[Looking for Charlie's main web site?]

ColdFusion 10 WACK book contributors (myself included) now listed at Amazon

By now most should know that a new CF10 version of the classic Web Application Construction Kit (or WACK) series was released some months ago:

Adobe ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit: ColdFusion 10 Enhancements and Improvements

But some may not have known who the contributors were, because since its release the Amazon site for the book had listed only Ben (Forta). Doh! :-)

Ben is indeed the series editor and a fellow contributor--and truly the glue that has held the project together since the first edition for CF3 in 1997.

But as with each edition since the first, there are indeed multiple contributors.

Amazon book page now lists all the contributors

And now the Amazon page does list all the co-authors:

Charlie Arehart, Rob Brooks-Bilson, Raymond Camden, Ken Fricklas, Hemanth Khandelwal, and Chandan Kumar.

Of course, we were indeed properly listed on the front cover, for those who may have looked--and in that same alphabetical order, whereas the Amazon site order is a bit random. Anyway, it's just nice to see this issue fixed.

Problems like that just happen sometimes, and I'd only I noticed it this week and raised it to Amazon. To their credit they were quick to update it.

And I thought some of my co-authors and perhaps others in the community might want to know about it.

Glad to mention the book

Indeed, I've been meaning simply to announce the book and my involvement here myself but got behind on many such news items, as I've just been busy (with my ColdFusion troubleshooting consulting services). Busy is good, of course!

So this was a good chance both to share the above news of the correction for any who'd noticed the issue, and to mention my involvement with the book, in case that and news of the book itself may interest some of my readers. (FWIW, I was a contributor to all 3 vols for CF 8 and 9 also, and I do thank Ben for including me in these works.)

A bit about the book

For those who hadn't noticed the book yet, it's unique in the series in that we decided to go with just a single book, just about the updates. In the past, we instead updated all 3 books throughout. There are pros and cons to either choice, of course, but I do agree that the single book was the way to go.

FWIW, I did chapters 8, 10, and 19.

I was especially delighted to get in a chapter at the end on "hidden gems", as I have loved doing (as article or talks) for each release starting with my first CFDJ article on CF 4.0. The editors chose for Chapter 19 the more sedate name of "Miscellaneous Enhancements", but I'm just thrilled we got to add the chapter at all. :-)

You can learn more about (and buy, and review) the book here:

Coming review of "ColdFusion 9 Developer Tutorial" book by John Farrar, and a free chapter for you

Today the publisher of John Farrar's new book, ColdFusion 9 Developer Tutorial offered to send me a review copy. I appreciate and look forward to that, as I've heard good things about it.

I'll post a review in coming weeks after I've had a chance to take a look.

Free Preview Chapter on ORM

In the meantime, they have also offered for free one of the chapters in the book so you can get a taste of the book's approach.

It's chapter 4, ORM Database Interaction, and as you'll see John leads you gently through this important new feature of CF9. Assuming you have no prior experience with ORM, he works in 20 pages from introducing the concepts, to quickly configuring and coding, to working with relationships, and more. You'll see he uses lots of screenshots and example code.

One editorial/review comment: I did notice that the preview chapter lists a last section to be on "custom configuration", which isn't ever found in the chapter. I brought this to John's attention and he apologized that it slipped through.

Having contributed to several books myself*, I know that can happen and I don't regard it as a big deal. It doesn't take away at all from the rest of the book.

Looking forward to the rest of the book

As for that rest of the book, and why you may want to consider it, the introduction indicates it "will teach you the basics of ColdFusion programming, basic application architecture, object reuse, and ORM concepts before showing you a range of topics including AJAX library integration, RESTful Web Services, Unit Testing, building custom tags, and his hybrid example of tags and objects COOP" ... "with real-world examples of the hows and whys, to get more done faster with ColdFusion 9" ...[and] "also covers the new features of ColdFusion Builder and additional version 9 updates".

I'm sure it will benefit many, and I'll look into all that when I get the review copy, and I'll be back to pass along my observations.

*I'm sure the publishers of my own books would think it appropriate at this point to mention those other books, which are also out recently and updated for CF9. They are the ColdFusion 9 Web Application Construction Kit, Volume 1 (Getting Started), Volume 2, Application Development, and Volume 3, Advanced Application Development.

My CFBuilder Debugger chapter (for CF9 WACK Vol 2) is online

Here's good news for folks seeking more documentation on how to configure, use, and troubleshoot the ColdFusion Builder debugger.

My chapter on the topic, in the newly released CF 9 Web Application Construction Kit, Volume 2 Application development is available free online. It's one of 3 chapters at the end of the book (out of 21 total) that were forced online due to pagecount restrictions.

While it's a bummer for those who buy the print book and may not notice these are missing (though it should be mentioned in the TOC), the good news is that it means anyone can read the chapter.

You'll find the 25-page chapter (chapter 45, "Using the Debugger") online in a PDF of all 3 chapters available at Ben's site. Note that since mine is the last chapter of the PDF, you will want to skip to page 71 within the document. The following link should open the PDF directly to that page (if not, just use the Acrobat feature to go to a page):

Read the PDF, starting at page 71

Finally, some may notice on the Amazon page offered above that only Ben Forta is listed as author for the book. Of course, there were multiple authors. Ben, Ray Camden, and I were contributors to all 3 volumes, while there were still other contributors for volumes 2 and 3. Ben says that this oversight will be addressed soon.

My New Adobe Dev Ctr Article: Multi-user access for CF Admin and RDS

I have a new 16-page article that was posted to the Adobe CF Developer Center yesterday:

Enabling multiple user access to the ColdFusion Administrator and RDS

If you're using CF 8 Enterprise or Developer edition, you should at least be aware of this feature. Even if it doesn't sound like something you'd need or want to use, check out at least the introductory section.

Besides explaining the features, and showing how to set them up and use them for practical solutions. It also addresses many gotchas and cautions to note, some of which may be surprises.

It shows using the multi-user admin feature for spreading out who can work on different parts of the admin (and shows enabling it even only for access to the CF 8 Server Monitor.)

And for the multi-user RDS feature, it shows leveraging it specifically within Eclipse and Dreamweaver (and points to resources for more on each and on using it with HomeSite+/CF Studio.)

I welcome comments or questions about the article here.

PS If you want to comment asking why one would use RDS due to security concerns, please read the article first. This addresses one significant concern and also points readers to additional resources to consider other concerns.

A 12-page Intro/Review of FusionReactor 3

If you missed my 12-page introduction and review of FusionReactor 3 in the last issue of the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update, Volume II Issue IV which came out earlier this summer, well, the good folks at the magazine, Michael and Judith, have kindly chosen to post the article online:

FusionReactor: ColdFusion Server Healthcare (and What's New in Version 3) (PDF)

Thanks, folks! I hope it might serve as a useful intro for those who've not seen the tool (whether in its older or newer version), which can be used to monitor CF 6, 7, and 8. That CF8 support is important not only for those running CF8 Standard, which doesn't have the CF8 Server Monitor, and also even for those who can run the CF8 Server Monitor, as there are some useful benefits of using it even on CF8 Enterprise). Note that FR also works with Railo and OpenBlueDragon, as well as BlueDragon/J2EE and indeed any J2EE application (including LiveCycle Data Services) and any J2EE engine (JBoss, Tomcat, WebSphere, etc.)

The article can also serve as a review of features that those already using the tool may have missed, or you can focus on what's new in FR 3 (quite a bit).

Check out the article, and the tool, including the available live demo in addition to the 10 day trial. I'll note that the live demo is running at a lower level of authority (one of the new features of FR 3), so you don't see and can't do all with it that you might as a full admin user.

I'll arrange to do a demo of the tool on an upcoming CF Meetup session, whether on its own or along with other monitoring tools for CF which I've discussed before.

What a busy couple of months: conference season and more

Some may have noticed that I've not been writing here as much in the past couple of months. For one thing, it's been conference season! Like a couple other folks, I've spoken at each of these in the last dozen+ weeks:

What a blast, and of course it's an honor to be invited. I've not written much about them because, well, I don't know what I could add that hasn't been said by many other bloggers who attended each! :-)

Unfortunately, the schedule precluded me giving any thought to attending (or proposing to speak at) WebDU (spoke there last year) or SpringBR. And sadly I had to miss the Adobe Community Summit.

As if those events (and the commensurate travel) weren't enough of a draw on time, in the weeks since the first event in mid-March I've also:

  • squeezed in teaching 6 classes
  • written 2 tips columns and a feature article for 2 editions of the FAQU
  • organized nearly a dozen ColdFusion Meetups
  • attended an invitation-only Microsoft Tech Summit (for a couple dozen folks they picked from competing communities to talk and listen to)
  • spent a week in Germany with the fine folks at Intergral (makers of FusionDebug, FusionReactor, FusionAnalytics, and with whom I also do some consulting)
  • and provided my consulting services to many folks in what little time remained!

Fortunately, the nature of my consulting is different than most: I focus on helping people solve problems (rather than build or architect apps), so they generally need me only sporadically and for short spurts of time. We've been able to fit them in nicely in the time in between, but I've got some who've been patiently awaiting the end of what some called "the conference silly season".

I had also started my series on the tools/resource list, but after part 10 got just too bogged down. I plan to pick that up again very soon.

Just wanted to offer a bit of explanation on the relative quiet the past couple of months.

I have some other really exciting things planned and in the works which I'll be sharing in coming weeks and months. Some are new resources, some new services, and some new tools. All dedicated to helping the community. It's exciting times!

Some of my FusionAuthority Quarterly Update Tip Columns now available online

Some may know that I'm a regular contributor to the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update. Besides occasionally writing feature pieces, I have a tips column on the back page(s) of every issue. I'd like to point out here that the fine folks behind the magazine (Michael and Judith Dinowitz) have released the first couple of tips as PDFs, available online for free:

http://www.fusionauthority.com/tipical-charlie/

And that's not a typo. I called it "*Tip*ical Charlie" as a play on words. The titles of the articles in those first two issues were:

  • Text File Processing (PDF)
  • How Can I Call Thee (CFC)? Let Me Count the Ways! (PDF)

Enjoy, and do keep in mind that this tips column is intended to benefit newcomers as well as more experienced folks. The rest of the FAQU articles do tend to be more intermediate/advanced.

You can also find the titles for all my other FAQU articles (indeed all I've contributed to any magazine) on my articles page, and you can find the titles of other FAQU articles by other authors on the FAQU site.

Want the whole FAQU issue(s) in PDF form?

But some will want more than just my tips articles in PDF form. Here's good news: if you've not noticed, you can also get complete back issues (also in PDF form) for 7.95 per issue, and in fact the first issue is offered for free.

I suspect that as time passes, we'll see more of my tips and indeed complete issues released for free. Thanks to all the folks behind the FAQU.

"Using the CF8 Debugger", my 25-page CFWACK chapter is available online

Have you started using the CF 8 debugger? Either way, you may have noticed that the documentation on it is rather sparse. Fortunately, there's a relatively new and substantial (25-page) resource that's available online in the form of a PDF.

In the ColdFusion 8 Web Application Construction Kit Volume 2: Application Development, I had the honor of doing the chapter on the CF8 debugger. If I do say so myself, I think that it's a really complete introduction both to installing, configuring, and using the debugger, along with many tips, tricks, and traps--perhaps even a better one-stop resource than the docs themselves.

Best of all, it's one of the chapters that's been made available online. There was fear that Volume 2 would be too big and so a few chapters (mostly on older topics) were put into a 550 page PDF. My chapter is near the back of this PDF.

Also, note that if you have the print version of the book, it's technically chapter 52 of volume 2, but you won't see these online chapters listed in its table of contents. Instead, they appear in the TOC at the start of vol 3 (long story)

Sadly, I couldn't get permission to just cut out this one chapter, so you do need to get the full PDF. You should be able to easily jump to the starting page (using Ctrl-Shift-n), which is page 467 in the PDF, despite the table of contents on the first page which lists it at 471. And of course, you can print just selected pages from a PDF as well.

Either way, I hope you get great value out of the information offered. I'd really welcome your feedback.

(PS I mentioned last week that I'd also done an article on the CF8 debugger in the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update, in their recent CF8 Special Edition. Unfortunately, the FAQU articles are not available online.)

My two articles in the latest FAQU

I'm keeping my streak alive of having written in each of the first 5 editions of the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update. In the latest "CF 8 Special Edition"", where I have two articles:

  • The ColdFusion 8 Debugger Explained: Interactive Step Debugging for ColdFusion 8
  • Tipical Charlie: Hidden Gems in ColdFusion 8

The first is a 10-page overview of getting started with the CF 8 Debugger. It follows on to the earlier article I'd done in the Fall 2006 edition on FusionDebug. As both articles show, I'm a fan of both tools, and I just want to help people become aware of both.

The second article continues my tips column that's at the end of each issue, and this is a quick one-page summary of some of the best of the hidden gems I've identified in my past user group talks of the same name.

Note that the articles are not available online so you must get the print edition to read them (though I've been in talks with Judith and Michael for some time to get at least just the tips columns online, perhaps only some time after publication. We shall see.)

My latest Adobe Devnet article on CF8 monitoring: Part 3 and 4 now posted

Parts 3 and 4 of my 4-part series on the CF8 Server Monitor are now posted on the Adobe DevNet site. Part 3 was posted several weeks ago, but with the holidays, etc. I just failed to get word out. Part 4 was posted yesterday.

If you've not taken a look at these, you may be missing out. There are some misconceptions about the monitor, and also I think most don't realize that it can do much more than they may suspect. There's precious little documentation (and discussion) about it, so you may find things here you won't find anywhere else.

The third and fourth parts, specifically, have the following sections:

Part 3

  • Automated monitoring and request management with Alerts
  • Substantial diagnostic details with Snapshots

Part 4

  • An enterprise dashboard with the Multiserver Monitor
  • Programmatic Monitoring with the Admin API
  • Tweaking the Monitor in the Settings section
  • Miscellaneous aspects of the Monitor

Sure, I've just written about FusionReactor yesterday, and will write still more about the new release. I don't see it incompatible to help people make the most of whatever tool they may use. I've written previously also about SeeFusion. Indeed, I've written previously that that each has their place, even in the face of CF8's server monitor.

I'd like to hear from readers

The DevCenter articles offer a feedback link, but so far I've not gotten any (and they say they will forward any they get). I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone who has read the articles. I really feel that they go way beyond what's available in the docs and help, to bring together information and concepts you might otherwise miss. Has it helped you at all?

Finally, do you ever wonder why some call this area of the Adobe site "DevNet", "DevCenter", and/or some the "Developer Connection"? Well, the URL has devnet in it, but the breadcrumb bar at the top of my articles shows "Home > Developer Connection > ColdFusion Developer Center". Go figure. :-)

CF8 WACK Volume 2 Ship Date Announced at Amazon

I announced a few weeks ago that Volume 1 of Ben's CF8 Web App Construction Kit, which Ray and I co-authored, had finally arrived in physical form. Still, many kept asking, "so when's Volume 2 going to be available?" That day is now clear.

I got notice from Amazon today that it will be available November 21. Find out more about the book's contents, the several co-authors, or pre-order it, at:

CF8 WACK Volume 2

My latest Adobe Devnet article on CF8 monitoring: Part 2, "Using the Server Monitor in production"

Some may be interested to learn that I've had another article published on the Adobe Devnet site yesterday: "ColdFusion 8 server monitoring - part 2: Using the Server Monitor in production".

This follows up the part 1, which focused on uses of the monitor in development. There will be 4 parts ultimately, all listed in the Developer Center, with the 3rd part discussing the alerts and snapshots features, and part 4 discussing the Multiserver Monitor, Admin API monitoring features, and various miscellaneous observations.

The CF8 monitor offers a lot more than many would think, and insight into certain inner workings of CF that we've just never had before. I try to highlight things that you may have missed if you've only glanced at it or attended brief overviews at conferences or user groups. I will likely to my own presentation on it in the future..

No one should read from this that I'm any less supportive of 3rd party tools like FusionReactor and SeeFusion. As I've stated before, there's clearly a place for those tools for shops not yet on CF8, and even once on CF8 I believe there are differences among all the tools that could warrant having more than one at once.

On the cover of the rolling stone...gonna buy 5 copies for my mother

Well, today I got to experience something I hadn't in 5 years: holding in my hands a book with my name on it. I've not talked about it much, but I'm privileged and honored to be one of the contributors to Ben's 3-part CF8 books (contributing to all 3).

Author copies of the first one arrived today, just as Ray announced also.

The first book is formally called, the Adobe ColdFusion 8 Web Application Construction Kit, Volume 1: Getting Started.

Look for the others (Volume 2: Application Development and Volume 3: Advanced Application Development) to come out in the future. Don't ask me when. I really have no idea.

Still other books in my past

What book did I do 5 years ago that I mention above? The ColdFusion MX Bible, which I did with Adam & David Churvis and Hal Helms. It came out in early 2003, just after the launch of CFMX 6. It got a lot of high praise and good ratings, due mostly to the efforts of "the Churvii" (the father and son Churvis team), who did most of the book.

Here's some trivia: in what other CF book was I a co-author? It's tricky, because if you follow the link for my name on the books above, it shows them only. But search for Charles Arehart instead. You'll see that I contributed to the original CF 4 for Dummies, with John Paul Ashenfelter and Alexis Gutzman. I did just one chapter (on CFMAIL), and as John will tell you, we both decried much of its content but the publisher and lead author were hard-pressed to get it out at the time (2000) and it went as is. The reviews suffered accordingly. I've never blogged my association with that book until now. Hopefully time has cast it to an abyss so there's no harm. :-)

That same year, I also contributed to Professional WAP, doing the chapter there on Wireless programming with CF. (With those multi-author Wrox books, I was listed first so many think I was the lead author, which was not the case.)

Like most, these books are a team effort

And so it was these CF8 books: I'm just one of many hands that make up each of the CF8 books.

But I do want to thank Ben for including me in the books this round. It's a great team of folks spread out over all the books, and I really am grateful for the opportunity to contribute.

My new Adobe DevNet articles on the CF8 Monitor

If you'd not seen it, there are a slew of new CF8 articles on the Adobe CF Developer Center, including one I've done that's the first of a 4-part series on the CF8 monitor. The first both introduces the monitor and focuses on its uses first in development:

ColdFusion 8 server monitoring - Part 1: Using the Server Monitor in development

It's 8 pages printed, so lots of info there. I hope you'll get value from it. Since there's no feedback mechanism there, I'd appreciate if you'd share comments here of what you think of it. We writers get precious little feedback on our work, most times.

For now, it's even listed as a front-page article on the CF8 Dev Center. (FWIW, note that the URLs say "devnet" while the site itself uses the phrase "Developer Center".)

Future articles in my CF8 Monitor series will focus on using the monitor in production, then using the multi-server monitor, alerts, and snapshots, and finally several miscellaneous features and tips in part 4.

I should say finally, since many know I've talked a lot about FusionReactor and SeeFusion in the past, that, no, I don't think the CF8 monitor is a death knell for those tools (nor do I think the CF8 debugger will kill off FusionDebug). There's a place for both (especially if you're not yet on 8, and even afterwards possibly), and since the monitor is only in CF8 Enterprise, that especially keeps the other monitors in the running. I've written a more complete discussion of my perspective on these things:

Scorpio Debugger and Monitor: What's it mean for FusionDebug, FusionReactor, and SeeFusion?

Now, about it being in Enterprise, that's something I couldn't say in either my past entries or even in the current article on the DevCenter, as those were all written before the final release of CF8. I'm sorry if they read as if everyone using CF8 could use them. I really had no way to say otherwise.

That said, with the CF8 monitor being free in CF8, and especially with it giving us access to some awesome new info (which even the other monitors could now provide access to), it's worth learning what's possible. There's a lot more to it than you may think.

See the other entries I've done on the monitor. Some of them have info I couldn't fit into the DevCenter articles, or that may not be published for a few weeks.

Corrected version of my Sept CFDJ article available online

While it may seem old news, I want to point out that if you've received the print version of the September edition of the CFDJ (which came out in October), you may have seen my article on "FusionDebug Tips, Tricks, and Traps". Due to some glitches, the version printed was not the final, edited version I had offered.

I was able to arrange to get the corrected article posted in the electronic version of the article, free for you to read, on the CFDJ site. If you're interested in the topic and/or the article, please do check it out online.

My latest 2 CFDJ articles

Check out the 2 latest articles I've done in the CFDJ (you can read them online for free): one is on FusionDebug Tips and tricks, and the latest is on using the nifty (free) LogParser tool with CF.

Sys-con has been working hard to catch up on late delivery of the magazine, as well as to bolster the content with topics that will appeal to a wider CFML audience. I'm glad to be a part of that effort after being quite absent myself for must of the past 3 years. (See the more than 50 other CFDJ articles I've done in the past 7 years.)

My Latest CFDJ article is now posted: Errors in Your Code: Handling, debugging, and testing for them

I see that my latest CFDJ article has now been posted on the CFDJ site: "Errors in Your Code: Handling, debugging, and testing for them".

Here's a brief synopsis:

Errors and bugs: they happen in all code, mostly in development but in production too and perhaps more easily in CFML than in compiled languages. There are several features to help better handle, debug, and test for them, and this article will focus on those.

Though the article has just been posted, it's in the "August" issue. Due to some snafus in recent months, the CFDJ folks are just getting caught up. I have no information myself on when the print version of the issue will be coming out, if indeed it may already have.

I will say you can also look for me to have articles in future issues, including Sept and Oct which are already turned in. I'll post those as soon as I see they are available online.

Read the article online now

My Upcoming column in the October FusionAuthority Quarterly Update: It's TipicalCharlie

Folks going to Max will get the new October issue of the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update, and you'll find that I have two articles (well, I also am quoted in a 3rd).

One will be a feature on using FusionDebug, and the other is another of my "tips" column. In the first issue (July), it was on the back page as something like "tips from a coldfusion developer". That wasn't too clever.

In this next issue, we've chosen to call it "Tipical Charlie". That's not a typo. (I've already had one person ask if it was, when they saw another site listing the upcoming issue articles.)

Where did I come up with the name? Well, some know that besides this blog, I have an older one, called tipicalcharlie.com. That one focuses on non-CF tips. Still, I thought it also a suitable title for the FAQU column. ]

On the tipicalcharlie site, I do explain where I got the idea for the name. HGTV fans may already recognize it.

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