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Released today: CF2016, or 'ColdFusion (2016 release)'. What's new, and more

If you're not following the Adobe CF team blog, you may have missed the announcement there today of the newest version of CF, ColdFusion 2016. More on the name in a moment.

And while that Adobe blog post mentions a few of the main new features, as is nearly always the case it leaves out many other new features which may interest folks. It also doesn't point to resources to learn more. I do those things here in this post.

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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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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.

"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! :-)

Anyone in the CF world looking into Restlets yet? They went 1.0 today.

Has anyone in the CF community started looking into the Restlets API yet? I happened upon the concept today for the first time, when I saw news that it went 1.0 today, though it's a little over a year old. I did some digging using my Google CSE to search and see if any other CFers had written about it, but I found none.

Restlets are an implementation of RESTful applications atop the Java framework. If your brain thinks "applets", think instead "servlets". Though even that's not quite right, since it's specifically NOT about implementing REST in servlets, as mentioned in the 'restlet inception' section of the intro page. The goal is "supporting the concepts of REST and facilitating the handling of calls for both client-side and server-side applications". I have to admit, I'm not entirely clear on what it can do and what it may do for CF folks.

Note that there is both a restlet API and a restlet engine (NRE), and it can be embedded within another servlet engine (like Tomcat--or in CF's case, JRun).

To their credit, there's plenty of friendly documentation (well, friendly for a Java project) at the site, including intros, tutorials, faq (general and developer), sample code, and more.

The project clearly has a java feel and focus, so if it can be useful to CFers, it will be up to someone to either show how it will be useful, or perhaps even implement some demo atop or in conjunction with it, for most CFers to "get it" I think.

I'm not sure I do, myself, so I'm more just throwing this out there to see if anyone gets interested. (Didn't do much good with my reference to the Ibatis framework. :-) But you never know.) If it helps you or looks interesting, share a comment or link to your blog in the comments here.

Best wishes, Sean Corfield, as he leaves Adobe next week

If you've not heard the news from his site today, Sean Corfield has announced that he's leaving Adobe next week, on April 5th. No, this is not a bad, early April Fool's joke. If you've not heard the news before now, I think it may be because Sean's innocuous-sounding blog entry title ("Scratching the Seven Year Itch") maybe hasn't caught everyone's attention.

Of course, as the many well-deserved comments of praise, thanks, and well-wishing show, there are many who have in fact heard the news and are letting it sink in.

Sean's moving on to do work as CTO of a startup--Scazu, which is in the health and wellness space. I could say more, as I've been involved a little in its early goings as well, but it's not yet time to share any further news.

I will say that I was as shocked as anyone to hear of his decision to leave Adobe. And I'll say for the record, lest anyone conclude otherwise, that I had absolutely nothing to do with his being wooed away. :-) Like I said, I was surprised when I heard of it, even as an insider. Of course it's great news for the Scazu team and he's going to be an incredible addition.

And as the well-wishers have said in his blog comments, this new-found freedom can be as much a blessing for the community as anything else (which is indeed what many said when I left New Atlanta). Sean's also mentioned that he will have time to do independent consulting, and that's even more great news for the whole community.

I do certainly wish him well in the new venture, and I wish Adobe well in finding someone to fill his shoes. So many other things seem to be going so well at Adobe that it I'm betting this will be a smooth transition. Knowing Sean, I doubt he'd have considered it otherwise.

Looking forward to seeing even more from him contributing to the community--if that's even possible! :-)

Congrats to Kevin Towes, new Adobe Technical Product Manager for Flash Media Server

Adobe has announced that Kevin Towes is the new Technical Product manager for Flash Media Server (FMS). Folks who've been in the CF world for a while may recognize him as a frequent contributor to the CF community a few years ago, when he was a certified CF developer, founder of the Toronto CFUG, and a speaker at conferences and user groups.

He was an early and vocal advocate of FMS in its early incarnation (Tin Can and the Flash Communication Server), and has spent recent years in media, continuing to work with FMS in its evolution. It's great to see Kevin directly involved at Adobe, and I can't imagine a better FMS advocate to be named to the post.

Charlie Arehart offers new per-minute phone-based support service

Ever felt stumped trying to solve a CF problem? You've tried everything? Searched the web? Asked on forums and lists, and you're still stuck? Or maybe you're just pressed for time.

Maybe you've wished you could hire someone with more experience but can't justify a high hourly rate. Of course, with so many web tools available to share a desktop, travel need no longer be a significant issue. Sometimes, it could help to simply have someone "look over your shoulder" via the web to resolve a problem.

Recognizing all those challenges, I've created a new service that I'm tentatively calling "AskCharlie", to be able to offer just such assistance.

Via buttons on my site or an 888 number you call, you can arrange to speak with me by phone (and optionally join me in a shared desktop session) to solve some knotty problem.

Best of all, it's very low cost and at a per minute rate (first-time callers can use a 10 minutes free option, and everyone gets a money-back guarantee). That and more are explained on my site:

http://www.carehart.org/askcharlie/

There you can learn more about why I did it, how it works, how the remote desktop sharing assistance works (no problem with firewalls, for instance), and more.

I'd welcome your thoughts on what you think of the idea.

News of the week

In case folks have missed it, and as I alluded to in a previous post, a couple of folks are doing us all a nice service and putting together a nice update of the week's news in the CFML community.

First is Andy Allan's weekly summary of top news from the blogs, and you can find the latest each week at:

http://www.creative-restraint.co.uk/blog/index.cfm/Blog-Round-Up

Second is Ryan Hartwich's summary of the top news (blogs or not). For now, there is no place listing all his posts of that sort, but the latest is here:

http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/4642-Adobe-ColdFusion-News-Brief-August-8-2006.htm

Finally, there are also the podcasts (and their sites) that I mentioned in my earlier blog entry. I won't point these out each month, but I do want to bump up their visibility. These guys are all doing us a great service. Thanks.

Keepin' up on what's happening in the CF world - Part 4: Weekly Summaries

In my previous three entries, I've discussed how someone can keep up with the news of the CF world by leveraging blogs and blog aggregators. In this final installment, I want to point out a few resources that do all the work for you to keep up with a weekly update of what's going on in the CF world. One is a summary of the top CF blog entries (in that author's opinion), another is a summary of CF news (again, another author's opinion), and finally I want to point you to a couple of podcasts that include a focused summary of the news each edition.

Andy Allan's weekly blog summary

First, let me point out the nifty new weekly summary of top blog entries as determined by CF developer, Andy Allan, of the Scottish CFUG. His "roundup" of the CF blogosphere is just one of his regular blog postings, but he has demarked them by a category of "Blog Round Up", so you can keep an eye on just those particular new entries (if that's all you care to see) by watching the URL:

http://www.creative-restraint.co.uk/blog/index.cfm/Blog-Round-Up

As I noted in part 2 of this series, you can set up your browser to bookmark this URL in a way to make it easy to visit frequently.

Better still, as we discussed in part 3, you can leverage an RSS feed instead and Andy also offers such a feed for these "roundup" entries:

http://www.creative-restraint.co.uk/blog/rss.cfm?mode=full&mode2=cat&catid=93661280-C6C5-1A2A-16D86B1A3ADA948E

I first blogged about Andy's new service at http://carehart.org/blog/client/index.cfm/2006/7/21/andy_allens_weekly_cf_blog_roundup.

Ryan Hartwich's Weekly CF News Review for FusionAuthority

Now, where Andy is picking out the top blog entries, another take is Ryan Hartwich's new "News Brief", on the FusionAuthority site. So far, he has offered these two:

http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/4640-Adobe-ColdFusion-News-Brief-July-31-2006.htm

http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/4626-Adobe-ColdFusion-News-Brief-June-16-2006.htm

While there is no single page that keeps track of new entries to just the News Brief, it may be worth noting that for now you can use the following page that tracks all "news" items on the FA site, including the News Brief:

http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/

Sadly, it's not even presented in chronological order (for now), so you kind of have to wade through its contents to see what's new. Judith has told me that they are looking to address this challenge (of tracking what new entries are made in the News Brief and other article series), so look for that in the future.

Listen to the News: CF Podcasts with a News Focus

Finally, another outlet for CF news may appeal to those who just don't have time to read web pages, RSS readers, or emails. Of the several nifty CF-related podcasts, two in particular try to highlight the latest news each edition.

http://www.coldfusionpodcast.com/

http://www.coldfusionweekly.com/

Note as well that each of them also list the points they raise, including links, on a page for each podcast, which can itself be another avenue for keeping up on the week's news.

And a Summary of the Podcast (Summaries)!

OK, this may be getting a little too "meta", but for those who would like to keep tabs on what the CF podcasts are talking about, Charlie Griefer is offering another "meta" resource on FusionAuthority, in his somewhat regular podcast reviews. A couple of the latest entries (at this time) are:

http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/4625-The-ColdFusion-Podcast-Roundup-Thursday-June-8-2006.htm

http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/4624-The-ColdFusion-Podcast-Roundup-Wednesday-May-30-2006.htm

And, as with the News Brief discussed above, there is no one page that lists just new entries to the Podcast Reviews, but they are listed along with hundreds of other "news" pages (going back to 1999) on the page: http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/.

CF Open Source Updates

Oh, let me share one more. I'm sorry I forgot it initially. Brian Rinaldi is now keeping a weekly update on the OpenSource part of the CF World. Here is the latest:

http://www.remotesynthesis.com/blog/index.cfm/2006/7/31/ColdFusion-OpenSource-Update--July-31

If he offers me a URL that lists them as they're updated, I'll offer that here.

OK, that's it. I hope you got some value from these 4 parts on "keepin' up on what's happening in the CF world".

Keepin' up on what's happening in the CF world - Part 3: Leveraging the RSS Feeds

In my two previous entries, I've been discussing how someone interested in keeping up with the news of the CF world can leverage the two popular Adobe-community blog aggregators. The last focused on browsing them, and this will focus on using their available RSS feeds.

Even if you don't know anything more about RSS than how to spell it, follow along. I'll share something that can help you leverage it from Email, to get your daily (or even hourly) dose of CF news delivered to your inbox. Finally, in the next and final part, I'll point out a couple ways to save you even that bother, with folks who have so kindly gathered up the latest news of the week.

The previous two entries were on the aggregators and browsing them.

While going to the sites to browse the latest news is one way to keep up, it's certainly not the most efficient. New entries are constantly being added, and all you need to do is go away for a few hours and there are several new entries. And what if you're gone for days?

Getting the RSS Feeds Instead

A still better solution to that problem is to get the posts delivered to you as they are discovered (added by the bloggers whose blogs are being aggregated). This is possible by using what's called the RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication). You don't need to understand much about them to take advantage of them. Indeed, I won't get into any detail here as others have covered the topic well.

Just know that it's an XML stream of data that's updates whenever a new entry is made, and some program can be set on your computer to watch that stream and take note of any such updates. RSS feeds are offered on both many blogs, and in fact it's the RSS feeds that these aggregators watch. Well, the aggregators themselves also offer RSS feeds of all the data they aggregate.

Recall in the first entry of this series, I shared with you the two URLs that you could use to keep en eye on the CFML-related entries that the aggregators detected.

Well, the corresponding URLs for the RSS feeds watching those entries at the two aggregators are, respectively: http://www.fullasagoog.com/xml/ColdFusionMX.xml

http://weblogs.macromedia.com/mxna/xml/rss.cfm?query=byCategory&languages=1&categoryId=1 If you're familiar with what to do with those URLs, take them and run with them. Otherwise, I'll explain in a moment how you can take advantage of them, even to get notified by email of the changes detected in the feeds.

Before that, though, let me point out that the MXNA feed URL can be generated for different characteristics, including particular languages (I've given the English one above) and even to watch the feed for a particular string. Visit the MXNA site to generate your own desired RSS feed URL.

Further, note that MXNA also offers a mechanism called "smart categories", which tries to be even more discerning about what gets delivered as related to a given category. The CFML feed for that would be: http://weblogs.macromedia.com/mxna/xml/rss.cfm?query=bySmartCategory&languages=1&smartCategoryId=1&smartCategoryKey=D0382F3A-9D2B-69E8-C7BC317066FA1CC2

I know how to spell RSS, but that's about it. I prefer Email

As helpful as an RSS feed is for those familiar with using RSS readers (or using email programs that know how to process them such as Firebird and Outlook 2007), what about those who don't use any of those yet? You can still get your constant drip of CFML goodness without having to visit the page every day or hour, and without having an RSS reader or email program that knows how to process such feeds.

On another blog of mine, I wrote about a couple of free services (Squeet, Feedblitz) that allow you to give them an RSS feed and they'll email you when new entries are posted to the feed. You can even control whether it's immediate or only a daily digest. Nifty. Learn more about that at my tipicalcharlie.com site (for generic, non-CF tips):

http://www.tipicalcharlie.com/blog_email_notification_by_squeet.htm ((Update: tipicalcharlie domain is no more, but page recovered using Archive.org.))

(Update: Sadly, squeet (a tool to send RSS feeds by email) is no more. But there are other alternatives, that I track in a category of my CF411 site: http://www.cf411.com/rss_email.)

And finally, for those who just can't keep up with a constant or even daily flow of the latest and greatest news, in my next entry I'll point out a couple of great resources that instead give you the news on a weekly basis.

Keepin' up on what's happening in the CF world - Part 2: Browsing the Aggregators Regularly

In my previous entry, I started a multi-part series on keeping up with what's happening in the CF world. In this entry, I want to introduce a couple topics related to keeping an eye on those two aggregators I mentioned, FullAsAGoog and MXNA, by way of browsing them.

Of course, there are still better ways, including leveraging their RSS feeds, which I'll cover in the next entry. But for those who still prefer good ol' web pages, here are a couple tips that may help. These tips aren't unique to watching the aggregators, of course, and for some they may be old school. But I see plenty of folks who don't leverage them so it seemed worth mentioning.

We all know that having the URLs to the aggregator's CF category listings (as mentioned before) we can easily bookmark the pages to go visit whenever we want. But since these are pages that you may well want to visit frequently than most, you can take advantage of a couple of browser features to make them even more readily accessible.

Keeping an Eye on the Aggregators--by Quick Links

First, did you realize that both IE and Firefox have a unique toolbar-based list of favorites/bookmarks that you can see all the time? Many never bother to change them or pay attention. Here's how to use them in each browser.

In IE, when adding a favorite, you just want to put it in the special "Links" folder. Using the Favorites>Add to Favorites menu option, use the "create in" option to point to the "Links" folder. Then it will appear in the top IE toolbar area. Other things in there by default are "Windows Marketplace" and "Windows Media". You can remove them if you want, to make more room. If you don't see these links at all, make sure you've enabled View>Toolbars>Links. And if you can't see the entry/entries you just added, you may need to move the new entry around in the Links folder. Use Favorites>Organize Favorites, expanding the Links folder and moving the newly added entry up in the list of links.

In Firefox, there is a similar set of "toolbar bookmarks" that appear at the top of the screen. To add something to it, use Bookmarks>Bookmark This Page (or hit Ctrl-D) and then choose "create in" and point to "Bookmarks Toolbar". Other default items in there include "Customize Links" and "Free Hotmail". Again, if you don't see it at all, make sure that View>Toolbars>Bookmarks Toolbar is enabled. And as with IE, you may want to move the entries around in that list (or even delete some you'll never use), using Bookmarks>Manage Bookmarks and expanding the "Bookmarks Toolbar" folder to arrange things.

Keeping an Eye on the Aggregators--Making One of Them Your HomePage

One other trick to consider is that you think you just ALWAYS want to see one of the aggregator pages by default, you may know that you can set one of them up to be the "home page" for your browser. Then it appears each time you open the browser.

In IE, you do that with Tools>Internet Options>General>HomePage>Address and enter the desired URL.

In Firefox it's Tools>Options>General>Home Page>Location.

Honestly, I don't do it in either browser. For one thing, I want the browser to open as fast as possible and so just choose "use blank page" in both.

But better still, I keep my eye on the submissions using another approach, one that I'm sure many readers here know about and wonder why I'm not promoting. I will, in the next entry on leveraging the RSS feeds. If you don't know what that's about, I'll help you, even if you don't know what an RSS Reader is and don't want to install one! :-) That's coming up next.

Keepin' up on what's happening in the CF world - Part 1: Aggregating all those blogs!

I was offering some info on a discussion list and decided I'd share it more broadly and expand upon it. If you want to keep up with the latest and greatest in the CFML community, you may know that there are dozens of blogs, but who has time to read them all?

In this multi-part entry, I want to share some tips to make it easier to keep up on what's happening, from simplifying your reading all those blog posts, to keeping up on them as they change, to (better yet) obtaining summaries of the week's news put together by others to save you the bother.

In this first part, I'll introduce you to the two great CFML blog aggregators.

The Community Blog Aggregators: FullasAGoog and MXNA

So how do you find all the great CFML-oriented blogs out there? Am I going to list them for you? I don't need to. There are two primary "aggregators" of all blogs related to the greater Adobe (and previously MM) space, FullAsAGoog and the Adobe MXNA. These have for long been all you needed to keep an eye on to stay on top of what people are discussing in the blogosphere.

And any blogger who wants to reach the CF community has (or should) submit their site (their site's RSS feed) to the two aggregators. Then, whenever a blogger adds a new entry, it's automatically picked up (sometimes taking minutes or hours) by the aggregators, so people can just keep an eye on one of them to see what's news.

The 'goog existed first, but naturally Adobe's has attracted its own audience. Both have a submission/acceptance process (and indeed MXNA is more than just Adobe bloggers), but most bloggers are on both (which also means some duplication if you watch both). BTW, you can read the history of the 'goog's silly sounding name via a link on the left at the site. :-)

Limiting The Aggregators to Just CFML-oriented Content

Since both aggregators cover the full spectrum of blogs related to Adobe/MM products, you will probably want to limit them to just show you the CF-related ones (or whichever topic/s you are interested in). Though many seem to miss it, each aggregator offers a way to do that in its interface. In the 'goog, it's done via the "choose your poison" drop down at the top of the page--perhaps you never thought to look at that. :-) In MXNA, you choose the desired category link on the right toolbar.

If you just want the URLs for the CF feeds, they would be:

http://www.fullasagoog.com/index.cfm?blogcat=ColdFusionMX

http://weblogs.macromedia.com/mxna/index.cfm?query=byCategory&categoryId=1&categoryName=ColdFusion

The URLS offered just above are to see the web-based (HTML) interface for reading each aggregator. You could certainly just set them as a bookmark to visit whenever you have a free moment, and I have a couple of tips on that, but then there is yet another approach which you may not know about: using RSS feeds--even via email. More on that in the next entry.

(I've decided to chop this up rather than make one big long entry, since some will be more interested in some aspects than others. I don't want anyone to miss out if they were to stop reading at some point in a long post. Following posts will cover making quick browser links to the aggregators, using RSS feeds, and getting weekly summaries already "baked" for you.)

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