Kay's an Aussie (Perth) who's been doing CF for several years. She's done about 4 weeks of the news so far, and I wish her well. Keeping up with the week's news in the CF community is a noble effort. Many have tried and been unable to keep it up.

In the past, we had the guys on the ColdFusionWeekly offering news into the middle of last year, and CFReports until Sept, but since then it's been mostly interviews. I don't mean that as a slap. I know it's hard work!

Indeed, we also had the guys at the ColdFusion podcasts who would do news as well, but they went off the air completely in late 2006, so at least the weekly's still there. (I'll have more to share about the surprising history of CF podcasts in an upcoming entry.)

We also had Andy Allan also doing a roundup of the best of the blogs ("weekly blog roundup"), but he too petered out in late 2006.

It's a tough job, and we're all grateful for those who have, are, and will try to help us all out! :-)

Stepping up to co-lead the CF Online Meetup, stepping down as Atlanta CFUG president

For fans of the ColdFusion Online Meetup group, which Adobe engineer Steven Erat created in 2004, I want to share the news that Steven has stepped down (citing work challenges) and has passed the mantle of leadership to myself and Ray Camden. We will serve as co-leaders of the 900-member virtual user group.

For more information on the group, which has offered (and will continue to offer) online presentations from speakers around the world, follow the link on this badge:

Once you join the group (it's entirely free), you can read more about the change in leadership, as I wrote a message of introduction at the group message board.

I also seek (in that message board entry) feedback from group members about the future of the group and in particular, prospective topics of interest for online presentations. (Please don't offer such here, if you're a member. Offer it on the message board for all members to see.)

Of course, any of the group's recorded presentations will be offered on my UGTV repository of recorded user group presentations, and indeed I hope that the Meetup may become a primary source for more and more varied recorded presentations.

Still, you'll want to consider joining the group (again, it's entirely free) to receive notification in advance of the online meetings. The group's message board itself can also be used for community interaction (though it's not been too active in recent months). Perhaps we'll see its use expand in the future.

Anyway, come check it out, and spread the word. We'll organize our first meeting within a few weeks, for sure.

As for the Atlanta CFUG, I have stepped down from the presidency of that group just this month. We coincidentally had elections just a few weeks ago and as I knew the change in the Meetup was coming, I stepped down (but didn't tell folks about the meetup as it wasn't finalized). Can't run two groups at once! :-) That wasn't the only reason I stepped down, but I won't deny that running the online meetup should be a lot less effort than running a real physical group.

I also knew that there were many capable prospective leaders in the Atlanta board of directors (numbering 14 strong, and of which I am remaining a member) who could step to take on that leadership role. The board selected Teddy Payne to replace me, and I'm sure the group will do great going forward.

The chance to lead the online meetup group is just a great challenge. With over 900 members, it has incredible reach, and both Ray and I are excited about the prospect of keeping it going as a great place to find online presentations, whether from ourselves or all the other fine speakers out there (and new ones who may want to give it a shot).

Again, if you're at all interested, click the badge above to join. We're happy to have you! :-)

Finding or offering ColdFusion jobs: over a dozen resources

With the recent uptick in the economy, I hear increasing interest from companies looking to find CF help, or people looking for new opportunities (jobs or contracts). As such, I find myself pointing out where to offer or find such jobs. After a couple, I've decided to make it a blog entry. Of course, this isn't the be-all end-all list. Feel free to recommend alternatives in the comments.

I'm going to focus only on CF-specific resources, so I won't list generic job sits like monster or careerbuilder, not consulting sites like Dice, etc. There are just too many to bother with. Just know those are certainly options.

Let me make one comment: if you're going to post an opportunity, be sure to indicate whether you're open to contract or only full-time, and also whether you're open to remote or only local developers.

Here are a few to start with. Some are places where you can post a job, others are simply aggregators of CF jobs found elsewhere:

Updated entries:

  • Clark Valberg's Developer Circuit - besides being a list, also offers a useful flex-based widget that user group managers or bloggers may want to add to their sites
  • Removed from the list, http://coldfusionjobs.com/, as entry appears to just be a parked domain (all links show the same non-recent info)

Note that I list a few user groups with jobs sections on their site. I mean no slight to any I missed. Just let me know.

Let me also point out that the ColdFusion Weekly Podcast has been making more and more job announcements. That's certainly a very compelling way to reach the CF audience.

Finally, another place for job-seekers to keep an eye on is Ben Forta's blog, in his "jobs" category:

I sense that he takes unsolicited submissions for jobs as well. Again, perhaps other bloggers also have job categories. If so, let me know.

Don't forget, of course, that CF-oriented consulting and product companies also often have job sections on their sites. Here are just a few (certainly not a complete list):

I'm open to any suggestions for more sites. Hope this helps some.

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